Peco elecro frog vs insolated frog

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PECO makes two types of turnouts One electrified and the other insulated. I am running a combination of DC and DCC ( mostly steam ) is there a preference to the turnout type ( powered frog or non). Some of my steam locos do stall at slow speeds over atlas insulated frogs (0-4-0) . Do you have any recommendations especially with DCC which I am just starting to use. Does the elector frog switch polarities

Thank you all so much.

David Miller


Active Member
The version with the insulated frog is easier to wire and is DCC friendly and is probably your best choice if your locos don't stall.

Because of the possible stalling problems I installed the ones with the electrified frog which required wiring the power to the frog to be switched by the switch motor and to add extra gaps in the rails at the frog end of the turnout to prevent shorts.


Well-Known Member
If some of your steam is long enough that you need blind drivers, the blind drivers can cross over onto the opposite polarity and cause shorts and stalling. For that reason alone, it is a good idead to have insulated or painted frogs for the eight and ten-coupled steamers. The BLI long steamers are examples, at least in the J1 2-10-4 and I'm pretty sure the T-1 C&O original version on which the J1 is based. My earlier Paragon T1 Duplex has both inner axles blind, although flanged drivers were included in the package if I had curves longer than about 35" or so. I have found that those blind drivers will come well over onto adjacent rails at and near the frog. In one case, a Walthers/Shinohara curved #7.5, which I butchered to make it about a #8.X, I had to paint a bit o the frog point or actually use a cut-off disk and cut the inside frog point rail outward of the small black plastic spacer....these are "DCC friendly". Paint must be reapplied periodically, whereas a cut is permanent and does the trick.

If your 0-4-0 is quite important to you, you should get the electrofrogs, at least where it is likely to be used. You can paint any spots where wheels of any of the steamers run into trouble...just a 3 mm wide band of clear nail varnish will do it. If you feel brave, use a grinder stone on a Dremel and grind down the flange face corner where the vertical face meets the tire surface on the rail, and reduce that by about 1 mm smoothly. The outer edge of a driver tire with wipers on it are what causes the problem, so if you can nudge the surface downward and away a tad, that would clear it for you. Personally, a Dremel cut-off disk is quick and permanent, and if not placed too far away so that it ruins the electrical qualities for your 0-4-0 at the frog, you can still have the electrified frog, but a gap for shorts management.

We haven't talked about managing power to an electrofrog, but you probably know a bit about that.
Do I need a SPDT switch or a motor for a PECO Electrofog turnout?? Can it be wired for just the points being hand pushed or a caboose Hobbies hand throw??

OK so I buy the electro frog and do what they say with cutting and soldering. Now I do NOT intend to use a switch motor but use the hand throws or hand push the peco sprung throw bar. In other words the power (polarity) is routed or changed through the switch points only (I know maybe not the best contact). Or do I have to have a switch or motor mounted under or near the turnout?

thanks ALL
For a PECO Electrofog turnout you need to power the Frog with the correct polarity. This can be done with a contacts on a switch motor, or a manual throw. A Electrofog turnout is just Fast Track hand built turnouts.
What I use to power isolated Frog is a Frog Juicer from Tam Valley:

These sense the wrong polarity when the wheel creates a short and almost instantly changes the polarity. These have been working great on my layout and are easy to install. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.