Turnout wiring

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I am getting started with DCC on my small HO switching layout (digitrax set has been ordered).

I read somewhere (I don't think on your pages) that all turnouts should have insulated gaps at the ends.

Does this make sense? Why have a power feeder on the turnout, then a gap, and then another power feeder?

I am using all Atlas turnouts.

Thanks in advance Donald Dillon

-- Donald Dillon (dhdillon@hotmail.com), March 04, 2002


Are you asking if the stub tracks coming off a turnout should be insulated and then fed separately? Whereas you are probably figuring that you could just feed the stub through the turnout?

Absolutely it makes sense. The whole idea is to NOT feed the stub, or any other piece of track through the turnout; even if using micro switches to power route the turnout; rather than relying on the points. The reason is to isolate trouble and maintain consistency. Trouble is limited to the turnout and the stub track is wired just like any other piece of track. Therefore, you won't have trouble or anything to troubleshoot on the stub track. Even more important are yard ladders. Trouble with a turnout in a yard ladder brings on old age and frustration rapidly.

When I started out in DCC, we debated this. The owner of the layout veto'ed this idea on a stub siding. He thought a stub was just to simple a situation to gap the track and add a few feeders. At next month's operating session we had a short occurr in that siding. After that, he was sold on the concept!

-- Allan Gartner (bigboy@WiringForDCC.com), March 10, 2002.

You certainly could put insulated joiners on all six rails of a turnout. That would certainly electrically isolate any trouble that turnout might cause if you also used a light bulb or an electronic circuit breaker of some sort. This is probably overkill.

What I do is insulate the tracks leaving the turnout pass the fowling point of the turnout - especially while using block detection. (If not using block detection, you can just use insulated joiners on the end of the turnout if you want.)

All the track leading to the heel of the turnout I make part of the same block as the turnout it is attached to without using insulating joiners or gaps. What could go wrong with this track? Not much. I then gap this track when it hits another turnout, crossover, or whatever other reason you might have (I limit my block length to 15 feet simply so my computer can keep track of my train in 15 foot increments. This is strictly for the convienence of the dispatcher and no other electrical reason.)

-- Allan Gartner (bigboy@WiringForDCC.com), March 13, 2002.

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