“Hex Frog Juicer” sounds like something out of a Harry Potter novel, doesn’t it? I’d be lying if I said my purchase decision wasn’t influenced just a teeny bit by the name. But, colorful connotations aside, that name is actually quite descriptive: the Hex Frog Juicer is designed to provide electricity to six turnout frogs. Just what Susquehannock Industrial Park needs!
Yes, it’s possible to use a Peco Electrofrog turnout without powering the frog directly. When everything is working as intended, the frog receives power from whichever point is in contact with its adjoining stock rail. The mating sides of the point and stock rail both have to be sparkly clean, however, and that’s a much more delicate task than cleaning rail tops. It’s better practice to feed power straight to the frog. To ensure proper polarity reaches the frog, you can link a microswitch to the turnout throw bar. I did this for Susquehannock’s double-slip switch a couple of years ago. It’s easier, however, to use a Frog Juicer, which works like an auto-reverse circuit. As soon as it detects a short condition, it changes polarity to match.
Years ago, when I wired in Susquehannock’s feeders, the frog connections were all run to their own terminal block underneath. This made the installation of the Juicer a snap—six short jumpers from the terminal block, and two wires to the bus. After fifteen minutes’ work with the screwdriver, I put a PowerCab and a Trainmaster into position for some test running, and it worked perfectly. No more stalls, and polarity flips are so fast you can’t even see a flicker in the headlight.
Afterwards, I was reviewing my notes on this project, and noticed that construction on Susquehannock Industrial Park started 12 years ago now. Wow. I think I’ve got a pretty good contender here for the title of Longest T-Trak Work-in-Progress Ever. The Juicer represents an important milestone; trains on the module will now operate as well as they ought to.