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Choosing a Turntable

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  • Member since
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Choosing a Turntable
Posted by JDawg on Tuesday, September 21, 2021 9:14 PM

I am to the point where I need to decide upon a turntable for my next layout progect. It needs to be around 90ft long. I can either get the walthers kit, or the peco one. I can't afford (or justify) the 350$ expense for the dcc walthers TT. I also cannot set aside the time for a craftsman kit from scale structures or CMR. So, the choices are: Walthers kit, or The peco version. What is your opinion and why?

JJF


Prototypically modeling the Great Northern in Minnesota with just a hint of freelancing. Smile, Wink & Grin

Yesterday is History.

Tomorrow is a Mystery.

But today is a Gift, that is why it is called the Present. 

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Posted by doctorwayne on Tuesday, September 21, 2021 11:04 PM

I bought Walthers un-powered 90' turntable, and installed a small motor and gearbox that I had on-hand.  While it worked okay as far as moving the bridge goes, it had no indexing, so it was difficult to get it lined-up with any particular track. 
I've removed the motor and gearbox, and plan to add a lot more drag to the shaft on which the bridge rotates, as it's very close to the edge of the layout and easily accessible for fingertip operation....

(pictures will enlarge if clicked-upon)

The turntable track and all the storage tracks around it are all wired, and, as you can see, the turntable is very close to the edge of the layout...all within reach.

My other turntable was a scratchbuild, using a couple of Atlas through-girder bridges, bought used for a couple bucks, and cut apart to use only the girders.  I fastened them to a block of wood, then mounted it on a beater shaft from an old Mix-Master.  There are powered wipers on the beater shaft to power the one of the bridge rails, while the other rail is powered from the pit's ring-rail via wiper-equipped trucks on the ends of the bridge...

I used some stripwood that I had on hand to make ties for the bridge, then cut-apart all of the plastic ties on a piece of flex track, then separated them so that they'd fit into the spaces between the wooden ties, thereby securing the track in place.

I covered the bridge deck with some left-over strip wood, then used Athearn handrail stanchions and some piano wire to make handrails.

The pit bottom is the piece of plywood that was cut out to accommodate the turntable, and the pit wall is a piece of painted 1/8" Masonite...

Since I had everything else on-hand, the total cost was the couple bucks spent for the two used bridges.  Due to space constrictions, my scratchbuilt turntable is an 89'er.  As you can see, this one's also right near the layout's edge, so easy one-finger operation...

Each of the turntables have a 10-position rotary switch to control power for the storage tracks

Wayne

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, September 21, 2021 11:37 PM

JDawg
So, the choices are: Walthers kit, or The peco version. What is your opinion and why?

I am sorry to hear those are your only choices. Of the two, I would try Peco, just because I have heard so many horror tales of the Walthers turntables.

I used a Bowser turntable on SGRR #5, and it was flawless. Based on that experience I have purchased two Bowser turntables (12" & 16") to use on SGRR #6.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by RR_Mel on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 3:36 AM

I scratch built several turntables over the years and never had one motorized that satisfied me.  When I finally decided to buy a turntable kit I went with the CMR.  That was back in 2000, I don’t remember it taking a lot of time to assemble.

I do remember that it went together very easily as every single laser cut part fit perfectly, best kit I ever put together.



It didn’t come with a superstructure type bridge that I wanted so I scratch built a Mel version.



The best part of the CMR turntable is the motor drive.  It is a Dayton .5 RPM 12 volt gear motor.  Best operating turntable I’ve ever seen, super smooth and it’s never had a problem of any kind.



Mel


 
My Model Railroad   
http://melvineperry.blogspot.com/
 
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I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.

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Posted by BigDaddy on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 9:00 AM

I would watch ebay for a CMR or a Bowser.   The history of Walthers TT's is disappointing, to say the least.

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

Shenandoah Valley

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Posted by Pruitt on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 9:48 AM

I'll second what Kevin - SeeYou190 - said about the Walthers kit. I bought one then never assembled it because of what I heard about it being a real terror to deal with, and what I saw in the box seemed to support that. It had a flimsy pit, which was a bad way to start since it supports everything else. I could tell that it would take major surgery to make it function well. About that time Walthers came out with their first ready to use indexed and motorized turntable, so I went with that.

If your choices are the Walthers or Peco kits, go with Peco.

But my 90' indexed turntable from Walthers has been very reliable, and has never given me any trouble at all. IF you can swing it somehow, I'd suggest going with one of those. You can find them for a couple hundred dollars at train shows, and maybe cheaper for an older (non-DCC-programmable) model.

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 10:12 AM

Should we assume you are modeling HO?

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by JDawg on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 10:56 AM

Ok. Thanks guys. I was leaning towards the peco anyways. I would love love love a cmr or similar kit, but I just can't afford it and I don't have to time to build it either. 

JJF


Prototypically modeling the Great Northern in Minnesota with just a hint of freelancing. Smile, Wink & Grin

Yesterday is History.

Tomorrow is a Mystery.

But today is a Gift, that is why it is called the Present. 

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Posted by snjroy on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 11:55 AM

Hi there. After reading a lot of horror stories about the Walthers kit, I opted for the RTR Walthers DCC turntable. It's not cheap, but I see it as about the cost of two DCC locomotives... I've had it for about 4 years, and it's been flawless. Indexing works very well. And it adds so much to a layout. If you are in DCC, I would say it's a serious option. But the installation and programming does require some effort.

Simon

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Posted by Mister Mikado on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 1:30 PM

sheer genius,wayne, u r quite an inventor.

ps i read somewhere online about using an open 1/4 inch phone jack for a conductive pivot. it has a thread and nut to attach to the bridge and then plugs into a matching socket below which feeds power up to the loco on it.  -Rob

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Posted by rrebell on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 1:30 PM

My Walthers RTR turntable cast $50 on e-bay and have seen them recently for under $100.

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Posted by snjroy on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 1:42 PM

rrebell

My Walthers RTR turntable cast $50 on e-bay and have seen them recently for under $100.

 

Yes, the kits are cheap. Would not pay a penny for one though. There are a ton of modellers reporting warped pieces that make them useless.

Simon

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Posted by rrebell on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 7:29 PM

snjroy

 

 
rrebell

My Walthers RTR turntable cast $50 on e-bay and have seen them recently for under $100.

 

 

 

Yes, the kits are cheap. Would not pay a penny for one though. There are a ton of modellers reporting warped pieces that make them useless.

 

Simon

 

What kit? RTR (ready to run)

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