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56 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I am new to this hobby and have many questions.
I currently have two Bachmann DCC locomotives running on two parallel ovals connected with non- DCC turnouts, the trains stall on these turnouts and some times stops completely. Is there a way to turn Non- DCC turnouts into DCC, what should I do?

2,786 Posts
Actually what you need to do is power the frog. If you have a volt ohm meter, check to see if you have power at the frog. It will change polarity when you throw the turnout. If you don't find any voltage there you will have to solder a wire to it then use your turnout motor or switch to provide that power.

8,359 Posts
Turnouts don't really care that much whether you
are running DC or DCC.

Ken has mentioned one of the possible reasons
for your loco pausing and stopping on turnouts.

There are others but to get to the heart of it,
as Southern asks...what turnouts are you using;
Atlas, Peco, Bachmann or ?? If Peco, Insulfrog? or Electrofrog?


8,359 Posts
Well, here's a long winded set of tests for
your problem. (what, me be brief? :eek:)

Hope you have a multimeter. If not go to a
Harbor Freight and get one of their cheapos.
On some days they even give them away.
They're good enuf for model railroad testing.

Set the meter to AC volts about 200 or less,
the Bachmann track actually will show around 18 volts.
(you could also use a 12 volt auto tail light bulb instead
of the meter, If it doesn't burn thats a no reading)

At a turnout where the locos stop put a probe on
the unswitched rail. The other probe should lightly touch
the turnout points. If no reading there is the problem.

If a reading throw the turnout and retest. If no reading
the points are not getting power at times.

If you got a reading on the points then go to the frog.
Do the same test with turnout in both settings.

(I have never used Bachmann turnouts but I've seen them
used in videos and apparently they somehow internally power the
frog rails)

If all of the above gave you readings try a probe on the
points and frog when you put physical pressure on
them as a loco would do.

Another test. Run each loco very very slowly across
the turnouts. Get up close and personal and watch
exactly where the loco trucks are when the loco
pauses or stops. See if you can get the probes in
onto the points and frogs and see what rail or
frog has no power.

A couple other thoughts. The Bachmann controller has
red LEDs that blink when there is a short circuit. Does that
happen when loco stops?

Turn the room lights very low. Run the loco very slowly
thru the turnouts. Up close and personal again, watch for
tiny sparks when the loco wheels are at the point where
the 2 stationary rails come close together in the Frog but
are separated by a tiny sliver of plastic. Sometimes
loco wheels can span the 2 rails (of opposite polarity)
and cause a momentary pause or total stop (a short).

Perhaps we should have started by testing the power
pickups on the locos. Dirty wheels and debris on
the wipers would turn the slight normal power interruptions at
turnouts into blackouts. With loco upside down, use the
meter (or bulb) to test that all wheels on one side are
connected together. Then do the other side. Normally,
(but there are exceptions) all wheels on each side are picking
up current. It is not unusual to have a wire from the truck
to the decoder break loose and need resoldering.


22 Posts
I would check contacts on the locos. I don't imagine the frogs on Bachman turnouts are long enough to where the truck on the frog can still make it though with power from the truck still making it through. Unless its one of the bachmann switchers, those almost require powered frogs to make it through anything without stuttering
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