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Author Topic: Code 80 Vs Code 55  (Read 18112 times)

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Offline polo2k

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Code 80 Vs Code 55
« on: December 22, 2011, 11:27:24 PM »
Hi all,
This topic gets brought up reasonably regularly, as I have some of each laying around I thought it would be worth getting some side by side data and pics.

So, for starters, whats all the fuss about? Whats a code?
Well it all goes back to the imperial days and the code number refers to the height of the visible rail in thousands of an inch i.e. 0.055" or 0.080". As all my measurements are metric ill convert the numbers now, but ill still refer to the 2 tracks as code 55/80 or finescale/normal.

0.055" = 1.4mm (1.39700 mm)
0.080" = 2.0mm (2.03200 mm)

Ok onto the comparison

Firstly, the code refers to the visible height of the rail, there is also the actual height of the rail. This is because the fine scale rail is embedded in the sleepers, whereas the code 80 sits on the sleepers. Despite the lower profile there are certain clearances that have been chosen to maximise compatibility with older stock.

IMPORTANT - Not all wheels will work on code 55. most stuff since about 1990 will, but your mileage may vary! before laying out masses of money on points, check all the stock you can is ok with the finer rail. If its not then you will feel the wheels going over the sleepers.

Here are the 2 tracks, code 55 in the foreground, 80 in the rear:





Here are both types measured from the top of the rail, to the bottom of the sleeper (ALSO NOTE THE DIFFERENCE IN END PROFILE OF THE RAIL)
CODE 80



CODE 55




The following are the measurements from the top of the rail to the base of the rail:
CODE 80

(0.07900")


CODE 55

(0.08110")
actually TALLER, but there is that hidden bit remember!


Remember I mentioned that the rail is buried in the sleepers? You can almost see it, but this is a tricky thing to photograph without manual focus




You can connect code 55 to code 80, however the code 55 will levitate by (4.11mm-3.18mm) 0.93mm.


As you can see, the rail tops are very close to level as they are aligned by their underside, one of them is 1.92mm and the other is 2.06mm so the "step" is a measly 0.14mm (0.00551" aka five and a half thousanths of an inch!) a lick with a cats tongue (or file) should sort it out if you choose to.

The other consideration is the points that you will use. If you are planning on either DCC or slow running/shunting then electrofrog is the way to go (due to the un-interupted metal running surface) and these only come in code 55. Since posting I have been corrected and code 80 is also available with electrofrogs

When laying, Code 80 flexi is much "looser" in terms of flexibility so it is more likely to kink than the code 55 which is "stiffer" and a bit easier to form into smooth arcs.



Please note that all photos in this post are my own, please do not copy them without prior permission from me. the track pictured is all Peco Flexi track purchased in the UK

Any questions, fire away!
« Last Edit: December 23, 2011, 01:43:02 PM by polo2k, Reason: added code80 frog info »
Cheers
-Ash-



The only way to guarantee failure, is not to try

Offline Ollie3440

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Re: Code 80 Vs Code 55
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2011, 11:45:29 PM »

The other consideration is the points that you will use. If you are planning on either DCC or slow running/shunting then electrofrog is the way to go (due to the un-interupted metal running surface) and these only come in code 55.

Electrofrog points come in both Code 80 and 55. Code 55 points are ALL Electrofrog (apart from the double/single slip and the long crossing which come in both variants) where as Code 80 points are generally available in both Electro and Insulfrog.


Ollie
Hi I'm Ollie, and I'm a addicted to buying MK1s......

My Previous Exhibition Layout - The Sheaf Valley Railway
http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=24.0

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http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=23228.0

Offline polo2k

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Re: Code 80 Vs Code 55
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2011, 12:02:23 AM »
ah, didnt realise that, even more options then lol  ;D
Cheers
-Ash-



The only way to guarantee failure, is not to try

Offline Newportnobby

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Re: Code 80 Vs Code 55
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2011, 11:54:48 AM »
Ta muchly for an excellent post, Ash.
I'm certain it will be a great help to all. :thumbsup:

Offline polo2k

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Re: Code 80 Vs Code 55
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2011, 12:09:53 PM »
Ta muchly for an excellent post, Ash.
I'm certain it will be a great help to all. :thumbsup:

If you feel its worth it, feel free to sticky away :)
Cheers
-Ash-



The only way to guarantee failure, is not to try

Offline Newportnobby

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Re: Code 80 Vs Code 55
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2011, 12:38:14 PM »
Ta muchly for an excellent post, Ash.
I'm certain it will be a great help to all. :thumbsup:

If you feel its worth it, feel free to sticky away :)

Cheers - have made it sticky 'cos there are a lot of people seeking advice about track, settrack, flexitrack etc and I think it's really helpful.

Offline Mustermark

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Re: Code 80 Vs Code 55
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2011, 08:53:59 PM »
Nice guide - thanks for taking the time to post. :thumbsup:


a lick with a cats tongue should sort it out.
With current off?!  I assume. :evil:

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I'm a personality prototype... you can tell, can't you.

Online Trainfish

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Re: Code 80 Vs Code 55
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2012, 07:01:58 PM »
Does this then mean that I can use a code 55 double or single slip with code 80 track simply by putting a shim under the slip?
John

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Offline polo2k

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Re: Code 80 Vs Code 55
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2012, 07:02:34 PM »
Does this then mean that I can use a code 55 double or single slip with code 80 track simply by putting a shim under the slip?


indeedy :)


.93mm or close is perfect for the shim
Cheers
-Ash-



The only way to guarantee failure, is not to try

Offline tgv_obsessed

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Re: Code 80 Vs Code 55
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2012, 08:58:44 PM »
Does this then mean that I can use a code 55 double or single slip with code 80 track simply by putting a shim under the slip?

you can, but code 55 geometry is very different to code 80, so if you want the slip to marry up accross double tracks of the other code then your in for a headache potentially
running in is so you get used to the noise, oops, to bed the gears down properly

Offline 1936ace

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Re: Code 80 Vs Code 55
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2012, 05:28:10 AM »
I am trying to get track down and was told by a pro layout builder that insulfrog point are ok and that is what he uses on the big exhibition layouts he professionally builds for the others. Now i read that i should have bought electrofrogs. Having just bought 60odd points from hattons which is correct. Also i was trailing track plans and thought a slip might work better as a space saving compared to two points together but ian earlier post suggests it a pssible issue with code 80 either side.

do i sell all of my code 80 track and points and swap to code 55 and also electrofrog stuff.

The more i read the more confused i got from opinions . i was the same with dcc, bought got scared of the issues (sold it) and then got good advise and rebought

any help very much appreciated especially since i just laid track for the county town station and yard and have stopped just in case

BArt

Offline JosephP

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Re: Code 80 Vs Code 55
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2012, 08:47:59 AM »
Professional exhibition layouts are a bit of a specialist field. Trains will probably run constantly and at quite high speeds. In that case, insulfrogs will be fine and the simpler electrics may be of use if the layout is automated (as a pro exhibition layout almost certainly will be). That said, this sort of layout gets a lot of use and the plastic of the frogs will wear more quickly.

For a one-man "home" layout where operation will involve more slow running, electrofrog is usually the better option.

To be honest, I am rather surprised that Code 80 Insulfrog is still being made when the Code 55/80 is so superior in just about every way.

Another factor in your decision will be whether you have steam outline or diesel locomotives. Pick-up on diesels is rather better and makes the Insulfrog a viable choice.

Offline 1936ace

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Re: Code 80 Vs Code 55
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2012, 09:40:09 AM »
Hi J P,

I will be running br blue diesels except for the 2mt when it arrives for the heritage train. If i go with the idea of seling the insulfrogs to get the electrfrogs then i will also have to go for the frog juicers as i only have seep pm2(no switch) which at 60 points means i will need 10 units at 56pound each.  What sort of prices would i get for new points and track inj boxes? maybe it might be worth it.

Bart

Offline edwin_m

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Re: Code 80 Vs Code 55
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2012, 10:09:09 AM »
Probably cheaper to sell the PM2 and buy PM1s instead. 

Offline 1936ace

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Re: Code 80 Vs Code 55
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2012, 10:35:20 AM »
still would have to do the points as well i guess too

what a hassle! :thumbsdown:

 

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