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Tortoise Point motors - Electrics - DC - Getting You Started. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Sun May 18th, 2008 09:21 am
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Sol
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On my home layout topic & talking about control panels & me using push buttons to operate Tortoise point motors, I did say I would explain how I do this.

Tortoise motors use DC to drive the motor one way or the other & are called "stall" motors in that when they get to the end of the throw, the motor stalls keeping the blade pressed against the stock rail.
The motors are so designed so that this stalling does not hurt it at all.

The instructions that come with the motor give 3 different methods for using either DPDT (double pole double throw) or SPDT (single pole double throw) switches but me being different, wanted to use a pushbutton.

I came across a circuit in the Jan 08 Model Railroader that uses pushbuttons but this relies on the operator holding the button until the motor has gone past the halfway mark. A good circuit but no quite what I was after.

Eventually I designed the following circuit using a relay with 3 sets of contacts as a minimum per Tortoise. The relays are ex- post Office Exchange units.



Assume the point is for straight through running & so the relay is released. Contacts 1 & 2 maintain power the point motor & thus the blades for the main line. Pushing the button on the branch line operates the relay, which locks via its own contact #3. With Contacts 1 & 2 now operated, power is reversed to the motor making it move the tie bar so the blades swing to the branch line.

That was easy. To revert to the main line, a method of releasing the relay was needed.
Yes, If I used push button that either made when pushed or break when pushed, it would be very easy but the buttons I wanted to use are the Kadee Quickie type which are only 4mm (5/32) in diameter as compared to the usual buttons of 9.6mm (3/8) & they do not have a "break" action, only a "make" action.

So the locking circuit of the relay is via a resistor of about the same value as the resistance of the relay & in my case, around 500 ohms so I use a 500 ohm 5 watt resistor. Now if I short out the relay, the resistor prevents any fuses or circuit breakers from action & the relay will release allowing the motor now to be reversed & shifting the tie bar & blades back to the mainline.

Easy when you know how.
This is a simple circuit. I use this principle to operate a few motors in a ladder format similar to diode matrix working for solenoid type motors.

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 Posted: Tue May 27th, 2008 12:57 pm
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Sol
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Further to my initial post, some explanations for those who are not sure of electrics.

A relay is an electromechanical device like a solenoid point motor in that when DC is applied to the coils, a magnetic field is generated & an armature is moved & part of this armature will alter switch contacts. Contacts can be arranged to break when operated or make when operated. The contacts shown on my circuit are in two differnt modes.
The one shown under the realy coil is a make contact & the contacts associated with the Tortoise or any similar point motor are called cahngeover contacts - break before make - that means the lever ( the diagonal line) breaks from the top contact before it makes with the bottom.

This website has a good article on relays http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relay


For a description of Tortoise installation, refer to this site http://www.fiferhobby.com/html/misc__page__tortoise__circuitr.html
It is N scale but the info is as supplied by the Tortoise manufacturer.

If there is any specific question, ask & I will attempt to answer.

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 Posted: Wed May 28th, 2008 12:27 am
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Marty
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I'm just trying to get my head around using a CDU with my PECO and SEEP point motors.
The advantage of tortoise motors is that they move the point blades slowly and therefore more prototypically isn't it?
Are there other advantages Sol?



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 Posted: Wed May 28th, 2008 02:34 am
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Sol
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Marty, while some people like Richard J in your part of the world is not a Peco fan, he did develop some electronic gizmos that assist in solenoid motors.
I use Masterswitch units on my Peco motors & points
& yes Tortoise & similar do look nice in moving blades slowly.
I am using them not for appearance but I did not want solenoid motors thumping on tiebars of hand made points.

A few in the UK have used Peco on hand made without problems but I am not game - I have had Peco tiebars come adrift using solenoids.

Tortoise come with 2 sets of changeover contacts for frog switching, etc & by getting them from USA direct, the cost is about the same as Peco plus accessory switch.

The downside with Tortoise is the need to have a thick base frame of at least 4" / 100mm as the motors hang down - at least Peco, mounted to the point fit into a 2"/ 50mm frame OK.

The basic difference is in the operation electrically - solenoid can use a few methods that are not expensive like stud & probe & using a CDU, diode matrices are good but Tortoise are a bit more complicated in this. I had great fun working out my 2 sets of three way points for one button operation per track using my relay methods.

To be honest, unless you understand DC & its many methods of using it with diodes & relays & slow release circuitry, it can be possibly a bit too much.
Stick with CDU & solenoid motors if you want to be able to operate multiple points at the same time via diode matrices.
Tortoise - OK, one switch per motor.

I was lucky, the Commonwealth Government via PMG/Telecom/Telstra trained me in DC & associated wiring.

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 Posted: Wed May 28th, 2008 04:18 am
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Marty
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Thanks Ron,
Maybe later I might have a go at a tortoise just to give myself a challenge, until then the PECO and SEEPS will do me.
I'm pretty sure I can get a CDU wired up without any trouble, gotta get this diorama finished off first.



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 Posted: Wed May 28th, 2008 11:22 am
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Christrerise
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Don't worry too much about moving the point blades slowly. The old clamplock points used to be thrown over with terrific force and an almighty crash. Anyone who stood on the platform ends at Euston would have heard them. Just like a Peco motor!

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 Posted: Thu May 29th, 2008 12:39 am
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Marty
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:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: ... very prototypical ... and the required maintenance thereof :shock:



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 Posted: Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 03:57 am
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Sol
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Another slow acting version similar to Tortoise being released this coming weekend.

http://www.dccconcepts.com/index_files/Cobalt_turnout_motor.htm
 
and there is a comprehensive 22 page manual about the new unit & point / turnout installation as well.

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 Posted: Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 06:37 am
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gordons19
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Thanks for the info on the new Cobalt motors Ron.  They clearly have given a lot of thought to their design and at 67mm depth, that is around 15mm shallower than a Tortoise.

On a straight exchange basis, AUS300$ is around £170 for 12.

Based on Purchase Parity, the UK price would equate to £155 for 12, so it will be interesting to see where they pitch the UK price.

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 Posted: Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 08:15 am
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Softvark
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I like the look of those motors. I've never been entirely comfortable with the stall type of motors from an engineering viewpoint. If they get the price right and ensure the switches are reliable (which looks promising from the spec) then they could be onto a winner.

Julian

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 Posted: Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 08:30 am
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MaxSouthOz
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You don't have to use them in stalled mode, Julian.  I have many on my layout and they are all switched off once they are thrown.  There is enough resistance in the mechanism to hold the tiebar.  You will be hard pressed to move it with your finger once the motor stops.

The beauty of them is that 1.  They have a DPDT internal switch for frogs or signals,   and 2.  They will run on normal 12v current without needing capacitor discharge units.

 



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 Posted: Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 08:40 am
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Softvark
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MaxSouthOz wrote: You don't have to use them in stalled mode, Julian.  I have many on my layout and they are all switched off once they are thrown.   

That's interesting - first time I've seen that said. They should publicise it more.

 

MaxSouthOz wrote:
The beauty of them is that 1.  They have a DPDT internal switch for frogs or signals,   and 2.  They will run on normal 12v current without needing capacitor discharge units.


Most non solenoid motors have switches but some are more reliable than others. I'm currently using Fulgurex which work well and have good switches (2 x SPDT) but they are noisy and fiddly to align. Consequently I've been looking at using servos which I've had a lot of success with for signal operation - including providing bounce for semaphores. However they don't have feedback switches so would have to have a custom mounting arrangement.

These new switches may be the answer.

Julian 

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 Posted: Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 10:10 am
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jim s-w
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Hi Chris

Clamp locks move slowly - Electro Pneumatic point machines suche as the westinghouse ones are the fast ones - Sounds like a shotgun going off!

Cheers

Jim



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 Posted: Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 04:07 pm
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John Dew
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gordons19 wrote: Thanks for the info on the new Cobalt motors Ron.  They clearly have given a lot of thought to their design and at 67mm depth, that is around 15mm shallower than a Tortoise.

On a straight exchange basis, AUS300$ is around £170 for 12.

Based on Purchase Parity, the UK price would equate to £155 for 12, so it will be interesting to see where they pitch the UK price.

 

How does the Aus $ price compare with a Tortoise 12 pack in Aus?

Its difficult to make price comparisons because of freight and mail costs but a 12 pack of Tortoise costs 136 BP from Bromsgrove and from Tonys Trains $156 US (100BP +_)

I guess I should wait until the UK prices are announced or they get a US Distribuitor

Sure looks a neat product.

 

PS I did the switch not so much for the protypical movement more the ease and reliabilty of polarity changing at equivalent total cost (motor +switch)




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 Posted: Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 06:29 pm
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gordons19
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You're quite right John about the US price of $156 from Tony's Trains, but current exchange rates would put that around £107.  Add 17.5% VAT and shipment costs and import charges of around £20 and that is a landed cost of £145 for UK modellers.  If you were exporting to Canada then VAT would go, but you would have your import duties.

If these come in around the £140 mark plus shipping cost of £7 then they will be in the ballpark.  If they pitch in around £170 then it would be a calculation of design advantage v cost implications.

 

 

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 Posted: Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 06:51 pm
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John Dew
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I keep forgetting about VAT! Although from time to time  over here they forget/omit to charge the Canadian equivalent (GST about to become HST).

With the Canadian Dollar so strong (almost par) I guess I have to wait for a US Distributer

I have edited my original post...I started it twice and forgot I hadnt deleted the first bit :oops:



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 Posted: Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 09:22 pm
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MaxSouthOz
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I reckon the horizontal mounting lugs are on the wrong side.  I have written to Richard and sent him this picture of how I have mounted my Tortoise motors.




Apart from that, they look like they will be an improvement.



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 Posted: Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 11:10 pm
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Sol
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I reckon Cobalt sideways mounting is mainly for semaphore operation that requires the wire to go up & down, not sideways like points. This is the result of having both images,. Maxs' & Cobalt side by side & visualising the use of.
Richards' reply should be interesting.

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 Posted: Thu Jun 3rd, 2010 05:01 am
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gordons19
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Thanks for that pic Max.  Very interesting. :thumbs

Curious about the size of the hole in the board though.  It looks quite a tight fit around the operating wire to allow the side to side movement for turnout operation.  Is the hole acting as a pivot point, or is it much larger than the pic suggests?

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 Posted: Thu Jun 3rd, 2010 07:36 am
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MaxSouthOz
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No, it's a snug fit, Gordon; acting as a second pivot point.  The MDF base board is screwed up under the layout board and the wire reaches up through a hole about 3/8" in diameter.  You need to replace the wire supplied with 1/6" piano wire.  The extra leverage means that even with the power off, it is very difficult to move the throw bar once the motor is at full travel.



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