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Shelf Island

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Point Motors




I have opted for point motors instead of mechanical arrangements because I want to be able to control the layout from the front at home and from the back at shows. The Tortoise motor seems like a huge improvement over the traditional twin-solenoid affair and so this blog entry has some details of how I fitted these motors into the layout.


The layout has nine sets of points needing nine point motors. The space available inside the baseboard is too confined to try for a linkage with one motor driving two sets of points like the crossover.


I fitted the first four motors directly below their points. One of them fitted in to the space with a whisker to spare but without needing any modification to the baseboard:



The other three needed some extra strip wood to put the motor fixing screws into:




The next three motors had to be installed with a remote linkage to their points. There are details of these in the topic Short linkages for Tortoise point motors. Here is a photo of the best of my three linkages in case the topic ever gets lost:


I did buy one of the Circuitron remote mounting kits but it seems rather over-engineered for the task in hand, and so large it is difficult to find a place to put it under the baseboard. Home-made linkages can be better.


The final two motors are under the crossover in the quayside area. I have taken the easy option and screwed them to small pieces of plywood, with the plywood glued onto the foam board:


The brass pins visible in this photo are holding a check rail - I really must cut them off shorter!


The easy option means these two motors intrude into the space between the L girders - they are the first items to enter this space, which I have kept empty to hold some integral folding legs for the baseboard. The alternative option would be to fit these motors on their sides at the edge of the layout, with two more remote linkages. I don't think this is worth the effort, but if they get knocked off during transit I shall have to rethink this.


When I bought the main parts for the layout - the timber, the foam board, the track and the point motors, the point motors seemed a big expense - they cost as much as the timber and the track added together. But now, having made some of the points myself, and seen them working, I think the Tortoise motors were a good buy. Their operation is realistic and I wouldn't want to choose a twin-solenoid motor again. The weakest part of the Tortoise motor is its instruction sheet, which is typically verbose American. The application note for their competitor's 'Cobalt' motor is better, and 99% of it applies to the Tortoise too.


- Richard.





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