"Frog Juicers" and similar devices......questions.

Discussion in 'Other Electronic Interfaces' started by Keith M, Jan 11, 2021.

  1. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    Having completed the construction of 10 sets of kit build 0 gauge points and 2 crossovers, I'm wanting to get together all the odds and ends I'll need for my intended layout when I start tracklaying come the warmer weather. I have a quantity of microswitches surplus from other 00 gauge projects which I could use for frog switching, but having done a bit of research on 'frog juicers' , frog switches etc, looking at the relatively cheap Gaugemaster DCC 80 'Autofrog' unit rather than the pricier Tam Valley offering, (and yes, I know it can handle up to 6 frogs) I was thinking along the lines of the DCC80 being pretty simple from the electronic point of view, 3 diodes, 2 resistors, 2 capacitors and a changeover relay, so it should be easy enough to produce my own version (I'm a MERG member, but only at a VERY elementary level!), as with my current points/crossover tally, I'm going to need at least 14 of these units.
    Components needed to build my own units will be very cheap, the relay likely being the most expensive part, but these will still be inexpensive sourced from Chine via 'Alibaba' or the like.
    So, who has used any of these units, are they as problem free as it appears from feedback, and given greater track electrical load of 0 gauge, are they reliable long term?
    Keith.
     
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  2. paul_l

    paul_l Staff Member Administrator

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    Hi Keith

    Unfortunately I can't be of much help - what's new I hear you all say :avatar:, but think I'll be sticking with micro-switches, and leaving the electronics to moving the points.
    I suppose it will be down to what reacts to the short first the frog juicer or the DCC command station short circuit protection device. Maybe worth trying one first before committing to 14. My worry would be in the direction of travel, not much of an issue if you're travelling from the blades to the V as only the V polarity will be wrong and switched by the juicer to suit. What happens travelling the other way, as the blades and polarity could be wrong which may cause issues.
    Hopefully someone who knows what they're talking about will give the correct answer.

    Paul
     
  3. Sol

    Sol Full Member

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    I use the Tam Valley units on my NCE system and they work well in both directions. The 6 unit version was perfect for my storage sidings of 6 turnouts. As my subsections are provided bu a car globe 21w, this maybe enough of a electronic buffer to stop the command station closing down.

    One of my modelling mates was using relay operated auto reversers and was having problems in that his Lenz system shut down before the relay operated but as soon as he changed to electronic. no more problems.

    No problems with current as they only involved with one loco at any one time at the frog.
     
  4. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    That does give me cause for concern then Sol, as I use the Lenz system on my 00 gauge layout and have also got hold of the same setup for my intended 0 gauge layout. I know from experience that the Lenz system is extremely sensitive and quick to trip on short circuit, so it looks like it's either the Tam Valley units or stick with microswitches on the point tie bars for frog polarity changeover. That won't solve the problem with the crossovers though as since they're fixed (ie, no point blade changeover) they will definitely need the Tam Valley units to switch frog polarity, so thanks for the tipoff Sol. Current might be an issue on 0 gauge with some of the bigger Heljan diesels as I gather they have twin motors, but I won't be using anything of that size on my intended layout so no problems there.
    Keith.
     
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