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Friday, February 11, 2011

Wiring for Peco On30 Electrofrog

Click image to see fully.

Shelf Layout

This guy is doing what I am planning to do on the other side of my layout:

Peco 0n30

For On30 track there are basically four options. One take Atlas flex track and cut every other tie out. This makes it tough to use Atlas switches. Second you can hand lay track. Third use Micro Engineering On30 Flex Track. This track looks good, has a lighter rail and can be orders pre-weathered. The flex track itself kind of stays bent when you bend it which can be good and bad. Its hard to unbend but if you bend it right the first time it stays put. The fourth option is Peco On30 flex track and On30 Electro Frog switches. The Peco On30 is also known as crazy track, it is code 100 and has short fat ties with random lengths(Micro Engineering track is code 80 I believe and has long skinny ties).

I've been using the Peco track and switches the mountainous side of my layout. On the lower part I'm using the Peco switches with Blue Point manual turnout controls. I had them from my last layout and I wanted this lower area for kids to be able to help out with the controls. I can't say that using the Peco switches with the Blue Points is a good idea. You have to modify the switches by taking out the spring so the Blue Points can move the turnouts.

One good thing about the Blue Points is that they provide contacts for frog power routing and for indicator lights. I also used on LIT On30 switch on the lower level which works better than the Peco but looks more like the Micro Engineering track. I think I might end up using Micro Engineering rail on the other side of my layout with a few LIT switches I have from my last layout. I think I'll also use slow motion Tortoise motors because I think at this point I'm convinced that the Blue Point controls after buying all the parts are about the same price.

On the top of my mountain area I have two hard to reach switches. I'm using the Peco On30 switches here. One is a turn around loop that I'm auto reversing the power using the DigiTrack AR1 auto reversing circuit. This is a very simple device and its only about $25. I have on the turntable at the loco service area also.

I automated the reversing turnout using and automatic circuit that is triggered by infrared reflection. When a train approaches the switch, it triggers automatically.

One major boo boo on my part was installing the upper switches with out thinking about frog polarity. I used Peco PL-10 switch motors and they don't come with any accessory contacts. Out of the package you can't attach indicator lights or change the polarity. You have to purchase their PL-13 switch to the bottom and wire it to control your LED indicators or use it to change the frog polarity. The pin of the motor extends upward (to move the turnout points) and downward (allowing it to move the PL-13 switch).

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Muskrat Ramble 2010 Geoff Nott

Using Peco 0n30 Track and Switches - Wiring

You learn best by doing and unfortunately sometimes that means doing it over and over.

The bottom section of my layout is Peco On30 and LIT Co. switches operated by hand via Blue Point and flex rods. The Blue Points handle frog polarity.

On the top level of my layout I decided to use Peco On30 and the PL10 switch motors. For some reason I didn't think about how to handle frog polarity. I now realize I have to purchase some PL 13 accessory switches. Of course I had every glued down!

Of well, in the good news department I've ordered a NCE PowerCab and a C6 circuit breaker. I've made one zone out of the bottom layout and one zone for the top. I'll use the other zones on the other side of layout.

Note: The links have great pages for wiring Electrofrog switches for DCC.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Automatic Turnaround Loop

To automate my turn around loop I have two devices. One for turnout control this optical sensor:

For reversing the DCC I'm using the Digitrax AR1.

Trackwork makes me crazy!

I really can't stand laying track. Well maybe that is harsh, I really can't stand ballast. It just seems to be there to muck everything up.

Here is what I have found after laying a lot of track.

1. Use track nails to hold things in place. I've had so many problems trying to get flex track to line up and stay lined up on tight curves. The only way that seem to work is to drill a small hole in the ties and put down some tiny nails at crucial points.

2. Use a Dremel tool and cut off discs to cut track. Using rail nippers is for the birds. Rail nippers never give a nice cut. The Dremel can cut nice straight cuts and you can even use it to sand off any nasty bits.

3. Solder on the outside of the rails. If you use too much solder on the inside rails then you might be creating a derailment point.