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Author Topic: New coupler development (was Coupling survey)  (Read 27717 times)

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Online Vonzack

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Re: Coupling survey
« Reply #15 on: June 12, 2014, 10:26:55 am »
Hi Belstone,

I tend to model modern era, so again I'm looking at fixed rakes of wagons, with the ability to remotely couple either end. At the moment, the majority of my stock uses either US Bachmann Dummy Knuckles for Rapido Spring Pockets or Dapol Dummy Knuckles for NEM Pocket wagons. I try to avoid the Dapol Easy-Shunt couplings as they are just 'huge', especially when compared to the US MT couplers.

Going forward I'd be more interested in a coupling solution which works with the NEM Pockets and involves some kind of vertical action, the need to have the knuckles move sideways to uncouple is I think what makes the Dapol solution larger than the MT, where the knuckle has physically move out of the way.

Cheers, Mark.

Offline Rabs

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Re: Coupling survey
« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2014, 10:59:11 am »
Very interesting - I'll be looking forward to what you come up with :)
One point that might not be captured by your survey - how prototypical the couplers look (which is a slightly different question to how unobtrusive they are).  Dapol and Kadee knuckle couplers are fairly unobtrusive but they look completely wrong for steam era, so aren't worth the extra cost for me.  So I use DGs, as the least bad option.

Offline belstone

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Re: Coupling survey
« Reply #17 on: June 12, 2014, 11:02:29 am »
41 responses now and some interesting trends emerging.  I'll share some of the key findings once the survey is complete. Thank you again everyone for your input.

Offline Roy L S

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Re: Coupling survey
« Reply #18 on: June 12, 2014, 11:45:21 am »
Excellent survey, thoroughly relevant.

The only question I would have added is: -

"How important is it that you can switch back to Rapido couplings without major work?".

I know it asks whether you would be happy to saw/cut remove existing coupling mounts, but no question on it being reversible.

Hope this makes sense

Regards

Roy

Offline Dr Al

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Re: Coupling survey
« Reply #19 on: June 12, 2014, 12:00:05 pm »
One comment I'd make (and I see others saying similar) is that for me any coupler change must be able to be changed back (and with no modification to the existing model) if I want to sell the model on in the future, as, like it or not, selling with standard rapidos is most desirable.

To me this is quite important as models are gradually updated and my fleet follows suit.

Cheers,
Alan
Quote from: Roy L S
If Dr Al is online he may be able to provide a more comprehensive answer.

Offline belstone

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Re: Coupling survey
« Reply #20 on: June 12, 2014, 12:14:42 pm »
The 'free' version of SurveyMonkey only allows you ten questions  :D But a good point, in an ideal world any change of couplers should be reversible, for both NEM and non-NEM stock. Small wonder that no-one has really cracked this problem yet. I'm in the middle of a very tedious job at work, and my head is buzzing with thoughts of little etched brass or nickel-silver parts. I don't think I'll make much progress on my layout for a while.

Offline PennineWagons

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Re: Coupling survey
« Reply #21 on: June 12, 2014, 12:37:40 pm »
Done.  :angel:
I'm not really bothered about hands-free uncoupling, so I don't have any issue with standard Rapidos in that respect. What I don't like is the huge gap between any two Farish wagons/coaches when you couple them up, particularly in comparison with the gap between Dapol or Peco wagons. You can easily rectify this problem on the latest models with the NEM pockets, as Farish sell bags of short NEM Rapidos which you can easily fit, but for some reason they don't do a short version of the older standard coupling which fits in the spring-loaded pocket. So what I'd really like is a short standard Rapido to replace all the original Rapidos on my Farish stock, please, preferably at a reasonable price. I know that a guy has done these by 3D printing on Shapeways but they seem prohibitively expensive (knocking on 40 for 100 including postage if I remember rightly). There must be a gap in the market for something like this, I'm sure there'd be plenty of takers.
PW

Offline Dr Al

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Re: Coupling survey
« Reply #22 on: June 12, 2014, 12:40:51 pm »
So what I'd really like is a short standard Rapido to replace all the original Rapidos on my Farish stock, please, preferably at a reasonable price.

Dapol use short shank rapidos and you can get them as spares via DCC supplies. I've used them on a Farish IC225 set to close up the coupling gaps.

Cheers,
Alan
Quote from: Roy L S
If Dr Al is online he may be able to provide a more comprehensive answer.

Offline d-a-n

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Re: Coupling survey
« Reply #23 on: June 12, 2014, 06:37:22 pm »
Good survey.
A bit of background which may compliment your research: I play trains and have an oval of Kato track with lots of sidings and bits of magnet track for shunting. I run mainly fixed rakes with easi shunts at each end. Some rakes have easi shunts within the rake to do a bit of shunting puzzling. My carriages tend to run as a core rake with easi shunts at each end. There are other single or 'multi purpose' carriages (BG, TPO etc) which can be shunted onto and out of different rakes and so these tend to have easi shunts on both ends. I'd like to add more shunts in but they're expensive and I don't think it'd change how I operate the train set.
I have cut up a few wagons to fit the NEM pockets to allow easi shunts but I'd be loathe to do this on any loco or item of rolling stock which is expensive in case it goes wrong! I like that converting the easi shunt back to rapido will be painless and that I've not had to convert much stuff which helps to keep a bit of resale value in my models.
I've been quite interested in the clear rapido couplings to put in the rakes too although having said that, I'm not that fussed about how big a rapido or easi shunt looks, as long as it keeps the train together and reliably uncouples when asked!

Offline PinkNosedPenguin

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Re: Coupling survey
« Reply #24 on: June 12, 2014, 08:32:05 pm »
I use the Dapol easi-shunt couplings and am generally happy with them. but its their cost which is their main problem for me - I am loathe to change every single coupling when it costs 3.40 for couplers + 1.20 for NEM pockets PER VEHICLE (Hattons prices). That's 4.60 on top of the price of each individual wagon :(

Offline Roy L S

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Re: Coupling survey
« Reply #25 on: June 12, 2014, 08:41:38 pm »
I use the Dapol easi-shunt couplings and am generally happy with them. but its their cost which is their main problem for me - I am loathe to change every single coupling when it costs 3.40 for couplers + 1.20 for NEM pockets PER VEHICLE (Hattons prices). That's 4.60 on top of the price of each individual wagon :(

They are pretty intricate pieces of kit and I suspect much of the price is in the cost of assembly.

Online Chris in Prague

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Re: Coupling survey
« Reply #26 on: June 12, 2014, 08:56:43 pm »
To be anywhere near statistically valid 100 replies would be the minimum but, realistically, 50 is a good number to aim for. 8-)

Online elmo

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Re: Coupling survey
« Reply #27 on: June 12, 2014, 09:42:30 pm »
I will doubtless be in the minority, but here goes -
 
I have model railways in 3 scales both indoors and in the garden. The larger scales use chain couplings and i use a hook. In n gauge the use of chains is out of the question for the average eye sight. I therefore use the standard coupling and uncouple with a 'shunters pole' by lifting one of the couplings.

Hands free operation has never meant much to me other than extra expense in layout building. I have also found it rather annoying that all the model railway mags have seemingly spent the past 30 years suggesting that if you use the 'big hand from the sky' then you are not a real railway modeller. What a delight therefore that a couple of years ago I noticed for the first time at an exhibition that uncoupling by hook and hand from sky outnumbered hand free shunting.

Dealing specifically with N gauge, I do get really fed up when I read reviews of locos and rolling stock and reference is made to 'that large coupling'. If anything, I will venture to suggest that N gauge has been blessed with the best of the mass produced couplings (I think tension locks are horrible in both looks and operation).
However, the N gauge coupling is reliant on how it has been done. To me the hands down winner is the Peco variant. The elsie allows a very light touch to activate coupling up without the whole wagon/train being pushed along. They also allow for 'buffering up' due to the forward/backward movement that the design allows. Best of all the distance between the wagons is more prototypical. Also, if you insist they can be made hands free.

The spring mounted coupling looses most of the advantages of the peco version. Coupling up can be done with alight  touch but is hit and miss. The Springs though can be removed and the use of a staple or a peco/gaugemaster lift arm can be used to bring the coupling parallel thus making it similar to the elsie.

To me, what has damaged the standard n gauge coupler is the way that the NEM pocket has been designed into n gauge stock. It is clear to me that the NEM has been designed to make alternative couplings work but has not paid any attention to the standard coupler. This is just shoved in the NEM pocket to sell the wagon with a standard coupling that in most cases puts the distance between joined wagons to ridiculous length. An example being Dapols fine siphons. the first spring coupling very good. I get some more via the dapol club and they had NEM's. the distance between wagons was stupid beyond belief. The NEM pocket has in affect stopped be buying n gauge stock which I would have normally spent money on.

Tin hat ready!!

Elmo

Offline belstone

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Re: Coupling survey
« Reply #28 on: June 12, 2014, 10:17:34 pm »
Elmo, I'm going to partly agree with you, but for different reasons.  I fear the NEM coupler pocket has condemned us to another twenty years of inadequate, unreliable N gauge couplings. The big problem I have with it is that it is designed for vertical movement, not lateral.  That makes it fundamentally unsuited to any type of delayed-action knuckle coupling.  There are good reasons why a lot of people have had trouble getting the delayed uncoupling facility on the Dapol EasiShunts to work properly, and it is all down to the boxes that they are clipped into.

I have just had a look at three recent release Farish items - 2MT, horsebox and cattle van. All three have different pocket designs, and none will allow an Easishunt coupler to be pulled off-centre by magnetic attraction.  No deflection, no remote uncoupling.

I agree with you that the  Peco 'Elsie' coupling is by far the best of the various Rapido types, and it is a real shame that no other manufacturer adopted it. I would guess this was down to having to pay royalty fees to Peco, whereas Arnold allowed anyone to use their spring-loaded design for free.

Offline PinkNosedPenguin

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Re: Coupling survey
« Reply #29 on: June 12, 2014, 10:32:56 pm »
I have just had a look at three recent release Farish items - 2MT, horsebox and cattle van. All three have different pocket designs, and none will allow an Easishunt coupler to be pulled off-centre by magnetic attraction.  No deflection, no remote uncoupling.
Are you suggesting the easi shunts do not uncouple on these items? I disagree. They uncouple on ALL my stock. Delayed uncoupling is not reliable for me, but basic hands-free uncoupling is not a problem. The coupler shaft does not need to move for this - just the sprung knuckle section. To me these couplings are a VAST improvement over those horrible rapidos that are basically not fit for purpose - they often don't couple reliably, let alone uncouple . . .

 

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