gaps on Peco code 100 insulfrogs : LUSENET : Wiring for DCC : One Thread

I double gap all 4 rails for complete disconnection per how to wire by Linn Westcott & Digitrax Big Book of DCC. A friend does not gap for sidings no gaps at all on frog rail & has no problems how come. He tells me i don't need the gaps.we both use Digitrax. I'm confused can someone explain why his system works without problems. Thanks for any help.


-- James E. McMahon (, October 19, 2003


It says on Page 54 & 55. Peco Insulfrog turnouts do not need to be gapped. Electrofrog turnouts do. I use Peco Insulfrog on my DCC layout with no gapping, and no problems.

-- scoey (, October 20, 2003.

I have ONE Peco Insulfrog tuurnout that gives me grief. At a close glance, the thin brown plastic sliver is to blame. It is too thin compared to others on my layout.

What I plan to do is apply a bit of varnish to the rail to offset the thinness of the plastic. The problem only occurs with my Athearn locos, only in one direction (coming off the spur onto the main).

You may have this situation too if only one or two are causing you grief.

-- Doug Fraser (, February 08, 2004.

Sometimes there is a big difference between what you SHOULD do to ensure that something continues to work everytime, what you CAN do to get by for a while and seemingly have no problems, and what you HAVE to do to make your model railroad hobby fun.

There will always be exceptions to every rule and plenty of anecdotal proof by someone else in any given direction. But many small problems that are easily overlooked with DC throttles can become quite annoying with DCC, causing disgust and loss of interest. With DCC these are often caused by poor electrical connections and magnified by the number of simultaneous trains or operators. The problems in this case have little to do with the brand of DCC system you use. Understanding the advise of others who have been there and done that can help you avoid those problems. Wading through all the BS and deciding which advice to follow is your choice.

Your buddy is simply lucky if he has no problems. Each owner/operator has his personal equipment conditions, luck and threshold of acceptance or pain. I predict it won't last. All the advice from Allan on what is wrong with commercial turnouts and how to fix them is correct. I've learned a lot of that the hard way. The purpose of this forum is to make you aware of the problems and help steer you in the right direction.


-- Don Vollrath (, February 09, 2004.

The key is whether or not the sidings are double ended, or single ended stubs. While turnouts like the PECO Insulfrog do allow you to do without insulating gaps for a while, they still do not elliminate problems associated with derailments, wide metal tires, etc. The only way to eliminate these problems is to go back to the original rules of turnout useage: A. Never power a siding from the wrong side of the turnout (power must come from the narrow or "front" end) B. Whenever two turnouts face each other in a passing siding type of situation, one of them must be isolated by gaps. There are really no exceptions to this rule. We have burned up several Peco turnouts and even a locomotive truck because our original construction gang was unaware of these potential hazards. Best practice is to allow each turnout in a siding to "own" it's right hand trak and then put a double gap at the end of that track. This will allow you to simulate prototype practice with a minimum of headache. Good luck. Dale

-- T. Dale Mings (, July 10, 2004.

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