Re: Peco SL-E391F turnout

Michael Snyder

Thank you John!  This is all very helpful.  I wish Peco had a standard with which to connect their turn-outs.  Their website is also basically worthless in accessing information.


On Fri, Mar 29, 2019 at 5:31 PM John Johnston <towboatjohnston@...> wrote:



I found an SL-E391F still in the package and have uploaded a photo of the back to the group web site.  I also uploaded photos of an older-model Insulfrog turnout with exposed wires that are easy to see for comparison.  The Album name is Code 55 Electrofrog.  It is fair game for anyone who wants to use/add/annotate etc.  And just to add to the confusion, I threw in photos of a double-slip and some top views of scissors crossovers connected to either toe and frog ends of SL-E391F and SL-E392F turnouts.  In the process, I noticed that Alan Gartner is the moderator of this group.  He knows WAY more about this stuff than any of us, and can correct my mistakes if he has time.  My photos are better than his, though.


Anyway – to your questions:


  1. The jumper on the SL-E391F (and it’s small radius left counterpart) is the exposed Square-C shaped wire that bridges between inside two rails of the frog and the two closure rails.  You will see that the each end of the C connects across both rails, meaning that all parts of the frog are connected electrically.  They are also connected electrically through the hinges to the point rails, so that whichever point rail touches one of the stock rails, will deliver the power from that stock rail to the entire frog.  It is tricky to cut the very short legs connecting adjacent rails at each end of the C, and VERY hard to re-solder individual wires without melting the plastic ties.  I failed.  (See Frog Juicers).
  2. The jumpers on the medium radius turnouts (SL-E395F and 396F) are different.  Two separate wires run longitudinally to connect the each closure rail to its corresponding frog rail.  Mine are all glued down, but there is a picture of one on Alan’s web site.  It is easy to snip them in the middle, and end up with four nice leads already soldered to the appropriate rails.
  3. I included a photo of on older model Insulfrog with crossing longitudinal wires, and showing how the point rails connect to the closure rails through a joiner.  Now they use a wiper hinge, which is better but still not reliable enough.  (Also a little dirt or oxidation will prevent the point rail from making good electrical contact with the stock rail.) 
  4. MUST USE insulated joiners on the two inside rails at the frog end.  Otherwise whichever way the switch is set, the polarity will always be wrong for one of the two tracks.


I have 80 small radius turnouts, and cataracts.  Rather than melting ties, I have opted for “half-friendly.”  I power-route the frogs with Frog Juicers or Blue Points.  Results to date have been excellent.  I don’t seem to have many out-of-gauge problems.  Derailments still cause shorts, but I prefer that to collisions.  Electrofrog double-slips and crossovers are getting friendlier (cuts and leads already).  I haven’t tried any Unifrogs yet.


To use a Frog Juicer with the SL-E391F, I lift a corner of the jumper directly under the rail with an Exacto knife about 1/8th inch.  I pull a single wire from my big roll of Cat 5 and tin 1/4th inch, then bend a very small hook around the exposed jumper with the wire pointing straight down.  If I keep the solder blob small, it will go back into the groove in the plastic, or disappear into hole drilled into the roadbed directly under the rail. Connect that wire into one of the six holes in a Hex Juicer, and you are done.  Frog Juicers are expensive, but easy to use, and they work beautifully.  I use Hex Juicers because I need to juice a lot of frogs.  Haven’t tried singles or duplex.  Plenty of power for anything in N-scale.  No problems so far with some leads going to frogs on a reversing section or sharing two leads from one juicer across two adjacent frogs.  I not tried powering two frogs from the same lead, but it should work if the frogs never need different polarity at the same time.


Blue points are cheaper, but I don’t have enough in service yet to deliver a verdict.  Should also be easy and effective. Tortoises have built-in power routing switches, but I don’t know beans about them.  Micro switches are an option I haven’t explored.  They don’t seem to offer much benefit for the small difference in cost.  If I were doing sophisticated signaling, I might think differently.


Critical spots first (hidden, hard to reach, switching intensive).  Some routes have been so trouble free that I’m just letting them run as-is until they cause problems.  Eventually they will.  Oxidation happens.  Good cleaning may postpone the day.


Like any good railroad nut, I could babble on until your eyes glaze over.  Will stop for now and wait for the next round…



From: <> On Behalf Of John Johnston via Groups.Io
Sent: Friday, March 29, 2019 12:25 PM
Subject: Re: [w4dccqa] Peco SL-E391F turnout




I am sorry not to have responded sooner.  Had some allergy problems that made me too sick to function, but am coming back to life now.  I use Peco Code 55 too.  The jumpers are different from HO, different (I think) from Code 80, and different between small (SL-E391F)  and medium radius turnouts.  They may also have changed over time. It is disconcerting, but they are worth the trouble.  Well manufactured and smooth running.


If you want truly understand, I recommend Alan Gartner’s web site.  The pictures don’t match the Code 55 electrofrogs on my layout, but the background was helpful within the rather tight limits of my mental capacity.  When my brain filled up, I resorted to my usual strategy of stomping into the minefield and waiting for something to blow up.  I haven’t tried everything yet, but I’m happy to report on what has and has not worked for me.  I use solenoids and Blue Points, so I don’t have any Tortoise experience, but there are plenty of smart people out there who can help you on those.


Must put some fires out on my day job first.  Then I will try to take a few pictures of things that are not glued down and send some comments, and we can go from there.



John Johnston


From: <> On Behalf Of Michael Snyder
Sent: Friday, March 29, 2019 10:22 AM
Subject: Re: [w4dccqa] Peco SL-E391F turnout


I put out these questions on Wed and haven't received any response.  I'm not sure what to expect, but I thought I would have heard something by now.  Does anybody know how to help please?




On Wed, Mar 27, 2019 at 8:46 AM Michael Snyder via Groups.Io <> wrote:

I am new to your group and to model railroading.  I am currently laying track, N scale, and need help with the multitude of Peco turnouts.  

 As typed int he subject, I am using all Peco N Scale Code 55 electrofrog turnouts.  My first set of questions is for the SL-E391F:


1. What are jumpers as manufactured by Peco?  Where are they located?  It states that they are to be removed.  How does one go about removing them without destroying the turn out?


2. In the photograph, where the frog wires are cut and soldered together on the back side of the turnout, I get this.  What I can not see is, the wires that are joined and soldered together, are they both then connected to the main bus or to the Tortise Switch?  Then comes the question of where does the Frog Juicer fit into all of this?


Thats's about it on this switch.  Thanks to anyone who can help.





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