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Author Topic: Wiring unifrog points - Noddy question  (Read 284 times)

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Offline Nebucanezza

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Wiring unifrog points - Noddy question
« on: November 14, 2019, 11:10:08 PM »
Evening all.

I've just taken delivery of a number of unifrog points for my new layout Minehead to Didcot (new thread coming soon). The points come with a wire that is pre-soldered to the frog which I intend to connect to a seep pm1. Question is, do I have to insulate the wire that comes ready soldered to the point?

I suspect the answer is "yes if I want to make sure it doesn't short/ don't want to get a shock/ don't want to start a fire. But I hope that the answer is "no" as I'm not sure where to get some suitable insulation.

If the answer is "yes" presumably I could alternatively solder a new wire to the frog and cut the old one off/ short.

All help/ thoughts gratefully received.

Many thanks

Offline Nigel Cliffe

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Re: Wiring unifrog points - Noddy question
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2019, 11:38:38 PM »
Doesn't need insulation unless you expect it to touch another live wire somewhere.

If you think insulation is sensible because of proximity to other wires, then heat-shrink is one of the simplest options.   Comes in a huge variety of diameters. 



Offline Chris Morris

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Re: Wiring unifrog points - Noddy question
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2019, 06:45:10 AM »
 It isn't good to have bare wires under the baseboard because if they happen to touch something they shouldn't things will stop working. The usual approach is to cut the bare wire so there is just a centimetre showing beneath the baseboard and solder covered wire to it. You could decide that the run from where the bare wire comes out of the baseboard to the point motor is so short that there is no risk of it touching anything it shouldn't and therefore there is no need for covered wire. I suspect the length of the wire from the frog was deliberately made long enough to do this by Peco.

Getting the switches on point motors to work 100% with N gauge points can be tricky as the throw is less than OO points. If the point motor is exactly right it will work but it doesn't have to be very much of being perfectly central for it not to work.

I'm about to motorise and wire up some unifrog points myself in the next few days. Although I have some point motors with switches in my point motors box I'm going to try using a latching relay powered by the same means as the point motor to change to polarity of the frog and also make the correct track live past the point.  Unifrog points make both routes live past the point so this is necessary for analogue but must not be done with DCC. I've got the relay and it works fine with the power from a CDU and I've worked out the wiring so all I have to do is put the theory into practice!

Offline Newportnobby

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Re: Wiring unifrog points - Noddy question
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2019, 06:52:48 AM »
I know half of sweet Fanny Adam about Unifrogs and have, in fact, stocked up on ˝ a dozen of each RH and LH small code 55 electrofrogs. I'll just learn from you chaps, if you don't mind :)

Offline LASteve

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Re: Wiring unifrog points - Noddy question
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2019, 07:23:31 AM »
Evening all.

I've just taken delivery of a number of unifrog points for my new layout Minehead to Didcot (new thread coming soon). The points come with a wire that is pre-soldered to the frog which I intend to connect to a seep pm1. Question is, do I have to insulate the wire that comes ready soldered to the point?

I suspect the answer is "yes if I want to make sure it doesn't short/ don't want to get a shock/ don't want to start a fire. But I hope that the answer is "no" as I'm not sure where to get some suitable insulation.

If the answer is "yes" presumably I could alternatively solder a new wire to the frog and cut the old one off/ short.

All help/ thoughts gratefully received.

Many thanks

A couple of things.

I received a few of the new Unifrog points about a year or so ago. The frog wires fell off as soon as I breathed on them, so go gently or expect to get your soldering iron out pronto if you expect to do anything useful with them.

@Chris Morris is spot-on with not having anything exposed under the baseboard. As much as you don't expect shorts, they will find you. Heatshrink is your friend. I just built the simplest oval with two points for my test track, had an un-insulated frog juicer from one point motor and - guess what? It was shorting against an errant track pin. Took me a couple of hours to find that one.

If you're using a frog juicer, make sure you take the springs out of the points, otherwise you've got a fraction of a second window (with DCC) for the polarity to switch in line with the change of route.

Just me two cents ...


Offline ntpntpntp

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Re: Wiring unifrog points - Noddy question
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2019, 07:35:01 AM »
I didn't cut the frog wires when I laid my code 55 trackwork, but I did use heat shrink over them and extended them with soldered wire where necessary to reach the polarity switch on the point motor.
Nick.   2016 celebrating the 20th anniversary of "Königshafen" exhibition layout!

Online exmouthcraig

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Re: Wiring unifrog points - Noddy question
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2019, 07:46:46 AM »
With risk of high jacking the thread  :dunce:

We have both uni frog and electro frog points, it's taking a long time to compile stock quantity!! With the amount we are running we thought WIT was a better cheaper way to run the layout. We run steam with no sound, no lights nothing other then stop and go!

I had planned on using Gaugemaster polarity switches for the points BUT

1, do I need these if I'm not running point motors??

2, do I need to use the uni frog wire anywhere?

3, do I need to solder a wire on my electro frog in the same place???

 :sorrysign: :dunce:

Offline Bealman

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Re: Wiring unifrog points - Noddy question
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2019, 08:00:50 AM »
I actually have two bare copper wires running the length of the Castle Eden branch from Troutbeck Bridge to Castle Eden terminus.

I put them in as a lighting bus in the early days. The idea being that wherever I decided to put a building, I could just drop the wires through the scenery to the bus, and solder them onto it, no matter the location.

No problems to date!
Vision over visibility. Bono, U2.

Offline ntpntpntp

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Re: Wiring unifrog points - Noddy question
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2019, 08:07:40 AM »
@exmouthcraig
If you want the frog to be live then it needs to be polarity switched by something. If you're not using  a point motor but are using a "wire in tube" method to  throw the points, then use an SPDT switch as the actual "lever" at the end of the rodding.

If you don't wire up the Unifrog's frog then it will be dead and you won't have the benefit of best possible conductivity for short wheelbase locos.  It will be like using Insulfrog points in that respect.

If you solder a wire to an Electrofrog's frog it removes the reliance on point blade contact for continuity. You MUST wire the frog via a polarity changeover switch and you MUST add isolating joiners after the frog V rails if you have any sort of power feed to the rails beyond.    This is my preferred approach on my exhibition layout, to achieve excellent reliable slow running.
Nick.   2016 celebrating the 20th anniversary of "Königshafen" exhibition layout!

Offline Nigel Cliffe

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Re: Wiring unifrog points - Noddy question
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2019, 08:25:40 AM »

If you're using a frog juicer, make sure you take the springs out of the points, otherwise you've got a fraction of a second window (with DCC) for the polarity to switch in line with the change of route.

Explain that again please.   
A Frog Juicer (the ones Tam Valley sell under that brand name) are an electronic device which will switch on a short circuit.  There isn't a timing issue.

(On traditional electrofrogs, if someone adds an external switch (not a Frog Juicer) to the frog, and does nothing else, then the switch needs to move in synchrony with the blade movement ). 


- Nigel

Offline Bealman

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Re: Wiring unifrog points - Noddy question
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2019, 08:39:06 AM »
Yep, the good old DC way of doing things!  :beers:
Vision over visibility. Bono, U2.

Offline jpendle

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Re: Wiring unifrog points - Noddy question
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2019, 03:31:46 PM »
Unifrog points make both routes live past the point

OK so I don't have any Unifrog points so this doesn't affect me. BUT I thought that Unifrogs had insulating bits on both routes from the point and a wire on the frog. My understanding is that if you leave the wire alone the frog is 'dead' and the point behaves like an Insulfrog. If you connect the wire to a switch or frog juicer to change polarity then the frog is live and behaves like an Electrofrog.

BUT are you saying that the bits of track after the insulating join are always live and are always +ve, -ve, +ve, -ve (or vice versa) unlike a conventional Insulfrog where one route is dead?

Thanks,

John P
Check out my layout thread.

Contemporary NW (Wigan Wallgate and North Western)

https://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=39501.msg476247#msg476247

Offline ntpntpntp

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Re: Wiring unifrog points - Noddy question
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2019, 04:37:37 PM »
@jpendle Yes that's how Unifrogs are wired - the trackwork beyond the frog is permanently live on both routes, ie. better for DCC users but not so helpful for DC users.

Peco say you can cut a couple of jumper wires to make those tracks dead, but the example I bought and traced out wasn't wired to be exactly how it needed to be to allow you to bind to the live frog and make it work precisely the same as a good old Electrofrog.  I reckoned it needed more jumpers cutting and a link soldered in place (I drew it up somewhere on here).
Nick.   2016 celebrating the 20th anniversary of "Königshafen" exhibition layout!

Offline LASteve

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Re: Wiring unifrog points - Noddy question
« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2019, 05:44:57 PM »

If you're using a frog juicer, make sure you take the springs out of the points, otherwise you've got a fraction of a second window (with DCC) for the polarity to switch in line with the change of route.

Explain that again please.   
A Frog Juicer (the ones Tam Valley sell under that brand name) are an electronic device which will switch on a short circuit.  There isn't a timing issue.

(On traditional electrofrogs, if someone adds an external switch (not a Frog Juicer) to the frog, and does nothing else, then the switch needs to move in synchrony with the blade movement ). 


- Nigel

Sorry, my bad terminology, I should have been more careful. I meant the power feed to the frog (in my case from the Cobalt point motor). The polarity switches when the motor hits dead center when changing over and therefore the blades must have moved away from one stock rail and not yet be in contact with the other when that happens.

Offline ntpntpntp

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Re: Wiring unifrog points - Noddy question
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2019, 07:40:14 PM »
@LASteve  .. which is another reason why a full-blown "DCC friendly" mod to a Peco electrofrog involves cutting and isolating the blades and closure rails from the frog and binding them to the stock rails - ie. exactly what Peco have done with the Unifrog design.
Nick.   2016 celebrating the 20th anniversary of "Königshafen" exhibition layout!

 

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