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Cobalt Point Motors (and Cobalt Digital)

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BosKonay
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Breaking this out from Amiens Street, from Noel

 

Cobalt Point Motors: Can I ask you now that you've had cobalt point pointers installed for over three years what you now think of them? (i.e. reliability, robustness over time, etc). A few questions if you have the time:

 

Do Peco points need to be adapted in anyway (i.e. remove center spring)?

I know very little about them, but if they only need two wires to the DCC backbone, can they still be operated by analog lever switches rather than just accessory numbers from a DCC cab?

The cobalt lever switches with the safety release look a bit large and unwieldy as well as expensive, which type of lever switch would you now recommend?

What motor model do you recommend? Currently I have insulfrog points which seem to be fine with all wheel pickup diesels, but in the future I suspect I may replace some points with electrofrog. Therefore would you recommend a model that could do for insulfrog now (i.e. ignore circuit switching), but do electrofrog switching in the future?

How did you fig them to the baseboard? Did the double sided tape to ply stand the test of time or did you have to glue, or screw them?

Will they work for some points where they cannot be located directly under the points (i.e. via horizontal push rods for points sited at baseboard joints)?

 

I'm still a fan, to start with :)

 

Since installation back here: http://irishrailwaymodeller.com/showthread.php/4-Amiens-Street-Terminus?p=14759&viewfull=1#post14759

 

They've not given a moments trouble, bar some initial voltage issues which made them problematic to programme. Since then, DCC Concepts have 'updated' the motor, and branded it http://www.dccconcepts.com/catalogue/a/Point-Motors-Cobalt-iP-Digital

 

The new version is self-centred and handles the voltage issues better.

 

On the Peco point adaptations, yes, I use electrofrogs, which need a few 'tweaks'.

 

Here is how I do mine:

peco-tweaks.jpg

 

On the motors themselves, check the documentation (which is excellent) on the link above. It details how they wire up, how to control them, how to build a control panel with levels or buttons/leds and how to use them in an offset or in pairs for crossings.

 

I fitted all mine using the available foam pads, not a bother in 3 years and counting...

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Breaking this out from Amiens Street, from Noel

 

 

 

I'm still a fan, to start with :)

 

Since installation back here: http://irishrailwaymodeller.com/showthread.php/4-Amiens-Street-Terminus?p=14759&viewfull=1#post14759

 

They've not given a moments trouble, bar some initial voltage issues which made them problematic to programme. Since then, DCC Concepts have 'updated' the motor, and branded it http://www.dccconcepts.com/catalogue/a/Point-Motors-Cobalt-iP-Digital

 

The new version is self-centred and handles the voltage issues better.

 

On the Peco point adaptations, yes, I use electrofrogs, which need a few 'tweaks'.

 

Here is how I do mine:

[ATTACH=CONFIG]20083[/ATTACH]

 

On the motors themselves, check the documentation (which is excellent) on the link above. It details how they wire up, how to control them, how to build a control panel with levels or buttons/leds and how to use them in an offset or in pairs for crossings.

 

I fitted all mine using the available foam pads, not a bother in 3 years and counting...

 

Thanks Stephen

Thats really helpful. Did you remove the centre springs from the points or leave them in place?

Noel

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Hi Noel,

 

I fitted 34 analogue Cobalt point motors into a layout a year and a half ago. 16 failed, some were over driving at the end of their stroke but most needed a tap to get them to go again, but would stop working again after a few hours. DCC Concepts did replace them but denied there was an issue with them. They then confirmed by email earlier this year that they did have problems.

I also fitted 14 DCC ones to a layout which 2 failed.

 

The problem with a Digital Cobalt is the electronics are with the motor, if the motor fails you have to bin the whole thing.

 

For me this was enough and went in search of an alternative which I now use servos, cheaper and more reliable with a great controller from Loolee http://www.loolee.org

 

The DCC module can control up to 192 points!

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Have also hear there can be issues with Cobalts. Tortoise motors on the other hand are very robust. Year ago, the Gauge O Guild built test rigs to try various makes of point motor. Tortoise survived longest, indeed, the test rig broke first! I've used them extensively on exhibition layouts over many years and only had one failure, when the inner gear train jammed. However, undoing the outer case enabled me to free things and had no problems with it since. The guarantee was invalidated of course, but hey it was already at least 6 years old...

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