Tortoise Installation Tips

Bonus Elite Operator™ content

Torti installation tips for the Elite Operatorâ„¢

Here are some tortimus installation tips from my buddy, Joe, a certified Elite Operatorâ„¢
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  • Throw rod wire size: 0.039 inches (note: this is sufficient for code 55 track, where you are physically bending the turnout points, as in the amazing Kasper MKVII Rev 2 turnouts)
  • Screw size for tortimus installation: #4 and of sufficient length to hold into the subroadbed material
  • You only need two screws, placed diagonally on opposite sides, to sufficiently hold the tortimus
  • You can use thin double-sided tape to hold the tortimus in the correct position while you place the screws (but only if nobody will see you do it…sign of weakness)
  • Drill bit size for the throw rod hole: 3/32 inches. Drill 3-4 holes and ream the slot.
  • Resistor for tortimus operation: 470 ohm, 1/2 watt. This assumes a 12 volt power supply
  • A single pole double throw turnout toggle is used to throw the turnout (using the Elite Operator™ method of grounding one side of the tortimus, as shown in the figure)
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Here is the wiring diagram for the built-in contacts and motor power tabs on the Tortoise switch machine. I'm always forgetting these, so I'm including it here for my reference (and anybody else that can't remember it, either).

Bonus Elite Operatorâ„¢ tip!

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The big selling point of the tortoise switch machines are the built-in electrical contacts. The contacts are used to route power to the turnout frog to insure reliable electrical to the locomotives (You DO power your frogs, don't you? DON'T YOU?!)

We Elite Operators™ always crack open every (EVERY!) tortoise and flex the spring contacts inward to provide consistent electrical contact. It like the Fram oil filter guy used to say on TV: Pay me now or pay me later!