Questions About Tortoise Switch Machines

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Drew1125, Jun 13, 2007.

  1. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Do I need to drill holes in the center of the roadbed for linking the machine to the throwbar of the turnout, or can I also link to the throwbar on the outside of the rail?

    I'm using Atlas code 83 turnouts...sub-roadbed is 1/2" plywood...
  2. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    Hi Drew

    If the throwbar has a "hoop" on the outside of the rail then you can mount drill a hole through your baseboard and let it work through there. I'm not sure if the lever will be able to make it above the layout and then still have enough to be bent into the hoop.

    But why not just mount it the normal way, under the turnout. The throwbar should have a small hole in it for the the lever to pass through- otherwise you need to drill a small hole through it.
  3. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Thanks J.W.! :thumb:
    Yes, there are already holes in the throwbars…
    The reason I was asking is that I’m getting ready to lay the track, & I want to go ahead & drill holes in the roadbed directly under the turnout where I can, but there may be a couple of places where it would be better to be offset somewhat due to benchwork arrangement, etc…Am I making any sense here? Sorry, I’ve never used these things before…
    Also, what size hole to I need to drill? Maybe just slightly larger than the travel distance of the point rails?

    Sorry for all the dumb questions… :oops:
  4. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    Hi Drew

    Yes, you are not the only one who has benchwork ''in the way" of where you have points and thus where you need to install the switch machines.

    Yes, the holes need to be as wide as the "travel length" of the throwbar, you can also make them slightly thicker so that you have place to play.

    Remember, this is Model Railways- there are 100, if not more, ways to do something. Some people simple cut away their benchwork and build it around the motor, or put the motor in offset and attach a whole system to get to the point- you could even horizontaly mount the motor- whatever works best for you. But your idea of slightly offsetting the motor and using the throwbar outside the rails.

    Also, I'm not too sure if this makes sence, but you should have received a small plastic bit that slides on the front (It has three small, evenly spaced, holes)- that might help by just offsetting the motor and then putting the "wire" through one of the outer holes.

    Don't worry, I've never used those either- just read the small pamphlets that come with them, so I'm not too sure if these will work.

    And one last thing that my Maths teacher always used to tell us- there is no such thing as a stupid question because there are probably others out there wanting to know the exact same thing but are also too shy to ask.
  5. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Hi Drew, I did just what you're asking about, for the same reason, I had a splice plate joining two pieces of subroadbed in the way, I used rectangular telescoping brass tubing to extend the throwbar, you can go any lenght you need to. I mounted mine above rather than below, as it will be covered by a street anyway and it was easier. I use 1/2" homasote here, so I was able to just notch it for the tubing. The Tortoise is below the end of the tubing, you can see the wire end protruding just a bit. The second photo shows the Tortoise below the roadbed, and the toggle I use to throw the turnout. I read in your other thread that you plan to use DCC to throw your turnouts, while I was an early convert to DCC I don't use it for my turnouts. For anyone else interested, although 2 position toggles are all that is needed to throw turnouts, I use center offs. Reason being it makes it easier to adjust the machine for good throw in both directions. Holding the Tortoise with one hand, I throw the toggle back and forth till I'm happy with the Tortoise position. I then put the toggle in center off, because I've had trouble keeping the Tortoise in place when it is under power, the torque is significant. I can drive screws to hold the Tortoise easily with power off, and never have to let go of the Tortoise as I can throw the toggle with my free hand.

    Attached Files:

  6. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Thanks for the explanation & the photo Gary!
    That helps a lot! :thumb:

    I may be asking you for more assistance here in the next few weeks! :eek: :confused: wall1
  7. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    Gary, excellent idea!

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