Pilz Elite and DCC caution

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I've installed Pilz Elite turnouts (straight and curved) and they are terrific as the WiringforDCC web site suggests. But I have one caution not mentioned:

at the closure rails nearest to the frog, it is possible (likely in the case of long steam engines) for the backs of the wheels to touch the opposite rail and short. There are two solutions if this problem attacks your turnouts:

(Note: these fixes assume that you have the frog isolated from the out bound rails, and that it is powered by a spdt switch depending on the turnout direction)

1. make a short section of the frog "dead" by cutting the closure rails two ties from their ends (two ties for rail stability). That leaves about 1/2" of dead frog. Quite short enough for essentially anything to pass through, even my Bachmann "hand car."

2. Make that same cut, but leave the Pilz jumpers in place. This means that the closure rails in front of the frog are now part of the frog and powered just like it is. This option only makes sense if you have not yet installed the turnouts.

In all cases, installed the bonds between the closure rails and the stock rails (or as I do, just drop a feeder for them) is imperitive for long term reliability. Dropping a feeder from the divergent frog rails to a spdt switch is likewise imperitive. I use the internal switch in my Tortoise motors since there is only a singl train there at any time, and my DCC sections detect the short quickly (I use PM42's for short circuit protection so I can set the circuit breaker for 3 amps. Works great).


-- Edward Oates (edoates@earthlink.nt), January 28, 2004

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