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Summary: Shinohara was a Japanese manufacturer of track components, including turnouts. The company wound down operations in 2018 when the owners retired. Walthers distributed Shinohara track under the name Walthers/Shinohara for years.
Walthers and Shinohara Track
Walthers has taken over the Shinohara tooling, unfortunately, much of the tooling is worn out. Walthers is promising a new line of track, including turnouts. With new tooling, they should be compatible with Digital Command Control and the NMRA Standards.
Pre-Digital Command Control Era
Prior to Digital Command Control, Shinohara made a non-isolated type of turnout.
They can be identified easily: Metal bars connect the switch rails, no gap before the frog, and the point rails have no gaps at the frog either. On the underside, it will have the Shinohara name cast into the tie, code, and size of switch. There will be no wires bonding the closure and point rails to the stock rails.
For DCC operation, the point rails will need insulated joiners to prevent a short at the heel of the frog. Check wheel gauge too, as out of gauge wheel sets may cause a short between the stock and switch rails.
Later DCC Compatible Shinohara Turnouts
As shown in the picture above, the early turnouts have no gaps at the frog. Later production turnouts have gaps separating the frog from the closure rails at the toe and the point rails at the heel. Also, note is how the switch rails are fastened to the throwbar. Early designs often had both rails connected electrically and mechanically by a metal strip between them, with a rivet fastening the strip to the throwbar beneath.
The DCC Compatible ones will say that on the box. If you are not sure, look for the bonding wires under the turnout, the switch rails are not electrically connected, and gaps at the toe and heel of the frog.
Newly tooled turnouts under the Walthers brand have begun appearing in hobby shops.
Mechanically they are very similar to the Shinohara products, with a dead frog. Differences are the switch rails are one piece, not hinged, and the addition of a small ringlet to one side which connects to the frog. A wire can be soldered here to power the frog. The frog itself is very similar to the older Shinohara design. These turnouts are manufactured in China for Walthers.
The Walthers turnouts also feature a spring to lock the switch rails in position, which can be removed if necessary.
Electrically they are very simple.
The stock rails supply power to the switch and closure rails, maintaining the correct phase relationship between the switch and closure rails. This prevents shorts while providing reliable power. A gap separates the closure rail from the wing rail.
- The frog is dead, but can be made live using a switch, Frog Juicer, or similar mechanism. There are gaps in the wing and point rails to electrically isolate the frog. A small ringlet is supplied to allow a connection to the frog to be made easily.
- The point rails have a gap at the heel of the frog. Past the gap they are electrically connected to their appropriate stock rail, which maintains the correct phasing and provides reliable power.
- General Wiring Topics for DCC
- Types of Turnouts
- Methods of Operating Turnouts
- DCC Friendly Turnout
- Wiring Diamond Crossings, Slips, Scissor Crossings, etc.
- These rails come to a point at the toe of the frog, hence their naming. They form part of the frog assembly.