Modelers often refer to Insulators and Electrofrogs when talking about other turnouts. Have no fear, the Insulting and Electrofrogs, both discussed below in this website, are perfectly good products.
Locomotives that have short wheelbases, few wheels picking up power (like many steam locomotives), no flywheels, or operated slowly, may stall out on an Insulting. This is a time-consuming and expensive lesson learned the hard way.
Another thing you can try is buy Electrofrogs, but don't hook up the frog wire. Just be aware that an united Electrofrog is a little longer than the dead area of an Insulting.
If you are using Tortoises or another switch machine with built in contacts, the cost of hooking up the frog is 20 inches of wire. If you have it wrong, swap the track bus connection wires before hooking it up permanently.
As of today (November 1, 2021) the Peso code 83 Unifrog line is not fully available. This description is based on my examination of an N-scale turnout. I have included a photo of the code 83 Unifrog as well.
N-Scale Peso UnifrogNote the wire in the bottom of the photo beneath the frog. HO-Scale, Code 83 Peso Unifrog Note the wire in the lower right of the photo.
Unlike the N-scale turnout, the points and closure rails are continuous without a hinge. The Unifrog has a small, electrically isolated frog that can be power routed.
This means that you possibly could avoid power routing the turnout and use it like an Insulting. The Unifrog appears to be a mix of the best between the Insulting and Electrofrog.
One could expect that Peso may intend to discontinue the Insulting and Electrofrog and only offer the Unifrog. Modelers who didn't want to power route their turnouts gambled by installing Insulators and hoped everything would work.
All you have to do is drop the supplied frog wire through a hole in your bench work and roll your dice. Before I go further, if you currently have Electrofrogs or are wondering if you should wait until Peso expands their Unifrog product line, relax.
The Unifrog has a few nice features over the Electrofrog, but it doesn't render them an obsolete choice. Feel free to buy more if you need to while you wait for Unifrogs.
With the Electrofrog, you needed to use two insulated joiners on the frog rails to prevent downstream DCC tracks from shorting out. The only solder connections you need to make to the turnout itself is to the stock rails.
You will note a jumper around the frog for the rails I show in red. This connects the red frog, closure, and stock rail together.
If there is anything with the Unifrog that MIGHT cause some concern, it is how close the two closure rails come to each other near the frog. I'll give Peso the benefit of the doubt and won't worry either.
If you do have shorts at the frog, some fingernail polish on the inside edge of the rail at this point should solve the problem. You have the option of power routing your frog or leaving it disconnected.
Even if you elect to leave it disconnected for now, I suggest you attach a wire about 6" to 12" inches (150-30 mm) long now and drop this through a hole in your bench work. Should you find that you need to power route your frog later, you will have something to attach to.
Otherwise, you will find yourself under your layout trying to solder to a very short wire above your head. Since I have no experience in knowing how close they need to be perfect to be good, I simply provide them for you to make your own judgement.
In N-scale, attached this wire would be difficult and probably should only be attempted by modelers who consider themselves to be expert solderers. If you are powering your frog, don't bend the wire straight down like I initially did.
Peso provided a little grove on the bottom of the turnout tie so that you can come away from the frog and then bend the wire straight down. As a little insurance, I put a dab of Walters Goo in the grove to hold the wire.
SUGGESTION #2-12a: Peso “Insulting” Turnout Is Friendly As Is. Note though that all four wheels of the 0-4-0 must pick up track power which is commonly the case.
Option 1: Peso provides a place for you to install these jumpers. These would help prevent the points from having poor electrical contact years down the road.
SUGGESTION: Solving Shorts in a Peso “Insulting” Turnout File the top of the rail heads in the area, so they slope towards the plastic insulating piece between them.
It is very easy to determine if the problem is caused by a wheel tread bridging the two rails. Just cover the rails in that narrow area with a piece of scotch tape.
I know others who paint the rails with clear lacquer, even leaving a piece of scotch tape on the rails is a fairly durable solution. I ran that way quite a while before I tried filing the rail heads, in fact I've got one now with tape on it.
SUGGESTION #2-12b: Peso “Electrofrog” Turnout Is Friendly In Just a Few Snips. If you find that I have categorized your favorite turnout incorrectly, please do two things: 1.
The problem with the frog shorting is completely eliminated with no serious cutting effort on the part of the modeler required. It sounds like the wires coming out the side would be a fast and obvious indication.
These variations are in how the frog jumpers are placed on the back of the turnout. The significant difference between these turnouts and other Pecoturnouts is that Peso has not pre-cut the rails leading to the frog.
Option: I also suggest that you solder jumpers (called bonds) from each closure rail to the corresponding point rail to ensure life-long good electrical contact and avoid a potential hot spot. If you stop here, you will have a potential short situation at the frog should a train derail.
I suggest that you spend another 30 seconds and cut the frog as shown. After you isolate the frog, you will need to power the closure rails.
On some Pecoturnouts, Peso has left a gap in the plastic ties to allow you to easily add jumpers shown in the drawing as “ADD JUMPERS.” You can either install the jumpers by cutting the plastic with a sharp knife, or you can add feeders that connect between your closure rails and your bus under the layout.
With this type of turnout, I suggest you use the light bulb to reduce the likelihood of your system's shut down due to a derailment on the frog. Also, the light bulb protects against a short due to someone coming into the switch when the points are not thrown in their direction.
If you do not cut the frog as shown, then I definitely recommend you use the light bulb. See the track wiring section for more information on using light bulbs.
This seems a bit pointless initially, as the frog rails themselves are electrically connected internally (even though they appear to have a very thin insulating plastic piece at the frog point). But it makes it spectacularly easy to convert, without any need to solder wire to any rail.
The first (attached) picture shows both sides of the turnout “out of the box”. By cutting the tiny loop between the closure rails, and then cutting both connecting wires halfway along their length (using wire cutters or a Drexel), you end up with four “feeders” pointing down.
Two of these feeders come from the frog rails, which can be soldered together and connected to the output of the tortoise (or DDT or whatever you want to use), and the other pair (one from each of the closure rails) can be run down again to the tortoise or switch, and on to the main bus to feed power to the closure rails and the frog. The stock rails of course pick up their power from somewhere else, or the next bit of track along the line somewhere.
The feeders are right at the end of the new (shorter) closure rails, and the frog guards are now safe. The point rails are extremely thin and flexible, and the force of the throw actually bends them against the stock rails for almost an inch of their total two-inch length.
So for now, I haven't dropped feeders from the point rails for fear of melting something nearby. Unfortunately, Peso haven't done the same with these -- the 'joining' wire runs straight from the frog rails to the closure rails (up near the frog point), and so you can't get the three required power feeders for free.
You can get the one from the frog, and then you have to solder feeders to the closure rails for power. Not the end of the world though, and you still get the ability to slice through the closure rails to insulate the frog easily.
Each frog is wired to the machine that moves the throw bar opposite it. I have 2 Peso code 75 electrofrog double slips.
They come with frog power wires attached and require some method of routing frog power, I use a set of contacts on the Tortoise switch machines to do this. The only thing that I did as a mod was to add bond wires across the point hinges.
Peso Code 100 Electrofrog and Insulting 3-Way Turnouts They appear to be assembled with Peco's usual high quality and are very solid.
Compared to the popular Walters turnout, these are blended together so tightly, it might take you several minutes of examining them to figure out how they are put together. Probably because this turnout is available as either an electrofrog or an insulting, I wasn't surprised when it appeared they came from similar, if not the same, mold (mold).
I like to attach wires to the frog rails leaving the turnout. However, after detailed examination of both of these turnouts, I found that the power routing was unavoidable and that you cannot attach wires to the frog rails or else these turnouts will short out.
Peco's wiring is located on the back of the turnout, so you can follow that. Pecos ells switch machines, but I show wiring diagrams using Tortoises (I like calling them Tort).
Peso already provides documentation with the turnouts using their switch machines, so I would be redundant. The Tortoises are very popular, so I thought you might like to see them wired to a Peso turnout.
If you don't heed this warning, your first set of points may not throw completely, if at all. I'm told that Peso has a code 75 version that does not have these overlapping points.
Here are descriptions of the electrofrog and the insulting turnouts, how to wire them up, and things to look for. Due to my familiarity with the Walther's 3-way turnout, I expected that two of the Peso frogs would be wired together.
Examining the back image below (red arrow), you can see that this is the case. Interestingly enough, when you look at the front image below (red arrow), you can see they gapped the rail.
Note the asterisk where a feeder MIGHT be added, but in this case, would be very difficult to do. Only connect to the red and blue stock rails as shown.
Normally, I recommend that you attach jumpers or drop feeders to the closure rails. However, this is a very compact turnout and adding feeders or jumpers would be challenging for many, if not most, modelers.
Adding the jumpers (bonds) around the points to the closure rails would also be very difficult to add, so you will probably need to rely on the power routing of the points. Note: Your typical Peso Electrofrog turnout has a couple of jumpers on the back of them that you snip to eliminate the power routing.
Due to the compactness of this turnout, there is no avoiding power routing. As complex as this turnout is, wiring it is pretty straight forward.
Wire the track bus to the red and blue stock rails as shown. Wire the frogs to their respective switch machines (Tortoises) as shown.
So note that I have shown the connections to the track bus are reversed to take this change in orientation into account. I suggest that you don't connect the Tortoise wires to the track bus until after you are sure you have the polarity right.
This will prevent shorts with tracks leaving the turnout which you have wired to your DCC bus. The jumper shown with the asterisk (*) will be particularly difficult and risky to do.
If you don't do this, you will be relying on the points to touch the stock rails as Peso intended. If you don't do this, you will be relying on the points to touch the stock rails as Peso intended.
This is probably why Peso instructs you to use the insulated joiners on the frog rails. Wiring Diagram for the Peso 3-Way Insulting Please note that in order to make the wiring diagram as neat and simple as possible, the position of the Tortoises are reversed underneath the turnout.
As complex as this turnout is, wiring it is pretty straight forward. Wire the track bus to the red and blue stock rails as shown.
This will prevent shorts with tracks leaving the turnout which you have wired to your DCC bus. If you don't do this, you will be relying on the points to touch the stock rails as Peso intended.
Peso HO Unifrog Double Slip There are only four wires to hook up and the optional Electrofrog frog is sufficiently small that some modelers could leave it unpowered.
It is servo-based and very similar to the Walters Layout Control System. If you want to use the SmartS witch system, it is available in the United States from your favorite train hobby supplier.
Peso, if you are listening, please add stock rail connections to your Insulting and Electrofrog turnouts. But if you stare at it long enough, you will see that a double slip is not much more than two laid over one another.
A subtle, but essential, thing to note is that the connection to the terminals 6 and 7 of the Tortoise must be made correctly or your locomotive will short out when it hits the frog. This is shown below and in the diagram on the back of the Peso packaging (note the position of their hollow and solid triangles).
You can hurt yourself trying to get this right the first time and still get it wrong all depending on how you orient your Tortoise under the turnout. So I recommend that you temporarily connect terminals 6 and 7 with alligator clips and test your turnout thoroughly making sure that a locomotive can run every direction through the turnout without shorting.
The temporary alligator clipping won't take any longer than trying to think things through. Let's face it, you will want to test your turnout every which way with a locomotive anyway to make sure you have it right.
The Peso instructions show insulators on the ends of the turnout rails. I flipped the points of both turnouts within the double slip and didn't see a problem.
BUT if you have two different boosters feeding the through routes of the double slip AND their polarity is reversed, you will need a switch to flip between boosters (Peso identifies them as controllers.) If one of the boosters is set to auto reverse mode, or you are using an auto reversing circuit, you won't need the switch Peso shows, but you will need the insulating joiners on the path to the auto reversing circuit or booster.