Tortoise Switch Machines

mrdtrains Feb 20, 2001

  1. mrdtrains

    mrdtrains TrainBoard Member

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    I need answers to installing Tortoise switch machines on my HO layout. I am using Atlas Under-the-table switch machines where ever possible but in those locations where the Atlas switch machine will not fit, I am using Tortoise switch machines. Atlas provides adequate installation instructions that are easy to follow. Wiring these along with the Atlas snap relay has been easy and things have worked the first time without any problems. The Tortoise switch machines on the other hand are a little more confusing. I understand that connections 1 and 8 are for the switch machine motor but this is where my understanding ends. The installation instructions describe various ways of wiring these to switches but not with a momentary switch (ACME). The installation instructions with the ACME switches show a very simplified way of wiring the Tortoise switch machine but it is incomplete. Can anyone help me out with how to wire a Tortoise switch machine using ACME mementary switches. I can power these switches with either AC or DC current.

    Thanks,
    Michael
     
  2. rhensley_anderson

    rhensley_anderson TrainBoard Supporter

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    Without being home and looking at the instructions that come with the Tortie, I can tell you that they require a constant voltage/current to keep them in place. They are not 'snap' machines with which you push the button and they throw. You can replace your push buttons with a toggle switch.

    In my case, I built a small power supply to put just enough power to them to get very slow motion without the rattling noise you sometimes get with 12vdc. I run about 7vdc. However, I expect that my answer didn't satisfy you because it isn't in line with the way your control panel is organized. :)
     
  3. ncng

    ncng TrainBoard Member

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    First of all, you must use DC only. The Tortoise contains a motor not a coil like the Atlas switch machines.

    I must disagree with rhensley_anderson on one item, you do not need to keep power on the Tortoise switch machine all the time to keep it in place. I have over 30 Tortoise switch machines which I leave power off to them except when changing their position.

    If you want to use momemtary push buttons you will have to hold the button down until the Tortoise has completed its complete travel. I personnally use SPST center off toggle switches to operate mine.

    I would recommend you get a 12-14 volt transformer and a couple of 50V 1 amp diodes. This method is on the Tortoise instructions. From one of the terminals, connect both diodes with one one way and the other one reversed. This will provide about 6-7 volts positive (+) from one diode and 6-7 volts negative (-) from the other diode. The other terminal on the transformer is used as a common return. Run a wire from the common return to either terminal 1 or 8 of the switch machine. Run a Positive wire to one of the push buttons. Run a Negative wire to the other push button. The output from both of the push buttons will go to either terminal 1 or 8 (whichever you didn't already use). WARNING: Don't push both buttons at once or you will send 12volts AC to the Tortoise. It probably won't hurt it but it won't like it. If the switch machine runs in reverse of what you want, switch the leads to terminals 1 and 8.

    David
     
  4. rhensley_anderson

    rhensley_anderson TrainBoard Supporter

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    Interesting! Since I use LEDs to determine when the Torties have reached the end of their travel by being dim during travel and brightening when finished, I never thought of just running them until they've closed. Of course that would work as the tortie is gear driven. The contacts could then be used for panel lights or LEDs if you don't power your frog with them or use them for something else.

    Good call.
     
  5. Harron

    Harron TrainBoard Supporter

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    They may stay in place when off, but they move a lot easier. Tortoise machines draw 3 milliamps of current when throwing, and 25 milliamps in the stall position, hence the "stall-motor" type of switch machine.

    Also, if you use 50 Volt, 470 micro-farad capacitors attached to the pushbottons, you don't have to hold for the entire throw, the discharge will throw it for you. That's how ours are all set up.
     
  6. ncng

    ncng TrainBoard Member

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    I use LEDs for position indication on my mainline turnouts. The "Torties" , as you call them (I like that), have two sets of contacts. I use one set for powering the frog and the other set for powering the LEDs. I use a separate 5VDC power source for the LEDs. It makes for a lot of wires but I like the results.
     
  7. ChrisDante

    ChrisDante TrainBoard Member

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> I understand that connections 1 and 8 are for the switch machine motor but this is where my understanding ends. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    This reply is only 6 months late, and you probably have figured it out by now but just in case a newbie is reading it here goes; 2,3,4 and 5,6,7 control two separate SPDT switches. When I wire around my shinohara turnouts, I use one of the switches to direct the power to whatever track I want.

    I've also bought NCE 'switchit' stationary decoders from TTX-DCC.com. They don't have feed-back but I've also connected an operating switch stand to those turnouts and can see the turnouts aspect. These 'switchits' carry the power from my DCC booster as well as controling the turnout.
     

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