CP Executive train in Albany

CP Executive train in Albany

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Frog Juicer to the Rescue!

My yard lead consists of three switches that were installed together. Had I used M.E. switches with isolated frogs or switches with insulated frogs, I wouldn't have had problems. But, I didn't because I was fed up with M.E.'s quality contraol. Diagnosing the problem took a while but the cure was easy. First, I marked each place I had a feeder with a red or black bead, and blocked off all other track that was isolated from the switches.

I needed to cut gaps in only four places. For two of them, I merely unsoldered the rail joiners connecting the adjoining rails and slid them along onto only one rail. Then, thin styrene was glued between them to maintain the gap. For the other two, I didn't want to use a Dremel for fear of messing things up. So, I removed the rail joiners completely and carefully slid out the rail from the molded frog and pulled it parallel to the rail it joined. The rail was nipped just a little shorter and it was slipped back into the molded frog.

Then, three additional green wires were soldered to the rails in the crotch of the frog and dropped (thankfully just barely clearly a benchwork cross brace) and hooked up to the Tam Valley Depot frog juicer. The one I purchased has the capacity to power six frogs or reversing loops, which is more than I needed. But, having excess capacity is better than having insufficient capacity. After only about 20 minutes more of work, everything was running smoothly (I tested it all this time) and I was back in business!

I also got sick and tired of switching out the DCC and DC throttle systems input leads to power the layout. Sometimes I want to run DC trains, sometimes I want to run DCC. So, I built a little gray "magic box" that at the flip of a switch can change the input power source. The output can also be switched from the layout itself to a programming track (useful for testing engines), which I have yet to hook up. It was mainly a bit of cutting, stripping, bending, and connecting various wires together. The box is screwed to the board behind it so it won't shift around.

Now the wiring is officially done!

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