Atlas Deluxe Under Table Switch Machines

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Soo2096, Jan 24, 2006.

  1. Soo2096

    Soo2096 New Member

    I'm building my first layout. I'm using a layout from an old atlas book (1986 print). The layout is called the big pan handle. I'm using all atlas code 83 track. I bought all atlas code 83 switches, the layout calls for 33 switch machines. I was going to buy 33 atlas deluxe under the table switch machines but after reading reviews I'm having second thoughts. In the same reviews everyone is praising the tortoise switch machines. They go for about the same price but the one thing that is confusing me is; how do you wire them up? The layout won't be set up for dcc; it’s too advance for a me. Can I wire them up to the atlas switch control box’s I bought?
  2. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    I'm speechless, for once.
  3. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    :wave: welcome to the gauge :wave: don't know squat about tortoise ecept from what i'v read in mags but there a dc motor all you need to do is reverse the power to them.
  4. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but I'll say no. I assume the Atlas control box you refer to is their switch controller which slides side to side and when you press it it activates a twin solenoid coil type machine. The Tortoise will not operate on a burst of power, it needs power applied at least long enough to finish its travel, some several seconds. And typical practice is to have it receive power constantly, keeping the points against the stock rail. These types of DC motors are called stall motors and are designed to use very little current as they sit stalled. You would operate them with toggle switches.
  5. kchronister

    kchronister Member

    Ditto what Gary said. The atlas controllers will NOT run tortoises properly. The tortoises come with instructions on wiring and you can use SPDT or DPDT toggle switches depending on how you wire them (I use DPDT's myself). I buy these online for about $0.75 each.

    The review are right, in my opinion. The atlas under-table machines are difficult to get placed properly and are not durable. Also, the tortoises are much more useful if you want to make good control panels with indicators, signals or other things. It's 50x the product compared to the simple atlas snap-motor with a long arm on it... I definitely recommend the tortoises...

    I don't recall them being comparable in price, as you say, though: Last time I looked the Atlas machines were about half the price. If you're seeing the price equal, you're either getting a highway-robbery level price on the Atlas machines, or an incredible deal on the tortoises.. (and in fact, if you can find tortoises for less than $12.00 each please share the source, I need to buy about 50 of them).

    There are many threads here covering tortoises, including one by me showing some wiring diagrams for hooking them up. There's also good info at, as well as on the website of Circuitron, who makes them. I think you can educate yourself on the details of tortoises very quickly.
  6. Soo2096

    Soo2096 New Member

    Thanks for the quick response. Do you guys think I should scratch the atlas switch machines/control box and buy the tortoise with toggles? Is it easy to wire them to a toggle switch,singal and a led on 1 tortoise? I found them cheap on eBay, if you buy them bulk they work out to be about $11.15 a piece(when you buy 48). They come brand new/sealed in a there retail box. The atlas deluxe switch machines are about $10.00 apiece. "kchronister" I think you are talking about the atlas under table remote switch machines (part #0584 and 0585), they are about $5-6. The one I was talking about are the atlas remote under table Deluxe switch machines and they are around $10 (part #0066).
  7. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    They are easy to wire, perhaps not as easy as the Atlas, since the Atlas machines and switches have screw terminals. You will need to solder. The packaging shows a couple alternatives for wiring, and kchronister has posted some suggestions as well, as he stated. Like him, I use double pole toggles. So far I've only attached signal leds to one turnout. Easy enough. But I don't need them mostly, and I use the position of the toggle handle to know how a turnout is thrown. Even for those which I have two toggles connected, to, because one of the operating rules is that the local control is always reset for the main route after use. So the control on the panel will be correct except when a local crew is using it, and the yard operator will know that. But if your desire is to have led indicators, very easy. And the tortoise have proved very dependable.
  8. Soo2096

    Soo2096 New Member

    Thanks Gary and Kchronister for all your help, I've did some research on the wiring and decided to buy the tortoise switch machines.
  9. kchronister

    kchronister Member

    That would be my rec. If you're willing, (and assuming you don't want to buy him out!) can you PM me with the guy selling 'em for $11.15 on Ebay. I need just about that many, and that's a very good price...

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