Wiring-In A Turntable

Wiring-in A Turntable.

The process will take time, seem mundane and boring but when finished the rewards will be amazing.   I promise!

Posted here on BarstowRick.com are two videos on how to install a turntable.  You might want to view those at some point in the future.  They will share how to physically install your turntable, see Categories.

In this posting we are going look at and  talk about how-to wire in a analog DC turntable.  With regard to converting over DCC,  is simpler then you think.   So, get your turntable installed and we will discuss later on how to wire in DCC.

Wiring In A Turntable:

Looking at the variety of turntables out there.  You will note.   The first thing  that will jump at you is:   Each turntable has it’s own way to wire it in. Each turntable will come with a set of directions on how to wire it in.   It’s very important you follow those directions to the letter.  Now with that said, who follows directions…anyway?

Available on the market  by brand name:

  • Kato
  • Walthers/Cornerstone
  • Hornby
  • Fleishman
  • Atlas
  • And Others

You can custom build your own turntable by taking parts you can find at a swap-meet and engineer your own. The directions and/or suggestions shared here will apply.

Let’s say you’ve installed your choice of turntable.   It looks pretty… but it isn’t working yet.    Looks like a little wiring is in order you’ll need some tools and supplies to get the job done.

  1. A turntable.   If you haven’t already bought one now is the time.   For those of you who already have one,  let’s get started.
  2. A cheap power supply to run and/or operate the motor for the turntable.
  3. Test light to check for current.
  4. Multi-meter to check for continuity, live current and polarity.
  5. Wire, solder, soldering iron and flux.
  6. Wire cutters and stripper.
  7. A DPDT electrical toggle switch.   Preferably one with the center off.  Wired to reverse the polarity.
  8. Rail cutters or my favorite a Dremel Tool with a fine cutting disc.
  9. Track which can either be flex or sectional.
  10. Adhesive, preferably a Thick Cyanoacrylate.
  11. Screwdrivers, wire cutters and wire strippers.
  12. Jig Saw to cut the hole for the turntable.

First off, you will need to be able to reverse the current to the bridge of the turntable.  You can use the DPDT pictured here and wire it in to reverse the current.

DPDT Double Pole Double Pole Center Off


Each storage track will need some sort of an on and off toggle, momentary on spring loaded to off. I don’t recommend using a SPST or Common.    Recommending instead you use a momentary on to center off DPDT, as seen here.

DPDT momentary on, spring loaded to return to the off position.

You can hook this up to your power supply.   It won’t matter if it’s Analog DC or DCC.   They work.

Control Panel: 

This is just one of many ways to put together a control panel for your turntable.

Model Train Control Panel

Published on Apr 10, 2016

How I put together a control panel for my layout to include the turntable.    Thanks for watching LS3Jack.

Now as you go to hook up the feeder wires to each turntable track you will need to keep in mind that some turntables IE., Atlas.    The polarity will reverse itself as you reach the half way point on the turntable.



Click on the image for a larger picture.

By having  a reversing DPDT hooked to the bridge of the turntable you’ll find, with a little practice, how easy it is to navigate the track around the turntable.

Feeder Wires:   You will need those all important feeder wires connected to some sort of on and off electrical switch.    You can use the momentary on spring loaded to off.   They come in  flat button types and toggles.

You’ll be set to roll as soon as you solder in those ever present  feeder wires.

Isolating the turntable storage tracks:   You won’t need to gap the rails by either using  plastic rail joiners or cutting the track.  Just don’t let the turntable storage tracks touch the rails on the bridge. Short!  Or a possibility of such.

Power Supplies:

Most of my turntables have been installed during the dark ages of analog DC.    What I’ve learned is it doesn’t matter whether you are wired to DCC or old Analog DC., you can make it work.   A cut off switch or toggle switch, a DPDT, is needed if you intend to have both Analog DC and DCC, wired to your layout.  You’ll be delightfully surprised when you find out it works.

Tip of the Day:    For the turntable I use a separate power pack for the motor that turns the turntable.   Trying to wire-in everything to one transformer is just asking for more frustration then is needed.

Are you ready to tackle putting in a turntable?   Probably not.  Experience the best on the job training teacher will teach you what you need to know.    Your drive to learn will nudge you along.   So go get that turntable installed and wired-in.



Credits for graphics: The DPDT’s Amazon & We-Honest, the Walthers Turntable NYRS.com, feeder wires Rudy’sModelRailroad@wordpress.com and other wiring diagrams TYs Blog.

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