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Model Railroading > What is the best switch machine????


Date: 12/18/06 21:12
What is the best switch machine????
Author: UPED

I have reached the part in building my layout, the "Nevada Pacific" (the Coastal Route). I was so in need of a train fix I laid track but have not decided on what switch machines to use as yet. I have some old ones that I can not find but will keep looking for. I did find a couple of the Rix products machines and they look very nice, easy to install and simple to maintain. They also have contacts on the bottom for routing power to frogs and lighting.
What do you guys use and why?

Regards,
Ed



Date: 12/18/06 22:09
Re: What is the best switch machine????
Author: NDHolmes

Long time Tortoise fan myself. I've used dozens and dozens of them over the years on various layouts, and I've never had problems with a single one. I find that once they're in and adjusted, they're completely maintenance free.



Date: 12/18/06 23:15
Re: What is the best switch machine????
Author: ATSF429

UPED Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I have reached the part in building my layout, the
> "Nevada Pacific" (the Coastal Route). I was so in
> need of a train fix I laid track but have not
> decided on what switch machines to use as yet. I
> have some old ones that I can not find but will
> keep looking for. I did find a couple of the Rix
> products machines and they look very nice, easy to
> install and simple to maintain. They also have
> contacts on the bottom for routing power to frogs
> and lighting.
> What do you guys use and why?
>
> Regards,

Ditto
> Ed



Date: 12/18/06 23:34
Re: What is the best switch machine????
Author: toulyardgoat

Go with the tortoise....The MSVRR have well over 100 of them in operation. No problems at all.

Roger
MSVRR @ MP115 UP Coast Sub



Date: 12/19/06 06:53
Re: What is the best switch machine????
Author: cambyjunction

Go with Tortoise if you can afford them. If not the Rix Switch Machine is your next best choice. The club that I am a member of is using Rix, 1 because of cost and 2 because of their dependability.
Richard



Date: 12/19/06 07:29
Re: What is the best switch machine????
Author: santafedan

I use Rix for all the hidden stageing and hand throws everywhere else. I want to be part of my railroad and I prefer to throw them myself.



Date: 12/19/06 09:11
Re: What is the best switch machine????
Author: wabash2800

Another consideration in favor of Tortoises and Rix items is that they have been around for a while and proven themselves and should be around for some time to come. Any switch machine you pay good money for like the Tortoise machine should also have extra contacts for indictor lights, signals etc.--an added plus.

You can get quantity discounts on switch machines. Check with your hobby shop or buy them on line. I bought a bunch of new ones on ebay at a discounted price from a dealer but I found out my hobby shop will do the same. If you are a club and don't do this, you need new management in the club! Any retailer that is worth their salt will offer quanity discounts to get more sales. Usually, you just have to ask. Since my hobby shop guy will offer discounts, no shipping costs and stand behind anything he sells, he's got my business from now on.

Incidentally, it is, like some have posted, perfectly OK to not use eletrical switch machines in the event that hand throws are within easy reach. It does give you the real railroad feel and you can look at the switch points at a glance and see how you are lined rather than eyeballing a control panel or determining which way green is (isn't always the "normal route'). I think this is particulay fun if it fits the prototype situation like yards and spurs that wouldn't be remotely controlled anyway. And it's cheaper.



Date: 12/19/06 11:30
Re: What is the best switch machine????
Author: DocJohn

I use the Tortoise also, but you still have the problem of having to do much work if the track is already laid. All the power-operated turnouts on my new layout will be the Walthers/Shinohara, and it would be very nice to have a surface-mount machine that would be reasonably close to scale. That would make installation not much more difficult than a manually operated machine.

One would think that with all the mi nature actuators available, the someone would be taking advantage of the technology.

DocJohn



Date: 12/19/06 18:36
Re: What is the best switch machine????
Author: RioGrandeFan

I prefer Switchmaster for a slow motion machine simply because they are mounted AFTER the turnout is already in and ballasted. They also do not require the 1/2" hole, only a 1/16" hole. As for frog power just use a contact switch glued to the underside of your table. When the switchmaster linkage stalls it will press the contact and power the frog. They are also super quiet and slow when used with a 1k ohm 1/2 resistor. I used to have 30 of them hooked in and never had any issues. I had to tear down my layout though and am rebuilding something better. The new design does not allow for Switchmasters or I'd continue to use them. A friend uses about 50 switchmasters on his layout and there have never been any problems. He is in the process of adding more. Nice part about these is that you don't have to place the motor in any particular place, there are no exact position requirements. Just as long as it is somewhat close to the turnout it will work.

For twin-coil machines I like the Peco as they can be mounted directly to the turnout. They also offer a long throw rod version for under the table mounting. Peco's motors are very strong and are very reliable. They just make a loud buzz when activated. I will be using these on my new layout just for simplicity.

I for one have never been a fan of the Tortoise. Actually hate them with a passion as I've never been able to make them work properly. One throw and it'll work, next throw and it won't. I was constantly having to adjust the pivot point so it would throw right. After I saw a Switchmaster I replaced all of my Tortoise motors and never had any more adjusting problems.

Rio Grande Fan
Denver, CO



Date: 12/19/06 22:57
Re: What is the best switch machine????
Author: obsessed_foamer

Fingers. Excellent switch machines.



Date: 12/19/06 23:01
Re: What is the best switch machine????
Author: spken

Hi,
I have used both Switchmaster & Tortoise machines for several years. Prefer the tortoise as they are simpler to mount with a jig I made up, plus 2 lots of contacts are great of powering the frog as well as signalling or indication. I have had some failures with Switchmasters, but they are simple to replace. Biggest drawback with SM's is no contacts. (I tried the micro switches but found them needing constant re-adjustment.)

Also used Blue Machine from Micro Mark for hand throw turnouts - They also have 2 sets of contacts.

spken in Oz



Date: 12/20/06 06:08
Re: What is the best switch machine????
Author: atsfman

I have just over 250 switches on the railroad. About 30 of them are thrown by Tortoise. These are on the top deck which represents a piece of the ATSF Okla Sub in 1989 and function in a CTC environment. But the Enid branch which runs on the middle and lower decks, is much longer and was a non signaled track warrant branch and it has absolutely no switch machines. We run as the district did, handthrown switches on the main line and passing tracks and in the yards and industrial settings.

Also the top deck has handthrown switches in the yards and industrial areas.

The machines I use are Tortise, have mixed reactions about them at times. I also have a couple of situations on the top deck where I lengthened the passing tracks and was unable to get under the table work for installation, so used Peco throws with the extended throws and the peco machines mounted on the surface but under buildings or scenery. Works very well except for the buzz.

Bob



Date: 12/21/06 12:00
Re: What is the best switch machine????
Author: swsf

Go with Tortoise. They are super easy to install and have a DPDT switch built in, a very handy feature. I've installed over 300 of these on my layout and the layouts of several friend. To install them I simply hot glue them into place. Takes about 15 seconds, with simple prep work beforehand.

First, sand the flat surface with rough sandpaper so the glue will stick better. Then, center the actuating wire (I use .039 instead of the supplied wire for my handlaid turnouts). Slip the wire into the throwbar hole, squeeze a couple of lines of well heated glue onto the mounting surface, push the machine into place, and simply move it back and forth until the points are centered between the stock rails (an extra person spotting for you may be necessary to see the points). You will have plenty of time to make the adjustment before the glue stiffens. Hold for a few seconds until the glue hardens. Trim the wire flush with the throwbar and you are done. Works every time. All of this takes longer to explain than to actually do!

This method will hold forever. If you try to pry the machine off the wood will peel off before the glue lets go. But, in case it needs to be removed for any reason, which won't be due to failure since these things are bullet proof, heat the joint between machine and mounting area with a hair blow dryer (NOT A HEAT GUN!!!) for several minutes and the glue will soften enough so you can force a putty knife between to break the bond.

I've been doing this for almost twenty years with 100% success rate. You will too.


Rick



Date: 12/30/06 07:39
Re: What is the best switch machine????
Author: SSW41

How about the Humpyard Purveyance hand-throw levers?



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