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Electrics – Back To Basics (Part 18) Cobalt Slow Action Point Motors (DC Analogue Version)

Electrics – Back To Basics (Part Eighteen) Cobalt Point Motors – DC Analogue Version

Part eighteen of this back to basics series, we continue our look at the basics of how to wire up a layout. In this article, we follow on our look at DCC Concepts Point Motors, this time it’s the turn of the DC analogue version – Cobalt iP Analogue.

The DCC Concepts Cobalt iP Analogue turnout motor features a sophisticated internal electronic control system that adapts itself to a wide range of power supply voltages. The Cobalt iP Analog cleverly manages its own power usage, by monitoring & drawing power only when it’s actually required. The Cobalt iP Analogue works with voltages ranging from 7volts up to 23 volts and suitable with all scales, which include:  T, Z, N, TT, HO, OO, EM, P4, S, O & G.

Like the Cobalt iP Digital, the Cobalt iP Analogue is quiet in operation and very reliable. It has three inbuilt SPDT switches – One is directly “Diode linked” to the drive power inputs for use with computer IO (feedback) or other low power applications. The other built-in SPDT switches are fully independent with higher power handling for point work frog power control or any other switching needs you may require for your layouts.

The Cobalt iP Analogue point motors are for mounting under the baseboard. So like some of the other point motors we’ve coved in this ‘Back to Basics Series’ a hole or slot is required to be drilled/cut under the moving tie bar of the pointwork. These Cobalt point motors can be mounted in two positions under the baseboard, pointing straight down &/or at right angles via an add-on right angle adaptor plate (Part number DCP-RA3). Included in the point motor packs are all the screws for mounting, a double-sided sticky foam pad to help reduce motor resonant noise, an adjustable bracket to increase or decrease the point motor throw, rod bar which likes the point motor to the pointwork tiebar.

Further additional add-on items include Tie-bar ballast stickers with a pre-cut slot to help cover drilled holes in the baseboard, spare foam mounting pads. A value-added pack which includes the aforementioned add-on items as well as the correct size drill bit & spare mounting screws & point motor to point tie bar rod.

A whole range of signal box style point leavers, push-button control, LED’s, wire packs, control panels & power packs also available to give a complete point/signal control system. Visit DCCconcepts Home Page for further details.

 

 

 

 

  • Cobalt iP Analog Point Motor (For traditional DC controlled layouts – Can be used with DCC via additional DCC accessory decoder)

To recap on some of the optional addon items like it’s DCC version brother, these are also suitable for the iP Analogue version. These can be found opposite right & below.

  • Right-angled adaptor plates. These allow the point motors to reduce their depth by being mounted flat rather than vertical.
 

  • Add-on switches, LED/button combo switches, LED’s for manual operation & display of point setting status.
 

  • Add-on Signal Box style point levers for manual operation of points via the point motors.

Installation & set up

The point motor installation is the same as the Cobalt iP Digital version. The procedure for fitting the Cobalt iP Digital & Cobalt Omega are the same. The photo opposite right shows the digital version point motor but the pack contents for the iP Analougue version naturally has the iP Analougue point motor instead of the digital version. The pack includes the point motor, mounting pad, mounting screws (including one spare screw), Point motor throw adjustment plate, Point motor to point tie bar connecting rod plus mounting rod holding screw.

 

Take the adjustment plate & insert it into the two slots on the side of the point motor as shown in the photo opposite right. Position the adjustment plate about half way down the two slots for the time being.

 

Take the adjustment plate & insert it into the two slots on the side of the point motor as shown in the photo opposite right. Position the adjustment plate at the bottom of the slots for the time being.

 

Now insert the rod through the center hole of the adjustment plate. The additional holes allow for the point motor to be installed slightly offset from the points if needed. The L shaped angled end of the rod needs to be at the bottom.

 

The L shaped angled end of the rod needs to be inserted & fitted into the top of the two holes on the center mount as shown in the photo opposite right.

 

Now insert the small screw into the remaining hole on the central black mount, as shown in the photo opposite right. Tighten the screw which will hold the rod firmly in place.

 

Remove one of the white stick pad covers from the mounting pad & stick the mounting pad into place on top of the point motor as shown in the photo opposite right.

 

On this installation, we’re swapping out SEEP solenoid point motos for the Cobalt point motors. If at the track laying stage, you’ll need to drill a hole or slot big enough to take the point motor rod. As in our case, the hole for the point motor rod is already there. So it’s a case of unscrewing & removing the SEEP point motor & disconnecting it from the wiring.

The next job is then to remove the small point tie bar latching spring as it isn’t needed. On the Peco points, we need to remove the latching spring from the points. A small plastic cover plate needs to be removed to remove the spring. This is held in place by two small metal strips, we’ve highlighted these in the photo opposite right.

Use a small flat blade screwdriver to prise up one of the small metal holding strips, as highlighted in the photo opposite right.
Move the point switch rails over slightly to gain access to the other small metal holding strip. Again use a small flat blade screwdriver to prise up the small metal holding strip, as highlighted in the photo opposite right.
Now lift off the small plastic strip with the two slot holes. The small latch spring will be inserted into the bottom of this plastic stipe. Remove the latch spring. Sometimes the spring can remain in the recess in the point tie bar, highlighted in the photo opposite right.
This is what the tiny point latch spring looks like. Worth keeping in your spare parts box for any points that haven’t been converted over to slow action point motors.
With the spring removed, refit the small plastic strip making sure that both metal strips fit through both holes on the plastic strip. as shown in the photo opposite right.
Bend the two metal retaining strips back into place as shown in the photo opposite right. Make sure that the retaining strips nor the plastic strip foul the movement of the switch rails.

Position the switch rails so that they are about halfway on mid-throw, leaving an equal gap between the switch rails & the two outer rails. The point tie bar center should be in the center position, as shown & highlighted in the photo opposite right.

The Cobalt point motors are supplied with the throw position centered, this makes it easier for installation & set up. Carefully insert the rod on the point motor through the hole on the point tie bar, & position the point motor against the underside of the baseboard.
With the two marks done for the recesses. Remove the point motor. Screw two screws into place on the two marks as shown in the photo opposite right.
Now peel off the white protective covering off the mounting pad on the point motor.
refit the point motor rod back through the hole on the point tie bar. Slide & stick the point motor into place making sure that the two screws that have been screwed into the baseboard fit in the recesses on the point motor. Now screw the remaining two mounting screws into place on the opposite two recess mounting slots on the point motor. As shown in the photo opposite right.

Wiring Up – DC Controlled Layouts

Like the DCC Digital version, the iP Analougue version has solder-free wiring terminals which make connect up with the wires quick & easy. The wiring terminals are as follows:

  • Connections number 1 & 2 are for the DC  power input, suitable for use with a 12v to 23v power supply. Also works on DCC digital as well, so on DCC a suitable power supply 7v to 23v.
  • Connection number 3 is the common for connections 1 & 2. If using this point motor on DCC it can be used for the frog power on the Electrofrog points.
  • Connection 4 is Switch 2 Left Terminal.
  • Connection 5 is Switch 2 Right Terminal.
  • Connection 6 is the common terminal for Switch 2
  • Connection 7 is the Left Push Button Terminal.
  • Connection 8 is the Common for Push Button Switches
  • Connection 9 is the Right Push Button Terminal

The wires as mention are held in place by spring terminals on the point motor. These terminals will accept a wide range of suitable wire sizes. DCC Concepts recommend that you use the heaviest convenient wire size. The wire ends need to be stripped back carefully exposing around 10mm of bare wire. DCC Concepts recommend using the ‘Ring-Strip’ method when stripping & removing the outer insulation material. Twist whilst removing the insulation material, this should ensure that there are no free stray copper wire strands.

To insert the stripped wires into the terminals, use a small screwdriver to push up the yellow spring tab, insert the stripped wire into the connector fully. Then release the yellow spring tab, the wire will be held firmly in place. As shown in the two photos opposite right.

To wire up & power the Cobalt iP Analogue point motor, the diagram opposite shows the basic wiring diagram. The point motor needs to be powered by a regulated DC power supply, 12v to 23v if operating your layout on DC 12v power supply. Or if using these point motors on a DCC controlled layout then the power supply needs to be between 7v to 23v.

In the diagram, you’ll see that the power supply to the point motor has a switch (to operate the point motor)  between the transformer & the point motor. From the switch, the two power supply wires go into connection ports 1 & 2 (clearly labelled on the point motor).

Connection port 3 is for use with L.E.D’s.

If you are using Electrofrog Points & want to power the frog (Vee) on the Electrofrog points, you’ll need to use connection ports 4, 5 & 6. The Vee of the frog is wired up to connection port 6. The left-hand rail on the points is wired up to connection port 4, whilst the right-hand rail of the points is wired up to connection port 5.

Connection ports 7, 8 & 9 can be wired up to colour light signal or traditional semaphore signal etc.

Also in the diagram opposite, it’s shown how to wire in optional L.E.D’s (not supplied) for displaying the point status on a mimic panel for example.

If using Electrofrog points such as those made by Peco, the basic wiring is as shown in the diagram opposite right.

If using Insulfrog points, like those from the Hornby & also the Peco Set Track range, then omit the wires from outlets 4, 5 & 6 as they are not needed on insulfrog points.

Power up the layout, & test the point motor. If the point doesn’t through far enough or too little, slide the adjustment bracket on the point motor to adjust the throw. (Move the adjustment bracket up to reduce the throw, move the adjustment bracket down to increase the throw).

Once happy that the points are operating as they should do, cut the point motor rod bar close to the points tie bar as shown in the photo opposite right. Use a pair of cutters or a rotary tool with a cutting disc.
And that’s it the point motor is all installed & working. The video clip opposite shows the point motor in action.

LED’s & Interlocking

LED’s & other items such as signals can be wired directly to these point motors. The LED’s can be mounted on to a mimic panel or control panel & thus show which way the points have been set. For the signals, once connected to these point motors will work in sync with the points. These point motors can be also wired up together to create working interlocking like the real thing. Further details about using LED’s & creating working interlocking using these Cobalt point motors can be found over on DCC Concepts website here: https://www.dccconcepts.com/

 

 

One Final Item Of Note

On the point motor connections, you’ll notice that there is a yellow label with Switch Wiring Only on it. Only remove this label once the power wirings to terminals 1 & 2 have been fitted. This is to prevent any accidental wiring up of the power to the two wrong terminals. See the photo below (DCC Version shown).

Servicing

The DCC Concepts Cobalt point motors through normal use are recommended to be re-lubricated once every five years. DCC Concepts recommend using Labelle or Nano-Oils, with a small drop being applied to the internal motor bearings & along the gear train. To gain access, unscrew the four screws that hold the body together to remove part of the point motor body shell. The point motors have a lifetime warranty to give you further peace of mind.

 

Happy Modelling

 

 

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