Author Topic: Frog juicer or Tortoise powering the frog?  (Read 575 times)

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Bill H

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Frog juicer or Tortoise powering the frog?
« on: May 03, 2019, 08:35:06 AM »
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Group:
Seems to be a trend of late of using frog juicers as an alternative to the Tortoise or an SPDT switch powering the frog. I have been using the Tortoise for years powering all frogs with no issues, as do most of the layouts I operate on, all of which are entirely DCC. But in many of the newer DCC layouts in the media, it seems as if all the layouts are using frog juicers. The only rationale I can think of would be if a loco is entering against the leg that is thrown there would not be a short... That is not something that most operators would do to begin with, but I guess people do make mistakes. It just seems like it is at times just promoting advertisers or trendy or? Added costs I don't need...
Thoughts?

Kind regards,
Bill
 

delphiz302

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Re: Frog juicer or Tortoise powering the frog?
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2019, 09:01:44 AM »
+1
A good use case for a frog juicer: handthrown electro-frog turnouts; ensures reliable engine power through the turnout without worry of dirt between the points and stock rail ever needing to be cleaned.

Maletrain

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Re: Frog juicer or Tortoise powering the frog?
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2019, 10:00:41 AM »
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I can see some people who use servos to throw turnouts might want a Frog Juicer to change frog polarity/phase, especially if using momentary push buttons to throw turnouts, where the polarity/phase might become unsynchronized with the points.  But that would seem to negate the cost advantage of using a servo instead of a Tortoise. 

C855B

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Re: Frog juicer or Tortoise powering the frog?
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2019, 10:29:15 AM »
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If Bill is using Tortoises and powering the frogs from its contacts, there's no reason to change. Sometimes folks will use the contacts for signals or positive position feedback, and in that case you might want to use a Juicer.

... But that would seem to negate the cost advantage of using a servo instead of a Tortoise.

Juicers are not necessarily required with servos as actuators. The servo controllers I use - also Tam Valley, FWIW - have provision to drive relays for frog polarity and signalling. There are relay boards on eBay with an end cost of about $1.50 per turnout. Bottom line in a DCC environment is the Tam Valley controllers plus 3rd-party relays are half the cost of a Smail, or Tortoise plus separate decoder.
...mike

http://www.gibboncozadandwestern.com

We don't make mistakes, we have happy accidents. We just don't tell anybody. -Bob Ross

peteski

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Re: Frog juicer or Tortoise powering the frog?
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2019, 12:25:24 PM »
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Group:
 The only rationale I can think of would be if a loco is entering against the leg that is thrown there would not be a short... That is not something that most operators would do to begin with, but I guess people do make mistakes.

That still doesn't "fix" the problem - think about it: when a switch is thrown against you, even if the frog's polarity adjusts not to cause shorts, allowing the loco to  keep running further down the turnout, at some point the wheels will hit the points set incorrectly, which will then cause short (just a but further down the turnout).  Not a good reason to start using these Juicers.

I really don't see a wide spread of these (but I mostly frequent established layouts).  I suspect that simplified wiring would be the greatest incentive to use the Juicers.  Or like you said: because that is what all the cool kids use nowadays.  :)
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RBrodzinsky

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Re: Frog juicer or Tortoise powering the frog?
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2019, 01:35:59 PM »
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The only time I've seen a juicer coupled with a Tortoise is only when the Tortoise internal switch is being used for something else, or it has failed (but the stall motor still works).  Ground throws, micro-switches as throws, etc., are all perfectly good reasons to use a frog juicer. 
Rick Brodzinsky
Chief Engineer - JACALAR Railroad
Silicon Valley FreeMo-N

Maletrain

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Re: Frog juicer or Tortoise powering the frog?
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2019, 08:56:39 PM »
+1
If you are using a micro slide switch as a manual throw, why bother with a Frog Juicer when you can do the reversal with the micro switch contacts?

Cajonpassfan

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Re: Frog juicer or Tortoise powering the frog?
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2019, 10:14:23 PM »
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Well, the bulk of my turnouts (100 plus) are Tortoise powered, with powered frogs using the built-in contacts. But I do have a handful of Tam Valley servos in an area where the upper deck is too thin and a Tortoise would stick out (down) like a sore thumb. I've yet to power those frogs and wonder what options other than the (pricey) frogjuicers are...?
I don't want to dick around with adjacent mechanical contacts; too many moving parts to fail.... I want something foolproof.
Thanks for any input.
Otto K.

RBrodzinsky

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Re: Frog juicer or Tortoise powering the frog?
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2019, 12:48:18 AM »
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If you are using a micro slide switch as a manual throw, why bother with a Frog Juicer when you can do the reversal with the micro switch contacts?

We have learned, the hard way, that these switches do not last. The interior contacts fall apart after a few years, so then you need to dig it out of the layout and replace.  Or, as I convinced the team, got one hex-frog juicer (since there were six frogs at the throat of the yard) and changed all at. Left the Micro-switches in place to operate the points, but now no more electrical failures during a show.
Rick Brodzinsky
Chief Engineer - JACALAR Railroad
Silicon Valley FreeMo-N

Bill H

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Re: Frog juicer or Tortoise powering the frog?
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2019, 03:08:30 PM »
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Group:
As an example which led to my original question, the latest MR project is Canadian Canyons, DCC, with Peco turnouts, Tortoise switch motors, but using frog juicers. The frog juice just did not make much sense to me, hence my original question.

As Pete also remarked earlier, like Pete noted, all the layouts I operate on are fairly mature, all DCC and all use Tortoise switch motors to power the frogs regardless of the turnout manufacturer.

Kind regards,
Bill

peteski

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Re: Frog juicer or Tortoise powering the frog?
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2019, 05:09:57 PM »
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Group:
As an example which led to my original question, the latest MR project is Canadian Canyons, DCC, with Peco turnouts, Tortoise switch motors, but using frog juicers. The frog juice just did not make much sense to me, hence my original question.

Then maybe they are using these just to say that they are using a cool new gadget.   :)

Or they are afraid of the tortoise built-in switches failing?  In my experience, that is a rare occurrence with a typical lifespan of a layout.  Or to minimize wiring?  Each tortoise switch requires 3 wires, when a quad juicer only required 6 wires total?
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GaryHinshaw

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Re: Frog juicer or Tortoise powering the frog?
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2019, 07:38:38 PM »
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At this weekend's RMMBC meet we had a video clinic from David Popp about building the Canadian Canyon layout and he explained their rationale for using the juicers (it was not part of their original plan).   He said that they didn't want to rely on point rail/stock rail contact to power the point rails in the staging area, so they originally wired the points and frog together and switched the polarity of the entire assembly with the Tortoise contacts.  However, they found out after the fact that the Tortoise would mechanically move the points to the other rail before the internal switch had flipped polarity and it was causing a momentary short.  Rather than undoing the frog/point connection, they determined it was easier to install a hex juicer and let that device switch the polarity as needed.

So it was unintentional.  There is a lesson there about testing your ideas before committing to them...
« Last Edit: May 05, 2019, 07:44:01 PM by GaryHinshaw »

Bill H

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Re: Frog juicer or Tortoise powering the frog?
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2019, 10:13:39 PM »
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Gary:
There was a modification to the tortoise that I learned years ago, I think on N Code 40 or Allan's or somewhere, about making a modification to the PC board that stops the shorts. Very simply to do. I am out at the moment, but will update this tomorrow once I am home and can find it.

Cheers,
Bill

peteski

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Re: Frog juicer or Tortoise powering the frog?
« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2019, 10:29:48 PM »
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Gary:
There was a modification to the tortoise that I learned years ago, I think on N Code 40 or Allan's or somewhere, about making a modification to the PC board that stops the shorts. Very simply to do. I am out at the moment, but will update this tomorrow once I am home and can find it.

Cheers,
Bill

The Tortoise contacts are simply copper areas on the PC board with phosphor-bronze wipers making contact.  If you take the switch machine apart, the copper areas can be trimmed so the wipers contact them later during the throw.
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GaryHinshaw

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Re: Frog juicer or Tortoise powering the frog?
« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2019, 11:35:08 PM »
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Gary:
There was a modification to the tortoise that I learned years ago, I think on N Code 40 or Allan's or somewhere, about making a modification to the PC board that stops the shorts. Very simply to do. I am out at the moment, but will update this tomorrow once I am home and can find it.

Cheers,
Bill


Just to be clear, I don't have this problem, so I'm not looking for a solution.  I was just passing along MR's rationale for choosing a juicer for their staging yard.