• A quick, Simple, LED TuTortoisal!

    I've read/have been asked several times recently, how to wire dual color LEDs on the Tortoise Slo-Mo Switch Machines. Well... here's how I do mine, and an electrician I'm not! It's easy, works correctly and consistently, and regardless of what your decoder/throttle/JMRI etc is telling you the status of the turnout is... the "LED" is NEVER wrong, and the others can be. In other words... if the LED is "red", the switch is thrown, PERIOD! If the LED is "green", the turnout is closed, PERIOD! LOL In this first shot, here is one of the Linrose LEDs that I use. I use the 3mm dual red/green LEDs shown, a 1K 1/4 watt resistor, and a short, about 10-12" length of paired, twisted, 20ga solid wire. https://www.nscale.net/forums/attachm...6&d=1324771704 In this second shot I have cut the LED leads down considerably, as well as the leads on the 1/4 watt 1K Resistor. Notice that I cut the anode leg of the LED long (it comes long to start with, so that it's identifiable) as it is the leg that the resistor (or positive side) is connected to. This is also the point when I "tin" the component ends, just as you do with all wires. https://www.nscale.net/forums/attachm...7&d=1324771710 In Shot #3, the "tinned" component ends and wires are held tightly in place by clamps for soldering. If you do as shown below, the clips act as heat sinks, and they keep the LED and the Resistor cool during the solder process. Just heat the wire and component lead at the same time with your soldering iron until the solder melts together, then remove the iron and let the connections cool. Rinse and repeat for the other side. If you notice at the bottom of the picture, the wires already have pieces of heat shrink slid over them and away from the soldering area... we don't want them hot yet! (Note: The LED was soldered to the resistor prior to this step, by using two clamps similar to below.) https://www.nscale.net/forums/attachm...8&d=1324771716 In this 4th shot, the heat shrink has been slid up and heated tight to the wire. Notice that there is a larger diameter piece of heat shrink at the top of the red piece. That's because that's as far as the 1/16" tubing would fit past the resistor, so I just added an extra piece of 1/8" heat shrink to insure good insulation. https://www.nscale.net/forums/attachm...9&d=1324771723 In Photo #5, this just illustrates that the two LED wires are soldered to the #1 and #8 legs (Power leads) of the Tortoise Machine. Before connecting, set the turnout position to "Closed" and touch the LED wires to #1 and #8 to ensure that it lights "green" in the closed position. If it lights red at this point, simply use the opposite LED wires to correct the problem permanently. Once the orientation has been determined, solder them to the same legs of the Tortoise! This is why the LED NEVER lies... it can't. It's power comes from the stalled power side of the Tortoise, so they always will match as long as power is sent to the machine the same way, every time... that is unless you change the wires. Then it's your fault!! https://www.nscale.net/forums/attachm...0&d=1324771732 Here it is (for now) in the last shot. This area will be covered by a facia, so the indicator light will be in the mounted fasia near the trunout. But for now... it's stays attached to the layout with a thumbtack!!! HAHA!!! https://www.nscale.net/forums/attachm...1&d=1324771740 And there it is folks... the simplest, most flawless Tortoise LED indicator light I've come up with so far. It works great, and really is an easy project. If soldering is scaring you away, just get some scraps and practice... it doesn't have to look like it came from a factory, but with a little practice... it will start to quickly!! Happy Holidays All here on NSN!!! Matt
    This article was originally published in blog: A quick, Simple, LED TuTortoisal! started by GNMatz
    Comments 12 Comments
    1. seanm's Avatar
      seanm -
      Nicely done!!
    1. SANDBOX1's Avatar
      SANDBOX1 -
      SWEET! I needed this.
    1. TwinDad's Avatar
      TwinDad -
      Nice tutorial, and some very tidy work!
    1. epumph's Avatar
      epumph -
      very nice - thanks for your efforts
    1. Michael Whiteman's Avatar
      Michael Whiteman -
      Very well explained with great pictures. Thank you
    1. warnerj01's Avatar
      warnerj01 -
      In pictures 2 and 3, what is that device called?
    1. mariuszjj's Avatar
      mariuszjj -
      nice tut, should make hook's to solder together
      better connection + wont come undone ...
    1. Phill91's Avatar
      Phill91 -
      Thanks A ton Matt!!!
    1. GNMatz's Avatar
      GNMatz -
      Quote Originally Posted by warnerj01 View Post
      In pictures 2 and 3, what is that device called?
      That is a Kronus "Helping Hands"... one of the most useful devices you'll ever buy!!

      ---------- Post added 27th Dec 2011 at 02:55 PM ----------

      Quote Originally Posted by mariuszjj View Post
      nice tut, should make hook's to solder together
      better connection + wont come undone ...
      You are correct! I good "mechanical connection" make for an even more solid soldered connection!!! Great point!! Simply tin the leads/wires, bend tiny hooks on their ends, and pinch them tightly together before soldering!!!

      Great suggestion!!
    1. GNMatz's Avatar
      GNMatz -
      Thanks for all the kind replies... I learned all of this here mostly, and just wanted to put it in simple, visual terms for everyone. May you all have cool, glowing LEDs!!!!

    1. Jst's Avatar
      Jst -
      Nice work. How do you power the Tortoises?
    1. GNMatz's Avatar
      GNMatz -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jst View Post
      Nice work. How do you power the Tortoises?
      Thanks Jst! I power all of them with my Digitrax DB150 off the track bus. They draw very little amperage (15-16 ma stalled) so they're hardly noticeable on the system. It would take 62 stalled out Tortii to draw 1 amp from your system. Also, it makes computer interfacing your layout with JRMI effortless! You can throw all your turnouts from your throttle, your computer "panel", or even on an app on your smart phone. Plus each will control as many locos as you care to run!!