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Author Topic: Coupling in public  (Read 9147 times)

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Offline spot

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Coupling in public
« on: March 29, 2015, 11:21:30 PM »
I have, honestly, worked through several threads on NGF about coupling systems proprietary, coupling systems homebrew and I've googled elsewhere. The last time I used a coupling it was a hook on each vehicle which went over a curved bar on each vehicle and you'd balance the two hooks upwards by driving onto a hump and reversing if you wanted to uncouple. The complications I've been reading about today have been hair-raising.

I don't want to restart a conversation which you've collectively had months ago but I didn't really come away with a conclusion as far as who to be directed by. Does one ask the local club what the house standard is? Would it start a genteel elbowing as people came forward with firmly-held beliefs? Is there, in fact, a common standard n-gauge coupler to which all European manufacturers can connect? Should I have read further before starting a thread?
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Offline railsquid

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Re: Coupling in public
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2015, 03:00:17 AM »
The de-facto standard couple is the Arnold Rapido coupler, which is fairly dependable - I'm still amazed how I can reliably connect say a new Japanese locomotive to a 30~40 year old Lima N-gauge coach (not something I do regularly I hasten to add) - but has its limitations when it comes to aesthetics and uncoupling.

Beyond that there are all kinds of couplers and systems, some of which are manufacturer or country specific; personally I usually stick with Arnold/Rapido as I have a wide range of stock, but for some fixed rakes (mainly Japanese EMUs) I use various close couplings. I'm not really an expert though.

This link might be of interest: http://www.nscaledivision.com/information_on_couplers.htm
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Offline silly moo

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Re: Coupling in public
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2015, 09:01:41 AM »
I think a lot depends on how you want to run your layout. I have stuck with standard Arnold Rapido couplings because of cost and because I don't do much shunting on my layout. I admit to having having train set mentality and like to sit and watch the trains go round.   :)

If you plan a shunting layout then the coupling system will probably need to be different, you will find lots of advice and opinions on the forum.






Offline PostModN66

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Re: Coupling in public
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2015, 05:05:58 PM »
Hi Spot,

I reckon, if you are new to N and unsure, just use the standard Rapido couplers that come already fitted to everything you buy.

Most new British outline stock comes with NEM pockets, so it is an easy job to change to certain other coupler types for a trial, and change back again if you are not happy. 

(If you have stock with the old sprung coupler boxes you are pretty much stuck with the Rapidos for these wagons, though there are alternative simple "hooks" that are often somewhat hard to source)

As time goes by, if you want slightly less obtrusive couplers, you can change to the simple "hooks" that come with all Dapol wagons (though these are eye-wateringly expensive if you buy them in bulk to convert Farish wagons).  If you run trains in fixed rakes, you can have certain trains fitted with Rapidos, others with other types - it really doesn't matter.

If you want to do simple moves detaching locos from stock to perform run-rounds, or to drop off one train and pick up another, then the obvious choice for the ends of the rakes and the locos is the Dapol Easi-Shunt (or Easi-Fit; seems to have changed its name!) system. You can buy just one pair of couplers to try it out, and revert if you are not happy.

If you want to do lots of complex shunting involving manouvering individual wagons around, you might consider fitting all wagons with Easi-Shunts, or possibly going to one of the etched brass types.  But you will know for yourself if and when you get to this point!

Hope this helps - keeping my elbows tucked in!

Jon  :)
 
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Offline acko22

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Re: Coupling in public
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2015, 05:51:46 PM »
Been quietly watching the topic as it has bearing for me,

On that note does anyone have any suggestions for electromagnetic uncouplers?

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Re: Coupling in public
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2015, 06:02:43 PM »
Hi Acko,

One thing that you might consider if you are thinking of hands-free operation of Rapidos is to use movable permanent magnets rather than electromagnets, (such as I have used on Lofthole, and others have used different variants).   Advantages are - more power than electromagnets, impossible to burn out, less wiring!

If you are thinking about electromagnets for Easi-Shunts it is a different territory - I think Kadee or Microtrains do one - I have seen this reference recently, maybe on here or in a mag..?????

Cheers  Jon  :)
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Offline Zunnan

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Re: Coupling in public
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2015, 06:28:07 PM »
Couplings on club layouts are kind of an anything goes minefield. On club nights at my MRC when the N Gauge layout is set up for running it doesn't really matter what couplings you use so long as they couple up in trains. What that usually means is that if you bring a locomotive to run, you generally also bring some suitable rolling stock of your own. To be honest, most members (if they even actually own their own stock) stick to the RTR rapidos, which makes running everything together pretty simple. That does lead to its own complications though, especially when packing up at the end of the night as some confusion as to who owns what can and does frequently ensue.

I do have an issue with the Rapidos though, changes in coupler height and the multitude of different angles that they sit causes problems in the long term with uncoupling. I find that when running trains with anything over 30 wagons, even the best set rapidos will occasionally split due to the nature of our layout being laid over 8 boards with all of the associated board to board joins. Close coupling mechanisms also suffer from time to time, as the slop that is inherent in them allows the couplers to work themselves into less than ideal positions from time to time. Some vehicles needing a bit of gentle persuasion in order to behave will frequently see an NEM couler getting ripped out and unceremoniously bent in an effort to get them to behave. This leads us nicely into the whole aftermarket debate.

Regarding aftermarket couplers... I have found the 'easi-shunt' couplers to be sporadic and problematic at times, no matter how well adjusted. I also run US H0 and have (still do) owned my fair share of US N scale, so am no stranger to properly setting up and using knuckle couplers. The light weight of steam era wagons and resistance to the required lateral movement to operate properly causes no end of problems. Generally speaking the wagons twist before the couplers pivot, which doesn't look good on a club night and looks even worse at an exhibition. They're also pretty naff when used on close coupler mechanisms, with a tendancy to uncouple randomly over switchback curvature through pointwork (including large radius, which Bournville uses almost entirely). I have settled on the similar in appearance Microtrains knuckles, which unlike the Dapol offering, actually work when shunting lightweight wagons because the pivoting spring is very light and the range of lateral motion is sufficiently broad. The MTs also have the advantage of being able to couple up to the Dapol knuckles, so if a club member does want to run their models with my own it is a very simple task. I am in the process of converting everything I own to MTs, including those which currently use 'easi-shunts', but in the end I will have a strategic reserve of convertor vehicles with a rapido at one end and MT at the other. This will facilitate other members being able to use my models with their own. I did have a tinker with D&G, but the sheer quantity of stock I have to convert makes it a non starter at this stage as I find them a bit more fiddly to set up, but again a few barrier wagons would cater for running models with different couplers.

At the end of the day, when you're taking models to run on a club layout, it is a good idea to check what the club prefers to use. But even if they name a system that you've never heard of, it is by no means the be all and end all. Their layout may be set up to use D&G couplers, but that won't stop anyone from running a brand new model straight out of the box. It just means that you may not be able to use the layouts uncouplers if you take a model which uses your own preference of coupling. Just be prepared to take along a convertor vehicle in order to operate with the 'house stock' (the odds are that the club will have some already so that new purchases can be run before converting) or take a complete train that is compatible with what you use in the event that a convertor is unavailable.

The biggest barrier is in track/wheel standards, differences in couplers are easily circumvented. :thumbsup:
« Last Edit: March 30, 2015, 06:30:55 PM by Zunnan »
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Offline acko22

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Re: Coupling in public
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2015, 07:49:45 PM »
Wow Zunnan,

A real in depth look at things there.
A lot of it is down to how you want to run things and where (club layouts always tricky)

Thanks Jon,

When you say rapido couplings aren't they the standard ones you get fresh out of the box?
I was looking at the dapol (IIRC) knuckle coulings and then using a magnet to uncouple locos as part of my layout will be a terminus and depot.

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Re: Coupling in public
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2015, 08:01:34 PM »
When you say rapido couplings aren't they the standard ones you get fresh out of the box?
I was looking at the dapol (IIRC) knuckle coulings and then using a magnet to uncouple locos as part of my layout will be a terminus and depot.

Yes that's right - the most common way (not necessarily the best) of uncoupling Rapidos is with electromagnets; specifically this intended for the Peco version but you can modify Farish sprung coupler boxes.

Uncoupling  Dapol Easi-Fits is normally with permanent magnets (either the special magnet Dapol make or small rare-earth magnets), but as I said above I have recently seen reference to an electromagnet for this - quite possibly on this forum.  I am pretty sure it was an American product, Microtrains or KayDee.

Cheers  Jon  :)
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Offline steve836

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Re: Coupling in public
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2015, 08:06:11 PM »
On my layout I want to run long trains in fixed rakes mainly, with shunting being limited to one or two shorter trains on the branch line. To this end I want to be able to run the fixed rake trains reliably without regularly leaving half the train behind (sods law applies so they usually separate in the tunnels ).
The other day, while looking at flea bay, I saw a loco, purporting to be N scale, with 3 link couplings. For my purposes this would appear to be the way forward for me. Does anyone know where these are available from?
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Re: Coupling in public
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2015, 08:13:29 PM »
Does anyone know of a simple method of uncoupling (not involving magnets/electricity)  where you want the train to uncouple EVERY time using rapidos ?
I'm referring to a situation where you have a branch terminus with a run round loop. I'd want the train engine to uncouple every time just before the point for the runround loop. Then the train moves forward, the point is tripped (electronically) and the loco runs around its train ready for the return journey.
If it looks right then it most probably is right.


Offline PostModN66

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Re: Coupling in public
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2015, 08:17:16 PM »
On my layout I want to run long trains in fixed rakes mainly, with shunting being limited to one or two shorter trains on the branch line. To this end I want to be able to run the fixed rake trains reliably without regularly leaving half the train behind (sods law applies so they usually separate in the tunnels ).
The other day, while looking at flea bay, I saw a loco, purporting to be N scale, with 3 link couplings. For my purposes this would appear to be the way forward for me. Does anyone know where these are available from?

Steve - 3 links are generally scale type couplings, which in N gauge would be super-fiddly, one for real finescale purists.

If you just want to avoid accidental uncoupling there would be much easier ways, e.g. using the Dapol "hooks" (Not Easi-Shut/Fits)

I would be intrigued to know about N Scale 3 link couplings - I would imagine you would need a microscope to operate them, but maybe I have the wrong end of the stick.......... :worried:

Cheers  Jon  :)
“We must conduct research and then accept the results. If they don't stand up to experimentation, Buddha's own words must be rejected.” ― Dalai Lama XIV

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Offline PostModN66

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Re: Coupling in public
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2015, 08:19:32 PM »
Does anyone know of a simple method of uncoupling (not involving magnets/electricity)  where you want the train to uncouple EVERY time using rapidos ?
I'm referring to a situation where you have a branch terminus with a run round loop. I'd want the train engine to uncouple every time just before the point for the runround loop. Then the train moves forward, the point is tripped (electronically) and the loco runs around its train ready for the return journey.

Why not using magnets PP? - I know a way but it involves a magnet...........

Cheers  Jon  :)
“We must conduct research and then accept the results. If they don't stand up to experimentation, Buddha's own words must be rejected.” ― Dalai Lama XIV

My Postmodern Image Layouts

Lofthole http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=14792.msg147178#msg147178

Deansmoor http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=14741.msg146381#msg146381

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Re: Coupling in public
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2015, 08:21:50 PM »
On my layout I want to run long trains in fixed rakes mainly, with shunting being limited to one or two shorter trains on the branch line. To this end I want to be able to run the fixed rake trains reliably without regularly leaving half the train behind (sods law applies so they usually separate in the tunnels ).

I do similar to you and use the Dapol EasiShunts at the points in the rake where I uncouple the fixed rakes (loco, guards van etc) and use the standard Rapidos for the rest of the train, best of both world. I use the standard Dapol magnets embedded in the track to uncouple the EasiShunts, I did try electromagnet uncoupling but couldn't get it to reliably operate every time using automation.

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Re: Coupling in public
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2015, 08:22:32 PM »
Does anyone know of a simple method of uncoupling (not involving magnets/electricity)  where you want the train to uncouple EVERY time using rapidos ?
I'm referring to a situation where you have a branch terminus with a run round loop. I'd want the train engine to uncouple every time just before the point for the runround loop. Then the train moves forward, the point is tripped (electronically) and the loco runs around its train ready for the return journey.

Why not using magnets PP? - I know a way but it involves a magnet...........

Cheers  Jon  :)
I was only trying to make it really easy. I'd be very interested in your method using the magnets.
If it looks right then it most probably is right.


 

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