Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Who Let The Smoke Out...Part 2


After solving the problems thus far and checking everything appeared correct, it was time to liven the layout up again.  This time all went according to normal and the panel lit up as it should and the points moved into the default position.  All LEDs were lit and no shorts were occurring.  The next step was to check the actual orientation of each point to see that this matched the route as per the panel LEDs.  In this case 5 matched and 3 were opposite.  This phenomena is not unusual and a quick transposition of LED wires in the panel is all that is required to rectify the problem.  All is now looking as it should so the next step in "commissioning" the yard was to operate each set of points and fine tune the throw if required.

I pushed the button to throw the first set of points and you guessed it...nothing happened.  Each set of points was thrown and again nothing happened with any of them.  It was about now that I was ready to throw in the towel for the night and I retired to the kitchen, kicked the cat and made a cup of tea.  It is amazing sometimes how just walking away for a few moments can allow ( in some cases ) the brain to catch up and it dawned on me that this issue occurred when commissioning the other end of the yard.  For the life of me I could not remember what course of action I took at that time...but I knew it was a simple solve.  A re read of the Cobalt manual uncovered the reasoning for the inactivity of the points and then it all come flooding back. 

If you are utilising the AD1 or AD4 decoders to operate the Cobalt point motors...the decoders have to be programmed before commencement of operation irrespective of whether you are operating the points manually via the panel or through the NCE ( or chosen system ) handpiece.  It is a very simple task to "train" the decoders and once this was completed all is now working as it should.  Sometime later I will give each set of points a new unique number which will possibly be... even for up and odd for down...but that is a way off yet as I prefer to operate the points via the panel and not the NCE handpiece and for now I have given them numbers starting from 1 just to get them working.

Even to the most casual reader of this blog it would be obvious that I have chosen Cobalt point motors and decoders to utilise right across the layout and while I have little knowledge of competitors products to compare the Cobalts with...I am relatively happy with them so far.  I have read many times on chat groups that some people have had no end of trouble with them...but at this early stage they are doing everything I want of them.  I would however, offer some advice to anyone contemplating using them and that is to ensure that you use the mounting pad that is available from DCC Concepts as to mount the motor using anything less will ensure that your motors are extremely noisy!!!  I am at a loss to understand why these pads are not packed with the Cobalt motors ex factory and are only available as an accessory.  I would imagine that most complaints of motor noise would disappear if they sold them with the motor....Anyway I guess it is a commercial decision...

With Fish River yard all but complete I can now turn my attention to closing the layout gap and hopefully will soon enjoy continuous running...


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