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Author Topic: Which points are the best.  (Read 545 times)

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Offline Old Crow

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Which points are the best.
« on: November 12, 2017, 12:32:16 am »
I'm just starting and have acquired some Set-track points. I've been trying these on a set track oval - just using the straight-through, rather than the turnout route and have noted very variable performance with sets I've tried and sometimes quite poor negating slow running. Problem seems to be the plastic frog - it's just too high or rather the grooves beside it aren't deep enough and some locos are kicked up at that side enough to lose contact. My 2-6-4 tanks are quite sensitive and I've just got a Union Mills that derails often. None of the locos affected have the big flanges but just pushing them over the points you can see the sudden rise on the frog, violent enough at speed to derail a leading bogie.

So! Is this a problem with Set-track or  insulfrog points generally and are streamline or electrofrog better? I had wanted to avoid things like insulated gaps and extra feeds but I have to say the performance of the setrack points is disappointing. Has anyone tried modifying the set-track points - I mean deepening the grooves in the frog on either side of the "V"?


Online austinbob

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Re: Which points are the best.
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2017, 08:21:07 am »
I think the problem is with the insulfrog points. Electrofrog points are generally acknowledged to be more reliable and trouble free although I know that many modellers on this forum have no problems with insulfrog. I have used both setrack and streamline electrofrog and have noticed no difference in performance or reliability.
 :beers:
Size matters - especially if you don't have a lot of space - and N gauge is the answer!

Bob Austin

Offline Chris Morris

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Re: Which points are the best.
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2017, 10:22:57 am »
Maybe older stock with large (pizza cutter) flanges has a problem with fishing on the frog. Newer stock with smaller flanges should be fine. The Settrack points are very sharp so some larger locos may not be able to negotiate them. Slow running of smaller locos such as 0-6-0 tanks will be better through live frog points. Most diesels will run through insulfrog slowly without any hesitation.

Offline Bealman

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Re: Which points are the best.
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2017, 11:26:31 am »
Old fogies like myself would recommend  avoiding set track points at all costs because of unreliability, but more importantly, to this old fogey at least, their unprototypical appearance.

They are small points, some of them so small that they would only be seen in industrial yards or narrow gauge railways.

Real life points on main lines, or even branch lines, for that matter, are huge long things!

I've always stuck with the idea of using the longest point that I can fit into a location, and live frogs, no question.
Vision over visibility. Bono, U2.

Offline Newportnobby

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Re: Which points are the best.
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2017, 12:32:09 pm »
I've always stuck with the idea of using the longest point that I can fit into a location, and live frogs, no question.

I totally agree with this. Sadly, many folks choose N gauge as they can get more in a given space but then choose set track points as their footprint is so small. To me they always look pretty awful, large locos don't like the small radius and small locos often stall on the frog. More years ago than I care to remember I took the decision to use electrofrog rather than insulfrog points purely, at the time, because electrofrogs looks so much better and function so much better. With the limited wiring I used, the extra little effort was easily understandable and worthwhile. It's only now I'm getting into frog polarity changing (so I don't have to rely on point blade contact) that I'm struggling (but that's down to my lack of knowledge).
My compromise is to use code 55 track throughout, with large radius points on the 'main' running lines and small radius ones for the branch line and all fiddle yards. With the small electrofrogs being 12" radius curves all my stock runs through them with no issues whatsoever
At one point (sorry) I considered switching (sorry again) to Kato points/track but found the footprint aspect mentioned above meant I could only use their #4 points and keep the track plan I developed over a long time. Sadly, although 100% of my diesels would run through them, only 70% of my steam locos would (I really must get round to completing the experiment :-[)
My motive power consists of Poole Farish, Chinese Farish, Minitrix, Dapol and Peco (with a Pendolino on order from Rapido via RevolutioN Trains) so there is a wide variety of wheel flange types.
I get no derailments on points, have never owned a back to back gauge, and never get any stalling.
I hope this helps but it can only be taken into context as purely my opinion and remember all locos are generally hand made so no two are 100% the same.

Offline ntpntpntp

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Re: Which points are the best.
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2017, 12:57:21 pm »
I will also definitely support the "rule" to use the largest radius pointwork you can accommodate, and also to use electrofrog where available.

I would never use Setrack points on the scenic parts of my layouts (they just look too toy-like), but I will confess I have used Setrack points in my fiddleyard, purely for space saving reasons. They've been down for over 20 years.  I'm surprised you believe the Settrack point frogs are not deep enough, as I don't see this problem and I can run really old Arnold, Lima and Piko "pizza cutter" wheeled stock from the 60s and 70s without problem. 



On the other hand, for any subsequent fiddle yards I may build in the future, I do intend to go with the smallest electrofrog pointwork now available, which will be larger radius.

If your Setrack points are old 2nd-hand, make sure they are flat (they and their diamond crossing cousins do sometimes bow in the middle). The frog V flangeways can build up a depth of crud over many years, so worth gently scraping them clean with a small screwdriver tip.


« Last Edit: November 12, 2017, 01:12:07 pm by ntpntpntp »
Nick.   2016 celebrating the 20th anniversary of "Königshafen" exhibition layout!

Offline Old Crow

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Re: Which points are the best.
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2017, 05:09:54 pm »
Thanks for the input guys, most appreciated. The issue isn't the sharp turnout but the violent contact over the frog when going straight through (I'd hate to be the engine crew!) The inside wheels get a good kick, enough to lift the loco. It does seem to be loco specific - the two-wheel bogies on the 2-6-4 tanks do seem to be problematic whilst the big Duchesses and 0-6-0 Jinty tanks are fine. I've definitely improved things with a little filing and it does seem that the quality and consistency of various sets are quite variable.

I appreciate what you say about realistic radii and I need to try others and consign the set-tracks to sidings maybe. First I need to practice flexi-track joins (fiddly isn't it?)
I see there is a need for isolating gaps with live frog (more issues for a newbie) but I'm also wondering, as some of my locos have the big flanges whether you might get shorts on the live frogs?



Offline ntpntpntp

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Re: Which points are the best.
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2017, 05:19:44 pm »
The issue isn't the sharp turnout but the violent contact over the frog when going straight through (I'd hate to be the engine crew!)

... which tends to imply a back-to-back problem with the flanges of certain wheels (as we've discussed on your other threads).

Quote
I see there is a need for isolating gaps with live frog (more issues for a newbie) but I'm also wondering, as some of my locos have the big flanges whether you might get shorts on the live frogs?
When a live frog turnout is set, all the rails at the frog are the same polarity, so no short.  Because the V rails are both at the same polarity and this changes depending on which way the point is thrown, this is why you have to fit isolating joiners on the V rails if you have any sort of power feed to the trackwork beyond the point.

Where you *might* get a short is at the open point blade, but I've never actually experienced this, and would again possibly indicate incorrect back-to-back measurements. 

Some folk prefer to modify the point to electrically disconnect the blade from the frog and instead electrically bond it to the nearby running rail, thus avoiding any chance of a short at the blade. For DCC users this is often called making the point "DCC friendly".   Making this modification then mandates that you have some form of polarity change switch to power the frog, synchronised with the throw of the point.   If you leave the blades as-supplied, you can rely on the blade contact to switch the frog polarity, but I still always fit a changeover switch wired to the frog.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2017, 05:28:12 pm by ntpntpntp »
Nick.   2016 celebrating the 20th anniversary of "Königshafen" exhibition layout!

Offline Old Crow

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Re: Which points are the best.
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2017, 05:24:29 pm »
Thanks again. My back-to-back gauge went missing in the post - I'll have to get one.

Offline ntpntpntp

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Re: Which points are the best.
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2017, 05:30:13 pm »
Thanks again. My back-to-back gauge went missing in the post - I'll have to get one.
You don't need to buy a gauge.  Just find a wagon that runs through the frog ok, then hold its wheels up to those that you suspect might be wrong, and see if the flanges match up.
Nick.   2016 celebrating the 20th anniversary of "Königshafen" exhibition layout!

Online austinbob

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Re: Which points are the best.
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2017, 06:08:04 pm »
Thanks again. My back-to-back gauge went missing in the post - I'll have to get one.
You don't need to buy a gauge.  Just find a wagon that runs through the frog ok, then hold its wheels up to those that you suspect might be wrong, and see if the flanges match up.
It would be wise to make sure that the wagon you use for a comparison like this has the correct back to back. Just cos a wagon runs ok doesn't mean its back to back is correct.
 :beers:
Size matters - especially if you don't have a lot of space - and N gauge is the answer!

Bob Austin

Offline ntpntpntp

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Re: Which points are the best.
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2017, 06:10:28 pm »
It would be wise to make sure that the wagon you use for a comparison like this has the correct back to back. Just cos a wagon runs ok doesn't mean its back to back is correct.
If it runs nicely through the point frogs then it should be good enough to compare with stuff which seems NOT to be running through the frog without jamming (b-2-b too narrow) or catching the frog nose (b-2-b too wide)
Nick.   2016 celebrating the 20th anniversary of "Königshafen" exhibition layout!

Online austinbob

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Re: Which points are the best.
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2017, 06:23:20 pm »
I think this method would be a bit too empirical for me. Apart from not being sure that your 'master' wagon has an accurate back to back, judging tiny fractions of a mm by eye would be difficult for me. Safer by far to use a gauge or even calipers IMHO.
 :beers:
Size matters - especially if you don't have a lot of space - and N gauge is the answer!

Bob Austin

Offline Newportnobby

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Re: Which points are the best.
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2017, 07:32:01 pm »

When a live frog turnout is set, all the rails at the frog are the same polarity, so no short.  Because the V rails are both at the same polarity and this changes depending on which way the point is thrown, this is why you have to fit isolating joiners on the V rails if you have any sort of power feed to the trackwork beyond the point.



@ntpntpntp
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Offline Old Crow

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Re: Which points are the best.
« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2017, 12:43:01 am »
Hmm! Been testing my crop of Set-track short points all evening. As a newbie, I thought these would be an easy way to get something started. They are just variable - some are good, others !!!! Some improvements made with a small file - but you shouldn't have to - and it seems that the very light 2 wheel bogies on the tanks are pretty susceptible to lifting. Well at least these can be consigned to the sidings; a Jinty will run over them all day!
 I need to see now if Streamline points are a better bet.

 

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