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All switches with insulated frogs (either from the factory or you do it) would work with DC, AC, or DCC. "DCC compatible" is a misnomer, better to ask if the turnout needs to be modified to be compatible with electricity, (i.e. do the frog rails need to be cut and insulated).

Please understand, I am not picking on you in the least, just trying to make all understand the issue.

The underlying reason for this misnomer is due to the fast response of a DCC system to shorts. Normal DC and AC systems took several seconds for a breaker to react to a short. The short was caused by metal wheels bridging the small gap between the frog rails causing a momentary short. This would go unnoticed on DC/AC systems albeit with maybe some jerkyness (technical railroad term). DCC systems would immediately shutdown. Insulating the rails so no short can occur is the thing to do no matter what system you are using.

I prefer electrically active frogs as I run engines with a small number of wheels or not all wheels are used to pickup power. I also like the look of metal frogs. So I must cut the frog rails and put in an insulator in the gap, usually about a 1/2" down from the frog. I use a razor saw to cut the gap and then glue in a small piece of thin plastic, then file to match the rail.
 

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DCC "compatible", "friendly", etc. "Turnouts" (track switches)

Any advice about what switches are dcc compatible would be appreciated
Paul;

timlange3 gave you some good info in his response.
The file attached below goes into the "DCC turnouts" idea in detail.
Actually any turnout can work with DCC (or DC) the term "DCC friendly" is somewhat ambiguous at best. The type of turnout that best fits a strict interpretation of "DCC friendly" is one with an"isolated metal frog" which is electrically insulated from all the other rails in the turnout. This turnout should also have the two moving "point" rails insulated from each other, and each point rail electrically connected to the outside, non-moving, "stock" rail right next to it. Please read the file for more information.

regards;

Traction Fan:smilie_daumenpos:

View attachment All AboutTurnouts.pdf
 

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As usual, the old man has to put a 'word' in.

The guys have answered your question but perhaps
maybe a little more details would help you and
others with the same query.

There are two type of turnouts 'electrically' and
either can be used on DC or DCC layouts.

The most common uses an insulated frog. These
are completely satisfactory unless you have
a loco with short wheel base or does not have
all wheel power pickup.

The other type has a metal frog that changes it's
'phase' or polarity as the points move. This enables
those small locos to keep moving without pause.
However, if you use this type of turnout you must
place insulated joiners in both the divert and straight
frog rails. This is to prevent a short circuit when the
frog and it's rails change polarity.

There is another type turnout that uses
'power routing'. That means that power is
passed through the rails to the connecting track
ONLY when the points are set for it. The other
connecting track is 'shut off'.

Don
 

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Discussion Starter #6
have no particular mfr that I plan to use. I have been told that turnouts can be controlled with the dcc controller thus eliminating electrical wires running from all the different turnouts.
 

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have no particular mfr that I plan to use. I have been told that turnouts can be controlled with the dcc controller thus eliminating electrical wires running from all the different turnouts.
Seems the only way you can do that with out wires is if your throttle & switches are radio operated. That would require each switch to have accessory decoders.
 

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Turnout brands and control methods

have no particular mfr that I plan to use. I have been told that turnouts can be controlled with the dcc controller thus eliminating electrical wires running from all the different turnouts.
Paul;

If DCC is used to control turnouts, it does not "eliminate electrical wires running from all the turnouts." It may shorten those wires, but you will still need just as many wires.
To control a turnout with DCC, requires a DCC "stationary decoder" for each turnout, or one channel from a multi-channel decoder, for each turnout it controls.

The stationary decoders receive digital signals individually addressed to them, through the rails (or bus wires) just like the decoders in locomotives. A locomotive decoder needs wires from it's output, to the motor, or light, that it controls.
It's the same for stationary decoders. They need wires from their output to the switch machine that physically moves the turnout's points from one route to the other.

A stationary decoder can have one, or several, outputs. A separate single-output decoder would be needed for each turnout. One four-output decoder could control four turnouts. In both cases there would need to be wires connecting the decoder to the switch machine(s).
If the decoder is mounted right near the switch machine, the wires might be only six inches long. If you were using a four output decoder, wires would need to be strung several feet out from it, to each of the switch machines that it controlled.

Stationary decoders cost money. The more decoders you need, the higher your cost will be.
Using DCC to control turnouts also means extra button finding, and pushing, in addition to that needed to control multiple trains.
For these reasons many modelers prefer to operate their turnouts with simple, and cheaper, toggle switches; either mounted on a traditional central control panel, or with one switch mounted on the fascia near each turnout.
Either control method will work fine. some like one, and others prefer the opposite choice. You decide.



The quality of construction, and very importantly, the derailment likelihood, varies a great deal between different brands of commercial turnouts. Here are my recommendations with the best listed first.

1) Peco:
These turnouts are highly regarded by many experienced model railroaders as the most reliable of any. They are ruggedly constructed, and virtually never cause derailments. I make my own turnouts, but the half dozen Peco turnouts that I have on my layout, are all very reliable.

2) Micro Engineering:*
These turnouts are very realistic-looking, very reliable and well made. They are a very close second, or perhaps equal to Peco. Their only disadvantage is lack of selection. They are available only in #6 right-hand, and #6 left-hand. However that's the only two configurations many layouts would need, and there's no law that says all your turnouts have to be the same brand. So if you needed a curved turnout, double crossover, etc. It could be Peco instead of the rest of your layout's (Micro Engineering) turnouts. Like Peco turnouts, M_E turnouts have a built-in spring that holds the points in place. This means you would not necessarily need a switch machine for turnouts in easy reach. Your finger can move the points easily, and the spring will hold them against the stock rail reliably.

Walthers/Shinohara:
These turnouts are/were made by Shinohara, and imported by Walthers. They are quite good turnouts, but the commercial relationship between Walthers and Shinohara has deteriorated, or ended altogether. This means they may be difficult to find. These turnouts do not have the spring like Peco and Micro Engineering turnouts do. They are designed to be operated by an external switch machine. However it's quite possible to make your own spring, and install it on any brand of turnout.

Atlas "Custom Line" numbered turnouts;*
Most of Atlas's "custom Line turnouts will have a frog number, such as # 5 left, or #6 right, for example in both their advertising, and printed on the package.
If you encounter an Atlas turnout that is labeled, "Custom Line" , but does not have a frog number printed on the package,(I have) do not buy it. It is actually a "Snap Switch" turnout "in disguise." Atlas custom line turnouts are an improvement over the "bottom of the (quality) barrel" Atlas "Snap Switch" line. They are not as good as any of the preceding brands, though.

Atlas "Snap Switch" turnouts:
These are, in my opinion, the absolute worst turnouts made. I strongly recommend not buying them. Their design is bad, they have probably caused more derailments than all the other brands combined, or at the very least more than any single other brand. They are made of cheap, flimsy material, the switch machine attached to their "Remote (aka electric) Switches" is very weak, unreliable, and has been known to burn out it's internal coils. This often happens when the bulky, "black
case and blue button control", packaged with the "Remote Snap Switch", shorts internally, and fries the coil. Holding the blue button down more than two seconds will also burn out a coil. I have seen several N-scale, Atlas "Remote Snap Switch" machines actually fall apart from a combination of the repeated shock from their snap action and poor manufacturing.

The files attached below give some more information about turnouts.

The first is general info.

The second contains information on improving the performance of Atlas "Snap Track" type turnouts for those who already have lots of them, are having problems with some, or all of these turnouts and don't want to spend a lot of money to replace them.

The third file offers another option to buying any commercial turnouts at all. This will save you a lot of money, but will use up a lot more time.

Traction Fan:smilie_daumenpos:

*NOTE: The turnouts marked with an asterisk* are the only ones I have no personal experience with. My opinion of these particular turnouts is based on a number of posts, both good and bad, about them here on the forum, and some online research. All of the others I have personally used, at one time or another, so those opinions are likely the most accurate.

View attachment All AboutTurnouts.pdf

View attachment Improving Atlas turnouts pdf version.pdf

View attachment How I scratch build turnouts new(8).pdf
 

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traction fan: Microengineering now makes HO #5 switches. They are designed for use in yards. They work like #6s but they're shorter so that trackwork is more "compressed". Have purchased several to use on my switching only layout.
 

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Correction

As usual, the old man has to put a 'word' in.

The guys have answered your question but perhaps
maybe a little more details would help you and
others with the same query.

There are two type of turnouts 'electrically' and
either can be used on DC or DCC layouts.

The most common uses an insulated frog. These
are completely satisfactory unless you have
a loco with short wheel base or does not have
all wheel power pickup.

The other type has a metal frog that changes it's
'phase' or polarity as the points move. This enables
those small locos to keep moving without pause.
However, if you use this type of turnout you must
place insulated joiners in both the divert and straight
frog rails. This is to prevent a short circuit when the
frog and it's rails change polarity.

There is another type turnout that uses
'power routing'. That means that power is
passed through the rails to the connecting track
ONLY when the points are set for it. The other
connecting track is 'shut off'.

Don


Don; A power routing turnout isn't necessarily "another type of turnout" distinct from either a plastic frog, or metal frog turnout. For example, your own favorite turnout, the Peco insulfrog is both a plastic frog turnout and a current routing turnout, at least right out of the package. I know you're not a big current routing fan, and you have added feed wires to eliminate current routing. I have built metal frog turnouts that were current routing. I think current routing is an option for Peco's electrofrog turnouts, and I know that Shinohara turnouts are current routing.

If there is a third electrical type of turnout it might be the isolated frog turnout where the frog is completely insulated from all the other rails of the turnout. If it also has the two point rails insulated from one another, and each point rail is jumpered to the nearest stock rail, you have the "DCC friendly" configuration that seems to be gaining popularity. Sorry Don, I know you don't like the "DCC friendly" term, and I know that any turnout can be used with DCC.

regards;

Traction Fan:smilie_daumenpos:
 

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The two Walthers turnout machines I just purchased have built in decoders. In addition to those decoders there are also provisions for controlling entry and exit signals for the legs on a turnout.

Comes in mighty handy rather than having to wire these aspects separately.

I thought $21 was a bargain for what it is capable of.
 

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For what it's worth, bachmann makes ez-track DCC controlled turnouts.

Likely not something you'd want to use, but yeah.
 
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