tortoise install...

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by NCMRailroad, Nov 4, 2006.

  1. NCMRailroad

    NCMRailroad Member

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    Hi All,
    I have 1/2" plywood sub bed with 3" of styrofoam topped off with 5/8" of homosite to glue the track down to. I have a switch location just a wee bit out of my reach and need to put a tortoise switch machine there to operate it. I am wondering how does one install a tortoise through all that material?
    Thank you in advance...
    NCMRailroad:thumb:
  2. EngineerKyle

    EngineerKyle Member

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    I believe you replace the wire that comes with it with a longer one. It's called piano wire available at most hardware stores or your LHS. The fulcrum on the tortoise machine is adjustable.

    EK
  3. papasmurf37

    papasmurf37 Member

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    You might consider an above-ground installation, with the machine hidden in a structure of some sort[w/air holes in back for cooling]. Many modelers do this, as they find it easier to accomplish and access for any later servicing is much simpler. TTFN....
  4. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    To install the Tortoise, you will need to drill a hole large enough to allow a piano wire to shift back and forth to throw the switch. Installing the machine is not a problem and as was mentioned, you can move the fulcrum below the table to adjust the throw. The problem is if your turnout is already installed, you will probably need to mark the location for your hole and remove the turnout for drilling the benchwork. You will probably need a 1/4 inch hole to allow enough movement, and you may need to elongate the hole a bit under the track.
  5. joefryfry

    joefryfry joefryfry

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    I have just found stiffer pieces of metal, like coat hanger wire, or a piece of rail. But I do not advise this, because I don't know about the wear it may cause on the turnout or the tortoise, but it seems to work for me. I'm no pro.
  6. joefryfry

    joefryfry joefryfry

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    I have just found stiffer pieces of metal, like coat hanger wire, or a piece of rail. But I do not advise this, because I don't know about the wear it may cause on the turnout or the tortoise, but it seems to work for me. I'm no pro.
  7. kchronister

    kchronister Member

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    Relax, this is no big deal. Almost all my turnouts are thrown by Tortoise through 2" foam + 1/4" plywood + 1/4" roadbed, so 2.5" depth. I also have a couple operating turnouts from as far as 6.5" below the roadbed.

    First you want to drill a 1/2" hole beneath the turnout throw. This will provide plenty of room for the wire to throw the turnout at the depths you're talking about. Then use .039 music wire to throw the turnout - it's stiff enough to give you the leverage and spring you need at these depths. I use Atlas customline turnouts and you do NOT need to drill out either the throwbar hole or the Tortoise fulcrum hole with .039 wire.

    Also, you'll typically want the fulcrum pushed as far up toward the top of the motor as it will go in these deep installations.

    In fact, I just finished setting up another one of these "very deep" Tortoises yesterday - I put a new turnout in and the throwbar was right next to doubled-up 1x4 crossmember in my benchwork. There's no way I was going to start chewing into that, so the Tortoise is mounted on the bottom of the crossmember with a throwbar all the way up past the 1x4, through the foam, plywood and roadbed...