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
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
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)
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)
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
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
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