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Do Any Magnetic Uncouplers Actually Work ?
 Moderated by: oztrainz Page:  First Page Previous Page  1  2  3  Next Page Last Page  
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 Posted: Sat Nov 15th, 2014 12:14 am
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Mr Stumpy
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The reason Bachmann used HO couplers and other running gear is that this was the traditional way early On30 enthusiasts did it. Originally, HO track was used, everything was built on HO loco chassis, and using HO trucks and couplers on rolling stock. Many early On30 guys (including me) used HO freight car chassis and built O narrow gauge style shells on them, or built whole cars from scratch. Once Bachmann came along this became less necessary.

Bachmann saw an opportunity to get into this scale, by pretty much doing the same thing with HO locomotive chassis and track they already manufactured. On30 scale/gauge was close to all the ceramic buildings becoming popular at the time, so they developed some very nice body shells and even more correctly scaled trucks. The rest is history!

Bachmann's HO EZ Mate couplers were a "bargain basement" copy of the Kaydee's. And considering KayDee's have always worked just "okay" the cheapie couplers are less reliable. I have taken to gluing the knuckles closed on the EZ Mates on my locomotives and using KayDee's on the rolling stock.

At various shows I have seen KayDee S scale couplers used on On30 stock (virtually the same as the On3 ones) and they look better. The larger couplers seem to be a tad more reliable too.

Recently, I have successfully experimented with using small round magnets and small bits of steel to create true "magnetic" couplers. On one end of the car is a KayDee with the knuckle removed and a magnet installed in the coupler. I place this at the brake wheel end of a car for quick identification. At the other end is a small piece of steel wire installed the same way.

This actually works a bit better than the stock KayDee's. I use a common craft stick to hold the car and pull the train away to uncouple. (No more goofy looking than using a coupler pick tool.) To couple back up, I can back the train to the car to the point it will nearly touch the car and the magnetic attraction will draw the car to the train.

Depending on the weight of the cars I can get five to seven car trains to stay together with no problem. By using a bit stronger magnet, I could probably pull even longer trains. Locomotives have permanently closed couplers, so I use the tender or "conversion car" to transition from loco to train of magnetic coupler cars.

Stumpy in Ahia:old dude:

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 Posted: Sat Nov 15th, 2014 03:16 am
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oztrainz
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Hi all,
There is nothing LOW about using HO height for On30 cars for true 30" gauge railways HO scale height is within 1/2 mm of correct height for 30'gauge railways. See photos below for 30" gauge

and

Re-gauged from 3'6' to 30" gauge. The autocouplers they use are 3/4-sized standard-gauge couplers, which are suitable for the draft gear loadings on 30' gauge railways.

The HO height is low for scale US 3' gauge scale height and high for true scale with 2' gauge stock.

Rebuilt and re-gauged from 3'6" to 2' gauge but originally was of the same loco class as the blue and yellow diesel above.

On 2' gauge, we use 1/2-sized autocouplers at my local museum.
so yes the head size of the coupler is available in multiple sizes and is selected in the real world by the load you wish to tow behind your locomotives.

If you wish to model US 3' gauge that's fine by me. That is what the NMRA On3 standards are for. Please don't confuse On3 with On30. That 6" difference in gauge makes for prototypes that are a whole world apart in size and loading gauge.

Last edited on Sat Nov 15th, 2014 03:18 am by oztrainz



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 Posted: Sat Nov 15th, 2014 07:58 pm
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Salada
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Si:

I see what you mean about fitting other types of coupling to Bachmann locos - that will take more work than I had previously hoped. My 'main power' fleet is 2 Consolidateds (Bachmann), a very old/tired looking Mogul (prob. Bachmann) & 2 K.27's (MMI).
The K's have what I presume are "correct height" couplings so more fun & games there.
GRRRR !! .
I do not have a layout built yet but I have recently been testing the EZ's on some trial straights & various curves that I have temporarily spiked down. As a "Coupling Virgin" (sounds worse than it is) my total current coupling knowledge is c. Zero.

Reg:

We don't get many MRR magazines over here, just 'Model Railroader' which I sometimes quickly scan in the newsagent - seldom worth the $5.60 UK equivalent purchase price.
"Replacing Bachmann pockets with KD" sounds interesting - that would be an interesting & useful article.

Mr Stumpy:

Thanks for your comments, magnetic in fact !. I had been vaguely thinking along the same lines recently so it is interesting to hear from someone who has tried that.


My thanks to all you Gentlemen,               Michael

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 Posted: Sat Nov 15th, 2014 10:18 pm
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Salada
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Hello John (oztrainz),

Thanks for helping to clarify the various gauge correct coupling heights.

I had successfully given up railway modelling a few years ago; UK standard gauge, all handbuilt with every rivet etc. Last autumn, quite by chance, I was offered 3 brand new Bachmann On30 locos at way, way below list price & I thought they looked rather good for "straight out the box" stuff.
 
At that time I was not aware that there were 2 "standards" i.e. On30 & On3, that coupler heights were incorrect etc. etc. I simply assumed that the Bachmann stuff was prototypically correct though I now know better but - I am where I am & that will have to do.

I like your photos, what make/type is that blue diesel, No LH 31 ?


Regards                    Michael

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 Posted: Sat Nov 15th, 2014 11:24 pm
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oztrainz
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Hi Micheal,
DH31 was built by Wallkers Marybourough in Queensland as a DH class diesel-hydraulic shunting loco on 3'6" for Queensland Rail. Its story is at
http://pbps.puffingbilly.com.au/rolling-stock/locomotive-fleet/other-puffing-billy-locomotives/
It still looks pretty close to original above the bogies.

The red and yellow Tully units haven been extensively rebuilt both above and below the running boards.

Last edited on Sat Nov 15th, 2014 11:25 pm by oztrainz



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 Posted: Sat Nov 15th, 2014 11:34 pm
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Salada
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Thanks John.
That is a nice looking loco. Diesel-hydraulics had a poor maintenance/breakdown record on the UK main line.

Regards                  Michael

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 Posted: Sun Nov 16th, 2014 12:21 am
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oztrainz
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Hi Michael,

As far as reliability goes, the rebuilt DH's are hauling 1500T plus trains of unbraked wagons 24-hours a day during the crushing season on 2' gauge.

Getting back to your coupling woes- From memory the MMI's were built to ON3 coupler height standards. Kaydee do an underset coupler in HO that might get you there. These couplers have the knuckle set high on the drawbar.

have a look at https://www.kadee.com/htmbord/coupler.htm#On3-Scale

An additional caution with the MMI K27's - your track laying has to be excellent because they don't handle humps or dips well and they won't handle a curve radius below 26" and are much happier with a curve radius of +30".
See http://www.npcrr.net/On30/On30Loco_n_Car_Radius_pics.pdf



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John Garaty
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 Posted: Sun Nov 16th, 2014 01:45 am
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Herb Kephart
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Stumpy

With your strictly magnetic couplers. when you want to uncouple a car and you hold that car back with your stick, how do you prevent some other coupler pair in the consist which has slightly less magnetic attraction than the pair on the car you want to drop from parting instead of the desired ones. Or do you pry the cars apart with the stick?

Herb



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 Posted: Sun Nov 16th, 2014 04:11 am
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Reg H
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Salada wrote:
Si:

I see what you mean about fitting other types of coupling to Bachmann locos - that will take more work than I had previously hoped. My 'main power' fleet is 2 Consolidateds (Bachmann), a very old/tired looking Mogul (prob. Bachmann) & 2 K.27's (MMI).
The K's have what I presume are "correct height" couplings so more fun & games there.
GRRRR !! .
I do not have a layout built yet but I have recently been testing the EZ's on some trial straights & various curves that I have temporarily spiked down. As a "Coupling Virgin" (sounds worse than it is) my total current coupling knowledge is c. Zero.

Reg:

We don't get many MRR magazines over here, just 'Model Railroader' which I sometimes quickly scan in the newsagent - seldom worth the $5.60 UK equivalent purchase price.
"Replacing Bachmann pockets with KD" sounds interesting - that would be an interesting & useful article.

Mr Stumpy:

Thanks for your comments, magnetic in fact !. I had been vaguely thinking along the same lines recently so it is interesting to hear from someone who has tried that.


My thanks to all you Gentlemen,               Michael


For modeling narrow gauge it is hard to beat "The Narrow Gauge and Shortline Gazette". I gave up on the main stream mags a long time ago. Log onto their website and check them out.

Reg



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 Posted: Sun Nov 16th, 2014 01:18 pm
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Mr Stumpy
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I have played around with different magnet strengths but have yet to get just the right strength for all train lengths and weights. Once I "standardized" on five cars, the stick uncoupling deal works pretty well.

I still use a KayDee on locos, tenders, or make up a "conversion car" with KayDee on one end and magnet on the other. The magnets I used on Bachmann cars is too strong to use with my lighter scratch built cars, so more experimenting is needed.

I probably should have done the magnet thing for the scratch cars to represent "link and pin" or other basic coupling type, and left the Bachmann ones with EZ Mates or KayDees. I plan to do this in the next few months as I'm cycling B'mann cars out of my fleet as I build new cars.

Stumpy in Ahia ...the Dr. Frankenstein of model trains in Eastern Ohio. :old dude::bg:

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