Peco "Elecro Frog" Turnouts; points contact issues

videobruce Aug 30, 2022

  1. videobruce

    videobruce TrainBoard Member

    I'm having problems with the points of these Peco turnouts (N Scale) failing as far as electrical contacts. I have used 99% Isopropyl Alcohol and Deoxit D5 (not together) on the contact portions of the points to a limited success, but the problem returns after a week or two (I don't keep track of the date I clean specific points). I use a miniature foam applicator I got from MicroMark which works ideally to apply the liquid.

    I have read about at least one other modeler that had the same issue and he scraped (so to speak) those turnouts for something else.

    Anyone else have this problem and/or offer another solution?
  2. Hoghead2

    Hoghead2 TrainBoard Member

    ElectroFrog-Shorts.png I have had to clean the points to maintain contact -but very infrequently. It's easy to solder two feeds onto Peco switch to avoid this anyway- see above under 'Optional'. Note-the above is an HO switch, so you won't have the links to cut in the closure rail. Use a Dremel tool to slit them instead.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2022
  3. Champsummers

    Champsummers TrainBoard Member

    I used a pocket knife to clean out the notch on the track where the points fit. That solved my problem.
    Allen H and Doug Gosha like this.
  4. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

    I had lots of issues with Peco getting the points cruddy and not allowing current. Went to using fine thin emory cloth but it was just to much trouble. Now the only time one gets used is at the end of a spur where the loco does not have to travel. Have two left currently on the layout and I am using NO Ox on the points which you can give a try with.
  5. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

    Liquid cleaners or deoxifying agents won't work, alone. You need to physically remove the oxidation/corrosion between the points and stock rails as Champsummers indicated.

  6. tonkphilip

    tonkphilip TrainBoard Member

    I have been using Peco Code55 switches for 35 years. Very occasionally perhaps every five years I will need to wipe a switch between the switch and stock rails with a dry cloth or kitchen towel. I am very careful to keep paint off the hinges and switch points. The other thing that I find helpful is to fix down the track but not the switches so that the switches float and the switch and switch rod are not stressed, this ensures that the switch spring always snaps firmly against the switch rail for good contact. - Tonkphilip
    mtntrainman likes this.
  7. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

    Good advice for sure and that goes for all brands of switches. I prefer to ballast my switches so I dig out the roadbed under the throwbar so there is no friction between it and the roadbed. Helps to prevent ballast glue from gumming up the works.
  8. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    Here it comes the wet blanket. But first there is more! LOL

    Start with purchasing nickel silver N scale switches.

    Peco and Kato switches are my favorite switch panels. They work well and seldom fail. That's the positive side of this discussion.

    The wet blanket. I've had problems with any and all of my switch points. Not the news you wanted to hear.

    Going back to my first layout as in the starting point, back when I bought HO brass "A" snap track. They get dirty and require frequent maintenance. I swore never again.

    I don't recommend this. Some guys have soldered feeder wires utilizing a reversing DPDT momentary on toggle switch. I don't recommend that only because of how a soldering iron acts out in my hands.

    Not to worry. Although you can if you want to. You'll figure out what's best for you.
  9. Dirk Jan Blikkendaal

    Dirk Jan Blikkendaal TrainBoard Member

    the easiest solution is to switch polarity of the frog/closure rails/points every time you throw the turnout. be sure to use 2 insulated rail joiners on the ends of the frog rails (see picture earlier post) and solder a wire to the outside of one of the closure rails or the wire hidden underneath the turnout in de sleepers.

    if you use a Tortoise turnoutmotor there is a dedicated set of 3 contacts: the left rail / the right rail / the points, closure rails and frog.
    if you use a Peco PL-10 switch motor (with a pin going both sides) simply attach a PL-13 accesory swith to it and make the same 3 connections.
    if you just hand throw the turnout connect a SPDT swith to the throwbar and make same 3 connections.

    in all cases there is no longer a need for the points to make a sound electrical contact with the stock rails........ current ALWAYS runs through the extra switch...... ensures flawless operation indefinitely (and you can paint the sides of the rails and ballast the turnout without having to worry about electrical contact).
    DeaconKC, Shortround and BarstowRick like this.
  10. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member


    I always thought this was common practice with any switch with powered frogs. Still have to isolate the frog rails behind the switch. Using a DPDT slide switch allows one to power the frog using one set of contacts as well as using the other set of contacts to power the switch indicator LEDs. The throw bar can be connected to the plastic slide lever. So you throw the switch, power the points and change the switch indicator lights all in one operation.

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