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Tortoise switch machine card edge connectors?

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Tortoise switch machine card edge connectors?
Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, September 26, 2017 11:24 PM

Are there any cheaper options to the Accu-Lites Tortoise card edge connectors?

Our club's problem is that we will be using a large number of used Tortoises that have had their original connections soldered directly to the terminals. We are reluctant to solder to the terminals a second time (actually a third time since the remnants of the original wires will have to be removed), and we are reluctant to spend another $9.00 Cdn per Tortoise for the Accu-Lites connectors with the screw terminals.

Are there less expensive connectors available?

Thanks,

Dave

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Posted by RR_Mel on Wednesday, September 27, 2017 12:05 AM

Dave
 
I use the S01156 Sullins EBM08DSXN for my Tortoise switch Machines. 
 
Good Luck
 
 
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, September 27, 2017 1:33 AM

Thanks Mel.

How do you connect your wires to the terminals on the connector? Do you solder them or is there some sort of slip on female socket connector that fits onto the individual terminals?

Any pictures?

Thanks,

Dave

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, September 27, 2017 7:26 AM

 I've seen pictures that shoow male Molex pins soldered in a neat row to the Tortoise - however every Tortoise I've ever seen has the holes drilled staggered instead of straight across. That to me would be the best way, soldering the connectors on at the bench before installing the Tortoise. The Molex headers mate firmly with the plug so there is little change of anything working loose or an errant pull on the wire popping the connector loose. I guess to do this you would have to drill some holes in each one to get a row matching the spacing of the connector.

 Another way I've seen it done is with a straight header, laying the solder side of the pins over the traces on the Tortoise and soldering it flat. That should actually work with minimal cleanup of any existing wires in the holes - just snip them off flush.

 ANother way I always thought about doing it was making pigtails and soldering an RJ45 jack to each one, thus any interconnect cables can be made with some flat wire and a crimp tool. The only thing I ever saw wrong about this is that usually 3 of the wires are used local to the machine (frog power) and only 5 of the 8 need actually run anywhere.

                             --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by RR_Mel on Wednesday, September 27, 2017 9:06 AM

hon30critter

Thanks Mel.

How do you connect your wires to the terminals on the connector? Do you solder them or is there some sort of slip on female socket connector that fits onto the individual terminals?

Any pictures?

Thanks,

Dave

 

This was the easiest connector to get to Dave.  It’s on a Tortoise powered crossing gate and only needed power to the Tortoise motor.
 
 
 
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, September 28, 2017 12:25 AM

Thanks again Mel.

Randy - what is a 'Molex' pin?

Dave

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, September 28, 2017 6:35 AM

 Go to find pictures and it turns out there is a commercial option

http://www.vernonianorthern.com/VN/

The pins that solder on to the Tortoise and the pins that go in the shrouds where you attach the wires (they crimp on - but there's a special tool for that) and the shrouds are all available from any electronics supplier like Mouser or Digi-Key for, I suspect, even lower cost, but these guys are selling sets of 25 for $105USD, or $3.95 each for orders of more than 26. 

 Never heard of these guys until it just came up in searching.

                                 --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by RR_Mel on Thursday, September 28, 2017 9:20 AM

Using Randy’s post info I found these on eBay
 
 
They’re not quite the same as the Molex but they should be interchangeable, for the price I’m going to order some.  I'll cut off the connector locking piece, that won't be needed for the Tortoise.
 
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, September 28, 2017 11:03 AM

 I'm not sure if the pin pitch on those is going to match the Tortoise though. ANd the headers don't have much room to solder on like those right-angle ones.

                       --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by Jim at BSME on Thursday, September 28, 2017 11:18 AM

hon30critter

Are there any cheaper options to the Accu-Lites Tortoise card edge connectors?

Traintek sells the accu-lites a little cheaper, but of course I don't know what shipping to Canada will be, they also sell the connector by themselves, you can check them out here: Accu-Lites SNAPS Wiring Connector for Tortoise Switch Machine

- Jim B.
Baltimore Society of Model Engineers
O & HO Scale model railroading since 1932.
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Posted by Jim at BSME on Thursday, September 28, 2017 11:24 AM

rrinker

I'm not sure if the pin pitch on those is going to match the Tortoise though. ANd the headers don't have much room to solder on like those right-angle ones.

                       --Randy

Yes be careful with the e-bay listing the title and description do not agree the title implies straight through hole pcb mount, but the description says right angle.

The pin spacing is correct as 3.96 mm is .156 inch, which is the spacing on the tortise edge connector.

- Jim B.
Baltimore Society of Model Engineers
O & HO Scale model railroading since 1932.
Check out BSME on: Facebook and Google+
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Posted by RR_Mel on Thursday, September 28, 2017 11:28 AM

Randy the specs on the socket I’m using (Sullins EBM08DSXN) is .156” and matches the eBay connector specs.  The eBay connector is an angle connector also, or at least that’s what the listing says.
 
It should work.  Dave I’d say if you want to wait until I get my order I’ll do a follow up but remember it’ll be on a slow boat from China.
 
 
EDIT:
 
In reading over the entire listing a couple more times I’m not holding my breath, the listing has several errors from pin count to it being an angle connector.  The picture shows a 8 pin straight the listing says #6385 and the description says #6359 8 pin Angle.  8P is the US standard for 8 pins so maybe that will be correct.
  
 
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, September 28, 2017 10:27 PM

Thanks everyone for all the information.

After I posted this thread, one of the layout design committee members has questioned whether or not we want to use Tortoises on every turnout. I'm in favour of being able to control all of the turnouts remotely, partly because I would like to see automatic route selection in the yard, and partly because we want to involve a dispatcher in the layout operations.

I'm sure there will be Tortoises on the layout so your information will be valuable when we are considering our options.

Thanks again,

Dave

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Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Friday, September 29, 2017 8:09 AM

If it's a question of price, here are some I used:  Tortoise Edge Card

Not endorsing this particular dealer, but he does have decent prices and prompt service.

Robert

LINK to SNSR Blog

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Posted by RR_Mel on Friday, September 29, 2017 9:43 AM

ROBERT PETRICK

If it's a question of price, here are some I used:  Tortoise Edge Card

Not endorsing this particular dealer, but he does have decent prices and prompt service.

Robert

 

Go for it Dave!
 
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.

 

  • Member since
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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, September 29, 2017 7:54 PM

ROBERT PETRICK
If it's a question of price, here are some I used:  Tortoise Edge Card

Thanks Robert!

Dave

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Posted by CNR378 on Saturday, September 30, 2017 8:12 AM

http://www.emra.club/electrical/tortoise.html

My club uses molex connectors

molex right angle 8 pin 0026481086

molex crimp terminal housing 09-50-8081

molex crimp terminal  0008500189

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Posted by rrinker on Saturday, September 30, 2017 12:50 PM

 IMO the molex connectors are the way to go  for long term reliability, if you don't want to have to solder under the layout. The right angle ones are particularly nice because they place the pins (and the connector) into space that HAS to be open anyway, right under the bulk of the Tortoise. Soldering the pins on before installing each Tortoise couln't be easier - a pair of alligator clips to clamp the outside pins to the Tortoise board, solder the other 6 pins, remove clips, solder last 2 pins. Any under-layout customization involves crimp connections that don't need to be soldered if the proper tool is used. Miniature versions of these are used in many factory DCC locos. Cheap, too.

                             --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by Paul3 on Monday, October 09, 2017 9:34 AM

I have never understood the desire for a Tortoise edge connector.  There's just no need for it and it introduces a mechanical connection that could corrode, shift, or fail at any time by someone or something moving under the layout or yanking a wire.

An edge connector would be great if one was in the habit of replacing Tortoise machines constantly.  Well, I can report that in the 15+ years we've been running Tortoise machines at my club, we've never had to replace one.  And it's not like we don't have a bunch.  Last I checked, we've got about 400 installed.

At my club, we solder a 1-foot length of 8-conductor cable to every brand new Tortoise machine on the bench.  The loose end of the cable is stripped back 3 or 4 inches and each individual wire is stripped at the end.  When the Tortoise is installed, we use a 9v battery for testing.  After installation, we mount a 8-connector terminal strip near-by, and screw the 8 wires to it (everything color coded, everything mounted the same for each Tortoise).

What this means is that all soldering is done on the bench, all Tortoise machines are insulated from wires being yanked on due to the terminal strip, and only a screwdriver is required to be used under the layout (no irons).  Tortoise machines can still be replaced quickly, but then they never need to be replaced, really.

In this particular instance of used Tortoise machines with wires already on them (and provided it's a good solder connection to the Tortoise), I would simply solder on a length of 8-conductor cable to the existing wires (trimming them to a couple inches at most) and heat shrink the connections.  Then use terminal strips.

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Monday, October 09, 2017 11:47 AM

Having just dismantled my layout, I heartily endorse the use of screw-connector terminal strips.  I've done a few of my Tortoises this way, and found them much easier to work with later on.

Most of my Tortoises use only two wires for power, though, plus 3 more for the frog.  I've connected the frog wires on the bench and the power wires back to the control panel directly at the layout, whether I used edge connectors or not.  I use terminal blocks when I use the rest of the Tortoise connections for signals.

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

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, October 09, 2017 1:14 PM

 My thought is, I do not se the point of an edge card connector PLUS screw terminals. Either one alone allows an easy no-solder way to dsiconnect the wiring.

 The molex conenctors do require soldering - but all that done sittign at a comfortable table, not under the layout. In fact in a club situation you cna mass produce these, one person clamping and soldering the first to pins, then another person soldering the remaining 6. An evening of this will outfit enough Tortoises to keep the track gang supplied for weeks. Sort of how I do my powered joiners, except I do all that myself. First cut adn strip lengths of wire, then go bend all of the stripped ends to 90 degrees, then go solder each wire to a fresh joiner. A few hours of this and I have a box full of powered joiners ready to go, adn since EVERY joiner I install is a powered one I need quite a few. The Atlas premade ones would be insanely expensive - a pair costs about the saem as a whole pack of plain joiners, a few hours work and I have 48 pairs for the same price plus the cost of < 100 feet of thin wire.

                          --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by Renegade1c on Monday, October 09, 2017 7:21 PM

Well this is the dealer I used to get mine off of eBay.ot can be found here  They fit well however they do have the little styrene inserts on the end to keep the edge board from moving around. At 2.91 a piece it isn't bad. I made my own boards which have a DPDT relay so I can use push buttons or diode matrix to throw them for my yard. 

 
 


Colorado Front Range Railroad: 
http://www.coloradofrontrangerr.com/

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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, October 10, 2017 12:15 AM

I am going to recommend to the club that we leave the wires that are already soldered to the used Tortoises in place and use connector blocks to feed them. The wires are plenty long enough to get to the connector blocks so I see no need to make an easy solution more complex. I will have a close look at the solder connections on the Tortoise terminals before we install them.

Thanks everyone,

Dave

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Posted by Benjamin Maggi on Wednesday, January 03, 2018 10:50 AM

If you want connectors that have screw terminals so you don't have to solder, see the link below. They are $6 each, so they are not cheap.

http://www.traintekllc.com/accu-lites-snaps-wiring-connector-for-tortoise-switch-machine/

Modeling the D&H in 1984: http://dandhcoloniemain.blogspot.com/

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, January 04, 2018 11:12 AM

Benjamin Maggi
If you want connectors that have screw terminals so you don't have to solder, see the link below. They are $6 each, so they are not cheap. http://www.traintekllc.com/accu-lites-snaps-wiring-connector-for-tortoise-switch-machine/

Hi Benjamin:

Thanks for the lead.

We have looked at those connectors. The individual prices aren't too bad, but our problem is that we need about 75 of them, and we are in Canada which jumps the price significantly. The total would be about $730.00 Cdn taxes and shipping in. That is almost 10% of the budget for the whole layout. Hard to justify.

Dave

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Posted by Wazzzy on Monday, January 08, 2018 9:18 PM

If budget is a factor, I recommend using Cat5 cable and an E-bay cheapo barrier strip terminal. Under $.50 per tort, rock solid in reliability and easy to install.

10 pack of terminal strips $2.64 (.27 each)

https://www.ebay.com/itm/10Pcs-Barrier-Screw-Terminal-Wire-Connector-5A-12-Position-Block-Terminal/282297624395?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649

1000' Cat 5 cable $37.50 (.08 cents per tort)

https://www.homedepot.com/p/SPT-1000-ft-24-Gauge-CAT5E-Cable-Gray-4-Pair-CAT5-1000G/300605094

 

cut the terminal strip down to an 8 section piece & save the "extras" for other uses. Desolder the old wires from the tort. Cut a piece of 2' cat5 cable and separate the wires (develope a color code plan) and solder the wires onto the tort. The other end of the cat5 cable can be inserted into the terminal strip using the same color code with a screw driver. The extra length of cat5 cable allows the terminal strip to be located (#4 screws) just about anywhere convient under the layout.

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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, January 09, 2018 12:41 AM

Wazzzy
If budget is a factor, I recommend using Cat5 cable and an E-bay cheapo barrier strip terminal. Under $.50 per tort, rock solid in reliability and easy to install. 10 pack of terminal strips $2.64 (.27 each) https://www.ebay.com/itm/10Pcs-Barrier-Screw-Terminal-Wire-Connector-5A-12-Position-Block-Terminal/282297624395?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649 1000' Cat 5 cable $37.50 (.08 cents per tort) https://www.homedepot.com/p/SPT-1000-ft-24-Gauge-CAT5E-Cable-Gray-4-Pair-CAT5-1000G/300605094

Hey Wazzzy,

We are already ahead of you as far as the terminal strips go. One of our members had found the same item on eBay, but thanks for the confirmation that they will work.

As far as the Cat 5 cable goes, I appreciate your suggestion. Currently we have 31 used Tortoise machines that have already had different coloured wires soldered to the connectors, so we have decided to wire the rest of the Tortoises the same way. All of the used Tortoises have been tested, and true to form, they all worked great.

Your input is much appreciated. Thanks.

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, January 11, 2018 2:19 AM

To clarify our situation, we have decided to not use the edge connectors. There are much cheaper ways to accomplish the same thing, i.e. solder wires directly to the Tortoise circuit board before the Tortoises are installed and use terminal strips to make the connections under the layout. The cost difference worked out to be about $9.00 Cdn less per Tortoise.

Dave

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