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Author Topic: Electrofrog points  (Read 285 times)

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Offline springwood

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Electrofrog points
« on: July 02, 2019, 04:32:12 PM »
Afternoon all,
Despite prior testing - when I thought all was good - I now discover an (oldish) electrofrog point I have laid (and glued) in my fiddle yard area is mis-behaving. Locos run sweetly over it when set for the siding but stop abruptly when road is set for straight ahead. I know everything is fine electrically for when I press the switch rail a little firmer against the stock rail, locos move. So clearly bad contact on one side.

If push comes to shove, I could remove it (as glued with copydex) and replace with a brand new one, but just wondered if I can use some additional electronics to ensure electrical continuity through to the frog without the reliance on the switch blade contacts. Prior to gluing down I soldered a short length of wire to the 'x' wires underneath the point's frog area. I have one Seep PM1 motor at my disposal aswell as some gaugemaster GM500 relays.

As usual, any suggestions/assistance will be appreciated! Thanks


Offline Newportnobby

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Re: Electrofrog points
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2019, 04:37:41 PM »
Sadly this is the bane of many of us when relying on point blade contact to the stock rail. Sometimes cleaning between the two with IPA can help but the true solution is to use the PM1 you have to switch the polarity.
@ntpntpntp  is your man for how to wire such a thing up/where to place insulated rail joiners.

Offline ntpntpntp

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Re: Electrofrog points
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2019, 04:39:46 PM »
Try cleaning out between the blades?

check the tiebar is not impeded and can fully throw?

You can try just gently bending the tip of the point blade to improve contact.

Ideally use a polarity changeover switch wired to the frog and mechanically linked to the point motor or tie bar.  That way you no longer rely on blade contact to pass the current to the frog and beyond.  All the electrofrog points on the scenic part of my layout are wired that way, they've been down since 1995 and been to 70+ shows, and I cannot recall the last time I had a continuity problem through a point.

[edit] Ah thanks for the mention @Newportnobby - you posted just as I was typing :-)
« Last Edit: July 02, 2019, 04:40:47 PM by ntpntpntp »
Nick.   2016 celebrating the 20th anniversary of "Königshafen" exhibition layout!

Offline Bob Tidbury

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Re: Electrofrog points
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2019, 06:55:02 PM »
Another tip is scrape a very soft graphite stick across the blade and the stock rail
I use one all the time I have a problem it really does work also rub some at intervals all  round your track ,I wouldnt day it works miracles but it’s a,axing what difference it does make .
Bob Tidbiry

Online Bealman

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Re: Electrofrog points
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2019, 10:54:10 PM »
Unfortunately, all of the points on my layout rely on blade contact. The switches on the points are used in a signalling system so complex, if it ever goes wrong, I doubt I could fix it!!

I do get problems every now and again, but as @ntpntpntp says, keeping them clean and in extreme cases gently bending the tip of the blade so it's a tighter fit against the rail will usually fix the problem.
Vision over visibility. Bono, U2.

Online chrism

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Re: Electrofrog points
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2019, 06:08:02 AM »
All my points too rely on blade contact at present.
When I built Coniston I did put droppers in for the crossing noses and stock & closure rails, and the point motors have switches built in, should I need to use them but, thus far, I haven't. Cleaning and applying a little powdered graphite if necessary has cleared any problems.
If at any time that doesn't fix things then it'll be out with the dremel and soldering iron.

Offline springwood

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Re: Electrofrog points
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2019, 09:24:43 AM »
Just to let you know that I have resolved my problem!
Tried some careful cleaning of switch & stock rails, but no difference. Next I checked all the wiring diagrams and prepared to swap out the metal-bodied peco motor and replace with my Seep PM1. With the peco motor off, I did a test again and..hey presto..perfect crossings in both routes! Conclusion: it was obviously a slight mis-alignment issue. As I had cut down the pin and part-wired it, I offered the seep up and with a few tweeks, got it throwing nicely so screwed it to the baseboard. Tested it electrically with just the 2 solenoid feeds and common return and it works a treat!! Not going to bother with the polarity switching side of it (for now at least). All good...onto the next one.  :)

Online Bealman

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Re: Electrofrog points
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2019, 09:43:48 AM »
Well done!  :thumbsup:

Fitting the Peco units under the board has always been a rectal pain, especially when baseboards are permanently fixed to the wall and you're working underneath.

I found I would position one, get up, fire it and see if it threw properly, no? Underneath again, loosen, move a teeny bit, tighten, back up again, see if it throws, no? Under again to tweak the angle..... and so on, infintum until you get right.

A nightmare I'm too old to think about now.  :worried:
Vision over visibility. Bono, U2.

 

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