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gwr man
post 24 Sep 2011, 09:13
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Hi, on our club 'O' gauge layout we have 5 DCC Concepts Cobalt's 1 is so quiet you have to look to see if its moving, the rest go from fairly quiet to you can hear the motor turning the gears. Has anyone else noticed this on there's.

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ToothFairy
post 26 Sep 2011, 22:57
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Could be a question of accuracy of point installation. If your points are absolutely dead on, the motor will meet minimal resistance. If your points are a touch crooked, up goes the (mechanical) resistance and up goes the noise.

- Michael
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Trog
post 28 Sep 2011, 17:07
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They range from slight whine to really rough sounding before you even put them on the layout. Its just part of what they are.


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barrymx5
post 28 Sep 2011, 21:42
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I have followed this exchange with interest as I am building anew layout and plan to use Cobalt point motors which seem to get good reports. I have downloaded the pdf file and all looks well. i will order one to experiment with before I jump in hook line and sinker. Any reservations or encouragements would be very welcome.


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Trog
post 29 Sep 2011, 20:49
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They look and are a nice neat little unit, but I have had 8 duff ones in 30. Two DoA which would not run at all, and six where the motor did not stop running at the end of its travel. Instead making a loud clicking noise as the gear teeth jump over each other. This when powered by two 6v dry batteries in series, off the layout and free of any load.

Running them off a regulated 13.8 volt 5 amp supply about half the remainder also click unless I put a 500 ohm resistance in their power supply, and a couple that were previously OK have now started giving a couple of clicks each time I run them before stopping. Which gives me a foreboding of progressive future failure. I have checked the voltage of the power supply and that is correct.

I have been wondering if this is a common problem as the advised maximum voltage seems to have dropped from 15V to 12V since I bought mine, and the power supply to run them.

Most of my motors were bought in one batch, and the earlier and more recent ones seem better. So it is possible I have been just been unlucky and bought the last tray to come off the production line at 16:59 on the Friday before the Chinese New Year holiday.

Try a few and see how you get on, you can always buy more.


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32c
post 30 Sep 2011, 07:34
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Trog,
i have got 12 cobalts i run these @ 9volts/1amp regulated power supply thay work ok,i test my cobalts with a 9volt battery,i had to return a faulty one which did not work,i also got another the changeover switch did not work,luckly i used the other set,as the unit was fitted to the under side of the baseboard,i like them as thay run nice and slow,
regards Mike,
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Richard Johnson
post 30 Sep 2011, 13:50
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*** Sorry to be slow on this... I have been away.

Yes, we did have one batch that was more variable than I like to see. We are always open about these things so here is a black and white rundown. In reality they still add up to not so many, but unfortunately they tended to be grouped in one small batch and in 6 and 12 packs mostly so caused real issues.

I made a special trip to our Mfr to arrange correction and have as far as I know replaced any that were imperfect as we always will. We now also employ one more person to do nothing but ongoing batch by batch testing on all our products so we have taken this rare lapse in attention very much to heart.

Interestingly about 1/2 of all reported problems are zero fault when we check them, so the above aside, we suspect that not following instructions is the greatest cause of problems overall (especially over-voltage and not doing simple things like stripping wire 10mm or so as we advise before inserting in the plug strip, leading to no contact at the connector)

*** Noisier ones. Screws not adequately tightened. Inadequate grease. Fix, open up, add grease, retighten screws properly, use recommended voltages
*** Clicking. Screws not adequately tightened. Fix, tighten screws, use correct recommended voltages
*** Non running. Over-tightened (assembled too soon after parts creation, not allowing parts to settle contributed. Fix, slacken screws or remove, open or ease case, retighten

The above fixes most of them - there are the odd ones that need more, but they are few. Nothing however will stop clicking if excess voltage is used. As to parts reliability, we have never had to replace any moving part due to wear in any Cobalt, and do not expect to... all faults have been usage or assembly related only.

Re voltage, we strongly recommend 9v as the ideal voltage and mention this many times in the instructions. 12v is OK but the torque at 15v is absolutely huge and far past anything that could be useful as they change points happily at 6v! We initially indicated up to 15v but decided it was excessive so withdrew it as a comment. (higher voltage also wastes current capacity of your power supply so its a negative anyway)

Our biggest headache is in reality with ALL items needing power is modellers and electricity - Not helped by the DC train controller manufacturers of ALL brands who choose to call their output voltage 12v DC when its almost always 14~16v when we check it!! That is why we recommend a simple wall plug supply 9 to 12v - a low cost 1 amp 6 or 9 or 12v regulated DC supply will power 30 to 40 of them (lower voltage, more powered) so there is NO need for using an old trainset transformer.

I power my own office test track layout with a 9v wall plug that used to power my portable home telephone... 9v at 1/2 amp.

Regards

Richard

PS: Digital Cobalt (decoder onboard) is not far away :-).


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guackymod
post 30 Sep 2011, 15:48
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I have two dozen Cobalts on my layout.

No DOAs. One did have a clicking issue but it was easily solved by opening up the casing and resetting the gears. Easy to install etc. I am using them with FLM Profi Track so they are mounted sideways not across the point and this has been "fun" to sort out. Buy the "installation template" is one piece of advice.

My one observation is regarding noise. I do not find them to be "silent", but my expectations may be unreasonable. Installing them with the foam pads helps. (And makes installation easier)

Richard has been very responsive to my questions, which is another important consideration.

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locoworks
post 1 Oct 2011, 20:32
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less voltage = less noise.
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dwb
post 5 Oct 2011, 21:15
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QUOTE
six where the motor did not stop running at the end of its travel.


What's the cure for this?

I bought four motors (singles) on 1st Feb 2011 and having just connected them up to an AD4 I find

  • One runs on at the end of travel in one direction
  • One runs on at the end of travel in either direction


The other two are fine.

The motors are mounted on the sticky back foam and secured with screws. I am not sure which way up the spring wire guides are fitted. The baseboard is 12mm ply and the points are on DCC Concepts trackbed.

The motors tested ok with an H&M Duette set on high resistance - i.e. the stall did work at that time.

I should add that I'm using a mono ECoS which is known for having a track voltage which is a bit on the high side...


David

This post has been edited by dwb: 5 Oct 2011, 21:23
Reason for edit: Added ECoS info


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paul northcott
post 21 Nov 2011, 20:07
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Hi,

I too have had problems with Cobalt Point motors.

I bought 7 motors, and had to return 2 because of loud clicking at the end of travel.

2 new ones were returned, and these were very noisy and laboured. A further 3 then developed the clicking problem.

I returned 5 motors to the company i bought them from. They confirmed they were "duff" and were replaced, and I connected them all up yesterday. However, 2 still had clicking problems, and all 5 were very loud and sounded very laboured (like something running on almost dead batteries)! The 2 "good" motors ren much faster and with a higher pitched sound.

I was told by the company I bought them from that the clicking was a known problem, but that they thought DCC had solved the problem - clearly not.

I have checked the power supply and this is 12v, ie as suggested by DCC Concepts.

These are premium products at a premium price, and I am disappointed that there seems to be significant quality control issues.
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Richard Johnson
post 22 Nov 2011, 13:21
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*** We have gone over this before on MRF... so here it is again.

We actually do try very hard to get it right all of the time but we slipped up on one single production batch which did have a problem - which we looked at as soon as it was highlighted. We very quickly identified it and reworked checking all existing stock. Unfortunately a reasonable amount did get into the market before we found it, and as we are made aware of them, we are fixing or, in the case of any owners who contact us, assisting them or replacing them at our cost if needed. We take our obligations very seriously.

The cause / symptoms were as follows:

(1) screws were not adequately tightened (making one central bearing not adequately hold the end of a gear, allowing it to skip a tooth). The fix is simply to tighten properly.
(2) cases used too soon after manufacturing and before the high-impact plastic had settled properly in combination with screws overtightened (holding one bearing too tight and making it labour). The fix is to remove the screws a little, ease the case and tighten to end of thread without overtightening
(3) One bearing post left with a slight bump from an ejector pin in the tool, which gave the same problem as leaving the screw loose. The fix in this case is to open it up, remove only the bump with a very sharp scalpel and re-assemble.

All fixes work well and if a customer isn't comfortable with them, we will do it or replace the unit.

As a result....

Since this happened we have made significant changes - a totally new assembly procedure at our supplies factory (including a dedicated factory team who now ONLY work on this product so we can increase learning, evolve skill and improve accountability) and a new and extended test sequence including a long "post assembly" delay before final pre-packing checks and a full secondary check at our end prior to batch release. Underpinning this are various minor changes in design to engineer-out future error possibilities.

That batch is long since checked and gone, new batches do not have the problem. All current stock has been tested to beyond all recommended voltages and does not have a problem.

------------------------------------------------

Given all of this, we still have never had a burned out unit, worn out gear, dead motor, dead electronics or similar problem, and even those with errors who had the click all work 100% after a simple re-work. They are very tough products.

In reality the single greatest cause of problems is still users choices not being in line with instructions - bad termination, over-voltage / wrong power supply.

Cobalt is very specifically designed to be run on lower voltages and draws low current. We take pains to specify a regulated power supply of up to 12v - however we constantly find modellers using unregulated and old trainset supplies that may well say 12v but actually put out far more (as do most including some of famous brands in DC control), people using home built supplies up to 20v DC (they forget the voltage raising result of full wave rectification when they build them) and other inappropriate power.

All thats needed is a simple wall plug supply and a 1 amp 9v supply will do all of the points on the average layout (I personally use an old portable home phone supply on one small layout)

------------------------------------------------

I am more than happy for any with a problem to email me - (and apologise in advance I am slow to respond at the moment but will catch up soon....)

Just get in touch and I will look after you personally, re-starting any warranty from the time we remedy your problem (all returns or replacements are accompanied by a dated DCCconcepts document).

Regards

Richard


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guackymod
post 23 Nov 2011, 04:26
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I am going to chime in again in support of Cobalts. In the batch of 24 I ordered and have in use, only one had any kind of issue and it was easily fixed (without needing to be returned) by opening the case and adjusting the gears. My only observation is that they are not silent: I wish I could get them to be. The other thing is I wish Richard would come up with a design that isn't as high . . . tough to install when another line runs underneath.

I run mine on 9V. I tried 12V but find that 9V gives me quieter, smoother, and most important, slower operation. 'Tis a beautiful thing to watch the point slowly slide over to the other side and rest there.

To all those that have had issues or are considering purchase: you probably did these things at the time but if not . . . test before installing (a lesson hard learnt), easy to do with a 9V battery; if it doesn't work, try opening it up and seeing what the problem is, Richard won't mind and he won't invalidate your warranty if the unit truly is defective; and buy the installation plate and the foam bases! BTW, the pre-prepared switches and three-way LEDS are also a great convenience and I would recommend purchasing them with the motors.

Have fun.
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wogga
post 10 Mar 2012, 13:46
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For vareious reasons i am going to have to lift and relay my track, i have got 20 or so early cobalt motors which i will service during the job to get the noise and screws tightened sorted. Richard mentions using a grease on the gears anyone any ideas what grease - silicon grease?

Overall the Cobalts have worked very well so will be serviced and re - used.
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Richard Johnson
post 10 Mar 2012, 13:58
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*** Hi Wogga.

Use any high teflon grease. Superlube is a good brand and usually available in fishing gear shops if you can't find it elsewhere. Fishing reel brand oils are usually OK too. Be sure to re-seat the gears properly, they can be a little confusing as there are half a dozen to get back in the right order :-) :-).

If any give you problems in reassembly or there is any issue you aren't sure about just send me a PM and I'll help where I can.

Regards

Richard


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