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karlbstd

Cobalt Point motors

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Have read and found useful a number of posts on here, some quite a time ago regards the serviceability and reliability of Cobalt point motors, What’s the current view / experience are they now more reliable and issue free? Big outlay needed so need to know any pitfalls or issues please?

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I have used then for years and only ever had one issue which needed a replacement motor that was with me within 2 days

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I agree with Iain, they are a solid product that also has very good support.  The guys in DCC Concepts are extremely responsive and helpful.  I wouldn't hesitate at recommending them.

 

 

 

Steve

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DCC Concepts have modified and revised the design a few times since their Cobalt motors first came out, resulting in anecdotal evidence of failures becoming much less common.

In parallel, sales and adoption of these motors will have increased quite a bit.

 

Any faulty examples are replaced with no fuss.

 

 

.

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Early batch/batches of the basic (non-DCC) models - circa 8-10 years ago now - were problematic; some would spontaneously activate and/or the drive would not stop at the end of it's travel, resulting in a continuous clicking sound until the unit was powered down (search for "Cobalt clickers").

 

The prescribed cure at the time was a solid whack with a screwdriver handle, but that didn't work for the mine that succumbed - approx 10 out of 36.

 

However, as Ron points out, the after sales support is exemplary, and every one of mine that has failed was replaced without hesitation or cost.

 

The newer models have much more secure wiring terminals, which is a bonus.

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IIRC some of the earlier problems included an incorrect curing time allowed for a batch of the injection moulded cases.

That and other manufacturing tweaks sorted out most of the batch failure rate.

The original Cobalts have been replaced by improved digital and non-digital versions.

 

 

.

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Reliable and very versatile with all the terminals. 

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I use them and have had no problems or reliability issues with them.

 

As an aside, if you run them in conjunction with the Megapoints controller stall motor driver, then the driver will close off the power to the Cobalt after a few seconds so the motor is not stalled but switched off.  It reactivates when the control switch is reversed.

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I’ve got over 30 between two layouts and while two initially had a problem they were replaced fast by dccConcepts and very reliable since. Anywhere there’s space they are my first choice. :) 

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Posted (edited)

I'd like to buy about 12 Cobalt Digital IPs soon (+ lots more later) and every online shop is sold out or offering ore-order.

 

Pretty sure Covid crap is related but even if not, any ideas what to do?

 

In two minds weather to go with slide switches and mechanical drive as it's cheap n quick but would like to use a Z21 system really.

 

Am yet to convert to DCC but baseboards and track are ready and would like to start soon.

Edited by Knuckles
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Covid it is, the motors are made in China.

I too want to buy a bunch but until they arrive will just have to carry on making models, painting details, attacking eBay etc.

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Worth waiting for both in terms of the product and the support IMHO.

Chris

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I had  4 of the original version. Each was not fit for purpose so I went back to the tried and tested Tortoise. 50+ running with some now over 20 years old. 

 

It is good to know for future reference that the newest ones are far more reliable. I may just have to give them another chance on my next project as the £ keeps sinking and the cost of Tortoise is becoming prohibitive. 

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Posted (edited)
On 18/04/2020 at 12:06, Knuckles said:

any ideas what to do?

 

In two minds weather to go with slide switches and mechanical drive as it's cheap n quick but would like to use a Z21 system really.

Well if you need to get on you can install wire in tube but just drill a 12mm hole under the tie bar and you can install the cobalts later ;) 


 

Edited by PaulRhB
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Posted (edited)

This is from my drilling template, 12mm hole for the operating link at the top. Plastic mounting plate that the screws hold needs roughly 50mm square with the operating wire on the edge of that in the middle of the side. 
 

C9E8A20C-2872-4771-B716-65EE16659AD9.jpeg.2622c16df4381846ed35dac791787151.jpeg

Edited by PaulRhB
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That template looks to be a great help, thanks. :)

 

With the mechanical linkage I could start that way, I might.  I have an aversion to re-work although at the moment might be the best bet.

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If you drill the 12mm hole and then make up a card version of the template and drill the holes ready it’s just a matter of popping it in with four screws and transferring the wiring over ;) 

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Posted (edited)

Ok thanks. :)

 

Any recommendation on hole size for the 4 screws?

 

Baseboards are 90% done, could have started 4 or 5 months ago but lost mojo.

I've got quite a beast to start....

 

e54QNNQ.jpg

 

Should keep me going a decade or 3.

Knapford Junction is 1st.  Middle section is last and to be modular, removable etc.

Edited by Knuckles

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I usually use a 1mm drill.

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I’ve updated the template pic with a revised width dimension as the photo distorted it slightly and 33 is safer than 32mm ;) 

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Posted (edited)
On 18/04/2020 at 12:06, Knuckles said:

I'd like to buy about 12 Cobalt Digital IPs soon (+ lots more later) and every online shop is sold out or offering ore-order.

 

Pretty sure Covid crap is related but even if not, any ideas what to do?

 

In two minds weather to go with slide switches and mechanical drive as it's cheap n quick but would like to use a Z21 system really.

 

Am yet to convert to DCC but baseboards and track are ready and would like to start soon.

 

Covid has nothing to do with the lack of CobaltDip availability, they’ve been almost non existent since Jan 2019.

 

At Warley ‘Mr DCC Concepts’ was explaining their absence was due to change of supplier for the motor.  Believe the original supplier wanted an unrealistic minimum order, so DCC Concepts went elsewhere rather than being held to ransom!

 

If you’re planning on fitting the CobaltDips at a later date, don’t bother making pilot holes in the baseboard to secure them, just put the hole in for the point ‘wire’ and mark/leave space underneath the board.

You’ll want the fitting to be fine tuned so best mark pilot holes from an actual motor when you’re 100% sure of the precise location/alignment.  Even on a straight point the line of motion for the switch bar is not straight nor right angled to the track!

 

When you do fit them, fit them with the motor, thus point ‘wire’, in the straight up/centre position, and use something like cocktail sticks to keep the switch blades in a ‘central’ position.  The Dips have a self centreing function that can be deactivated after you’ve installed them, so they won’t centralise  again on power up.

 

If you can, for each point tap a feed and return wire off your track bus.  Then on the Dip, put these feed/return to terminals 4 & 5 and power the point frog from term 6.  Power the Dips from an accessory bus to terminals 1 & 2 as normal, but don’t use term 3 for the frog power.  Make sure a circuit breaker is used on the track bus.  Now your point frog is powered from the track feed via the second switch on the Dip.  

This helps a lot as if you use term 3 to feed the frog and get a short across the  point common crossing, not unusual on model railways, the point motors would all short too.  Using the 2nd switch and accessory bus on the Dip eliminates this.

 

 

Paul.

 

 

Edited by bigP
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On 20/04/2020 at 17:19, Knuckles said:

That template looks to be a great help, thanks. :)

 

With the mechanical linkage I could start that way, I might.  I have an aversion to re-work although at the moment might be the best bet.

Given that you do 3D printing I would have thought a motor mounting plate and location hole would be the answer.

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I've had a number of Cobalts over the years from the early ones and some have worked no problem including those on my Holcombe Brook & Tottington layout, though I must admit I haven't run the layout for over twelve months.

 

I have had the same clicking problems on my home layout and a couple of the DCC ones which proved a little unreliable so I switched back to Tortoise, but I ran out of those and also Lenz LS150's to drive them so I bought a pack of 12 last year for my 'OO' layout in the shed.

 

I currently have six on the layout and every time I get a short they invariably loose there address and they have to be reprogrammed. I brought this up the the lads at DCC Concepts and was told there was a faulty batch, incorrect part or something which caused the problem. I was told to use a bulb to lower the power to I think prevent the short or use a separate bus, I wasn't really happy with answer as it was extra expense and time and one of the main reasons for buying them was for ease of use and installation.

 

I tried using the remaining Cobalts on my new 'O' gauge layout, but out of the remaining six, three appear to be faulty and not responding to anything. I therefore decided to scrap that idea and have bought some Smails instead, the DCC version of the Tortoise and they work like a dream and easy to install.

 

So for the time being the Colbalts are back in the box but once this lock down is over I will pop over to Settle and have a chat with the lads to see what can be done with the faulty ones as I would like to make use of them in a future project.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

To Meil....I indeed was thinking of 3D printing a plastic version of the mounting plate.

 

To all...at the moment due to the shortage I'm abiding time.  Currently have started track laying, have drilled holes for the points although not the double slips as the holes need to be in different places, they are not Bullhead, hoping for a direct lift n replace once Peco pull their finger out.

 

I've decided that for now I'll concentrate on getting track layed, basic wiring then at least can operate points with Der Phynger Poken and dead froggies until a proper drive solution can be purchassed.  DCC Tortoises/Snails?  I must look into them, if I can buy them now and they will work similar then might do that instead.  I've used analogue ones before no problem.

 

Thanks for all your collective help.  Much appreciated. :-)

 

Here's two screen shots taken from a progress vid I need to edit.  Can run around 6 teaks.

 

583426901_Screenshot_20200425-100001_VideoPlayer.jpg.e80cae5cc7995e74dbabca19841e0626.jpg539795828_Screenshot_20200425-100018_VideoPlayer.jpg.9af3776a3cc1576c10eb095b22cf9132.jpg

Edited by Knuckles

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