Converting Insulfrog to Electrofrog Bill Hambrook 9194

A number of members have contacted Chris Dunn at the postal helpline with the same question - "How do I convert set track dead frog points to live frog?" This article is the result.

Tools and materials required
Razor saw, sidecutters, needle files (flat and triangular), modeling knife, dividers or calipers, soldering iron and solder, track gauge and mini-vice. Peco Individulay sleepering, or Veroboard, rail, plasticard, cyanoacrylate glue.

Measure from the nose (opposite end to the toe end) of the frog to the double chair on the second sleeper on the straight - this will give you the position for the rail end on re-assembly. Put glue on the two chairs on each closure rail nearest the blade pivots. This prevents the rail creeping through the chairs when the frog is removed, which can happen and cause problems later. You will notice that the tie blade has moved away from the spring, rail creep is the cause.

Cut the wires under the frog and pull them out, breaking the welds on the rails. Pull the rails out through the chairs. Cut the sleepers each side of the frog back to the closure rail (four in all), then cut the moulded webs and remove the frog and the wing rails. The demolition is now complete!

Cut and fit Peco Individulay sleeper stock to replace the removed sleepers, using plasticard to bring the sleepers to the correct height. Glue in place, copper side up.

Next cut a new straight stock rail slightly over length. File it to fit. Slide it through the chairs into place, and the end should match the measurement you took at the start. Secure with glue.

Cut a new curved stock rail also over length, and file to match the closure of the frog. Pre curve it and slide through the chairs to match up as before. Check with the track gauge and then secure with glue.

The Wing Rails
These are the fiddly bits! About 3.5 - 4mm from the end of the rail, file a groove through both the head and the foot of the rail into the web - this makes forming the bend easier. Bend the rail to the required angle, check for gauge and adjust as necessary. Make sure the end butts hard up to the closure rail and solder into place, being careful that the solder takes to the closure rail as well as the wing rail.

Make and fit the other wing rail in the same way.

Finally, clean up, and trim off any surplus rail or solder and paint the sleepers and rails.

For details of point terminology used in this article please refer to your Society Handbook

This article first appeared in N Gauge Journal 5/98. Members can purchase back copies of Journals.