Monday, April 09, 2012

Peco point repair

Some time ago, Paul Godwin asked if anyone knew how to repair Peco points where the switch rails had come away from the tiebar. I didn't, and it seems neither did anyone reading this blog. Undeterred, he had a go and this is the result:

The switch rails had come adrift from the plastic tie bars. To repair them, I have used some Dewey Lace pins (These are brass, you can't solder to normal dressmaking pins, the silver coloured ones) inserted through the tie bar from the bottom and soldered them to the switch rail. Everything is cleaned and tinned first - away from the plastic - then soldered together with a small hot iron. You need to get in and out fast!
Carrs 145 solder and flux were used in the repair.

I noted that the more modern point had a hole in the tie bar through which to insert the pin. This gave the positioning of the switch on the tie bar straight away. The older one had to be drilled and I had to set the position.

This picture shows the initial problem
The pin is inserted and first cut to length, then removed and trimmed back a little further.
The tie bar being held parallel to the sleepers before soldering
A pin vice is used to hold the drill for the pin hole. This needs to be very, very slightly larger than the pin. Since these are different sizes, you'll need to measure and pick your own bit. Once this is done, a needle file cleans up the solder and ensures the flangeway is not obstructed.

The finished products. A newer large radius on the left, older short point on the right. The later was used for the first practise. It's a good idea to experiment on something you can afford to damage !

I have no idea how robust these will turn out to be. The use of the pin enables the joint to pivot as the blades move which should ensure there is no strain on the solder joint.
This isn't a repair for the faint-hearted but if you have a broken point, it might well be worth a try. Paul's note about getting in an out fast with the hot iron is well made. It's easy to melt the plastic, but if you succeed, I can't see why the point shouldn't last for many more throws. Thanks to Paul for his notes and photos.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this instruction. I am just starting back into N scale after many years away. I hooked up a tortoise switch machine and I think I let it throw to far and damaged the switch point as per your article.

Where can I find the pins to mentioned in the article?

Great job Chuck Gaydos

Phil Parker said...

Most habedashery shops will seel brass pins.

Anonymous said...


I was interested to read in your blog a fix for Peco points where a blade comes away from the tie bar.

I have had about eight suffer from this problem. It is a real pain when the point in question is in a group of points, nicely ballasted and working well. It is usually difficult to to replace the point without a fair bit of work, cutting fishplates, removing ballast etc. Most of mine are worked by wire in tube, using thin brass wire, with a V bent into the wire under the point to provide some compression. One was switched with a Peco point motor, and was in a position that wasn’t operated very much.

One I was lucky enough to repair in situ with super glue, while one was repaired with a PCB sleeper. In this case I had to cut grooves in the PCB to accept the dimples on the underside of the blades. As my modelling is not up to P4 standard, this wasn’t the easiest job.

When I contacted Peco about this problem, I was asked to return the damaged points and they would repair them. I returned about 7 points which were either repaired or replaced with new points, and I was charged GBP10.00 as a handling fee. I must commend Peco for their product support and very prompt service. The points were returned to Australia, within about 10 days. When you contact some companies you don't even get a reply. Thank you, Peco


Les Fordham.