Episode 130 19 Another Way Of Doing Magnetic Uncoupling

Discussion in 'The Collection' started by gormo, Aug 14, 2019.

  1. gormo

    gormo Staff Member Administrator

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    G`day Folks,

    Yes we are looking at uncoupling again and tension locks and magnets.

    This has been on my mind because my little mates ( Grandsons ), are still struggling a little with fine control of my trains, which is what is required when shunting and uncoupling wagons and coaches. I must also say that this lack of fine control will probably revisit me one day in the near future, so I`m setting myself up as well.

    I felt there needed to be a more reliable system over and above what we have now.

    So when you break it down…….I reckon that magnetic uncoupling with tension locks is more reliable than uncoupling ramps, however that said, the system needs a serious look to bring some consistency to it.

    Brian Kirby`s method certainly is a great leap forward and full credit to him for thinking of it, however fixing staples to couplings reliably requires some effort and fine adjustment, all of which is quite achievable….but I still think we can simplify and standardize the system.

    The main problem seems to me to be the fact that the tension lock couplings are set off centre. They have to be so that the coupling hooks can pass by each other and connect the vehicles together.

    If we add staples or fine wire to the couplings, so that we can move over to magnetic uncoupling, we need to consider offsetting the magnets in the track so they fall directly under the path of the coupling.

    Would it not be simpler to align the magnets directly down the centre of the track to make things easier, but in doing so, you are creating a sideways pull on the coupling, which in turn has a braking effect on the coupling hook where it pivots on it`s axle.

    The other consideration is visual appeal, and the staples, whilst low profile and effective, present an extra part that can be seen on the already awkward style of coupling.

    I propose that instead of staples, we add a small chain. A chain is not an unusal site on a British wagon. The chain will hang down vertically from a centre point on the coupling. The chain is connected by wire, via a central hole in the coupling, to the coupling hook.

    When passing over magnets located in the centre of the track, the chain is pulled downwards toward them, which in turn raises the coupling hook.

    Advantages of this system are the fact that it is completely reversible, there is no glue or solder required on the coupling, in my opinion it looks better than staples, the coupling will still work on uncoupling ramps with the chain fitted and it does not require the coupling or hook to be removed from the vehicle when fitting it.

    All will become clear in the video below



    :cheers::tophat:Gormo
     
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  2. Mr Porter

    Mr Porter Failure is always an option. Full Member

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    Great idea Gormo (as always)

    Can I just ask what the function of the fridge magnet strip is. Would it not work without it ?

    Cheers :headbanger:

    Jim
     
  3. gormo

    gormo Staff Member Administrator

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    G`day Jim,
    The purpose of the fridge magnet strip is twofold and yes it will work perfectly well without it.
    The first purpose is to hide / disguise the magnets because I have found in the past that if you just paint the magnets, which looks fine to start with, eventually the paint starts getting scratches and knocks and bits of Silver colour start showing through the paint. If you check the video again, you will notice the bottom link of the chain dragging along the top of the fridge magnet. The fridge magnet therefore becomes that protective, disposable barrier to keep everything looking as intended..... so it`s purely cosmetic.
    The second reason for the fridge magnet is that I can use a coloured ( painted ) fridge magnet when my little Grandsons come over to play trains. A bright Yellow or Red or Orange coloured strip will make it easier for them to find the sweet spot for uncoupling. When they go back home to Mum and Dad, I can replace the coloured strips back to Matt Brown.......a very simple and easy process.
    :cheers::tophat:Gormo
     
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  4. Mr Porter

    Mr Porter Failure is always an option. Full Member

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    Thanks very much mate.
    :headbanger:
    Jim
     
  5. Vinylelpea

    Vinylelpea Full Member

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    Thanks Gormo these are the type of couplings I prefer. Will give it a try.
     
  6. Gary

    Gary Will the real Gary please stand up... Staff Member Administrator

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    Would I be right saying that the magnets only have the poles on the narrow 2mm edge and not the 3mm sides ??

    Cheers, Gary.
     
  7. gormo

    gormo Staff Member Administrator

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    G`day Gary,
    The poles or main attraction force is on the 3mm side ( flat )......however that said......the chain will work on the edges ( 2mm ) or indeed on the ends as if the magnet were inserted vertically into the baseboard, although vertically could be a right pain to set up......I have not tried that way yet.
    :cheers::tophat:Gormo
     
  8. Sol

    Sol Full Member

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    Gormo, very neat, have you tried this on the plug in type tension lock coupling like Bachmann?
     
  9. Sol

    Sol Full Member

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    sorry for not clear focus but these are 3 diffent types of tension lock couplers
     
  10. gormo

    gormo Staff Member Administrator

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    G`day Ron,
    No I have`nt but it should work exactly the same as all that is required is a small hole right next to the axle for the coupling hook drilled into the centre of the coupling.
    It`s all up the front of the coupling and should not foul the the plug in prongs on the couplings shown
    :cheers::tophat:Gormo
     
  11. Graeme

    Graeme Full Member

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    A question; why do the hooks lift when the wagons are going one way but do not when the wagons are going in the opposite direction, is it something to do with the speed of the wagons?
     
  12. Sol

    Sol Full Member

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    With the little hook over the bar, when being pulled, is held in place by the tension of the following wagons so uncoupling should not occur but take tension off & they will lift.
    The are called tension lock couplers for that reason.
    Tension comes off in at least two ways; pulling forward & the loco jerks at the wrong time and the hooks are over uncoupling ramps or by pushing backwards as normally under a shunting process.
     
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  13. gormo

    gormo Staff Member Administrator

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    G`day Graeme,
    I think Ron ( above ) has answered your question very well.
    In a nutshell, uncoupling only happens when the wagons are being pushed ( compression ), thereby having no tension on the couplings ,which allows the coupling hook to lift.
    I think it is important to consider setting your coupling heights accurately, so that they butt up to each other at the same height. This ensures that they will lock together properly when required ( tension ) and prevent unwanted uncoupling.
    Unfortunately, the NEM tension lock set ups allow the coupling to droop a little, which makes the process difficult. NEM is convenient, however poorly thought out in it`s design, and consequently is a bit hit and miss with tension locks.
    Any NEM couplings I have will be replaced by fixed tension locks to ensure consistent results.
    On a scale of 1 to 1 we would not be happy with coupling heights being out by 15 cm ( 6 inches ), but in reality, if you scale it down to our models ( 1.76th ), that is what is happening with NEM tension locks when they meet up with a fixed tension lock coupling.......too much slack in the fixing mechanism.
    :cheers::tophat:Gormo
     
  14. Graeme

    Graeme Full Member

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    Thank you to both of you for the explanation.
    I went back and had a closer look at the video and noticed the little hook at the end of the coupler lever which presumably engages under tension to prevent accidental uncoupling.
    I have not used that type of coupler since my Triang train set way back in the 1960s.
    All my HO trains have knuckle couplers as that is what they all came with (American outline).
     
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