DCC and older Shinohara turnouts

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by Tonycentral, Mar 29, 2013.

  1. Tonycentral

    Tonycentral TrainBoard Member

    I have been purusing the threads here regarding older Shinohara turnouts and have found that everyone feels that they are not DCC compatible, much less DCC friendly. Both the dedicated train shops in my area tell me that they are completely compatible without modification, in fact, they have them on their layouts without modification. I decided to build my new layout using DCC. I have 15 or so new old stock Shinohara turnouts that I would like to use because they are bought, paid for, and most importantly, HERE. I hate to install everything and find that they will not work. Any help is appreciated. Thanks in advance.
  2. PaulBeinert

    PaulBeinert TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

    While I know nothing about the Shinohara turnouts, it should be a simple matter of setting up a test.
    add three lenghts of track to the turnout, powered from the entry point, insulated on the two exits and then powered on the additional tracks and run a locomotive thru it at slow speeds until you are satisfied you know how it will work or you know why it will not work.
  3. retsignalmtr

    retsignalmtr TrainBoard Member

    The Shinnohara switches should be DCC compatable. But under some situations they're not. some six axle diesel locos and steam locos sometimes short out the DCC when the back of the wheels touch the open point while traversing the curved route through the switch. They can be made DCC friendlier by removing the two metal connections holding the points together and replacing them with PC board ties, then cut the two lead rails before the frog to completely insulate the metal frog. You will have to provide some means to power the frog.
  4. gregamer

    gregamer TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

    The older Not DCC friendly Shinohara have metal strips that connect the points together. Post a couple photos and maybe someone can tell you what you have. Check out wiringgordcc.com for wiring tips.

    Greg Amer
    The Industrial Lead
  5. robert3985

    robert3985 TrainBoard Member

    Maybe you (Tonycentral) don't know what "DCC Ready" or "DCC Friendly" means as far as turnouts are concerned.

    The most basic explanation is that, when thrown in either direction, and an engine is coming through, it doesn't short on the selected route. Of course, it will always short on the non-selected route, even DCC ready turnouts do that if you run an engine against the switch.

    There is usually only one reason a turnout when properly powered will short when motive power runs through it in the thrown direction. The reason is that the stock rails and the adjacent closure point rail are of different polarity, which means, when the closure points are open at the headblocks, and your motive power is traversing that section, for some reason the inside of the flange on a wheel touches the open closure point. This causes a short. Of course, the closed closure point is butted up against its adjacent stock rail, so they will be the same polarity, which is proper.

    So, for a turnout to be DCC Friendly, each closure rail should be the same polarity (always) as it's adjacent stock rail, whether it's open or closed, so if a flange rubs the adjacent closure rail on the open side, no short happens, because it's the same polarity as the adjacent stock rail.

    To accomplish this, the closure point rails must be isolated from each other and (by gaps) from the frog, which can be either dead or electrically switched. They should also be electrically connected to the adjacent stock rail, usually by a copper tab buried inside a tie (on RTR DCC Friendly turnouts), or as has been suggested, by replacing a plastic tie with a PCB tie, and gapping it in the middle so the left-right stock rail/adjacent closure point rail combinations are electrically isolated, but each combination are electrically connected.

    Was that plain enough? Writing the descriptions is a lot harder than actually doing the conversion...WHEW!! :)

    Cutting the gaps on the closure point rails to isolate them from the frog is best done using a fine jeweler's blade in a jeweler's brace, with the cutting action going DOWN. I would substitute two ties as close to the end of the frog as possible then cut the gaps between the two PCB ties, supporting them as close to the cut as possible on the edge of your workbench, or using a smooth 1X4 clamped to your workbench so the end protrudes out a ways, so you don't cut your workbench.

    Of course, you could always use a fine cut-off disk in your Dremel, and that would go fast, but it'd be a lot wider than the jeweler's blade. OH...I keep forgetting this is for HO turnouts, so...big gaps are okay.

    You can do the same thing on the other side of the frog to isolate it if you need to, then solder a feeder to one of the PCB ties that is electrically contiguous with your frog (flatten the end and bend it at a right angle for a better appearance) to provide switched power for it.

    If you're running #6's or less turnouts, if your gaps are very close to the ends of your frog, you should be able to run engines just fine with it being dead, but I'd test it with your shortest wheelbase engine first, just to be sure. In my experience, anything larger than a # 6 needs a powered frog.

    Truthfully, DCC Friendly turnouts are just well built turnouts. Those that had shorting problems would short using DC too, and to compensate for the possible shorting at the closure points, many RTR turnouts would widen that gap up a lot...which made the turnout look bad, but prevented shorts from metal wheels bridging that gap between open closure points and adjacent stock rails. With DCC Friendly turnouts, that gap can be a lot smaller, which contributes to a better looking turnout and no shorting problems.

    However, if the closure point rails are held to a throwbar by a single brass or copper piece between them, you have to either replace that or find a way to gap it. Since I'm an N-scaler and I build all of my own turnouts, I'm not familiar with specific Shinohara turnout construction, but I would consider ANY turnout that has point rails electrically connected to each other to NOT be DCC Friendly, no matter how big the gap between the open closure point rail and adjacent stock rail is.

    I've been rolling my own N-scale turnouts since the early '80's, and I always built 'em so the closure point rails and adjacent stock rails were the same polarity. They just looked and ran better that way. When I converted to DCC three years ago, all of my old turnouts worked just fine, with zero shorting problems.

    Bob Gilmore
  6. Tonycentral

    Tonycentral TrainBoard Member

    Sorry for the delay getting back. I have been working a lot of extra hours at work. Great explaination Bob. Just for clarification, I am working in N scale. I think I get everything you folks said with the exception of "PCB" tie. Is this a tie made with a printed circuit board that would act as a feeder to the other rail? Or is it an insulating tie that would seperate the points electrically? Also, It seems that all I would have to do is make two cuts @ the frog, isolating it from its respective stock rails. Would I really need to power the frog though, "retsignalmtr"? Paul is right, I just need to buy the Digitrax setup and start experimenting. Will keep posted when I get it and do some testing. Thanks for the GREAT feedback and advice.You guys are a great resource and community.I will also post pictures in a few days. View attachment 53928 View attachment 53929
  7. retsignalmtr

    retsignalmtr TrainBoard Member

    I've never seen a shinohara switch in N gauge so I don't know if they are similar to the HO models. If they are, then removing the metal bars at the point and heel and replacing them with PC board ties may be necessary. then when you cut gaps in both lead rails ahead of the frog you will have to power the frog somehow because you will still have to use insulated joiners at the back of the frog. You also have to cut the foil on the PC ties to isolate the points from each other.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 16, 2013
  8. badlandnp

    badlandnp TrainBoard Member

    gregamer's link was misspelled, should be - wiringfordcc.com


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