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Author Topic: Peco Switches  (Read 2206 times)
Lackawanna Consortium

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« on: June 07, 2017, 05:26:04 PM »

What is the difference between an insulfrog switch and an electro frog switch?  Thanks Paul

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« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2017, 06:12:40 PM »

Peco Electrofrog turnouts provide current to the "frog" portion of the turnout. Insulfrog turnouts do not.

The frog is that little "V" in the turnout where the outer rail from one of the diverging routes meets the inner rail from the other route. Since the two rails are different polarity, this would (without jumping through some hoops) cause a short circuit. That's why cheaper turnouts simply use non-conductive material for that section.

Turnouts that have electrified frogs require some sort of internal or external mechanism for changing polarity to the frog based on which way the turnout is thrown. I've never used Peco turnouts, but I imagine the electrofrog turnouts require a bit of extra wiring and possibly some sort of switch to change polarity.

Insulated frog turnouts can cause problems for locomotives with limited electrical pickup (IE more opportunities for the locomotive to stall out). Hence, the desirability of turnouts with powered frogs.


« Last Edit: June 07, 2017, 06:16:16 PM by spookshow » Logged


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« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2017, 10:41:15 PM »

The Electrofrog turnouts are set up, already, to deal with the polarity.  You must,  however gap the rail past them if they are part of a roundy-round or passing track.  If they are in a reverse loop, you wire as always, with gaps and a turning section.  You must have power feeders before the turnout, as well.

You do not need gaps for ladder tracks or if they are not in the roundy-round.  The only exception would be if you add power jumpers beyond the turnouts.  There is an old book out there by Linn Westcott, How to Wire Your Model Railroad that tells you how to wire if you use metal frog turnouts.  The book is very old, but it will tell you how to wire properly.

If you use the Kato UNITRACK or B-mann E-Z TRAK, the manufacturers of those already have gapped the turnouts, as necessary, so, unless you have a reverse loop, no gapping or extra wiring is necessary.   If you have a reverse loop, you must, of course, have the isolated turning section.  Sadly, the E-Z TRAK does not lend itself well to the use of insulated rail joiners.
Lackawanna Consortium

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« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2017, 10:03:58 AM »

Thanks guys very useful info. I want to use the curved switch as a yard lead wherei have limited space. I am using atlas snap track and hope to have a fairly easy time making  connection with regular rail joiners. The insulfrog sounds like it would be easier forme to use  thanks. Paul
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