Dec 4, 2011

Tortoises again

Wow, the fall is a busy time for our household... I thought I posted my last update here about 2 weeks ago... actually it's been 6!

So, just a brief update... on the layout side I'm back to installing Tortoise turnout motors, which involves a lot of time twisted under various parts of the layout, working upside down to align rather touchy angles on the underside of the layout.  I'm adding 3 new turnout motors at Telluride as well as a completely new panel, so operators there can switch more efficiently in the narrow aisle.  Here's the panel graphics (which was trimmed somewhat after printing; click if the full image isn't showing):


Panels go to Kinko's and are printed in color on cardstock, then laminated, then glued to the fascia.  Holes are drilled for toggles & LEDs then.

During some test op sessions, I discovered that constantly walking to the far end of the penisula to manually throw the turnouts on the run-around tracks got old pretty quickly.  Also, I figured once the depot is built, it'd be hard (and potentially dangerous to the depot model) to reach over it to manually throw a turnout which will be behind it.  So - another motor there.

I suppose an interesting note my aisle design.  Here's the layout design (click if the full image isn't showing):


The layout was designed so you could follow your train in the same aisle as much as possible.  Wider aisle areas were designed in front of Ridgway, Durango, Rico and Dolores - primary switching areas.  For Telluride, I didn't want to clog up the Dolores, so the wye at Vance and switching at Telluride are intended to be done from the left side - in the Telluride-Ophir aisle.  Thus, my turnout motor additions are being done to allow operators to stay in that aisle, and stay out of other ops' way while switching.  It sounds good on paper... eventually I have more test op sessions w/ multiple people and we'll see if my idea works.

Then in Ridgway, also as the result of some test operating, it was suggested I add motors to all the turnouts in the yard ladder, since when you're using the caboose / runaround track, it's hard to physically see the turnout positions behind those cars... especially given the 51" height of the benchwork there.  So, even for those yard turnouts that can be reached, I'm adding turnout motors and indicators on the panel.  So - another 3 Tortorti will be going in there.  The toggles and wiring are complete, and the linkages on the turnouts complete... just need to add the motors now.

1 comment:

  1. A couple hints on installing tortoises - I always start by putting double-stick tape on the bottom of them, and use it as a TEMPORARY holder so I can align it and then mount it with screws. It makes it easier so you can let go of it while you fiddle with permanent fasteners. Second, I never use the Tortoise supplied wire throwbar - go get 3' long wire preferrably of a bit larger diamater, bend the end to fit into the Tortoise, but leave the rest of the wire intact VERY long (even all 3'). This makes it easy to get under the benchwork, slip the wire through the actuating hole while being able to LOOK at it, and then slide the Tortoise up until you're at the bottom of the benchwork. Snip off the excess once you have the Tortoise all screwed down, and then put it on another one. Eventually, you'll use most of the 3' wire.

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