Turnout Control – Sorted!

I’ve been mulling over the issue of how to throw the turnouts on my layout for a while now.

I bought a BullFrog controller a while back to test but I was disappointed because it wasn’t working very well.

BullFrog turnout control.

It appears that my hand-built turnouts are a little more springy than most commercial ones and the throw wire that comes with the BullFrog wasn’t fully throwing the turnout.

I did some research and looked at the Caboose Industries ground throws but they are pretty large and the ones with electrical contacts for powering the frog are even larger.

I also considered the Bitter Creek ground throws which are smaller than the Caboose Industries models, but they don’t have any power routing at all.

I didn’t really want ground throws at all because I don’t really have enough room for them and most of the switches are at the back of the layout and I’d have to reach over all the buildings to throw them.

So I pondered some more and realized that I could probably just add some stiffer wire to the BullFrog and make it work.

I measured the stock wire and it’s .035″ diameter. I stopped at the hobby store and picked up some .047″ and .055″ wire to try out. Those were the next two larger sizes they stocked.

I bent up a piece of the .047″ wire and cleared out the holes on the BullFrog and turnout throwbar to suit. I installed the BullFrog and now I had a different problem! The .047″ wire was too stiff and I could barely get the BullFrog to make a full throw. On the other hand, it was fully closing the points in both directions, so progress!

I’ve ordered some .039″ and .043″ diameter wire to test out, but based on my current results I’ve gone ahead and ordered another dozen BullFrog controllers.

So that problem is resolved.

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