Peco PL13 Polarity Switches

Basic electrical and electronics, such as DC/Analog control.
Monday
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Peco PL13 Polarity Switches

Postby Monday » Fri Jan 08, 2021 5:14 pm

Just re-building a section of baseboard using seven new Peco Electrofrog turnouts, modified for switched live frog via new Peco PL-10E turnout motors and PL-13 accessory switches. I can get the turnout motors to throw the turnouts perfectly but as soon as I add the PLl-13's, nothing moves - the point motor pin twitches and that's about it. I can't say I am surprised as the PL-13's seem unbelievably crude and are quite stiff to operate even by hand.
I am on the verge of dumping the lot in favour of slow motion motors (Tortoise/Cobalt) but any ideas? If I hadn't already modified the Electrofrogs I think I would revert to letting the point blades take care of it but it is too late now.
Alternatively, I have heard a lot about microswitches in this respect - is there anything suitable to fit directly (or indirectly) to a PL-10 to carry out the polarity change without overloading the motor as the PL-13's seem to be doing.
Comments gratefully received

MOD note Topic moved to the Electrical forum area as it should attract more views and replies.

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Roger (RJ)
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Re: Peco PL13 Polarity Switches

Postby Roger (RJ) » Fri Jan 08, 2021 5:17 pm

What are you using to power the point motors?

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stuartp
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Re: Peco PL13 Polarity Switches

Postby stuartp » Fri Jan 08, 2021 6:59 pm

I'm in the same position. The PL-10s on their own will work with the motor and points slightly misaligned, but once you add the PL-13 it forces the pin to stay perpendicular (ish) so what just worked before doesn't anymore.

Try adding the switch to the motor first, testing, then fitting both to the point. You might have to prod and poke a bit to get it sitting 'just right'.
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Flashbang
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Re: Peco PL13 Polarity Switches

Postby Flashbang » Fri Jan 08, 2021 9:36 pm

Peco PL15 is twin DPDT micro switch unlike the PL13 which is a slider style SPDT switch.

But by the time you add together the cost of a PL10 and the PL15 (Approx £14 ish) its closely approaching that of a multi pack of 12 Cobalt Analogue ip slow motion motors (Approx then equal to £15.99 each). Cobalt = Two wire operation using 7/0.2mm wire and the switches can indicate the set position as they are locking type plus a pair of built in change over contacts. :D
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Ironduke
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Re: Peco PL13 Polarity Switches

Postby Ironduke » Fri Jan 08, 2021 11:28 pm

Monday wrote: the point motor pin twitches and that's about it. I can't say I am surprised as the PL-13's seem unbelievably crude and are quite stiff to operate even by hand.


Roger (RJ) wrote:What are you using to power the point motors?


This ^

I would recommend a CDU.
Regards
Rob

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Bufferstop
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Re: Peco PL13 Polarity Switches

Postby Bufferstop » Sat Jan 09, 2021 12:14 am

I long ago gave up on the Peco switches and used these
microswitch.jpg
microswitch.jpg (7.94 KiB) Viewed 474 times

I fit them above board operated by a short rod glued to the end of the tiebar. they are so thin they can easily be hidden, there is no real reason why they have to be attached to the point motor. I'm using manual pushrods to operate my points so there's no motor to attach them to! They require very little pressure to operate and have a long overtravel beyond the operating point which make them very easy to adjust. They are a standard industrial item coming from many manufacturers, Shop around, you should get them for around 30-40p each.
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Peterm
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Re: Peco PL13 Polarity Switches

Postby Peterm » Sat Jan 09, 2021 12:29 am

I had problems with the Peco switches too; no problem throwing them, but plain old unreliability! That was the deciding factor in changing over to Tortoise. I had some of the original DCC Concepts cobalts but these all died so I ended up with the Tortoi. The slow motion motors are a lot kinder to my code 75 points too.
Pete.

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Re: Peco PL13 Polarity Switches

Postby Dad-1 » Sat Jan 09, 2021 9:38 am

I agree with peterm,

My use of the small sliding Peco switches has been nothing short of a disaster.
Something like 28 on my large Castell Mawr layout. Certainly these shouldn't
be tight, but slide VERY easily when not attached to the point motor pin.
If they only become tight on already mounted point motors then the problem
is from your original fitment being out of line.

My grump is that they are so unreliable. My boards are stored on their side and
I find when all put together the points work 100%, but the switching fails. Working
by hand back & forth a few times can bring them back to life, but then suddenly
fail to function. A degree of unreliability I can't live with.

One alternative is the Gaugemaster Frog Juicer which uses the short as a loco
passes the join to switch polarity. I have also had problems with these and in the
end replaced some with microswitches that are 100% reliable so far.

Believe me switching is SO MUCH BETTER than trying to rely on point blades !!
It will be worth sorting out.

Geoff T.
Remember ... I know nothing about railways.
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=32187 and Another on viewtopic.php?f=22&t=28436&start=60&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

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Flashbang
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Re: Peco PL13 Polarity Switches

Postby Flashbang » Sat Jan 09, 2021 10:04 am

Dad-1 wrote:I agree with peterm,

My use of the small sliding Peco switches has been nothing short of a disaster.
Something like 28 on my large Castell Mawr layout. Certainly these shouldn't
be tight, but slide VERY easily when not attached to the point motor pin.
If they only become tight on already mounted point motors then the problem
is from your original fitment being out of line.

My grump is that they are so unreliable. My boards are stored on their side and
I find when all put together the points work 100%, but the switching fails. Working
by hand back & forth a few times can bring them back to life, but then suddenly
fail to function. A degree of unreliability I can't live with.

One alternative is the Gaugemaster Frog Juicer which uses the short as a loco
passes the join to switch polarity. I have also had problems with these and in the
end replaced some with microswitches that are 100% reliable so far.

Believe me switching is SO MUCH BETTER than trying to rely on point blades !!
It will be worth sorting out.

Geoff T.

Please be aware that so called "Frog Juicers" (Gaugemaster or other makes) only work on a DCC (Digital) powered layouts. They will not work on a conventional DC layout.
An easy to wire and use for all solenoid operated point motors is a mechanical latching relay. These can be obtain ready made from Gaugemaster - GM500 (or GM500D for use with a DCC accessory decoder) or one of their many suppliers and are often cheaper than GM sell them for! Or from Brimal part No MR204, or make your own using a twin coil latching relay.

I have now moved away from solenoids and am using SG9 Servos with servo control boards built from MERG kits. Completely adjustable throw degree with excellent variable speed movement. Two or more micro switches can be added if needed. Don't think I will ever return to Solenoids again.
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Broken? It was working correctly when I left it.

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Bufferstop
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Re: Peco PL13 Polarity Switches

Postby Bufferstop » Sat Jan 09, 2021 11:50 am

Dad-1 wrote:I agree with peterm,

My use of the small sliding Peco switches has been nothing short of a disaster.

Geoff T.


The slide switch is a poor way of implementing a built in switch. Even when the motor is fitted to the underside of the sleepers rather than below the board, whether or not you use a CDU operating the point needs the solenoid core to be able to move a little before the tiebar does.
The slide switch reduces the amount of movement transmitted to the tiebar. If you consider the effect of increasing the friction in the switch and take it to its maximum, it will reach a point where it acts like a fulcrum and reverses the movement at the end of the operating rod. Operating a switch off the end of, and in line with, the tiebar, you will get a more efficient mechanism.
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bootneckbob
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Re: Peco PL13 Polarity Switches

Postby bootneckbob » Sat Jan 09, 2021 12:50 pm

Hello, I've just found this thread thanks to bufferstop posting on my layout thread about the same issue. I've got 30 elecrofrog points with PL10E motors and the Peco switch on. I've had a few nightmares and choice words under the baseboard after spending 4 hours on one point a couple of weeks ago. I learnt that it was the switch buggering it up a while ago but like some of you; I'd already committed to going live frog so couldn't go back and to be honest it's worth the pain to get the frogs live.

I've only got 3 points which I'm having problems with (touch wood). Had loads that were an utter **** to get working, but now they are they are fine. As has been said, a little manual manipulation can get the two sticky ones working; but I've also found squirting contact cleaner on to the actuator pin and tie bar works miracles on switching. It's like the difference between trying to run DCC locos on clean track (good) Vs dirty track **** (bad)!

Unless someone more knowledgeable tells me not to use it because it will destroy the plastic, I use it as part of my track cleaning routine.

I never thought I'd get them all fitted (and working) but persistence has paid off. I've got a tortoise motor in my drawer that I bought nearly 10 years ago when I first started buying kit for the layout but I never fitted it; opting instead for Peco which I suspect was a financial decision made before I realised I'd end up with elecrofrog. The first version of the layout was elecrofrog for looks, but not wired to be live as it looked too difficult!

If I wire up the tortoise and see the movement I'll probably want to change them all and I just can't afford that at the mo! Best leave it in the box!

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stuartp
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Re: Peco PL13 Polarity Switches

Postby stuartp » Sat Jan 09, 2021 2:02 pm

The saving grace of the less than sophisticated PL-13 is that it is easily fixed by pinging the bit of PCB out with the end of a screw driver and bending the contacts a bit. They're no more unreliable than pick ups in that respect.

As for the PL-10Es, some of mine are 30 years old and now being installed on their 4th layout, they are utterly bomb proof. I have just bought some Hattons ones to compare but only because there were no Peco ones left in my local supplier.
Portwilliam - Southwest Scotland in the 1960s, in OO - http://stuart1968.wordpress.com/

Monday
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Re: Peco PL13 Polarity Switches

Postby Monday » Sat Jan 09, 2021 6:09 pm

Thanks all; I didn't expect such a response, having not found much on here about PL-13's. Encouraged to find I am not alone!

Roger (RJ) - I am using a plug in AC/DC adapter output 3A at 12v. I had hoped a CDU would help but it didn't seem to make any difference.

Stuartp - noted about the PL-13 forcing the operating pin vertical. I adopted a method I saw on a YT video where he made up a little jig to fit on the back of the motor to hold the pin vertical in both planes. This worked a treat as far as turnout operation was concerned but did not seem to help with operating the PL-13's. Some of them are really quite stiff; you can feel the resistance of the contacts. Having had one of them already fall to bits on me, I am reluctant to open them up to ease the contacts but I might try the switch cleaner approach as a lubricant.

Flashbang - your assessment of the costs of microswitches vs slow motion motors reflected the conclusion I was coming to. In fact I have today ordered some Cobalt-ip analogue motors and switches, not enough to replace all the Peco motors but will at least get my main through route operating reliably. Unfortunately I could not get down to your suggested bulk price, the 6- and 12-packs seem to be out of stock and only singles are available - funny that! Rails seem to have the best deal @ £18.50. I'll keep trying with the PL-10/PL-13's for the others.
Thanks to everybody else, I'll let you know how I get on.

Monday
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Re: Peco PL13 Polarity Switches

Postby Monday » Sat Jan 09, 2021 6:20 pm

Forgot to add:
Flashbang - thanks for the pointer to the GM500 relays. As for the microswitches, the cost of PL-10/PL-13/GM500 is building up but then I have already swallowed some of that cost. The GM500's look as though they would help me rescue my remaining Peco motors.

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Flashbang
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Re: Peco PL13 Polarity Switches

Postby Flashbang » Sat Jan 09, 2021 8:14 pm

Monday wrote:Forgot to add:
Flashbang - thanks for the pointer to the GM500 relays. As for the microswitches, the cost of PL-10/PL-13/GM500 is building up but then I have already swallowed some of that cost. The GM500's look as though they would help me rescue my remaining Peco motors.

Indeed they would. Look on the www for these, as often far cheaper than direct from GM! :D
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Broken? It was working correctly when I left it.


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