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Peco Electro Frog Turnouts & DCC

Posted by on Feb 26, 2015 in Miscellaneous, Tips DCC Components, Tony's Tips |

A customer recently asked the following about Peco Electro Frog Turnouts and DCC:

Right now I have a old school DC layout with three cabs and forty blocks. I have heard that my Peco electrofrog turnouts would be a problem. Some people tell me that they will work without changes so there is some confusion on my part. The turnouts are glued down and have ballast and I would not want to take them up. What would I have to do if anything to make the turnouts work with DCC?   Tom C.  Petaluma, California


Tony’s DCC Guru Larry Maier’s answer-

The switches you have will work with DCC. Here is the story: In the electrofrog switches, the frog and both point rails are all electrically connected together. Hence, when the switch is aligned to the clear route, the point rails are at the frog rail potential. This means that the clear stock rail and the point rail next to it are at opposite potentials. If a metal wheel touches both at the same time, it is a short circuit. This is not as big a problem with DC because a quick short has no real effect as the engine just keeps coasting. With DCC, the short can cause the decoder to drop out and re-start. All you really need is enough clearance between the stock rails and point rails so that the metal engine (or car) wheels can’t touch both at the same time as they pass through. I have numerous electrofrog switches on my DCC layout with no problem. If a switch becomes a real problem, it is possible to cut the point rail near the frog and then connect it with a wire to its associated stock rail. This essentially converts the electrofrog switch to a DCC friendly switch, but is only necessary if the switch is troublesome.