Northern Tablelands Express approaching Ardglen Tunnel

Northern Tablelands Express approaching Ardglen Tunnel
Click on the above photo to see the Main North Album at Flickr

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Turntable Woes.

Many years ago, I wanted to turn Garratts at Broadmeadow so I purchased at great expense a 105 foot Central Valley Turntable Kit from the U.S. While I knew it was a kit, opening up the box I soon realized I didn’t need to turn my Garratts any longer and it’s still under the layout. I’ve also got a non indexed motorized 120 foot Turntable from a deceased estate but it is too big to fit anywhere on the Main North. If anyone would like this 120 foot turntable or a have a “kit challenge”, during Lockdown, pick either up or I'll post them for the cost of postage, they're never going to see the light of day, here.

Recently I’ve helped dismantling 4 home layouts and I ended up with 3 Fleishmann 90 foot Indexed Turntables and an unknown brand manual plastic 90 foot unit. I have turntables coming out of my “A”, with 6 on the layout and 6 others under the layout, but…...

 

Recently the Turntables at Gosford and Broadmeadow were playing up and the Werris Ck Turntable was not working at all. I need to have these turntables working for successful Operating sessions. Many layout owners I know, have complained about their Turntables, why should it be any different for me.

 

Gosford: An Antons 20 year old 75 foot unit, I got from another modeller after he went to O scale, so it’s had lots of work and it’s the most used turntable on the Main North to turn the steam locos for their return journey. 

Many years ago, I modified it, driving it with a DCC decoder, setting Loco 44 to full Speed and operating the fascia switches to operate the turntable.  

I was having problems with the circuits through the Wiper/Plate Assembly. I cleaned and adjusted the Wipers but it was still playing up. Gosford is on the lower deck of the layout with plenty of room under it, 

I bypassed one of the circuits through Plate/Wiper Assembly by hard wiring with the Blue wire shown in the photo, hanging down, twisting around as the deck turns. Every now and then I change the direction and now the wire un-winds.

Worked for years but it has just started playing up again. I need to add more wires to bypass the Plate/Wiper Assy. For now, I cleaned and adjusted the tension on the Wipers and Plate. It’s working again.  

If it plays up again, I’ll fix the Turntable like how John Gaydon posted on Facebook about how he repaired his Turntable with a Slip Ring Assembly, click here for details. 


Broadmeadow: Years ago, I installed a Fleishmann 90 footer I bought from a mate that's used much more now that I run a Newcastle Flyer. Turning locos became problematic. Fault traced to a dicky Motor, but instead of spending time fixing the Motor, I replaced it with one from my spare Fleishmann units, firstly dunking the Motor into some Isopropyl to clean the dirty Commutator and Brushes and lubricating the Bushes prior to installation.

Connected the tracks and running locos to park in the Roundhouse, something that was never achieved previously.

 

Werris Ck: While adding 48s to my Werris Ck, (a previous Blog entry), I found the Turntable disconnected with the Control Panel stowed under the layout. I cannot remember how long it has been like this except that it hasn’t worked for ages. It needs to work to turn the 35/36s.


I dismantled it and found the Indexing Pin permanently retracted, repaired by lubricating the Solenoid and Pin but intermittent operation of the Plate/Wiper Assembly caused more issues. It needs the same Slip Ring fix mentioned above for Gosford’s Turntable. Since I’ve got a couple of spare Fleischmann units, I thought I'd use one here.

With the Diesel Terminal located, I cut a bigger hole for the Fleischmann and added the Control Panel to the layout fascia. 

Now I have a working Turntable at Werris Ck with Fleischmann’s easy method of adding powered roads to store locos in the Roundhouse. I will look at replacing the Fleischmann Control Panel with 2 Switches. 


The Fleishmann turntables need an Auto Reverser so I wired Broadmeadow's Auto Reverser to also power Werris Ck's turntable but they cannot be operated at the same time, a small inconvenience for a cost saving.

 

Murrurundi: lately the Frateschi unit started playing up, it just needed a little tweak of the mechanism and it’s back working again. While out, I re-aligned the entry track.

 

Tamworth: I fitted a Walthers N Scale 120 foot Turntable, fitting HO track to the  deck, making it a 60 footer. 

Motorizing it for just turning the Barraba Mail’s 30T was too much effort, so using your Finger will do for the time being. 

The wires to power the Bridge running through the Spindle, just hang there, similar to what’s in Gosford, shown right.  

I installed 2 Micro Switches operated by a Pad glued to plastic cylinder to swap over the track polarity instead of using an Auto Reverser. 

It works a treat, even if it has to be moved by hand.


Willow Tree: Adding Willow Tree back on the layout, I needed a 60 foot Turntable, initially thinking I’d use a Frateshi but I found stored under the layout, another Walthers N Scale Manual Turntable, the same as what’s at Tamworth and not being far from the fascia, it would be easy to line up and turn by hand. Why not use what I’ve got instead of spending $150. Installed it and using the same 2 microswitch method for powering as the above Tamworth Turntable.


I have been lucky obtaining some Fleishmann 90 footers that fixed some of my Turntable Woes but without them, I’d recommend using John Gaydon’s Slip Ring modification to any of your troublesome Turntables. I had intended on getting a Slip Ring Kit but with all the turntables working now and without Operating Sessions during Lockdown, they’re not getting much use to test the longevity of my fixes. Plenty of other layout chores to do. I’ll post here when I add Slip Ring kit.   

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