Re: PECO Insulfrogs


I may be giving away my age but once upon a time, to jumper a rail joint, a jumper was soldered from rail to rail avoiding the rail joiner. The rail joiner could be soldered but that would condemn the connection to be there for ever. Rail used to be code 100 and often brass which needed a tremendous amount to solder the joiner. The newer rolled joiners are much better connectors and are much better physical connecters but they will eventually fail if they are not soldered. soldering a jumper is easy.
I didn't invent this joint, the railroad still does it.

On ‎Monday‎, ‎December‎ ‎17‎, ‎2018‎ ‎07‎:‎06‎:‎08‎ ‎PM‎ ‎EST, John Johnston <towboatjohnston@...> wrote:



I understand the logic, and sympathize.  It may work, but do bear in mind that it’s not a case of six joiners failing to cause a dead track.  The outside rails are continuous, so they be fed by joiners on each end.  The inside rails will depend on a single joiner.  I think if a single joiner fails to make good contact on an inside rail, that rail will be dead.  (I use Peco Electrofrogs (in N-scale) so I may not correctly understand Insulfrogs.) Also bear in mind that an unsoldered joiner has two opportunities to fail, one on the switch side and one on the flextrack side.   If either end fails, you have a dead spot.  Assuming the flextrack side has other connections, you could cut the potential failure points in half by soldering the feeders to the joiners themselves.  That can be a little tricky to do.  My experience has been that most mechanical connections (whether unsoldered joiners, or power routing through the point rails) work well for about a year before they accumulate enough oxidation to cause random gremlins. 


If you are in HO scale, you may be able to get Peco’s new Unifrog, which I understand combines the best qualities of both.  I haven’t seen one yet, but it may be worth investigating. If you are running long engines with lots of pickups, it may not matter.  You also may want to consider putting “keep-alive” supercapacitors in your locos, which makes them less sensitive to track power imperfections.


From: <> On Behalf Of PennsyNut
Sent: Monday, December 17, 2018 11:02 AM
Subject: [w4dccqa] PECO Insulfrogs


Hello. I want to do something apparently not authorized. ?? A shelf layout, 12" deep by 24' long. On 2" foam. All wiring on top of the layout, hidden only by scenery. Switching. Want to use all PECO. Want to NOT use any machines or ground throws. Also, wish to install turnouts without fastening. i.e. Be able to slide joiners off the turnout onto attached flex track and simply lift up the turnout for repair or replacement. From the literature, Insulfrogs need no wiring. ? Unless I opt to do the simple cut and wire jumpers. But I choose not to. Now, the problem is the joiners. If the feeder is soldered to the flex track a couple inches from the joint with the point end of the turnout, and also solder feeders to the flex tracks at the frog end of the turnout. The one set of feeders is about 12" from the others. Is this clear? Won't having 6 joiners be enough to keep the turnout powered? i.e. Will all 6 joiners fail at the same time? I guess what I really want is to not restrict removal of the turnout. I've been told to "not rely on joiners". Fine. But how do you have soldered joints and wires attached - and still be able to get the turnout off to repair or replace. That would be a lot of work. What would be the odds of the turnout failing versus all 6 of the joiners failing? Actually, I think the odds are so low in either case as to not be a problem. So I want to take the easy way out. Finally, one last question: Is there a way to bypass the joiners without soldering to the turnout?
Sorry this is so long. But I guess I am stubborn and want to do it "my way". Besides, having the track wiring all on top makes it easier. And more wires mean more chance for problems. Kind of like the argument about soldering versus connectors. There is no choice for me but to solder. Period. No klutsy suitcase connectors, wire nuts, etc.
Morgan Bilbo, new to DCC

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