DonWU
I'm a member of a couple of MRCs and one ''problem' that seems to crop-up all too often is in laying points etc.
When a point is initially positioned, drill holes need to be mark on the baseboard. The point then has to be lifted off for board drilling and dropper-soldering but it is not always replaced in exactly the same position; the now 'pre-drilled' holes are not in the correct place.
I've seen where the 'frog-wire' travelled underneath the point for about 15mm before disappearing down the hole made for it. How this was missed is a mystery, it was only discovered, after track ballasting, when locos and wagons/carriages started to fall off. Lifting points at that stage is not easy.

Point-motor wire holes can be (have been) another casualty. Try drilling the hole larger without writing-off the point.

Another member read an article, on an American web site, with a simple and very easy solution!

What the article-writer advised was to drill a small hole (say 1mm dia.) in the two end sleepers of the point. When correctly positioned, tap a track pin through the hole, leaving enough of the pin showing to be able to snip off the head. The pin can then be tapped flush. The point can then be easily take up and replaced as many time as needed knowing it will be in the same place every time. Care must be taken to make sure the pin is upright

The pin needs to...
...be tough enough; some pins bend too easily.
...be long enough; especially if cork has been laid.
...fit 'snugly' in the drill hole.
...these pins maybe made from hardened steel - use suitable cutters.

This method is now being used on an area containing 16 points. They have been positioned, lifted for holes to be drilled and droppers soldered and replaced (just to check positioning). They now need lifting again for glueing. WE all feel confident that the points will go back where they should.

As stated above - simple and easy

Regards
Don
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SteamintheSouthWest
Hi there. This appears to be a good way of ensuring the turnout can be replaced accurately but do you use rail joiners (insulated where necessary) at the point rail-ends? Removing these in order to lift a point for later replacement can often be a problem. Any ideas here please?  Thanks 

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37011
The problem comes when the dropper wires pull the turnout away from the desired position.  I used to use multi-stranded wire with a diameter of about 1,8mm with 2mm holes in the baseboard which gave no room for error.  It didn’t lead to running problems but overall the track was unacceptably kinked. I now solder short lengths of single strand 0.5mm diameter wire (just longer than the depth of baseboard plus cork) to the track pre-soldered to normal dropper wire. Two extra bits of soldering but overall it saves time and aggravation because there is 1.5mm room for manoeuvre.  This tip was given to me by a professional track builder.
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AHJAY
Smaller wire at the turnout can be easier to hide if you cannot solder under the rail, but tight holes are never a good idea with wiring as the wire often gets slightly streched during final install and later heating/cooling of the layout room may lead things to expand/contact and can that can stress joints etc sometimes.

Why not just drill a bigger hole and after installation/ cover it with paper /fill with tissue or fill it with a little caulking etc? 

regards, AHJAY
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Iain Morrison wimorrison
Hi there. This appears to be a good way of ensuring the turnout can be replaced accurately but do you use rail joiners (insulated where necessary) at the point rail-ends? Removing these in order to lift a point for later replacement can often be a problem. Any ideas here please?  Thanks 



When you find the answer to this one can you please tell me?

I have a Y point that for good reason has insulated joiners all round and I need to work out how to get the new one in - with insulated joiners. I can do it at the heel end, but then I lay it down and there isn't any way I can see to get then in at the toe which is into the heel of another point 🙁
Iain Morrison
Modelling h0e using Z21 with iTrain automation and Railcom
There are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don't know we don't know
http://www.wimorrison.co.uk
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37011
Smaller wire at the turnout can be easier to hide if you cannot solder under the rail, but tight holes are never a good idea with wiring as the wire often gets slightly streched during final install and later heating/cooling of the layout room may lead things to expand/contact and can that can stress joints etc sometimes.

Why not just drill a bigger hole and after installation/ cover it with paper /fill with tissue or fill it with a little caulking etc? 

regards, AHJAY


As with most things it is a matter of preference or circumstance.  If you fill the holes you still have to do that before finally manoeuvring the track into place and glueing it down which in effect creates smaller holes, and with either three or five wires per turnout can still end up with things not quite going to plan. As I use Exactoscale fishplates I cannot rely on rail joiners to provide that extra bit if bracing so I  try to eliminate lateral stresses on the track completely.  If you have a bit more margin for error and don’t like soldering then my method would definitely be a case of over-engineering!

On the Y point, if your alignment is OK you could consider just replacing the IRJs with Exactoscale insulated fishplates....if you can get hold of them of course! If you are relying on the IRJs to help with alignment that won’t work however!
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AHJAY
Definitely personal preference with no right or wrong, but I never fill before layoug and wiring. I find it very easy to add a little fill after its all down and tested. (I also rarely ever use fishplates in the classic sense by the way - always cosmetic)

Insulation needs can be taken care of with a simple filled gap of course - also sensible if cosmetic plastic joiners are used so rail movement doesn't fill gaps. Failing that they do not need to be so long - cut IRJs much shorter and they still work OK

regard

AHJAY
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Iain Morrison wimorrison
What do you suggest for filling the gaps? I am modelling H0e which is effectively N Gauge and that means there ain’t a lot of space to fill or to file and clean things up 🙁
Iain Morrison
Modelling h0e using Z21 with iTrain automation and Railcom
There are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don't know we don't know
http://www.wimorrison.co.uk
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AHJAY
I glue in a thin bit of hard plastic. I trim and file it to rail shape when the glue is hard.
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DonWU

Hi All
With regards to lifting out points/slip/3-ways esp. with insulated joiners.

With the removal & replacement of a slip I got involved with, there seemed (at the time) no easy way. Other bits of track were removed to give 'elbow-room' for slip removal and replacing new insulated joiners. It did take a while but looks OK now.
If removal of other track-work is out of the question then by cutting through the joiners (whether plastic or metal) and carefully lifting off the point/slip seems very do-able.
It seems replacement of the insulated joiners would be almost impossible; so, as Richard suggested, to give a positive insulation, a piece of thin plastic card glued in the gap then shaped (when the glue has fully set/cured) is also do-able. Cyanoacrylate  (super-glue) could be used to stick the plastic card in place - but always apply these using something like a cocktail stick and not straight from the bottle; it's all too easy to apply much too much.
Epoxy resin is also on the list. A smear of silicon grease or even 'Vaseline' on the adjacent areas that is not to be glued, may help to remove any over-gluing.

As a matter of interest...on one layout - a PECO code 100 insul-frog single slip needed to be replaced because the plastic sleepers around the crossing nose (aka frog) had been severely melted and small bits of track fell off. This appears to have happened when a loco was driven into the slip when wrongly set. The stalled loco was left on the track for a minute or so as no 'alarm' was given except for the smell and smoke of burning plastic. The controller, a 5A NCE Power Pro, didn't shut down, I guess, because no 'short circuit' had been sensed; the over-heating was caused, again I guess, by an over-load situation but not a short circuit that allowed the built-in frog wires to heat up - much like the old-styled wire-wound electric heater elements. I'm putting this problem down to the too thinner wire used by the manufacturer for powering the crossing nose - the melted sleepers were around that area. If a more substantial wire was in place, the 'short' would have been sensed and the controller would have automatically shut down.

I've had firsthand experience of a PECO point (code 75 electro-frog)) doing something similar. On that club layout, it was agreed to replace the thin PECO wire completely by a short length of 16/0.2 wire (this is made from 16 strands of 0.2 and the copper strands, when lightly twisted, is about 1mm diameter. This is generally rated at 4A to 6A but will stand more in short lengths for short time periods). Short lengths are soldered directly to both sections of the frog; these are later joined under the baseboard.
But so save time and bother, someone decided to cut the original thin frog wire to about 25mm long and join the 16/0.2 wire to that. A short length of insulation was slipped over the wire joint and it was this piece of plastic insulation along with the baseboard around the hole that got very, very hot. Fortunately, the frog wire melted; just like a fuse wire.

This then brings the reminder that DCC powered track is much more susceptible to problems like this as the track is powered all the time at full current availability - capable of pushing out more than 60W and all of us know how hot a 60w bulb can get.

Sorry if that seemed to be lecturing - I never know when to shut up.

Regards
Don

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SteamintheSouthWest
Don, Thanks: that all makes perfect sense and is excellent advice borne out of your experiences. I shall certainly take on board all those points, especially the use of 16x 0.2 wire soldered directly to the frog. I’m using code 75 peco points and always thought the tinned copper ‘fuse wire’ they use was a little on the thin side. I like the use of a non-metallic Exactoscale insulated fishplate to disguise the ‘glued’  insulated rail joint, as suggested above by Platelayer. 
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37011
The Exactoscale fishplates are in the shape of a H with a strip of plastic joining the plates on either side to provide insulation between track sections so no need for an extra strip.  They are delicate so inserting and glueing has to be done with care
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