Peco Turnout machines

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by davidstrains, Aug 31, 2002.

  1. davidstrains

    davidstrains Active Member

    Hi to all! : )

    I think this is the place to ask my question. I am beginning to lay the track on my layout. (Track plan posted on the Trackplan forum). I am installing Peco turnouts - #6, for the staging area at the right end of the layout. This will be under an access hatch (small mountain scenery) so i am using the Peco switch machines mounted under the table. This is where I am having much difficulty. I remember in my earlier years in the hobby (30+ years ago) that people cut big holes under the Pecos and mounted the machine directly to the turnout. This makes for a sloppy looking track job in my opinion but there may be new ways of covering that hole that I don't know.

    I notice the instructions with the switch machine call for cutting a "small slot" under the turnout bar so you can run the extender rod up to the turnout. That seemed like a good idea 'til I tried it. It must be about a 4 person job to mount the turnout, align the throw rod with the turnout bar and then screw it in to the plywood below the layout. : ( How are you folks that know what you are doing doing this? I see a lot of good looking systems here and know you must have a bunch of techniques that I have missed in the past bunch of years.


    BTW do you report layout progress with photos here or in photos or N/Z forum?
  2. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    To David from David:
    Any time you mount a switch machine under the layout you want to have two people working on it. But you never do.
    I use stripwood or ties to block the points in the mid position. Then I get underneath and line up the switch machine in the mid position as well and try to stick the the wire through the little hole in the throw rod. Then I screw the whatever in position.
    To make it easier, I mount the machine on the Homasote(TM) and don't use plywood. (There will now be 40 replies telling me off). There are mounting devices that you can get or you can bend the mounts on the switch machine outward and put a big screw and washer through them --this lets you adjust it sideways if you have to.
    Most of my layout is two feet wide, so I can reach both top and bottom at the same time.
  3. YakkoWarner

    YakkoWarner Member

    I cut a hole in the deck a bit (a very little bit) larger than the switch, mount it directly to the points and cover the sides with masking tape. Scenic over it and you'll never know they're there. It is also easy enough to remove them and replace the switch if necessary.
  4. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

  5. jimnrose

    jimnrose Member

    I used tortoise machines with Peco turnouts and am very pleased with both products. The base is 1/2' plywood and I substituted the 23 mil piano wire supplied by Tortoise with 30 mil wire to provide adequate spring action. I also found the template drawing supplied by Tortoise was a must when installing the machines to ensure proper alignment. The tortoise's also provide 2p2t auxiliary contacts to use for either ganging machines or operate track signals.
    Take care, Jim
  6. Donn Welton

    Donn Welton Member

    Peco with Tortoise


    You mentioned using Peco with Tortoise machines, which is what I am planning on doing. But do you remove the spring from the Peco turnouts? Or is the Tortoise strong enough to overcome the initial resistance? Any problems with this combination?
  7. Railery

    Railery Member

    My old layout i had over 50 under table atlas switch machines and 2 peco curved switches. i did cut the big hole. found it easier to work with but i like the other ideas. One thing i found to make it easier and quicker, i used duck tape under the table to hold stuff while i checked it out. When i was satisfied, i then screwed it all up :) Made it alot easier for adjustments :D
  8. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Peco springs

    the Peco spring is in between the points at the throwbar. If you look at it, there's a little T shaped bit that holds the one end in; it has 2 bits of metal on the underside that can be straightened out and the metal bit raised. The spring will then jump out of the turnout and bounce off your safety glasses or land in your coffee.
    I just checked my points downstairs and I did remove the spring for the Tortoises. Some older Pecos have a different spring holder. (Mine are HO; can't speak for other gauges.)
  9. jimnrose

    jimnrose Member

    Hi Don,
    I've installed over 100 tortoise/Peco combinations without any problem. In a few cases the turnout 'flipped' slowly and I moved the 'T' bar that David mentioned. Sliding the tee bar will reduce the spring tension. This is a great Peco feature, but I didn't read about this function but found it be accident.
    Take care, Jim
  10. Donn Welton

    Donn Welton Member

    Dave and Jim,

    Thanks for the feedback. Jim gave me the answer I was hoping to hear---leaving springs in Peco turnouts using Tortoise machines, with the possibility of adjusting the tension---as I am using DCC and want to be super sure of point contact. Dave offers the more discerning modeler a way of cleaning up the turnout by removing a piece not found on prototype turn outs.
    Cheers, Donn

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