Cobalt or Tortoise Switch Motor

Hi people
Does anyone have experience with both Tortoise and Cobalt switch machines. The Cobalt manual made me very interested, and as they are the same price
( per 12 ) from England , I wondered if anyone had first hand experience.
Thanks Jan
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On Wed, 4 Aug 2010 20:19:44 +0200, "Jan\(Bouli\)Van Gerwen"

First of all, Richard Johnson of DCCConcepts is a friend, so I may be biased.
I have one of his test Cobalts in my car to show a club member on Saturday, who is interested in them.
This particular Cobalt has done 8,000+ cycles driven from a 20 Volt power supply, another, in his office, running on 15 Volts had 11,800+ last week, at six cycles per minute. 1 cycle = throw & return.
It is smaller, quiet compared to a Tortoise, can be mounted upright or on its side, gold plated contacts, no soldering and has a lifetime warranty. How many turnouts on a layout would operate 16000 times?
My club has 80 of his original Masterswitches. One let the smoke out as it was being installed, replaced immediately, the layout has been operated 3 times a week for the last 5 years without any failures.
    Alan
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snipped-for-privacy@iinet.net.oz wrote:

So, what's a "Cobalt switch machine"? I've never heard of one. A Google search produces NO results.
I assume it's some form of motorized switch machien something like a Tortoise? Does it include power routing?
I've used lots of tortoise machines with good results. How can a Cobalt be much quieter? Most of my tortoise machines are almost silent. Many of my operators can't even hear them throw, and have to look at the switch points to confirm the action (indicator lights can be fitted, but that's an added complication).
Dan Mitchell ==========
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wrote:

Then Google on "DCC Concepts" (I also never heard of one.)
http://www.dccconcepts.com / http://www.dccconcepts.com/index_files/Cobalt_turnout_motor.htm
--
Fred W. (NL)

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wrote:

It is new, introduced at the AMRA model railway exhibition in Perth in June.

Yes & yes
http://www.dccconcepts.com/index_files/Cobalt_turnout_motor.htm
    Alan change oz to au to reply
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Given the "DCC" label I would never have looked! Now I see it is analogue I might well try it.
Greg.P. NZ
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wrote:

Thanks Alan, what kind of actuator works with the Cobalt, does DCC-Concepts have or are they working on something like the Smail?
Greetz Jan
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G'day Jan

What is the Smail ? - Google only refers to a computer programme.
Richards website has a comprehensive 22 page manual for the Cobalt, shows several installation methods so your question may be covered.
Unfortunately I do not have a layout, I run my trains at the club but am starting to build components for when my new house is built and the furniture etc. removed from the shed. So far one helix is ready and a basic track plan, which is sure to be changed.
I am happy to answer direct emails, change oz to au in my email address to reply.
        Alan
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Smail is a tortoise with built in DCC, I actually meant the Hare by DCC-specialties a DCC decoder that fits on the tortoise without any wiring or such.
Greetz Jan
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http://www.tonystrains.com/technews/hare-ng.htm for an explanation of the Hare.
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While continuous reliability is interesting I'd be more interested to know how long they last with intermittent use, ie do the contacts get dirty, does the mechanism stick, etc. No one operates their turnouts continuously. I have turnouts that unfortunately might get thrown once every six months. I want the switch machine to work without fail or require any fussing.
                            ---john.
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John Haskey ( snipped-for-privacy@panix.com) said...

That is a good point that many don't think of when considering overall reliability.
Another detail about the Tortoise that many are unaware of is that the electrical characteristics of the two sets of contacts are different. Tortoise states a maximum current of 1 amp may be switched (4 amps may be carried, so power-routing a frog works for up to 4 amps, since one usually does not throw the switch while a locomotive is passing through the turnout!).
Both sets of contacts meet this spec, BUT the contacts on terminals 2-3-4 actually meet a higher spec than the 5-6-7 contacts because they use wider traces on the circuit board. For that reason, the 2-3-4 contacts are better to use for power routing and the 5-6-7 should be left to position indicator lamps or a computer input.
Should a short occur when a locomotive passes over the switch, the traces for the 2-3-4 contacts are less likely to get fried. It's not that they can never be fried, just that they are less likely to be fried.
Now, I heard of this through someone who models in G scale, so the current levels are higher to begin with, but he had a switch where the 5-6-7 contacts were used for power routing and after burning it out for the third or fourth time, he decided to crack open a burnt out Tortise and got to see the difference in trace size. Since rewiring the switch in question, he has never had the problem again.
That said, I model in N scale and all my switches have a 24 watt automotive bulb in line between the common terminal and the frog so that a dead short limits the current to about 2 amps.
--
Calvin Henry-Cotnam
"Unusual or extreme reactions to events caused by negligence
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