Topics

Powering Hinged Point Rails

Jerry Breon
 

Hello Group,
I am interested in learning from the experience of others relative to powering hinged point rails by a means other than relying only on contact between the point and stock rail. Please note that I am not looking for a discussion about powering frogs (which I do), and in particular I am referring to Walthers HO scale DCC Friendly Code 83 turnouts actuated with Tortoise stall motors. Although I have not yet experienced any power interruption to date relying solely on mechanical contact, I wish to ensure no future problems with the turnouts in my staging yard which will prove a bit difficult to access once the layout is finished.

To those that power point rails:
1.) Do you solder a feeder to each point rail near the hinge (fed from DCC Buss below) or do you prefer a small, flexible jumper wire soldered between the point and closure rails spanning the hinge on the surface?
2.) What type (stranded or solid) and gauge wire do you use for your preferred method?
3.) Is there another means of ensuring power to hinged point rails that I have overlooked?

Thanks,
Jerry Breon
Mooresville, NC 

John Bishop
 

Hi Jerry,

I also use powered frogs and a stall motor (Switchmaster in my case).

What I do is solder a jumper from each stock rail to each closure rail, using any kind of wire, which it sounds like you are doing also.

Then I jump from the closure rail across the joint to the point using  "Solder Wick," which is made of braided very thin copper strands and is very flexible. 

Granted I am in O Scale, but I use code .100 rail, and the braid can be thinned down by judicious use of an Exacto knife. 

Recently, I have started building switches without any joint for the point, no gap between point and stock rail, and just not spiking near where the joint would be. The joint can be simulated with a couple passes by a razor saw on top of the rail.  But I don't know if this would work in HO since the switch would be physically shorter and there may not be enough flex in the rail over the shorter distance. 

Hope this helps!

John Bishop 

On Thursday, February 28, 2019, 5:31:41 AM PST, Jerry Breon <jbreon@...> wrote:


Hello Group,
I am interested in learning from the experience of others relative to powering hinged point rails by a means other than relying only on contact between the point and stock rail. Please note that I am not looking for a discussion about powering frogs (which I do), and in particular I am referring to Walthers HO scale DCC Friendly Code 83 turnouts actuated with Tortoise stall motors. Although I have not yet experienced any power interruption to date relying solely on mechanical contact, I wish to ensure no future problems with the turnouts in my staging yard which will prove a bit difficult to access once the layout is finished.

To those that power point rails:
1.) Do you solder a feeder to each point rail near the hinge (fed from DCC Buss below) or do you prefer a small, flexible jumper wire soldered between the point and closure rails spanning the hinge on the surface?
2.) What type (stranded or solid) and gauge wire do you use for your preferred method?
3.) Is there another means of ensuring power to hinged point rails that I have overlooked?

Thanks,
Jerry Breon
Mooresville, NC 

Swanny
 

Jerry, I have modified about 130 Walthers Code 83 DCC-friendly turnouts in the last 3 years.  Every turnout has a 24-ga. solid wire soldered from the web of the point rail to the web of the frog rail, across the rail joiner.  This is done to avoid the eventual failure of the electrical contact between the stock rail and the point.  The process includes burnishing both solder points on the rail with a small wire brush, coating both surfaces with flux, tinning both surfaces with solder, and similar preparation of the wire.  The final step is to connect the wire to the rails using a conical tipped iron that has been properly tinned.  Although this results in some stiffening of the point action, I have had no problem activating them with Tortoise devices.  Note that I use a heavier gage wire for activation than is supplied by Circuitorn, mostly due to my 11/16" plywood + 1/2" Homasote + cork base, but it also takes care of any stiffening of the point action.

I hope you find this information helpful.
John  

John Bishop
 

John S.,

Assume by "a 24-ga. solid wire soldered from the web of the point rail to the web of the frog rail,"  you mean "to the web of the stock rail"  

Isn't stranded wire (if not what I suggested more flexible though?  But what works, works!

John Bishop

On Friday, March 1, 2019, 8:17:39 AM PST, Swanny <john@...> wrote:


Jerry, I have modified about 130 Walthers Code 83 DCC-friendly turnouts in the last 3 years.  Every turnout has a 24-ga. solid wire soldered from the web of the point rail to the web of the frog rail, across the rail joiner.  This is done to avoid the eventual failure of the electrical contact between the stock rail and the point.  The process includes burnishing both solder points on the rail with a small wire brush, coating both surfaces with flux, tinning both surfaces with solder, and similar preparation of the wire.  The final step is to connect the wire to the rails using a conical tipped iron that has been properly tinned.  Although this results in some stiffening of the point action, I have had no problem activating them with Tortoise devices.  Note that I use a heavier gage wire for activation than is supplied by Circuitorn, mostly due to my 11/16" plywood + 1/2" Homasote + cork base, but it also takes care of any stiffening of the point action.

I hope you find this information helpful.
John  

rhemker
 

Jerry,

I have just laid my code 83 Atlas track and all of my turnouts are Walthers (Shinohara) code 83. Can your modification be completed with the turnouts already laid? If you have a diagram to look at that would be very helpful.

Thanks,

Rick

rhemker
 

Swanny,

I have just finished laying my Atlas code 83 track and 15 Walthers (Shinohara?) code 83 turnouts. How does the electrical contact fail in these turnouts as I notice, they do have the jumpers built into the ties on the bottom of the turnout?

Do you have a diagram of your modification and can it be done on turnouts already laid?

I'm new to the forum and did reply on it but didn't see it so I'm contacting you via the email. Is this not acceptable?

Have a great day

Rick Hemker


From: w4dccqa@groups.io <w4dccqa@groups.io> on behalf of Swanny <john@...>
Sent: Friday, March 1, 2019 9:37 AM
To: w4dccqa@groups.io
Subject: Re: [w4dccqa] Powering Hinged Point Rails
 
Jerry, I have modified about 130 Walthers Code 83 DCC-friendly turnouts in the last 3 years.  Every turnout has a 24-ga. solid wire soldered from the web of the point rail to the web of the frog rail, across the rail joiner.  This is done to avoid the eventual failure of the electrical contact between the stock rail and the point.  The process includes burnishing both solder points on the rail with a small wire brush, coating both surfaces with flux, tinning both surfaces with solder, and similar preparation of the wire.  The final step is to connect the wire to the rails using a conical tipped iron that has been properly tinned.  Although this results in some stiffening of the point action, I have had no problem activating them with Tortoise devices.  Note that I use a heavier gage wire for activation than is supplied by Circuitorn, mostly due to my 11/16" plywood + 1/2" Homasote + cork base, but it also takes care of any stiffening of the point action.

I hope you find this information helpful.
John  

Jerry Breon
 

I appreciate the comments of those who have responded to my query. Because my staging yard switches are not ballasted nor part of the visible scenery, I am proceeding to carefully solder a 24-gauge solid feeder wire to the inside of each point rail near its hinge location. The feeder passes below the roadbed thru a hole large enough in diameter (3/16") so as not to inhibit point travel and then connects to the appropriate buss. This approach seems to be working well on the switch completed in this manner so far. All of my visible and ballasted turnouts are hand laid with continuous (non-hinged) point rails so the feeder wires (and associated 3/16" holes thru roadbed) are not necessary for the movable portion. 

Thanks,
Jerry Breon
Mooresville, NC 

PS: Like "Swanny" I, too, replace the furnished Tortoise actuator wire with a stiffer version (in my case, .032" stainless safety wire twisted to further stiffen and straighten it).

Tom Jones
 

John,  Like the John who responded I have also modified over 500 turnouts of all brands including over 100 fast-track turnouts to make them truely "DCC Friendly" . I use 26 gauge solid wire. I don't do any pre-preparing (is that a word?) of new turnouts but I use liquid flux that needs no cleanup. If I am doing a turnout pre-install to the layout I solder a wire around the hinge from the frog to the hinge as John mentioned and then I flip the turnout over and solder a wire from the stock rail to the "frog rail" Ometimes depending on manufacturer you need to cut out a bit of plastic to accomplish this. You can do this also if the turnout is already inplace with a little more work. The hinge wire remains the same but you need to make a small 90 degree bend in your wire and snake it under the stock rail and on to your frog rail. Solder and then wrap your wire to the outside of your stock rail in a small 90 degree bend and solder. Not as eligant but you now have a completely DCC ready turnout. CAVEAT: This assumes you have an isolated frog and are not using anything like the Peco Electrofrog turnout. My 2 cents...tj

John Bishop
 

Hi Tom,

Sounds like that will work fine -- and obviously does. 

My situation is a little different since I make my own switches, so there is no plastic do deal with, but electrically, we are both doing the same thing.  I do like the desoldering braid across the hinge because it is so flexible. I assume the liquid flux you use is the rosin in alcohol type, which I also like, and any cleanup can be done with alcohol on a Q-tip.   But as rule I find that is the rail is cleaned bright, then the flux- cored solder is fine by itself, even using steel rail.

Again, I should qualify that I am in O scale, but using code .100 rail.

John B

On Saturday, March 2, 2019, 7:49:33 AM PST, Tom Jones <tomjones4884@...> wrote:


John,  Like the John who responded I have also modified over 500 turnouts of all brands including over 100 fast-track turnouts to make them truely "DCC Friendly" . I use 26 gauge solid wire. I don't do any pre-preparing (is that a word?) of new turnouts but I use liquid flux that needs no cleanup. If I am doing a turnout pre-install to the layout I solder a wire around the hinge from the frog to the hinge as John mentioned and then I flip the turnout over and solder a wire from the stock rail to the "frog rail" Ometimes depending on manufacturer you need to cut out a bit of plastic to accomplish this. You can do this also if the turnout is already inplace with a little more work. The hinge wire remains the same but you need to make a small 90 degree bend in your wire and snake it under the stock rail and on to your frog rail. Solder and then wrap your wire to the outside of your stock rail in a small 90 degree bend and solder. Not as eligant but you now have a completely DCC ready turnout. CAVEAT: This assumes you have an isolated frog and are not using anything like the Peco Electrofrog turnout. My 2 cents...tj