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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have power routing kato turnouts that in a magical way cause shorts. Often flick one or the other turnouts stop it, but the magic is that there are at least 6 different magic turnouts on there. Just flicking one works.

I've read I need to put insulating connectors on the tracks on the heel of the turnout. Is that the end with two rails coming out, or the end with four?
 

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Let's see your layout, there are a couple of ways the design can cause a short.
Heel is the wrong term.
 

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"heel" is not a normal term, but yes, you definitely need to put in insulating gaps by the frog (the casting where the internal rails cross each other) of the turnout. Throwing the turnout doesn't change anything about the track power heading away from the points (the movable rails) end.

"Selective power-routing" turnouts will change the polarity of the frog rails which for a single-ended spur will make the whole track dead because both rails are the same polarity. But if power is few in from the other end, throwing the switch will cause a dead shot. If you have a double-ended track with a power routing switch at each end, it will short out if either switch is thrown differently than the other, and be electrically "OK" if and only if both switches are thrown for the same track. No "magic" to it, that's how they work.

TL,DR: If you're using a power-routing switch for any application other than a dead-end stub track you need to gap the rails beyond the frog. No exceptions.
 

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Toe - The description of the shape of a turnout is taken from a foot. The toe end being the single road input into the turnout, and the heel the exit route which can be either two or three road if a standard or three way turnout. The assumed place for track feeds is from the 'toe end'.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
thanks guys

that video was awesome. And the simple answer. The video makes good sense and saves a lot of stewing about 'is this a power switching or not turnout'.

I suspect others have had the same issues of 'fixing this, fixing that with a piece of wire here' and chaos arising despite my best intentions to be OCD on the matter. I've divided the rails with bread tag styrene breaks in the circuit.

Ended up yesterday disconnecting all the wires from the boxes. Easily done with these things (I love them- super secure once you have it locked, its not coming out, unlike a screwed down wire terminal);

https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B073TX8H7F/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1


Dirt cheap. i ended up confused as to how many were in a bag and I probably have 100 of them. I use white glue to attach them to a board to keep them in some kind of order (Eg each power district marked, the outside rail connection connectors circled in red)

I finally had the brainwave (my waves aren't much) of connecting a dc source to the wires and then mapping where they go with my meter. Most wires were labelled, but not accurately enough. I was thinking of a battery, but then I remembered a horrible knot of cords I have downstairs of old power adapters etc. So I cut the end of the cord off, and attached each wire to one of the track supply wires. BINGO- mess is now sorted out. Reconnecting it is todays job. I'm going to start with connected both sides of where a reversing section comes in and making sure that works, then connecting the rest.

My amazing finding of the day- for some reason one of the soldered rail joints had a voltage drop across it on one side (meter read 4.2v instead of 8). I suspect that has messed up more digital stuff that I have spent months on. Simple to fix- just reheated the solder.
 
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