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Which is best decoder for tortoise points?

9344 Views 10 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Richard Johnson
I want to use tortoise motors on a DCC O gauge layout I'm building. My question is which decoder I would be best to use with them. 9 points in total working with Gaugemaster Prodigy controller. The Lens LS 150 needs AC power, so I think that's ruled out. Other options seem to be SMD82 or DAC 10 or digitrax DS 44, a very basic one.

Anyone any experience with the combinations of any of the above?

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QUOTE (zmil @ 5 Sep 2008, 10:30) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi Tutorlane
There are decoders that will plug in to the Tortoise Point Motor
Some have feedback to the DCC system (more expensive though)
DCC Specialties do some- Here is a guide Click Here
These are quite common in the US and suppliers do combo packs of Tortoise and DCC decoders

the Lenz 150 only needs a simple addition to run the Tortoise type motors (2 diodes like 1N4001 ,cost 6c ea)
and run a separate AC power supply , to the AC input of the LS150
You can also still operate the points with momentary contact push button switches.

Hope this helps
Regards Zmil

***Tortoise only draws 10 to 15 mA so its like cracking a hammer with a nut using an LS150, also a tortoise is a stall motor which should really have power permanently to it not a short burst. It is also much quieter with lower voltages, and runs really well at 6~9 volts.

easiest and cheapest is a DPDT switch and a wall type plug in pack for power.
next most economical is the NCE switch-8 which as the name suggests will control 8 of them
NCE switch-it will control 2 of them, but has enough go to power two on a crossover from a single output.

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QUOTE (butler-henderson @ 6 Sep 2008, 00:52) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Theres no problem using a LS150 -you just add a pair of diodes to the output.

***Yes, in some cases the LS150 works fine as I said but they are not ever designed for that purpose - they are designed primarily for solenoid operation, with their "motor drive" method an "after it was designed patch", appropriate only for fulgurex or lemaco type motor drives, not for tortoise.

For tortoise they work at too high an operating voltage really, with the higher voltage & half wave rectification making the tortoise much much noisier than it needs to be and they do not work at all the way tortoise was designed to work, as they turn off after a few seconds, and tortoise was designed to have power applied ALL the time.

... therefore they are OK to use on tortoise with turnouts with a centre spring, but often NOT OK with other brands, ie tillig with sprung blades, handmade etc, as the tortoise will occasionally relax slightly unless power is mantained as per its design intention.

LS 150 isn't the most cost effective answer either...

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