I Juiced a Frog…

No actual frogs were harmed in the making of this post!! A frog in railroad parlance is a part of a switch. it is the location where the tracks cross. When you hear about a switch being a Number 4 or a Number 6 or the like, its referring to the angle of the frog. I’m not going to re-invent the wheel in trying to explain switches, if you want to go down that rabbit hole, check out here and here! On model railroads, the frog on a switch is isolated, otherwise as metal wheels drawing power from the track cross over, it would create a short as the two rails are different polarities (one positive, one negative). A “Frog Juicer” from Tam Valley is a little circuit board that on DCC systems, detects the polarity faster than the system can short out, and automatically switches the polarity of the frog so a train will keep going over it. The point is to keep power to the locomotive at all times so they don’t stall on the frog if it isn’t powered. I have three to install. Two which can handle six switches each, and one single switch juicer for the peninsula. Working under the benchwork alone without a second set of hands is a bit of a pain, so I decided I would install the Mono Frog Juicer tonight just to get a feel for it, and worry about the other two for the remaining twelve switches later.

IMG_1316Mounting the Frog Juicer board on a bit of double sided foam to stick to the layout

First, I started organizing the wiring runs on the peninsula into a batch that I can connect to the end of the DCC Bus wire. With this done, I figured out where I was going to mount the juicer, and put a purple wire on the frog wire from the switch (colour coding the wiring for future repairs). My layout wiring is pretty simple. Red and Black for power, purple for the frogs. I will eventually run a secondary power bus for building lighting, and I will pick two other colours of wire for this so they stand out. That’s a down the road task, I haven’t even really thought about that beyond knowing that I want to be able to light buildings, which means they need power!

IMG_1317Frog Juicer in place on the peninsula, with red and black wires to the DCC bus, and the purple to the frog. Now we see if it works when I get the wiring connected to the bus!

This was another simple project that I haven’t done before that I could tackle on my own. It also was a nice half hour project that I could do after dinner and feel like I’ve accomplished something on the layout today. Given how much I have on the rest of my week, I don’t expect to do anything till the weekend, so it’s always nice to feel like I’ve gotten something done when a few minutes were available.

3 thoughts on “I Juiced a Frog…

  1. Pretty hard to avoid the fresh frog juice bad jokes, isn’t it?

    These are neat little boards. I’ve always toggled frog polarity electromechanically as a function of the mechanism to throw the points and that works very well on turnouts you enter from the point end but fails if you arrive from behind the turnout and don’t stop in time.

    I love the sense of enthusiasm you impart in these posts. It’s clear the layout is such an emotional success and that’s so wonderful to read.

    Chris

    • Thanks Chris, it’s a hobby, it’s supposed to be fun! That might be the only thing Model Railroader magazine still gets consistently right! If my twisted sense of humour can’t come through a bit in my posts, there’s no point in doing it!

      Hopefully we can arrange a visit to Liberty Village when next your travels bring you to Toronto, who knows, I may even be able to run a train by then if it’s not too soon!

      Cheers,

      Stephen

      • As a pursuit I think, more than fun, it should make us feel good. The energy I feel reading your posts sure endorses my theory.

        I sure hope to take you up on the invitation to visit. That’s very kind and I appreciate it. Thank you!

        Chris

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