Work has been progressing quickly on the removable staging yard I’m building for one end of my layout, and a few weeks ago I had reached the point where I needed to get the turnout motors installed. I’m using Proto:87 Stores, Mole Switch Machines which I’ve mounted on two sheets of .080” styrene sheet. This assembly sits in a notched hole in the foam baseboard, invisible from the top, but accessible from below.
I chose the Mole over Tortoise for a couple reasons. First and foremost is the size difference, the Mole fits in a considerably smaller hole and doesn’t stick down as far below the foam. The other reason is cost. The Mole is $13. The Tortoise is around $20. Lastly, using the Mole gave me another opportunity to support Andy Reichert and the great work he does through the Proto:87 Stores.
The Mole requires a bit of assembly, but it’s nothing difficult. I built each one and added the necessary leads in about 15 minutes apiece. My frogs are isolated so that polarity can be set based on the route that the turnout is aligned for, and the Mole makes the wiring for this configuration fairly straightforward. Each machine has four mounting points. The two at the front by the throw wire are screwed to the plate. The back two slide into little styrene tabs because screws would not have been accessible due to the motor bump out.
At this point, all 4 machines have been built, tested and installed in the staging yard. I’ve actually got the sub-roadbed and cork down too, but I’ll save that for a future post.