Turnouts I

$250 later, I have six Circuitron SMAIL switch machines and mounts.

SMAIL is an acronym for Slow Motion Actuator with Integrated Logic. SMAIL switch machines are essentially Tortoise motors with DCC decoders built in. These are not cheap, but by all accounts they are leaps and bounds beyond solenoid switches in terms of performance, and are reliable and long-lasting.


I purchased the remote mounts for two reasons. First, the SMAIL machines are slightly too tall when mounted vertically. My layout simply doesn’t have enough clearance to mount them that way without some significant modification. To keep the profile low, I had planned on using SMAIL (or Tortoise) machines with horizontal mounts from the start. Second, the remote mounts are designed to transfer the sweeping motion of the SMAILs’ swing-arms to a pivoting wire. This means I don’t need to drill a large hole directly under each turnout, but can drill a small hole near each throw-bar instead. I can then attach a narrow wire to one of two pre-drilled holes on each end of the throw bar, and it should work. Much easier to install that way, and I can finish laying track before mounting the SMAILs.

I spent about an hour today reading instructions and assembling the mounts, then I attached the SMAIL machines.

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