Simple Turntable Questions

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Play-Doh, Apr 1, 2007.

  1. Play-Doh

    Play-Doh Member

    Im thinking about putting at turntable in my yard......but I know little about this and the research im doing isnt helping so im hoping you folks could shed some light.

    Ok bear with me while I explain this

    Im going to have a 4 engine engine house, and I want the ability to rotate the table, drive out an engine and turn it again to the track (Only one track out of the turntable...not multiple exits) Furthermore, I dont want to do this by hand, all remotely. To make things more difficult im in DC, and plan to stay that way.

    My questions are

    1. Does the power source to my track originate at my engine house? Or at the turntable? Or neither? If the power is elsewhere on the layout, wont I lose connections when I rotate the table away from the powered mainline?

    2. Does the track on the turntable line up with and make electrical contact with the power of the track?

    3. And correct me if im wrong, ive hear the Atlas turntables are junk.

    Thanks ahead of time for answering my elementary questions!

  2. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member


    To try to answer some of your questions:
    1. The power generally originates elsewhere in the layout. The approach track is directly powered by it. The turntable has a separate power feed as do the engine house tracks. These last I have wired through an ON/OFF switch so the engines aren't powered up all the time.

    2. The turntable is not powered up when the tracks align. It's got a separate feed as mentioned above.

    3. As is, the Atlas turntables aren't the greatest...But they'll do in a pinch. Or you can turn them into something like this (not mine, BTW):
  3. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

    I have the atlas turntable on my layout and it works great for me. This is how I worked the power in.
    The Atlas TT has power feed built into it so you can either have a separate block switch on your conrol panel or you can feed directly off your approach trach (like I did) I also have separate blocks for each of my enginehouse and open air tracks. I also added two approach tracks so I have a bit more operating possibilites.
    One detraction from the Atlas table however is the fact that it is small. Almost no steam engines can be turned on it. As you can see in my picture one of my enginehouse tracks runs right through the turntable and approach tracks so I can park my Hudson in the engine house.
  4. Play-Doh

    Play-Doh Member

    Thanks so much for your help. I agree, the escape route is a problem.

    What about this?

  5. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

    I think that will work. it looks like you'll have at least two run-though tracks so you can put larger engines into the roundhouse. I would however branch the apprach tracks off the first track instead of having them come out of your yard, but that's just my opinion.
    I placed my engine servicing facilities on the second approach track.
  6. Play-Doh

    Play-Doh Member

    Whoops! I placed this trackplan in the wrong thread of mine. I meant to post it in my thread on the track planning forum! Haha! I guess it worked here too! Thanks!

  7. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    I think that Atlas usually takes the mystery out of wiring things, but for most turntables, you need a separate power feed for the turntable track, which should also have its own direction control switch. As already noted, each of the storage tracks off the turntable should have their own on/off switch. For my manually powered turntable, I used a dpdt-centre-off switch for direction control for the table track itself. For the storage tracks, I ran the power through a spst on/off switch, and from there to a rotary switch which controls the power to all of the turntable storage tracks (plus a couple of othe shop sidings.)
    Walthers have a couple of powered turntables available, as does Bowser, and Diamond Scale (these are kits - quite nice-looking, but I didn't enjoy building the one that I did :D ). If you can find one, Fleishmann makes a very nice (and very expensive) rtr turntable, with a beautiful indexing system, but it won't handle some longer locos.

  8. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Actually, I had the same opinion as Glen when I set up my TT. I had only two approach tracks. Then I saw an article on the Franklin & Manchester's new yard (MR 12/06) and saw he had a bunch of stub tracks leading to the TT. I just couldn't figure that one out. A couple of days later it hit me...Those stub tracks were turned into run-around tracks by having them go to the TT. I prompltly extended 3 more tracks to the TT, and that has created a lot of options for switching the yard...
  9. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    If you have the room, more than one approach track is a good idea. My loco servicing area in Lowbanks is crammed into a pretty tight area, so the coaling tower ended up on the turntable lead. The wasn't room for a roundhouse, so I rebuilt it into a squarehouse, but even then, I needed to place a turnout between the turntable and the building, just to get the track to line up with the doors. While the turntable is very important to operations, the shop area is more for scenic effect than anything else. ;)

  10. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I make all the tracks around the TT separate blocks, plus the bridge track. I use a rotary switch to power the radiating tracks, if I keep them under 12 -- my last layout had 2 rotaries.
    One other trick I use is to put a switch in so that I can switch the power between the tracks and the the turntable motor so that I don't drive the loco off when the table is turning.
  11. Kanawha

    Kanawha Member

    Thats a beautiful layout, Wayne. Do you have more pictures posted somewhere?
  12. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Thanks, Kanawha, and welcome to the Gauge. :wave:
    You can find more pictures of my layout by using the "Search" feature, near the top of the page, or simply by clicking on my User Name along the left margin. There are also tons of photos in the Gallery, perhaps too many to digest at once. Here's a link:
    some foe-toes

    And here's a link to a thread that contains a whole bunch of links to earlier threads that have slipped towards the back of things: (this one is probably the best to see lots without having to hunt through other stuff)
    An update, so as to not overwhelm this page

    There are some more recent threads on the last few most recent pages in the Photography Forum, and
    you can also check out posts by my good friend cn nutbar, as many of his photos of his trains have been taken on my layout.

  13. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    hey glen,

    what do you use to power your turntable? I have found that 12vdc from the power pack is too fast and causes the belt to slip off. I was thinking about using a 9v battery for mine. Suggestions?

  14. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

    I use a switch on my control panel that turns my main power pack into the one that turns my TT that way I can vary the speed using the reostat and avoid the belt problems.
  15. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Glen, Kevin, Not to steal this thread, but I use an old power supply from a trainset and hook the turntable motor to the variable dc. That way you can control the speed. The fixed dc I use for building lights and stuff.

  16. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

    That's what I just said
  17. djk

    djk New Member

    What a beautiful layout!!. What brand turntable is it?

    Thanks, Dave
  18. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    I hope I don't seem presumptuous, but if you're referring to my photo, thanks Dave. The turntable is sort of a "cousin of Atlas", in that I used some girders cut from the sides of Atlas through girder bridges. The turntable is mostly scratchbuilt, and is manually powered, as it's almost at the edge of the layout.
    Here's a link to a thread that gives a little more info. If you scroll down past the picture of the loco on the turntable, there are a couple of pictures of the underside details.



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