Topics

Indicators for turnout position

Nick Ostrosky
 

I scanned the materials on the site but either it isn't covered or I'm too dense to interpret what I'm reading and apply it as needed.  NCE system using five Tortoise machines with the built-in decoder, powered off the track bus.  I was hoping to wire up fascia indicators using Walthers Layout Control System Dual LED Fascia Turnout Controller part #942-121, connecting to pins 5-7 on the Tortoise - the quick connect cable seemed to make this a simple process and would give me the option of push button control in addition to cab control.  After reading the available materials I understand this would not give me push button control, but I would expect to at least see the indicators light for position.  No matter how I connect the wires I get nothing.  What am I missing, and would Walthers Two Color LED Fascia Indicator part #942-151 be the more workable option?

What I'm trying to avoid is having to buy a bunch of separate components - LEDs, resistors, connectors, etc.  Looking for more of a plug-and-play option, with push button control nice to have but certainly not necessary for a one-or-two operator layout.  Thanks!

Max Maginness
 

If you are OK with using these just for indicators, try disconnecting the wire presently going to   either pin 1 or pin 8 of the tortoise and connecting it  instead to pin 1 of the 942-121 , then connecting Pin 3 of the 942-121  to the  pin on the tortoise you removed the wire from.

 

If the Yellow/Green indications are reversed from what you would like, swap the wires to pins 1 and 3 of the 942-121.

 

It maybe that the Tortoise will run slowly or stall with this change, since the LEDs will reduce the voltage available to it. However maybe worth a try

Pins 5 and 7 in the tortoise are simply switch contacts and cannot  by themselves  provide any power for the LED’s (or anything else)

Max

 

From: w4dccqa@groups.io <w4dccqa@groups.io> On Behalf Of Nick Ostrosky
Sent: Thursday, December 26, 2019 3:36 AM
To: w4dccqa@groups.io
Subject: [w4dccqa] Indicators for turnout position

 

I scanned the materials on the site but either it isn't covered or I'm too dense to interpret what I'm reading and apply it as needed.  NCE system using five Tortoise machines with the built-in decoder, powered off the track bus.  I was hoping to wire up fascia indicators using Walthers Layout Control System Dual LED Fascia Turnout Controller part #942-121, connecting to pins 5-7 on the Tortoise - the quick connect cable seemed to make this a simple process and would give me the option of push button control in addition to cab control.  After reading the available materials I understand this would not give me push button control, but I would expect to at least see the indicators light for position.  No matter how I connect the wires I get nothing.  What am I missing, and would Walthers Two Color LED Fascia Indicator part #942-151 be the more workable option?

What I'm trying to avoid is having to buy a bunch of separate components - LEDs, resistors, connectors, etc.  Looking for more of a plug-and-play option, with push button control nice to have but certainly not necessary for a one-or-two operator layout.  Thanks!

Nick Ostrosky
 

The net result of running one of the track feeds to pin 1 of the 942-121 and back out of pin 3 to the #8 pin on the Tortoise was both LEDs showing yellow and the push button having no effect whatsoever.  Activating the turnout via the Power Cab still worked but both LEDs remained yellow.  Based on your suggestion I also tried running the power into pin 2 on the 942-121 and back out both the 1 and 3 pins to the Tortoise #8 with the same result.  I'm guessing that the Walther parts were made to work strictly with DC, since that's what they are selling as a power supply, and as a result this may not have been the "plug and play" I was hoping to find.  Back to Walthers they go...

Max Maginness
 

Nick

 

The suggestion (at least the one I made) did not involve track power at all – just putting the Leds in series with the DC power to the tortoise. To be clear by tortoise do you mean the basic green machine with an 8 pin connector or are you referring to this with a directly attached external circuit so you cannot access the connector pins?

Max

 

From: w4dccqa@groups.io <w4dccqa@groups.io> On Behalf Of Nick Ostrosky
Sent: Friday, December 27, 2019 12:33 PM
To: w4dccqa@groups.io
Subject: Re: [w4dccqa] Indicators for turnout position

 

The net result of running one of the track feeds to pin 1 of the 942-121 and back out of pin 3 to the #8 pin on the Tortoise was both LEDs showing yellow and the push button having no effect whatsoever.  Activating the turnout via the Power Cab still worked but both LEDs remained yellow.  Based on your suggestion I also tried running the power into pin 2 on the 942-121 and back out both the 1 and 3 pins to the Tortoise #8 with the same result.  I'm guessing that the Walther parts were made to work strictly with DC, since that's what they are selling as a power supply, and as a result this may not have been the "plug and play" I was hoping to find.  Back to Walthers they go...

Nick Ostrosky
 

Yes, basic green machine with the built-in decoder (I believe referred to as SMAIL).  No DC involved at all, I power these from the track bus so the Power Cab/JMRI/WI Throttle can throw them.

Nick Ostrosky
 

It would probably help if I clarified further.  I did also purchase the Walthers distribution block 942-111, which I originally thought was DC only until last night when I realized is has 8 pins for I/O from a DCC device (e.g., my track power, and yes, don't I feel silly for not noticing this immediately).  It in turn has 8 three-wire outputs to power 8 turnouts.  Confusion point #1: why three wires to the turnout when only pins 1 and 8 on the Tortoise are used, acknowledging a Walthers turnout control may use this for other purposes (see 942-101 board image)?  Where would that third wire go on a Tortoise?  The way these are normally wired is distribution block to turnout, turnout to fascia button/LEDs.  My assumption at this point is the distribution block, and the Walthers turnout control, do "something" with that third wire, and I'm not seeing a clear equivalent to the Tortoise.

So, in short, is it possible to wire a Tortoise in the same fashion using these components, or is this all simply proprietary and works on Walthers only?  Thanks for helping, this should probably be a lot simpler than I'm making it.

Max Maginness
 

The Walthers system uses servo motors that operate differently from a Tortoise.  Servos  use   the three wire connection – common, power and control wires respectively. They are incompatible with the Tortoise design.
  

My best suggestions if you want DCC control are:  
 1)  go fully with the Walthers system  OR
 2) use the SMAILS with panel pushbuttons as shown in the diagram at the bottom  of page 3 of their  instructions and separately use   the switch contacts on pins 2,3,4 or 5,6,7 to control panel lights . This will need a separate power source for the lights.

There are other alternatives if you start with basic Tortoise machines but you may be committed with the SMAILS version  you have?

 

BTW it’s a bad idea to have the switch machines get their  operating power from the DCC bus unless you run a separate  one from that for track power. Otherwise a short on the track will also prevent moving the turnouts.

If you would like to discuss on the alternatives   please contact me off line.

 

Max

 

From: w4dccqa@groups.io <w4dccqa@groups.io> On Behalf Of Nick Ostrosky
Sent: Saturday, December 28, 2019 5:08 AM
To: w4dccqa@groups.io
Subject: Re: [w4dccqa] Indicators for turnout position

 

It would probably help if I clarified further.  I did also purchase the Walthers distribution block 942-111, which I originally thought was DC only until last night when I realized is has 8 pins for I/O from a DCC device (e.g., my track power, and yes, don't I feel silly for not noticing this immediately).  It in turn has 8 three-wire outputs to power 8 turnouts.  Confusion point #1: why three wires to the turnout when only pins 1 and 8 on the Tortoise are used, acknowledging a Walthers turnout control may use this for other purposes (see 942-101 board image)?  Where would that third wire go on a Tortoise?  The way these are normally wired is distribution block to turnout, turnout to fascia button/LEDs.  My assumption at this point is the distribution block, and the Walthers turnout control, do "something" with that third wire, and I'm not seeing a clear equivalent to the Tortoise.

So, in short, is it possible to wire a Tortoise in the same fashion using these components, or is this all simply proprietary and works on Walthers only?  Thanks for helping, this should probably be a lot simpler than I'm making it.

Max Maginness
 

Nick

 

With the built  decoder  in the SMAIL the pins 1 and 8 connector do not have the same function as  1 and 8 on the basic tortoise and my suggestion does not apply.  While there is DC inside the unit to actually control the motor but you cannot get at it.  
Sorry about the further run around.

Max

 

From: w4dccqa@groups.io <w4dccqa@groups.io> On Behalf Of Nick Ostrosky
Sent: Saturday, December 28, 2019 3:14 AM
To: w4dccqa@groups.io
Subject: Re: [w4dccqa] Indicators for turnout position

 

Yes, basic green machine with the built-in decoder (I believe referred to as SMAIL).  No DC involved at all, I power these from the track bus so the Power Cab/JMRI/WI Throttle can throw them.