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Reviewing Tortoise Buddy Features

Posted by on Apr 21, 2017 in News |

The Tortoise Buddy series is designed to provide operators who don’t need the DCC functions of the Hare a similarly convenient method of activating a Tortoise switch motor machine. The Tortoise Buddy plugs directly onto the card edge connector of the Tortoise and can be used with DC or DCC layouts. The Tortoise Buddy family has three members: Tortoise Buddy Baby, Tortoise Buddy Senior, and Tortoise Buddy Whiz Kid.

Tortoise Buddy Baby
The Tortoise Buddy Baby is designed to be an interconnect board. It plugs directly onto the Tortoise edge connector and brings all of the Tortoise connector pins out to an 8-position terminal block. It will allow you to make connections to the Tortoise without soldering. It does not provide power, switch control, or position indication. All of these functions are provided by the user’s external circuitry.

Tortoise Buddy Senior
The Tortoise Buddy Senior is designed to give you basic manual control of the Tortoise switch motor. Like the Baby, it plugs directly onto the Tortoise edge connector. You can connect the Senior power input terminals to DC, AC, or DCC. It will use the input power to provide voltage to operate the Tortoise switch motor, allowing you to operate the Senior directly from the track bus of any DC, AC, or DCC powered layout. A six-position screw terminal is provided to allow you to connect a DPDT switch to the Senior. The position of the switch will control the position of the Tortoise (and your turnout points). The Senior also includes a Power Present LED, plus two additional LEDs (one red, one green) that show the position of the Tortoise. The position LEDs are also brought to a terminal block where you can connect external remote LEDs without the need for series resistors.

Tortoise Buddy Whiz Kid
The Tortoise Buddy Whiz Kid is designed to give you full control of your turnout with the exception that it does not respond to DCC commands (if you need DCC control, see The Hare – it is very similar to the Whiz Kid but with DCC command control). The Whiz Kid will operate on DC, AC, and DCC layouts.
While the Tortoise Buddy Senior uses a DPDT switch to control the Tortoise motor, which requires six wires between the DPDT switch and the Senior, the Whiz Kid uses a Momentary Center Off SPDT switch which only requires three wires for switch control. This eliminates a bit of wiring. Further, the Whiz Kid can be controlled by a momentary contact, allowing you to use push buttons or an ON-OFF-ON momentary action toggle switch. The Whiz Kid has the same array of LEDs as the Senior to display power status and point position, and can drive remote LEDs without the use of series resistors.
The most significant added feature of the Whiz Kid is Auto Throw. A section of rail in the Clear frog path and in the Throw frog path is isolated and connected to the Whiz Kid. Power is routed to the isolated rail in the direction that the points will send the train. The other route out of the frog is unpowered. If a train approaches from the direction that is against the points (the unpowered rail), the Whiz Kid will sense the train approach and move the points to prevent a derail/short accident. Since the trigger rail is unpowered until the points are correctly positioned, the train will stop and wait until the points are correctly aligned.