Modellers love them... so they are built into many track plans, but often, once the track is laid, the head scratching starts.

We are often asked about how to wire them and we have, as a result, made many advice pages that I thought we could share here.

First a few thoughts: 

* If you have not already committed the layout to code 100 track, please think about using code 75. Code 75 looks better, lays better (and more easily on curves) and it will last just as long. Its finer look will go a long way to making your layout more believable from the start!

* If at all possible, use the assymetric 3-way, not the symmetrical 3-way. If you are in code 100 and must use the symmetrical type - please avoid the Insulfrog versions at all costs. (They are very prone to frog-tip shorts and create lots of frustration)

* Secondly, do NOT forget to modify the Live frog / Electrofrog versions before laying them. 

How to wire them? It will to some degree depond on what else is involved, but the basics all remain the same.

Here are SIX PDF files that cover various aspects of 3-way turnout wiring.

These and many other wiring diagrams for complex turnout formations can be found in the advice and manuals section at https://www.dccconcepts.com.

ALPHA Switch wiring for a 3-way turnout
pdf AlphaSwitch panel wiring for a 3-way point.pdf     
While the turnout / Cobalt wiring usually promotes questions, there have also been requests for how an AlphaSwitch panel should be configured - a 3-way turnout so why not 3 LED buttons? 
Because AlphaSwitch tick-tocks between the button pairs, there is no easy way to achieve this. Certainly ways involving diodes and or relays would work - but all this just for the sake of losing a button?  
Again, a diagram explains. Once seen it is now obvious - but wasn't that ever thus?

Cobalt Analog, ADfx Decoders and a 3-way turnout
pdf Cobalt Analog, ADfx and a 3-way with LED warnings for illegal routes.pdf     
One of our customers operated 3-ways in a hidden fiddle yard and wanted a visual indication of illegal routes (routes chosen where the turnouts were not set correctly) 
Using the Analog / ADfx connection gave him that useful LED output and the diagram shows how this was used to power LEDs on a panel.
The Mimic LEDs he chose led (no pun intended) to a particularly professionally looking display when incorporated into his AlphaSwitch D buttons.

Note: "Stealing" the frog output off any Analog motor or using the LED output off a Cobalt SS can also feed LEDs

Cobalt iP Digital motors and a 3-way using the track bus for power (recommended for DCC modellers)
pdf Cobalt iP Digitals and 3-way using the track bus.pdf  
A lot of modellers actually  "overthink" 3 - way turnouts: even when it is operated by a pair of Cobalt iP Digitals when, in truth, it could not be simpler.
One diagram and few words seems to answer the questions!!

Cobalt iP Digital motors and a 3-way using a digital Accessory bus (Recommended for DC modellers)  
pdf Cobalt iP Digitals and 3-way from an Accessory bus.pdf     
This particular question - involving a Cobalt iP Digital working off an accessory bus tends to compound the answer - after confounding the questioner!!
This way a DC modeller can also have a digital accesory bus with FAR less wiring needed!
The principle also applies to any  
Cobalt iP Digital working off an accessory bus : forget Connector #3 and switch using the old principles. The attached diagram explains. Not often shared with a customer who is already struggling with the electronics is the "split bus"  scenario - where the accessory bus actually comes off a common source (but the loco power bus is protected by a CB that triggers before the main unit - as it must.
Cobalt iP Digital and a symmetrical 3 way
pdf Cobalt iP Digitals and Symmetrical 3-way .pdf     
Symmetrical 3-ways seem to compound the usual fear of 3 way wiring. The attached drawing helps but note how interlocking is introduced.
(Unless the operator follows the discipline of operating A before B then the blades will foul)
Interlocking - or more accurately - blocking one Cobalt's operation until the other Cobalt moves to allow it - works well as long as the operator remembers!
In a rarely used part of the layout - or when visitors operate - it CAN lead to accusations of a Cobalt refusing to operate - even though this rarely happens.

Cobalt-SS and the 3-way turnout
pdf Cobalt SS and 3-way.pdf   
This is really the standard threwayphobia issue but compounded by the fact that a digital Cobalt operating directly off a DCC bus needs "conventional" SPDT wiring. 
Again, a diagram is worth a thousand words (Strictly speaking, all of our standard wiring generally need only 30 words!!)

we hope you find them useful
regards, Richard
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Black Billy
Blimey! This has really hit the bullseye on my dusty tarnished Mojo.
This poor Backstud was hoping to conceal his dirty secret: three code 100 symmetrical type in series ! ! ! (note the 3 exclamation marks).
I wi
red them (livefrog) up originally from Lambert's pages connected to these yellow levers.  

3 way.jpgMax's roundy round.jpg

They worked OK but the big roondy-roond of which it was a critical part -the throat to the inner terminus, has been out of action since the grandchildren all started dating. The big prob was always the signalman getting his knickers in a twist on departure from the terminus. 
The layout dates from when the eldest came up evry week or so from Kings+ on the GNER - and the other grandad lived in Inverness!                                                

If you  decide to use this as an example of what NOT to do - it grew just like Topsy from the oribinal Hornby trackmat drunkenly set out under the tree at a big family Christmas - then my life these last 17 years will not have been lived in vain


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Hi Richard - just browsing through the above and I feel need the need to expand my knowledge re 3-way turnouts, specifically Peco code 100 electrofrog symmetrical turnouts. You mention above  Secondly, do NOT forget to modify the Live frog / Electrofrog versions before laying them. By which I assume you mean cutting the link wires between frog and point blades, and soldering new connections between stock and closure rails. I have done this quite easily on all my "normal" points, but it didn't seem so obvious to me how one should do this on the 3-way. Is there a guide diagram or instruction somewhere so I can be sure that I'm cutting the right wires and soldering the correct rails?  


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If you go into Google and put something like "Peco Wiring 3 way point" and select "Images" you will find a lot of very useful diagrams and links to guidance notes.  However I have recently purchased Peco Code 100  normal two way Electrofrog points and they come complete with an excellent wiring diagram and instructions for preparing them for switched frog use.  I am sure the 3 way ones will be just the same but give a supplier a ring and ask them.

Here is just one:

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Its all about the thinking process.

The basic rules remain the same on all point-work. Look at the diagram above or any diagram with coloured rails in our many online manuals. Both gaps and links will be clearly indicated.

* Isolate all closure rails/blades from the frog/common crossing that they meet at the heel of the point.
* Directly link all closure rails to the the stock rail that they meet via the blade end.

kind regards, Ahjay
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Thanks to Ahjay and Bunkerbarge for your assistance. I’m probably something of a beginner but I’ve not been able to find any diagrams showing mods to the symmetrical 3 way point, so I took Richard’s advice and worked it out myself. For anybody wanting to modify in the same way, note that the 3 way electrofrog point has no direct connection from the point blades (unlike all other code 100 electrofrog points), so there are no wires to cut (which is why of course you have to provide frog switching with this particular point). Again, unlike all other code 100 points, there is no simple provision for joining the blades to the stock rails. The way round this is to remove one section of the plastic webbing across the base of the point so that a wire can be soldered onto the bottom of each rail. Another complication is that one of the rails on each side is actually the moving point blade so extra care is needed connecting this to allow some flexibility. All done now, and I’m hoping for reliable running!
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Andrew Fryer deepfat
AhJay, I asked for this months ago before the focus forums existed up so huge thanks for this.
For extra credit I was asking about stopping trains into a turnout that is set against them so how about sharing that diagram for any of your motors 

For those wanting to laugh at my three-way fun with Cobalt DIP motors controlled from Hornby RailMaster I have this post here
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Chris has completed it as promised. Here it is :-)
(attached PDF file)

We will add it to our website too so others can share...

regards, Ahjay
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