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I'm planning to get started in N Scale and wish to do it right the first time. I want to invest in the best locos, track, DCC controller, and I am unclear as to what brands of N scale turnouts are 'DCC ready'.

From the forum I read that PECO and Micro Engineering make good track, but I'm unclear as to turnouts being good for a DCC layout. Not sure about Kato or Atlas either.

What turnouts in N Scale are good for DCC without modifications?
 

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DCC "friendly", "compatible", Etc. turnouts

I'm planning to get started in N Scale and wish to do it right the first time. I want to invest in the best locos, track, DCC controller, and I am unclear as to what brands of N scale turnouts are 'DCC ready'.

From the forum I read that PECO and Micro Engineering make good track, but I'm unclear as to turnouts being good for a DCC layout. Not sure about Kato or Atlas either.

What turnouts in N Scale are good for DCC without modifications?


spacomp;

Micro Engineering's excellent code 55 turnouts come with an "isolated frog" and jumpers between the point and stock rails on either side. This is the so called "DCC friendly/compatible configuration." The first attached file, "All about turnouts" explains this "DCC friendly" business, and many other things about turnouts. The new Peco "Unifrog" turnouts probably come DCC friendly from the factory, and the earlier Peco "Electrofrog" turnouts can be set up this way with built in jumpers. but I don't own any of either, so I'm not sure.
I make my own turnouts, but I have a few Micro Engineering and Peco "Insulfrog" turnouts as well.
Peco, and Micro Engineering, are both excellent brands of turnouts, as well as track.

Atlas code 55 turnouts also have the DCC compatible configuration factory installed. However, the code 80 Atlas turnouts do not.
The Atlas code 55 turnouts are better than their code 80 cousins, but that's not saying much, as the code 80s are near the bottom of the quality barrel. The "All about turnouts" file ends with my own personal opinions on the quality of seven brands of turnouts. The file also explains the advantages, and disadvantages, of each brand.

The other files contain information that may help you in planning and building that "right the first time" layout you want. ;)
BTW. My recommendation for a DCC controller is the NCE Powercab, and for locomotives, Kato.

Good luck, and Have fun!

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:


View attachment All AboutTurnouts rev 5.pdf

View attachment WHERE DO I START rev 4.pdf

View attachment 1 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment 2 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment 3 & 4 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment 5 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment 6 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment MODEL RAILROADING ON A BUDGET.pdf

View attachment Model Railroad Terminology 3.pdf
 

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I've just got done experimenting with Atlas remote turnouts as it was all I was able to really afford. Turns out If you press to hard for to long while trying to "switch" youll heat up the coil and melt the plastic covers !! haha I dug in and found that they require to be very free in order to operate smoothly. I had to make them float in a way for the turnout to throw correctly. It took a little bit of effort but they actually ending up working pretty well. Just got to be careful.

If I had a choice though I would recommend peco with the tortoise switch. That is ultimately where I want to be but for my first layout in 15 years its not practical as this is a test of my skills lol

Take a look at my thread and youll see how they work slightly. !! Cheers
 

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Atlas turnouts

I've just got done experimenting with Atlas remote turnouts as it was all I was able to really afford. Turns out If you press to hard for to long while trying to "switch" youll heat up the coil and melt the plastic covers !! haha I dug in and found that they require to be very free in order to operate smoothly. I had to make them float in a way for the turnout to throw correctly. It took a little bit of effort but they actually ending up working pretty well. Just got to be careful.

If I had a choice though I would recommend peco with the tortoise switch. That is ultimately where I want to be but for my first layout in 15 years its not practical as this is a test of my skills lol

Take a look at my thread and you'll see how they work slightly. !! Cheers
bl665;

You have just discovered something that many others before you have discovered too. Twin-coil switch machines, like those used by Atlas, Bachmann, Kato, and Peco, can burn out easily. :eek:
There is a device that can protect your Atlas turnouts from burning out if you should accidentally hold the button down too long, or if the button itself shorts out it's internal contacts, which those cheap, Atlas, blue button, controls have been known to do. :(
The protective device is called a "Capacitive Discharge Unit" (CDU) It will make it impossible for either a lingering finger, or a shorted blue button, to ever burn out a coil in one of your Atlas remote switches. :)
There are several ways of getting a CDU. The cheapest way is to build your own. One of our members, DonR, has done this, and he may give you the diagram. It's a simple circuit with only a few parts. You can also buy a built-up CDU from Walthers www.walthers.com or possibly from www.modeltrainstuff.com or www.trainworld.com Buying one is much more expensive that making one though.
The third, and perhaps the best, way is to replace those Atlas blue button controllers with Stapleton 751D controls. These controls include a built-in CDU, and are high quality controls, far better than the blue button ones.

Where can I "take a look at your thread?" I'd like to see what you did to your Atlas turnouts to make them more reliable.

The file "Improving Atlas turnouts" (attached below) shows some things that can be done to make them more reliable. The second file, "All about turnouts", has a lot of information about turnouts in general. The third file "How I scratchbuild turnouts" shows how to make your own turnouts much more cheaply than you can buy them.
If you would rather buy turnouts than make them, as most people do, then Peco and Micro Engineering, are both excellent choices. The "All about turnouts" file explains more about these two, and five more, brands of commercial turnouts.

You can also make your own "Tortoises" ( :rolleyes: sort of! ) The two last files cover my "Five dollar switch machine." They show you how to build your own remote, but manually operated, switch machines that mount directly below, and throw the points of, turnouts very much like a Tortoise does, but without the electric motor, or the approx.$30 ea. price tag! :rippedhand:

Good luck, & Have fun!

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:

View attachment Improving Atlas turnouts pdf version.pdf

View attachment All AboutTurnouts rev 5.pdf

View attachment Introductory letter for $5 switch machine.pdf

View attachment Assembly instructions for $5 switch machine..pdf
 

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bl665;

You have just discovered something that many others before you have discovered too. Twin-coil switch machines, like those used by Atlas, Bachmann, Kato, and Peco, can burn out easily. :eek:
There is a device that can protect your Atlas turnouts from burning out if you should accidentally hold the button down too long, or if the button itself shorts out it's internal contacts, which those cheap, Atlas, blue button, controls have been known to do. :(
The protective device is called a "Capacitive Discharge Unit" (CDU) It will make it impossible for either a lingering finger, or a shorted blue button, to ever burn out a coil in one of your Atlas remote switches. :)
There are several ways of getting a CDU. The cheapest way is to build your own. One of our members, DonR, has done this, and he may give you the diagram. It's a simple circuit with only a few parts. You can also buy a built-up CDU from Walthers www.walthers.com or possibly from www.modeltrainstuff.com or www.trainworld.com Buying one is much more expensive that making one though.
The third, and perhaps the best, way is to replace those Atlas blue button controllers with Stapleton 751D controls. These controls include a built-in CDU, and are high quality controls, far better than the blue button ones.

Where can I "take a look at your thread?" I'd like to see what you did to your Atlas turnouts to make them more reliable.

The file "Improving Atlas turnouts" (attached below) shows some things that can be done to make them more reliable. The second file, "All about turnouts", has a lot of information about turnouts in general. The third file "How I scratchbuild turnouts" shows how to make your own turnouts much more cheaply than you can buy them.
If you would rather buy turnouts than make them, as most people do, then Peco and Micro Engineering, are both excellent choices. The "All about turnouts" file explains more about these two, and five more, brands of commercial turnouts.

You can also make your own "Tortoises" ( :rolleyes: sort of! ) The two last files cover my "Five dollar switch machine." They show you how to build your own remote, but manually operated, switch machines that mount directly below, and throw the points of, turnouts very much like a Tortoise does, but without the electric motor, or the approx.$30 ea. price tag! :rippedhand:

Good luck, & Have fun!

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:

View attachment 523700

View attachment 523702

View attachment 523704

View attachment 523706

Wow !!! Great Post here and also the previous one I just got done reading !! The attachments were terrific and I plan on using them in the near future. thanks so much for posting those thats really sweet !

As far viewing my thread for that specific reason ... you wont find it hahaha I've just fiddled with them until they work right. They main thing was the switch not having enough freedom to slide around so I put 2 small plates underneath. They seem to be working fine now. I'm also using a different version of the atlas turnouts too but Im sure they are the same underneath the covers lol

This is the thread :: https://www.modeltrainforum.com/showthread.php?t=184370&page=3

Check out too :: https://www.trainboard.com/highball/index.php?threads/the-california-wild-fire-and-growth-exhibit.128431/

Cheers man Great write ups !
 

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Glad I could help

Wow !!! Great Post here and also the previous one I just got done reading !! The attachments were terrific and I plan on using them in the near future. thanks so much for posting those thats really sweet !

As far viewing my thread for that specific reason ... you wont find it hahaha I've just fiddled with them until they work right. They main thing was the switch not having enough freedom to slide around so I put 2 small plates underneath. They seem to be working fine now. I'm also using a different version of the atlas turnouts too but Im sure they are the same underneath the covers lol

This is the thread :: https://www.modeltrainforum.com/showthread.php?t=184370&page=3

Check out too :: https://www.trainboard.com/highball/index.php?threads/the-california-wild-fire-and-growth-exhibit.128431/

Cheers man Great write ups !
bl665;

I'm always happy to hear back from a "Newbie" who benefited from my files. That's why I wrote them, and why I send them to so many new people. There are more available in the "Beginner's Q&A" section inside the sticky post, "Help a new modeler to get started."
I've looked at your thread, and it looks like you are having fun, which is what it's all about. However, at some point you may decide to start over and build a better layout. We all started out with simple layouts, low budgets, and often restricted spaces, though it looks like your space is especially challenging! :eek: If you get to the point where you want to start again, these other files may help you with thinking and planing now (both are free!) and building later. Meanwhile keep enjoying what you have.

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:

View attachment WHERE DO I START rev 4.pdf

View attachment 1 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment 2 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment 3 & 4 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment 5 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment 6 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment Paintbrush Pine Trees.pdf

View attachment MODEL RAILROADING ON A BUDGET.pdf

View attachment Model Railroad Terminology 3.pdf
 

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Traction fan !! Your the best! Thanks so much for the support. Ya I have the space to build some really cool stuff its just that were renting at the moment and are in the process of buying so I've thought it through and I need something portable. Which is fine. My dream is to have a staging yard with 1000 of pieces and locos to choose from hahaha
 

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Sectional benchwork

Traction fan !! Your the best! Thanks so much for the support. Ya I have the space to build some really cool stuff its just that were renting at the moment and are in the process of buying so I've thought it through and I need something portable. Which is fine. My dream is to have a staging yard with 1000 of pieces and locos to choose from hahaha
bl665;

Since you're in "temporary housing" for awhile, you might read about sectional benchwork in sections 3 & 4 of the "How to build a better first layout"series of six files. A few of the 4' x 2' sections diagrammed in that file would make a nice little layout that you could take with you when you move into a home of your own someday. The sections are shown bolted to the wall, which, of course, you can't do in a rented house. But, as mentioned in the file, the same sections can be free-standing with four legs and no bolts into any walls.

good luck, have fun!

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
 
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