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Author Topic: Unpluggable inter-vehicle electrical couplings  (Read 1770 times)

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Offline PostModN66

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Re: Unpluggable inter-vehicle electrical couplings
« Reply #45 on: March 04, 2019, 02:04:50 PM »
Both of these commercial types look as if they lose the relative "yaw" rotation possible with a normal hook-to-hook situation.  If this is the case I would have thought the performance around anything approaching a tight radius would be very poor; especially with some vehicles which have a rigid mount of NEM coupler to bogie (although these are generally goods wagons so might not need the functionality anyway.)

I would be very interested in the results of any practical tests!

Cheers Jon  :)
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Offline jamespetts

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Re: Unpluggable inter-vehicle electrical couplings
« Reply #46 on: March 05, 2019, 06:18:10 PM »
Both of these commercial types look as if they lose the relative "yaw" rotation possible with a normal hook-to-hook situation.  If this is the case I would have thought the performance around anything approaching a tight radius would be very poor; especially with some vehicles which have a rigid mount of NEM coupler to bogie (although these are generally goods wagons so might not need the functionality anyway.)

I would be very interested in the results of any practical tests!

Cheers Jon  :)

I should definitely be interested in any test results (both as to appearance in use and operational reliability) of either of these designs.

Offline woodbury22uk

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Re: Unpluggable inter-vehicle electrical couplings
« Reply #47 on: May 08, 2019, 07:36:28 AM »
Mikado Train/REE in France are just on the point of delivering their RGP railcars which have electric conducting couplers held together with magnets. There are some photos in the early posts on this French page on 6 May 2019 which show the design quite clearly.

http://le-forum-du-n.1fr1.net/t23832p350-mikadotrain-ree-annonce-ramma-2015-rgp-1-tee
« Last Edit: May 08, 2019, 07:38:19 AM by woodbury22uk »
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Offline Newportnobby

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Re: Unpluggable inter-vehicle electrical couplings
« Reply #48 on: May 08, 2019, 09:56:07 AM »
Neat. There was someone on the forum experimenting with magnets as couplers but I can't recall who it was :-[

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Re: Unpluggable inter-vehicle electrical couplings
« Reply #49 on: May 08, 2019, 10:00:07 AM »
Neat. There was someone on the forum experimenting with magnets as couplers but I can't recall who it was :-[

Nor me, which is why I posted here! :-)
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Offline njee20

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Re: Unpluggable inter-vehicle electrical couplings
« Reply #50 on: May 08, 2019, 10:18:38 AM »
They do look quite good, the problem is that they're physically quite bulky, through necessity obviously.

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Re: Unpluggable inter-vehicle electrical couplings
« Reply #52 on: May 08, 2019, 08:47:55 PM »
Thanks, but not the one I was thinking of

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Re: Unpluggable inter-vehicle electrical couplings
« Reply #53 on: May 10, 2019, 12:23:15 AM »
I have ordered some of the Peho couplings to test - I found that the little plugs that I had used were very difficult to plug in and were prone to breaking just behind the connector, as happened again to-day. I will install a pair of Peho couplers on the class 108 and see how this compares with the Micromark plugs that I had bought. I will post comparison pictures when I get a chance to try this.

Offline jamespetts

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Re: Unpluggable inter-vehicle electrical couplings
« Reply #54 on: May 18, 2019, 06:17:18 PM »
I have now had a chance to test the Peho electrically conductive magnetic couplings. I ordered two sets of the N gauge two pole type as these seemed to be the least obtrusive. Ordering was not as easy as it might be as I had to use Google translate to translate several e-mails to and from German (the ordering process is not entirely automated), but, once that was overcome, the service was efficient and prompt.

The couplings themselves seem to work well. The wires are very thin, so they are not so stiff as to cause problems in installation or preventing bogies from travelling around corners and they are easy to solder. They are smaller than I had imagined - certainly, much smaller than a Rapido type coupling, and this is a good thing, as they are more unobtrusive than I had been concerned that they might be.

However, they are somewhat long of shank, giving quite a long distance between the vehicles:

Farish class 108 by James Petts, on Flickr

This is probably sensible for anyone with a layout featuring tight corners (the class 108 test train went around the 2nd radius curves on my automation test layout without difficulty), but it would be good to have a shorter shank option for those whose layouts have more generous curves. By contrast, here is what a Farish class 101 can look like with a pair of Dapol NEMCoup type couplings:

N gauge class 101 by James Petts, on Flickr

However, the Dapol couplings do have some play in them, so this very close distance is only possible when the unit is being pushed - a larger gap will emerge when the unit is being pulled.

To remedy this, I attempted to splice one of the two coupling shanks to produce a closer coupling, cutting out a small section of the plastic with a Stanley knife. Glueing this back was not as easy as it might be, as this is a hard plastic that does not glue easily, so I had to buy Loctite All Plastics sueprglue for the purpose. This worked well, but even with the superglue, a few minutes of drying was necessary to allow it to accept a force sufficient to place it into the coupler socket and for it not to come unglued when pulling the carriages apart.

Care must be taken to get these the right way up (with the bulk pointing downwards), as otherwise the couplers can foul cosmetic coupling hooks and the like.

Here are some comparison pictures of the Peho couplings vs. the Dapol couplings after the Peho couplings had been shortened, and also a comparison with the Dapol couplings plus the Micromark header pins:

Farish class 108 by James Petts, on Flickr

Farish class 101 by James Petts, on Flickr

Farish class 108 and 101 comparison by James Petts, on Flickr



As will be seen, with the shortened Peho couplings and the Dapol couplings in tension rather than in compression, the distance between the carriages is very similar.

I could in principle make this distance shorter by also splicing the other coupling, but the shortened version was already having trouble navigating the corners on my automation test layout, and I do not want the unit to be unable to deal smoothly with the corners on my main layout, currently under construction.

As to performance, this was good: this passed without stalling at speed step 1 over a set of points on my automation test layout that I think may have a problem with the wiring, as most vehicles passing over these points at a low speed will stall. Flickering is also greatly reduced. I can only imagine that this will improve even more if a longer train (a 3 car DMU or even a 2+8 HST) were fitted this way.

On tight corners (such as the 2nd radius corners on my automation test layout), I noticed that the couplings as shortened pulled apart on the outside of the corner such that only one magnet was touching and giving electrical contact. This did eventually lead the unit to stall on another set of points on the automation test layout. This problem would probably not have occurred had I not shortened the shank or on a layout with less tight curves.

Offline PostModN66

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Re: Unpluggable inter-vehicle electrical couplings
« Reply #55 on: May 18, 2019, 11:06:55 PM »
Thanks James - very interesting.

I am surprised they make it around tight corners OK - presumably, this relies on the swivelling action of the NEM pockets, as the couplers stuck together by the two magnets form one rigid unit?

Cheers Jon  :)
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Re: Unpluggable inter-vehicle electrical couplings
« Reply #56 on: May 18, 2019, 11:15:57 PM »
Thanks James - very interesting.

I am surprised they make it around tight corners OK - presumably, this relies on the swivelling action of the NEM pockets, as the couplers stuck together by the two magnets form one rigid unit?

Cheers Jon  :)

Yes, indeed - and it is important to ensure that the wires have enough clearance to allow the bogies to swivel freely.

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Re: Unpluggable inter-vehicle electrical couplings
« Reply #57 on: May 19, 2019, 09:39:41 PM »
Update: having slackened off the wire, which was a bit tight on one side preventing one of the bogies from rotating fully, I get better reliability with these. Now, going around a tight turn, the couplings do not pull apart and the unit did not stall in the same position as last time. There was a derailment at a set of points after a sharp corner, but this seemed to be more stable overall than the previous run.

 

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