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 Anatomy of a Tortoise
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Author Previous Topic: Shipyard at Foss Landing SWSM build Topic Next Topic: Grain or Feed Sacks
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AVRR-PA
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 02/23/2013 :  8:39:16 PM  Show Profile  Visit AVRR-PA's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi, everyone --

In my Rail-Marine thread, I posted some pictures of a disassembled Tortoise. A couple of people suggested I repost them where more people mght see them.

The two internal SPST switches in this Tortoise were shorted. The motor still worked ok. I bought a replacement and was going to save this one for something like operating a crossing gate or operating a turnout where I didn't need to control frog polarity.

But Lynn told me that they are actually pretty simple machines and I should just open it up and see if I could fix it.

The only tricky part of opening it is the 5th screw which is hidden under the label:




Tortoise 5th screw

The other little hazard is how you have it oriented when you open it. You want the label down. If you open it with the label up, all the pieces parts fall out and go rolling across your bench. I got lucky.

Once I got it opened, I photographed it before I started removing parts, so I would have a fighting chance of getting it back together. Here's what it looks like before (and, hopefully, after):





This is the arm. The actuating rod attaches to it and it also has the contact wipers on it which switch current to the two outputs of the internal switches. I cleaned the contacts with 800 grit paper and wiped them down with alcohol.




Tortoise arm with contact wipers


Here's the PC board which doubles as a motor mount. The wipers on the arm apply voltage to the various outputs when the arm is moved by the stall motor.




Tortoise PC board before cleanup

I polished the surfaces and cleaned them with alcohol. After I reassembled it, I removed all the soldere and old wire with Radio Shack unsoldering braid.

Here's the stall motor, mounted on the PC board.




On first reassembly, I found I had one working internal switch - which was all I needed. But curiosity overcame me so I opened it up again and found a wee scrap of conductive material that was shorting out the other switch. After the second cleaning, everything worked.

So there you have it. A pretty bullet-proof little machine. (That doesn't mean I enjoy installing them.)

Don

Country: USA | Posts: 5005

Orionvp17
Fireman

Premium Member

Posted - 02/23/2013 :  8:47:04 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Good job, Don! Thanks for posting this.

Pete
in Michigan



Country: USA | Posts: 7349 Go to Top of Page

Frank Palmer
Fireman



Posted - 02/24/2013 :  08:53:12 AM  Show Profile  Visit Frank Palmer's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Don, Don, Don, . . . you went and voided the warranty with that #5 screw. Oh well, at least you didn't have to install this one.

Frank

Edited by - Frank Palmer on 02/24/2013 08:55:30 AM

Country: USA | Posts: 5934 Go to Top of Page

Nelson458
Fireman



Posted - 02/24/2013 :  09:17:56 AM  Show Profile  Visit Nelson458's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I often wondered what was hidden behind them green walls. Very interesting, thank you.
Tony


Tony Burgess
Exploring the unknown requires tolerating uncertainty.~ Brian Greene

Country: USA | Posts: 3151 Go to Top of Page

Frederic Testard
Engineer

Premium Member


Posted - 02/24/2013 :  10:10:02 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Very interesting and informative pics, Don. A big thanks for sharing this!


Country: France | Posts: 17652 Go to Top of Page

desertdrover
Engineer



Posted - 02/24/2013 :  11:12:32 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Many thanks Don!
This is one of the better how-to's that will be beneficial to all of us modelers.
Like Tony said "what was hidden behind them green walls" something so mysterious turning out to be an easy thing/fix.
Now that is what you call CLASSROOM material.



Louis
Pacific Northwest Logging in the East Coast
Post count: 5000 posts added to below count.

Country: USA | Posts: 16043 Go to Top of Page

AVRR-PA
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 02/24/2013 :  11:43:47 AM  Show Profile  Visit AVRR-PA's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Frank Palmer

Don, Don, Don, . . . you went and voided the warranty with that #5 screw. Oh well, at least you didn't have to install this one.



Actually, Frank, there's an official looking "factory seal" with a serial number on it on the seam on the other side. I ruthlessly sliced through it wit' me trusty utility knife!

These Tortoises were all given to me by a friend and most of them (including this one) had been used - on an O-scale layout, no less. So they had some serious mileage on them. "Rode hard and put down wet" as they say.

Don



Country: USA | Posts: 5005 Go to Top of Page

LynnB
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 02/24/2013 :  11:52:21 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
See nothing to them. If ida thought you were actually going to find the time to discect the little turtle I would have warned you about the 5th screw mystery.
Great job Don.



Edited by - LynnB on 02/24/2013 11:55:00 AM

Country: Canada | Posts: 2365 Go to Top of Page

GrandTrunk
Engine Wiper

Posted - 02/24/2013 :  11:55:09 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hmmm, and here I was expecting to see a tiny turtle on a tiny treadmill.


Country: Canada | Posts: 115 Go to Top of Page

MarkF
Engineer

Premium Member


Posted - 02/24/2013 :  12:57:19 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Good stuff Don. I have never had the need to open up a tortoise as I've never had one go bad on me, but's its cool to see whats on the inside. Thanks for taking the time to share that with us!

Mark

Country: USA | Posts: 13752 Go to Top of Page

LynnB
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 02/24/2013 :  1:37:14 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
You may find this interesting as well if you want to add green and red leds for open and close on the switches.Only mine is utilizing the ds64 for control but can also be used for simple 12volt spst toggles.
Obviously I wasn't ambitious enough to do this to all my tortoise switches but I did do it to one just to make sure it worked as its suppose to. I still have to comeup with an idea to add some kind of visual reference for the number of the turnout I'm changing on my handcontroller, especially when I don't use it for months.





Edited by - LynnB on 02/24/2013 1:41:30 PM

Country: Canada | Posts: 2365 Go to Top of Page

CieloVistaRy
Fireman



Posted - 02/24/2013 :  4:11:28 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This is a much needed tutorial. Thanks for sharing. I have two machines that I believe to be possessed. WIth the SBS you posted, I now have the confidence to dive into those machines and perform the proper exorcism.

Arthur

Country: USA | Posts: 5866 Go to Top of Page

AVRR-PA
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 02/24/2013 :  7:48:01 PM  Show Profile  Visit AVRR-PA's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by CieloVistaRy

This is a much needed tutorial. Thanks for sharing. I have two machines that I believe to be possessed. WIth the SBS you posted, I now have the confidence to dive into those machines and perform the proper exorcism.



Don't forget the Eye of Newt and Tongue of Dog.

Don



Country: USA | Posts: 5005 Go to Top of Page

Orionvp17
Fireman

Premium Member

Posted - 02/24/2013 :  7:50:48 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by AVRR-PA

quote:
Originally posted by CieloVistaRy

This is a much needed tutorial. Thanks for sharing. I have two machines that I believe to be possessed. WIth the SBS you posted, I now have the confidence to dive into those machines and perform the proper exorcism.



Don't forget the Eye of Newt and Tongue of Dog.

Don



And the Universal Incantation!

Pete
in Michigan



Country: USA | Posts: 7349 Go to Top of Page

AVRR-PA
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 02/24/2013 :  7:52:55 PM  Show Profile  Visit AVRR-PA's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by GrandTrunk

Hmmm, and here I was expecting to see a tiny turtle on a tiny treadmill.






Country: USA | Posts: 5005 Go to Top of Page

time2play
Fireman



Posted - 02/25/2013 :  10:26:39 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I never had any problems with Tortoise machines until I bought a new box of six. Every one of them had defective wipers. They are mounted on two small pieces of plastic that are melted to hold each wiper in place. They all had one end break free which caused the wipers to work OK in one dirrection but cause short circuits in the other direction. Because I had never had problems with these units before I installed all six and wired the frogs, etc. before testing. Boy, did I have a problem trying to find all the short circuits!
I wasn't able to return them to the manufacturer because they were way past warranty by the time I installed them. Now I test first before installing. I never had any problems before these six nor any problems with any since then.

Bob Farquhar



Country: Canada | Posts: 1164 Go to Top of Page
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