Installation and wiring of Tortoise Switch Machines : LUSENET : Wiring for DCC : One Thread

After a futile weekend-again-trying to position Peco switch machines during installation, I'm ready to try Tortoise (no choice since I destroyed the Peco spring in the process). The turnouts are Peco Code 75 modified for DCC per Alan Gartner' suggestions. Question 1 : Is there a simple wiring diagram available for Tortoise that allows me to a. switch power to the frog b. control trackside signal c. and control switch indicator on control panel. Question 2: should I use LED's on control panel, if so I don't understand how resistors work (type or size) or if they're necessary. Question 2: Any tips, or potential problems on installation. It couldn't be harder than Peco switch machines.

-- Mike Acken (, June 23, 2002


There are simple wiring diagrams included with the tortoise machine. Use one of the internal contact sets to switch power to the frog. Use bi-directional LEDs in series with the motor to get R/G indicator lamps. You can put 2 or more sets of indicators in series with the motor if you need more than one indicator lamp. Wiring to do that is also shown on the tortoise installation sheet. You don't need any resistors. Just allow for 1.5 - 2 volts drop per LED in series with the motor when selecting a power source. You will need at least 6 volts to drive the tortoise motor. More than 12 V across the motor when stalled can cause damage. The second set of internal contacts can then be used to indicate switch status to your signaling system or used directly to power other indicator lamps. See the tortoise wiring diagram article in the July, 2002 issue of Model Railraoder.

-- Don Vollrath (, July 01, 2002.

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