Tortoise wiring tips

Follow these steps for wiring them: Connect wires from the 13.8-volt DC power pack (+ or - doesn't matter here) to one end of a DPDT toggle switch, and wire these two terminals to the terminals diagonally opposite them on the other side of the switch—this creates a reversing switch. Connect wires (one of which needs to be 12" to 18" too long—it doesn't matter which) from the center terminals of the DPDT switch to the #1 and #8 terminals on a Tortoise that's fastened under a turnout (don't worry about which wire goes where—it doesn't matter).

Turn on the power pack current and throw the turnout to its mainline position (or dominant position if it's not on a mainline). If the turnout toggles all have an S.O.P. with regards to which way the toggle should point (right = mainline), make sure the toggle on your panel is in the right direction now, and if it isn't then loosen the switch holder nut and swivel your switch and retighten it on your panel.

Now turn off the power pack and cut the "too long" wire about 6" to 9" from the Tortoise. There needs to be a turnout signal built and installed in subroadbed (next to the turnout in question) like I described above. Get out two alligator clips. Clip the bicolor LED leads of your signal to the two freshly-cut wire ends and turn on the power pack and see if the light is green or red (the turnout should still be in its mainline position). Reverse the LED leads if the LED isn't green. Now solder and tape the wires on this signal.

That's all there is to it. Don't bother to try to figure out what wire should go where before doing the above wiring, because if you follow the steps above, you won't need any cogitation. Note: if you use a panel light instead of or supplementary to a turnout signal, you need to cut the same "too long" wire as above, but a couple inches from the toggle switch instead of near the Tortoise, and go through the same polarity test with the clips as above.

See the Control Panel Lights section 2 web pages ahead for using a cheap brass eyelet to house your bicolor LEDs on panels. One final tip: when you use Tortoise terminals #2 through #4 for live frog powering, always solder #4 to the frog, and solder #3 to the rightmost rail (viewed from the points end) and #2 to the leftmost rail if the terminals on the Tortoise are facing the points end of the turnout, and if they're not, reverse which rails are wired to #2 and #3 terminals. Using this method, it's a no-brainer.
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