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I was hoping to get some quick clarification on constant power after a kato unitrack turnout

**Excuse the track layout, it's a probably a grotesque eyesore and may not be final**

In the pic provided the interior oval is the standard kato m1 oval, powered by the feeder track S62F.

As I understand it, the exterior hodge podge of track that is connected to the #6 turnouts is technically dead until power is routed via the turnouts switching.

If I add another feeder s62f feeder track at the red arrow, as long as my polarity is correct, that exterior hodge podge should have constant power?

The only thing I can't seem to find concrete info on is when you do constant power, do you need insulators after the turnout BEFORE the feeder?

The ultimate goal is to convert to DCC, once I can get my hands on a powercab, so if that changes things please let me know. The ideal goal would be wiring is done, just hookup the powercab and be off to the races.

And at this point and time I only plan on running one loco.

 

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Power routing turnouts

I was hoping to get some quick clarification on constant power after a kato unitrack turnout

**Excuse the track layout, it's a probably a grotesque eyesore and may not be final**

In the pic provided the interior oval is the standard kato m1 oval, powered by the feeder track S62F.

As I understand it, the exterior hodge podge of track that is connected to the #6 turnouts is technically dead until power is routed via the turnouts switching.

If I add another feeder s62f feeder track at the red arrow, as long as my polarity is correct, that exterior hodge podge should have constant power?

The only thing I can't seem to find concrete info on is when you do constant power, do you need insulators after the turnout BEFORE the feeder?

The ultimate goal is to convert to DCC, once I can get my hands on a powercab, so if that changes things please let me know. The ideal goal would be wiring is done, just hookup the powercab and be off to the races.

And at this point and time I only plan on running one loco.

Robert;

I think Kato turnouts come wired as "power routing" meaning that they supply power only to the track that the points are set for. I also believe they have jumpers that can change them from power routing to not power routing. Consult the directions for your Kato turnouts for an accurate answer on this point. If you do that, or just add the power feeder track you mentioned, you should have constant power on all your track. While the insulators would not be strictly necessary, yes, I would put insulators between the turnout, and the power feeder track. I would also suggest doing the same insulator thing at the other turnout, the one on the opposite side of the black truss bridge. This will work with either DC or DCC control. The two loops will be potential "power districts, should you ever decide to go that route.

good luck;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:

P.S. The attached file "All about turnouts" is probably a "Rerun" for you, if so, sorry about the duplication, but it does explain how power routing works, and lots of other stuff about turnouts.

View attachment All AboutTurnouts rev 5.pdf
 

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"Excuse the track layout, it's a probably a grotesque eyesore and may not be final"

Is this HO gauge or N gauge?
The nice thing about sectional track is that it's easily re-configured as needed.

TIP about separating Unitrack:
Get a VERY SMALL FLAT-BLADE screwdriver -- one like you get in an "eyeglass repair kit".
Use this to gently pry apart the joints -- not much effort is needed to "begin the part". Then they separate easily.

Whether a Kato switch is power-routing or non-power-routing often depends on the switch.

I don't know about the N gauge specifics.
But for HO, all of the turnouts EXCEPT FOR the #4 powered turnouts can be user-set to be power-routing or NON-power-routing by re-locating two small screws on the underside. VERY easily changed. Instructions are in the packaging.

Looking at your plan, I would put a single power feeder BETWEEN the two facing point switches.

That way, if the switches are power-routing, power will flow the way the switch is lined.

If non-power-routing, will work that way, too.

I think I'd do some re-arranging of track to slightly "smooth out" the back stretch.
It looks just a little too "wavy" to me.

You might want to consider an industrial siding or two, also. Perhaps one on the inside loop, and perhaps one in the upper-left-hand corner?
 

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Power between the turnouts good idea!

"Excuse the track layout, it's a probably a grotesque eyesore and may not be final"

Is this HO gauge or N gauge?
The nice thing about sectional track is that it's easily re-configured as needed.

TIP about separating Unitrack:
Get a VERY SMALL FLAT-BLADE screwdriver -- one like you get in an "eyeglass repair kit".
Use this to gently pry apart the joints -- not much effort is needed to "begin the part". Then they separate easily.

Whether a Kato switch is power-routing or non-power-routing often depends on the switch.

I don't know about the N gauge specifics.
But for HO, all of the turnouts EXCEPT FOR the #4 powered turnouts can be user-set to be power-routing or NON-power-routing by re-locating two small screws on the underside. VERY easily changed. Instructions are in the packaging.

Looking at your plan, I would put a single power feeder BETWEEN the two facing point switches.

That way, if the switches are power-routing, power will flow the way the switch is lined.

If non-power-routing, will work that way, too.

I think I'd do some re-arranging of track to slightly "smooth out" the back stretch.
It looks just a little too "wavy" to me.

You might want to consider an industrial siding or two, also. Perhaps one on the inside loop, and perhaps one in the upper-left-hand corner?
Robert;

J,Albert has the right idea. :appl: I'm sorta mentally kicking myself for not recommending it.:eek:
Turnouts in general, and power routing turnouts in particular, should be powered only from the point end, the one with a single track feeding into it.
Doing what J.Albert has recommended will accomplish this "point end feed' for both turnouts and, just as he said, it will work with either power routing turnouts, or non-power routing turnouts. He also reminded me that Kato turnouts (which I don't use since I make my own) including both the N-scale, and HO-scale ones, have those screws inside the bottom cover, that act as jumpers, to make the turnout non-power routing if you want.

I would still recommend putting insulated rail joiners on all four of the rails at the "frog end", or "two tracks end" of all your turnouts, before you mount the track down.
You will need to add power feeders just beyond the insulators in order to power the outer loop. I know this sounds quite weird, since I'm recommending you insulate the rails and then add power feeders to route power right around the insulators you just installed! :goofball: However there is a certain amount of method in my madness in recommending this arrangement. It gives you great flexibility in wiring.

You may later decide to use the outer loop as a DCC "power district" or, if you stay with DC, wire a second DC power pack to the outer loop so you can run two trains independently. Some day you may even want to install automatic block signals.
In all three of these cases, having the insulators already in place, and being able to simply change the wiring without concern for shorting through the turnout, will be a great advantage.

For now, while your still shifting pieces of track around, you could just follow J.Alberts wise advice and put the one power feeder between the two turnouts. No insulators would be required yet. That could wait until you settle on a final track plan and are ready to glue the track down to the pink foam with latex caulk.
When the time does come to glue the track down, I strongly recommend leaving your turnouts loose, held in place only by their rail joiners, with no caulk under them. Why? Because at some future point, you're going to have to pull a turnout up for repairs. :eek:

The Kato switch machine, that moves the points, is embedded inside the gray plastic "roadbed" piece under the turnout. The only way of getting at this switch machine, and/or those screw "jumpers," is by removing the whole turnout, turning it upside down and removing six screws and the bottom cover. No point in making that procedure any more difficult by glueing the turnouts down.

regards;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
J.albert - It's N scale Sorry

Thank you both for the informational replies. :smilie_daumenpos::smilie_daumenpos:



Just to make sure I understand if I wanted to have power to both tracks continuously the turnout to the right of the bridge, the 2 insulators would be on the track veering to the right, followed by my feeder track.

And vice versa on the other side, the turnout to the left of the bridge that hooks back up to the main loop, just gets 2 insulators where the track meets the turnout, correct?

This keeps power separate but both tracks have power.

Now is it mandatory to turn them from power routing to non power routing, as long as my feeders are wired in the same direction from one controller, there should never be a polarity discrepancy right and no risk of a short?

I'd like to have every piece of track I lay down have power(since why I only have one loco + cars anyhow) so the switch to DCC is more streamlined.

I guess the better question to ask is, can trains be parked on powered track without damaging the motors or do you need isolated track at some point in your layout?
 

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DCC locomotives can safely be 'parked' on a powered
track. DC locomotives CANNOT be parked on a
DCC powered track. The DCC modified AC can
damage the DC loco's motor.

I'm confused by the suggestion to use
insulators after the turnouts in the OP's layout.
The power routing feature simply removes power.
There is no polarity switch as with powered frog
turnouts, which do require the insulated joiners.

I think the layout would have a more stable
and dependable track power if there were no
insulated joiners.

I do agree, however, that there should be track
drops every 6 feet or so on both the inner and
outer ovals. I would use 2 'power input track sections' in
each loop.

Whatever wiring you end up using that works with
your DC set up will be just fine for DCC. You would
simply disconnect and remove your DC power pack from
all track connections and connect the output of the DCC controller to the existing bus that
feeds your track.

You would continue to use the DC power pack ACCESSORIES
terminals to power your turnouts.

Don
 

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Yes, no, and no.

J.albert - It's N scale Sorry

Thank you both for the informational replies. :smilie_daumenpos::smilie_daumenpos:



Just to make sure I understand if I wanted to have power to both tracks continuously the turnout to the right of the bridge, the 2 insulators would be on the track veering to the right, followed by my feeder track.

And vice versa on the other side, the turnout to the left of the bridge that hooks back up to the main loop, just gets 2 insulators where the track meets the turnout, correct?

This keeps power separate but both tracks have power.

Now is it mandatory to turn them from power routing to non power routing, as long as my feeders are wired in the same direction from one controller, there should never be a polarity discrepancy right and no risk of a short?

I'd like to have every piece of track I lay down have power(since why I only have one loco + cars anyhow) so the switch to DCC is more streamlined.

I guess the better question to ask is, can trains be parked on powered track without damaging the motors or do you need isolated track at some point in your layout?
Robert;

Yes;
You have the proposed insulator locations correct.

No;
It is not mandatory to switch your turnouts from current routing to non-current routing. Doing so would simply be one way of having all your track constantly powered. If you choose to leave the turnouts power routing, then the outer loop will only have power when the turnouts are set for the train to enter the outer loop. There is something I recommend you check. Try running your train with one turnout set for the outer loop, but the other turnout set for the inner loop. There are three possibilities, and I'm not sure what will happen.

1) you will get a short circuit and the train will not run at all.

2) The train will run, but only on one of the two loops.

3) The train will run fine anywhere.

My guess is that #1) will happen. If it does then simply set both turnouts for the outer loop, and see if the short goes away, and the train starts running. Then run it onto the inner loop with both turnouts set for the inner loop, and make sure the train will run there too.
You don't absolutely need the insulators, or the power feeders just beyond the insulators either. One reason I suggested them was situations like the possible scenario of #1). If your track will be glued down, and then if something like #1) does happen, it's a lot easier to disconnect some wiring under the table, than to rip up track to insert the insulators and/or power feeders later. They would already be in place.

No;
Parking a locomotive on a "powered" track will not hurt the motor. On your present DC layout, the only way to stop, and park, a locomotive is to turn the speed control of your DC power pack, all the way down to zero. This effectively removes power from the track, so the track isn't really a "powered" track anymore, It's now an unpowered track.

Fast forward to your planned DCC layout. With DCC in use, it's normal for there to be about 15 volts of modified AC power on all the track, all the time. However, that power can't get from the track, up into the motor of a DCC loco, without passing through the DCC decoder inside the locomotive. Until you send a signal from your nifty new NCE Powercab out to that decoder and command it to let some power through to the motor, to start the locomotive moving, then the motor will not receive any power at all. So with either DC, or DCC, you will not hurt the motor by parking a locomotive.

However, DonR pointed out one circumstance where a motor could be damaged, and that's putting a DC only locomotive on a DCC track. Now we have the constant AC power on the track, (which is normal for DCC), but the loco does not have a DCC decoder inside it to intercept that constant AC power, and keep it out of the motor. Result, damaged motor.

regards;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
 
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