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I just got 2 switches to make a siding.  I run track power and wanted to know what I need to do wiring wise? 

The frog is insulated and both switches are Left Hand.

To simply things for me, I'll take it a rail at a time.

First, the inside rail of the divergent path - I'm not sure if I'm describing that correctly, but the rail that is basically part of the frog on the divergent path.   I assume I can run a wire from that rail to the outside stock rail of the straight path?  This will keep the power polarity the same through the switch?

Likewise, I can run a wire from the inside rail of the straight path (again the one that is essentially part of the frog) to the outside stock rail of the divergent path? Again, so the power polarity stays the same through the switch and beyond.

Now the question is if I hook a siding this way is it possible to get a short if the switches are not in sync?  In my case in sync means (because I have 2 LH switches), one needs to be set for the divergent path and the other for the straight path.  It seems that if I had both, for my example, set to divergent then I'd still be okay as long as the wheels of the rolling stock don't touch the point that is thrown the wrong way as it goes through the switch?  Is that correct?
 
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look here:

the yellow/blue and the black/blue lines are for switching the lines alternatively on and off.
pink are the places, where for that the rails have to be interrupted.

i hope, it helps.

 

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Posted By jimtyp on 03/27/2008 12:39 PM
I just got 2 switches to make a siding.  I run track power and wanted to know what I need to do wiring wise? 

The frog is insulated and both switches are Left Hand.

To simply things for me, I'll take it a rail at a time.

First, the inside rail of the divergent path - I'm not sure if I'm describing that correctly, but the rail that is basically part of the frog on the divergent path.   I assume I can run a wire from that rail to the outside stock rail of the straight path?  This will keep the power polarity the same through the switch?

Likewise, I can run a wire from the inside rail of the straight path (again the one that is essentially part of the frog) to the outside stock rail of the divergent path? Again, so the power polarity stays the same through the switch and beyond.

Now the question is if I hook a siding this way is it possible to get a short if the switches are not in sync?  In my case in sync means (because I have 2 LH switches), one needs to be set for the divergent path and the other for the straight path.  It seems that if I had both, for my example, set to divergent then I'd still be okay as long as the wheels of the rolling stock don't touch the point that is thrown the wrong way as it goes through the switch?  Is that correct?


Jimtyp

First - yes, you can hook them up that way.  Think of the engine pulling power from the left wheel and returning it on the right - it has to be the same power/polarity whether it is on the straight or the divergent path if the loco is going to continue in the same direction.

Second - before you do anything, check that the switches aren't already wired that way.  Just because the frog is insulated doesn't automatically mean that the rails leading to the frog are disconnected.  There may be jumpers underneath the frog to carry electricity between the stock (outside) rails and the point (inside) rails and the rails that leave the frog.  Insulated frogs stop the wheels from shorting as they pass over the frog, and greatly simplify the wiring.

Third - there's no way to get a short just by having one point thrown the opposite way from the other.

Kornsen's pic offers a way to isolate a train in the siding by putting a switch in the connection to the "inside" rail - you'll need to isolate it as he shows if the switch has the kind of jumpers I suggested above [and I bet it has.]

Tells us who made them and you'll get some more intelligent answers - I gave up on track power years ago!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Kormsen and Pete, thanks for the quick responses! Thanks for the diagram also, it even has 2 Left hand switches :) Makes it a lot easier to discuss.

The switches I have are from Sunset Valley, LH #6, insulated frog (plastic). I have a message into Sunset but have not received a call back as yet, but I believe they do not put jumpers underneath the frog.

I run DCC so I can stop the train in the siding while the other continues to run and passes, so I think I can get by with just the 4 jumpers I mentioned above. However, you guys got me wondering if the 4 jumpers are enough to still provide power to the siding even when the switches were thrown? I'd like to be able to have sounds and lights working while in the siding. It seems like it would?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I got to thinking maybe I only need 2 jumpers on one switch and the other I don't need to do anything?
 
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best will be, you find it out yourself.
take a small battery, a lamp and some wire.
connect one wire to one of the rails. the other end to the battery (you can use a trafo as well)
the second wire connects the other pole of the battery to one of the contacts of the lamp.
from the other contact of the lamp you lead a wire to different parts of your rails.

where the lamp lights up, later your train should get juice at that spot too.
try it with the switches thrown in different directions (for the case, that they have no jumpers between all parts, and connect throug the moving part of the switch)

when done with one set of rails, change to the other side.

edit: the jumpers must not be underneath the frog. the LGB switches for instance have flat metallic bands soldered below some sleepers which connect the outer, unbroken rails to those, coming out of the frog.

 

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Posted By jimtyp on 03/27/2008 4:30 PM
I got to thinking maybe I only need 2 jumpers on one switch and the other I don't need to do anything?


Correct.  The two outside rails are continuous, and the two inside rails are continuous between the frogs, so the inside rails merely need connecting to their equivalent (opposite side) outer rail, as shown in the Kormsen's drawing and as you described originally.  With DCC (or the battery r/c that I use) you do not require electrical switches.

I think you are right about the Sunset switches having no jumpers.  A lot of folk use them for live steam (i.e. Dr Rivet) and I know he has jumpers for his wife's sparkies to run.

One final thought - you may need additional (duplicate) track feeders every 20 feet or so if your layout is big to minimize the problems of running trains a long way from the track feeder location.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Korm, great tip on testing connectivity, I'll do that. Wish I would have thought of that, a simple test, thanks! Also, thanks for the info on the jumpers, I'll keep clear of the frog.

Pete, I did get a call back from Sunset, no jumpers installed. So far I have 130' and no feeders have been required, probably due to using Hillman clamps, but I will keep that in mind if I notice problems. Thanks for the help!

One question left and I think I'll be ready to start.  For the jumpers, are pieces of brass okay to use or should it be insulated wire?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Jerry, what worked for your jumpers, did you just put some brass strip across or insulated wire?
 
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for LGB rails i make jumpers the quickest way:
a peace of insulated wire, about half an inch unisolated at each end. i just slip those ends between the rail and the strip of plastik beneath the rails, that connects the sleepers.
easy done, easy removed, when not needed any longer and no accidental short cirquits.
 
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no. just shoving the wire there.
but that is for indoors. i don't know, how long it would take outdoors, till oxidation would hinder the electric flow.

indoors i had "connections" of this type for years, without trouble.
 

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As my track is down for only a couple months a year around Chirsmas time, I've been doing something similar to Kormsen for several years now.  I run jumpers to tracks behind switches from supplementary switch contacts allowing me to have several trains running. with some stopped on sidings.

The plastic on the tie next to the rail joiner has been relieved a bit at the factory allowing a wire, with the insulation removed, to be easily slid in.  Then if it's pushed along to the next tie, it's becomes pretty firmly wedged.  Also, if the wire is bent upwards at a right  angle on one side of the rail and the long side bent down on the other side and led toward the far end of the track section, it stays in place nicely, making a rather firm connection.

As Kormsen said, works nicely indoors;  might not be so good out in the weather!

Art
 

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Posted By jimtyp on 03/28/2008 10:31 AM
Jerry, what worked for your jumpers, did you just put some brass strip across or insulated wire?


Don't think of just pushing wire under the rail outdoors.  Besides oxidation, it will get dislodged by the squirrels, raccoons etc. Solder it or screw it together.

A big thick piece of insulated wire is what you need - the stuff inside the white cover used inside the walls for house wiring is good and you can buy a few feet at Home Depot or your local hardware store.  Use the white for one side rail and the black for the other.  Trim the insulation from the ends and either solder it or wrap the end around the screw on a rail clamp and tighten the screw.

An even better way would be to get a couple of screw loop connectors from the auto parts store (they'll sell you thick wire - 12gauge is good,) and solder the connectors on the wire so you can bolt the wire to the clamp.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Funny, this weekend I was doing some cleaning and found some house wiring and I was thinking it would be good for the switch jumpers :) Thanks!
 
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