Model Railway Electrics - Point Motors
Point motors are used to remotely control model
railway points. They are ideally used for points which are difficult to
reach and thus control manually. Many modellers only motorise the points
which they cannot reach in an effort to save money.
There are at least three makes of point motors, Hornby, SEEP, and Peco. As far
as I know all of the motors are simple linear motors (meaning they have a side
to side motion instead of rotational motion). Hornby and Peco Point motors are
very similar but do require modification to allow them to be used on each others
points. Click here to read
more. SEEP point motor were recommended to me as apparently they are more
reliable on large display layouts.
Hornby standard point motors
(R8014) do not have the option of a
built in switch, but they do come with fitted coloured wires and they can be
mounted in three different ways. They are above the board in a point motor
fixed directly to the bottom of the points
(recommended) by means of fixing holes on the bottom of modern Hornby points
(you do need to cut a hole in the base board 40mm X 25mm to accommodate the
motor), or fixed underneath the base board by screws (by bending the
mounting prongs over, (screws are not supplied). You can also glue the point
motor to the bottom of the board and use the extension arm that comes with
every Hornby point (not recommended).
Peco Standard Point
(pictured below) are very similar in look and performance to Hornby point
motors. The only big difference is that Peco point motors come in either
long pin (PL-10E) or standard pin (PL-10) length, so you have to decide at
the store, were as all Hornby point motors come with an extension arm. You
can also buy a switch (PL-13) which mounts on to the bottom of Peco Points
which can be used to automatically change a signal or change electro frog
polarity. Remember you cant use Peco point motors on Hornby Points without
some minor adjustments.
Click here to find out more.
Fixing point motors to your points is a bit hit
and miss. It often takes many small minor adjustments to the point motor
before it will work consistently, and with speed. If you rush it, you may
find that they don't work first time every time resulting in derailments,
often in the most inaccessible area of your layout. Remember it's important
to test your layout before you ballast, as adjustments afterwards are very
SEEP point motors come with
or without a built in switch which allows you for example to
operate a signal from the point motor (It does not control the
points), and can only be placed below the base board either by
screws (not supplied) or by glue (see picture). It also does not
come with fitted wires, so will require soldering.
Powering Point Motors (DC)
Point motors can not be powered from the track.
They need an external power source. Hornby controllers (HM2000 and R965)
come with an accessory outlet 16V AC. This is the correct voltage for
Hornby, Peco, and SEEP point motors, as well as other accessories eg
signals. In my experience the amp output of older versions of the R965
controller is insufficient to power the SEEP point motors and is only just
powerful enough to power the Hornby point motors (even when fitted
perfectly). The newer version is better but I would recommend that you use a
Gaugemaster or HM2000 controller which not only gives you more amps to the
point motors (allowing them to work all the time every time), but it also
puts more amps into the track resulting in less stalling and more pulling
power. If you buy a Gaugemaster controller you will need to buy a set of
leads (£1) which will link it to the Hornby style power clips. Gaugemaster
Controllers come with a lifetime guarantee and are only a little bit more in
If you decide to use point motors please click
on the related links below which will advise you further on the options you
have for positioning and different methods of switching.
Positioning / mounting
Fitting Point Motors directly beneath you points.