Frog Juicers - Light Loco Problem

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gppsoftware
Posts: 237
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 5:34 am

Re: Frog Juicers - Light Loco Problem

Postby gppsoftware » Sat Apr 04, 2020 4:32 am

Geoff,

One of the giveaways earlier in this thread is that you mention a clicking relay being heard. The idea of introducing a physical make/break interruption to a digital circuit with all the interference that such an action would cause horrifies me! No wonder you've got a problem! I am really surprised that Gaugemaster are even marketing such kit (actually, I'm not really, because they still live in the DC era and try to apply DC solutions to DCC problems) because other 'juicers' I have come across have been electronic devices, not a relay.

And herein lies a further problem which is coming out in this thread: once a device is inserted into a layout which has the potential to destroy digital signals, certainly interfere with them and cause momentary phase issues which confuses decoders, people start observing side-effect problems and then start calling for 'terminators'/'snubbers'/'quenchers' to mask the problems caused by the 'juicer'. 'We don't know what we're doing but we do it any way!'. Please throw out the juicer - it is a waste of money and is causing you more problems than it will solve. 'Quenchers' are only necessary when we do things that shouldn't be done.

Going back to the original issue of hand operated turnouts not having a switch. One solution I observed used by the Burgess Hill Model Railway club many years ago was to use a wire-in-tube approach where the 'lever' was actually a switch. This link (https://www.modelrailforum.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=6545) isn't a BHMRC layout, but it is someone else who has done the same thing - scroll down to the third post. The switch is wired to the crossing (frog) and the turnout is controlled mechanically via tube. BHMRC dotted these things around their layouts where they needed them, close to the point being controlled, rather than centralising them on a panel, but either method is fine.
This approach also has the advantage that you don't touch the turnout - frequent hand-changing by moving blades eventually bends them and causes other mechanical problems.

So my suggestion would be to throw out the 'juicer' and use some kind of variation of the mechanical switch. It is guaranteed to work, it guarantees that you digital signals will be kept clean, it doesn't rely on a short (bad practice) to work and it doesn't create a situation where 'bandaids' (quenchers) are needed to mask further problems and probably introduce others. Seems like a no-brainer to me!

I believe that Bufferstop's (very good) explanation says it all: the 'juicer' is really stuffing things up for you - please don't use it!!!
Flashbang's 'micros switch' approach is a variation on what I have just written - we are in agreement.

Graham P


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