Hankscraft vs. Tortoise in 2002

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I have 6 Hankscraft (Switchmaster) motors installed in Rix II brackets with Digikey microswitches and this system works very well. Now that Switchmaster (Buildersinscale) appears to be defunct, these motors are not readily available at a reasonable price. I do have the opportunity to buy some used ones, but for the price even for the used ones without the brackets, microswitches, etc. I can buy complete Tortoise machines. I use handlaid turnouts (N scale), DCC friendly, with insulated, switched frogs, a 5A Digitrax Chief II system. Should I stick with the Hankscraft motors, Rix brackets,etc. or is it worth switching over to Tortoise?

-- Richard Marcinkowski (rmarcin@ebtech.net), April 15, 2002


Richard, sounds like a no-brainer to me. The Tortoise is motor, switches and bracket in an integrated package. If the price is the same as you say, then go for the Tortoise. The Tortoise is a good machine and easy to install too.


-- Dale Gloer (dale.gloer@sympatico.ca), April 16, 2002.

Go for the tortoise. Finding them in stock is a different issue.

-- Don Vollrath (dvollrath@magnetek.com), April 16, 2002.

Thanks for the prompt advice, guys; I did buy 4 of them as a try- out, expecting them in any day and will give it a go before committing to the boat-load needed to complete the current layout. Richard M.

-- Richard Marcinkowski (rmarcin@ebtech.net), April 16, 2002.


While the Tortise is a good second choice, I've done a little digging and things aren't as bad as it seems regarding my favorite approach.

Hankscraft, which has nothing to do with model railroading, is alive and kicking. You can order 100 motors from them directly for about $8.56 each.

But what good is a motor without the bracket? So I contacted Rix Products. A number of good things to report here.

1. They actually designed their bracket for a different Hankscraft motor than the one Switchcraft was using. The loss of Switchcraft does not cause them any problems and they plan to continue production of the bracket.

I will be updating my web page in June with how to order motors from Hankscraft and what shaft, etc, you should ask for. Hankscraft doesn't have a specific part number to order, so you will need all the details I put in my web page.

2. Rix has been developing their own slow-motion switch machine using a Hankscraft motor and expects to have it out later this year.

I thought about trying to sell the motors myself, but with Rix coming out with their own product, we'll see if that makes everyone happy alliviating the need for someone like myself selling motors. I have my hands full as it is!

I will also add Rix Products web page to my manufacturer's links so that everyone can keep up with their new product introduction.

-- Allan Gartner (bigboy@WiringForDCC.com), April 23, 2002.

Alan, Please encourage Hankscraft to assign a part number to the configuration we need. Getting it on a specific website will help too. DonV

-- Don Vollrath (dvollrath@magnetek.com), April 24, 2002.

Try the site below as I was also looking for information and found that Hankscraft has a motor that they say will replace the Switchcraft. You can also purchase the mounting hardware. The site also has pictures showing the Hankscraft mounted under the table. I hope this will be of help to you and its the information that you were looking for. Dick Giebner, WA7AEG E-mail Address(es): gib4138@qwest.net


-- Richard T. Giebner (gib4138@qwest.net), May 18, 2003.

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