Point motors on turnouts - need input to make choice

Reptilian Feline Aug 9, 2020

  1. Reptilian Feline

    Reptilian Feline TrainBoard Member

    I'm going to use Märklin turnouts on my Z scale layout. I'm thinking that scale doesn't matter when it comes to quality, so I'm posting it here for all ideas. I'm going to move the mechanism to sit under the table, and was pointed to a tutorial on how to do that. They work with the turnouts that have solenoid motors, and describe how to move those as well, and also comment that they aren't the best ones to use.

    Initially, I thought I'de save on cost and get the manual turnouts, but maybe I should go with the motor ones instead? A manual one cost about 15 bucks (for arguments sake) and one with a motor cost 25 bucks. I thought I'd control the manual ones using bike wheel spokes or bicycle break wires in tubes. Maybe it would be easier to use motors? I am planning for a lot of turnouts on my layout for station shunting and so on.

    So... do I spend the extra money on motor turnouts or do I go with the manual ones? Can I fit motors to the manual ones later? Is the motor on Märklin turnouts so bad that the cost isn't worth it?
  2. minesweeper

    minesweeper TrainBoard Member

    Marklin Z scale turnouts are a design from the 70 or so, not really reliable (better, as reliable as they could get at the time).
    I have some for a layout project for my kid, and really the easiest way is to accept them as they are, or use more modern ones like Rokuhan.
    You can try to hike a motor on one of these but these are not designed for it, therefore i would expect it to be quite difficult to have realiable ops.
    For motors i use the MP1s and prefer them as they are cheap and reliable (use them on self built turnouts on my HO scale layout’.
    But at theend I would use the marklin manual and move them with a stick, do not think your layout is so deep to have issues in doing so.
  3. Mr. Trainiac

    Mr. Trainiac TrainBoard Member

    I do not model Z scale, and Marklin in any scale is not very common in the US, so I can only speak in general terms.

    How large is this layout? Is it a switching layout or does it have long mainline runs? If all the turnouts are in front of you (small layout) then manual operation is probably fine. If the layout is up high, closer to eye level, looking at the track and seeing which direction the turnout is set to is more difficult. I would only use manual turnouts if I was looking down at the layout.

    Are you planning on having multiple operators, or is the layout designed to be controlled by one person? If it is a larger layout for a solo operator, having a centralized switchboard for all the turnouts may be a good idea. Having route-indicating LEDs on a central control board will help you see how the turnouts are set without having to move around the room and visually check each one on the layout. A momentary contact switch with red or green LEDs can easily indicate if the turnout is set for a diverging of straight route. For that you will need to motorize them.

    I think your choice will depend on what the layout looks like and how large it is.
    Reptilian Feline likes this.
  4. Reptilian Feline

    Reptilian Feline TrainBoard Member

    It's a one woman show - mine :) A home layout for my pleasure, but if all goes well, I'll be able to do some videos and show the world :-D

    The layout is small, and will be analogue, no DCC, I can't afford that. I'm leaning towards manual control of the turnouts. I found the linkage tutorial here for turnouts among the resources. I won't use a servo, but I think the idea of the servo can be turned into a knob and twist control.

    There will be one main station with shunting, one smaller one with a couple of spurs, and a small brewery/factory with a turnaround track. I am also designing a running continuously section with some hidden tracks and three levels. Crazy really, and putting points on hidden tracks are maybe not the best thing to do, but I plan for easy access. I have small hands ;-)

    I'll be looking down at the layout while standing up.

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