Tuesday, February 6, 2024

A few words about switch machines..

 As I assume most readers know, my turnouts that aren't manually controlled by Caboose Industries ground throws (mostly in Acca, with a few others here and there), are thrown by Tortoise machines from Circuitron.

The Tortoise is probably one of, if not the most, well known "slow motion" switch machine in the hobby. The green case is instantly recognizable.

There hasn't been any competitors with similar footprints and motion that have had what I would call significant success in the market. There have been options, certainly, and one of those is the Cobalt machine.

I bought one to try some years ago. I installed it on a turnout in Brooke that goes to the E&P interchange, as at the time, I did not have any more Tortoises available to install, and it felt like a great time to try it, as the area where it needed to be installed has a bunch of DCC bus wire, LCC cables and other assorted stuff in the physical space.

After a couple of months and 4 or so sessions, I can report that you should save your money.

Yes, the cobalt is smaller. Yes, making the connection is super easy with the spring loaded connector.

But it isn't as powerful, and it is too slow to respond, causing your operators to hit the button multiple times, making it appear to be broken.

Maybe as a semaphore driver, it would be better. I don't know. This one is free to a good home.

Cobalt out, Tortoise in.

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