Posts Tagged ‘slow acting turnout motors’

One the benefits of recently changing to slow acting ‘stall’ type point motors as per my Controlling Interests #3 post, where I describe my fitting of DCC Concepts Cobalt slow acting motors, is that the unprototypical spring and spring housing in the middle of the Peco turnout is no longer needed, removal of this certainly improves the look of the turnout.

A Peco Turnout as previously Installed still with spring and spring housing

There are a number of simple improvements that can be made to the Peco turnouts even when using solenoid type motors that still require the spring to be in place. These include firstly removing the lugs at each end of the tiebar, that are designed for hand operation. Secondly, and if the motor is not being mounted directly under the turnout but under the baseboard, shortening the sleepers either side of the tiebar  that have the slots in them for the Peco point motor fixing tabs.

Spring, spring housing and spring housing sleeper base removed

I had already done these modifications on Fisherton Sarum’s turnouts and now have been able to go a step further by removing the spring, spring housing, the spring housing sleeper base and trimming back the spring location moulding on the tiebar.  The spring is easily removed along with the spring housing by simply bending back the metal clips on either side of the housing and removing complete with the spring. This then exposes the moulded sleeper base under where the housing was and this can be simply cut away along the edge of the neighbouring sleeper.

New sleeper and ballast added and lightly weathered to match the original

I then filled the resulting space with a sleeper, from a spare piece of plain Peco track, cut to length and glued into position. Ballast was then also glued between the sleepers, and the whole lot weathered to match the original turnout and ballast.

All of the above modifications would of course be easier to do before the turnout was installed on the layout, in which case I would suggest replacing sleepers either side of the tiebar with copper clad sleepers soldered into to position but as this is retrospective modification I decided on the process above.

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When I first built Fisherton Sarum I made the decision to use SEEP solenoid point motors to control the turnouts, this was partly due to being familiar with solenoid motors at the time and partially due to cost. In hindsight from both a visual and reliability perspective a mistake. It has become apparent after a number of exhibitions that reliability of the SEEP motors is questionable, even when used with a Capacitor Discharge Unit (CDU), and most frustrating issue has been the inconsistent operation of the built in microswitch.

The first two Cobalt motors in place.

Originally I used the built in switch of the The SEEP PM1 motor for changing the turnout frog polarity and had glued a Peco PL-13 Accessory switch to the underside of the motor to provide switching for point direction indications on the control panel. As time has passed where the built in switch has proved inconstant or unreliable I have swapped the duty of the two switches over so that the Peco Accessory switch is doing the more critical role of switching the frog polarity.

I have now decided to replace all the point motors with the slow acting type and have chosen the DCC Concepts Cobalt slow acting motor (note I have not gone DCC control, I am still of the analogue camp). I choose this over the other slow acting motors on the market due to it being slightly smaller than its competition, recommendations from other users and experienced gained with them on Ashland, one of the Hornby Magazine layouts I helped build.

There is always an awkward one, the clearance under the main baseboard L Girder is not enough for the Cobalt to be directly installed. I will install it to the side and operate the Turnout via a crank and probably leave the unpowered SEEP in place here to act as part of the crank.

Installation of the motors on the whole is quite simple with the exception of one location where the motor needed to be installed to the side (where I plan to keep the  unpowered Seep motor in place as part of the crank arrangement).
I am utilising the existing wiring and control panel push buttons, but as the Cobalts require a polarity change and a constant supply, I have turned once again to my friend, fellow Fisherton Sarum operator and electronics wizard Mark Riddoch who is building for me some cleaver circuitry to take the push button inputs to and turn it into the constant feed required by the motor. Being operated from a 12VDC supply I am retaining a diode matrix system to operate a number of motors from one button when required such as on the ladder of turnouts in front of the shed.

This weekend has seen the first 4 motors (6 to go) changed and wired up.

Update 20th May: All 10 motors have now been changed to Cobalts. Next step will be the changes to the control panel to power them.

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