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Electro magnetic uncouplers for shunting - General Model Railway Discussion. - Other Areas. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Wed Mar 26th, 2014 03:46 pm
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toto
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I have started this as a topic as I am considering possibly installing some sort of device that will allow me to automatically uncouple wagons at certain locations on the R & GLR.

I've heard of. System whereby you somehow attach paper lips formed in a certain manner to the standard coupling of your wagons. When you run them over an electro magnet which can be switched on or off, this creates the magnetic field required to " lift the coupling arm " .

I like the sound of this and given that I am currently track laying, it would be the ideal time to consider the installation of these devices.

Can anyone give me any more info on these, how they work and where I can buy some. As always............. In numpty language please.

Many thanks.

Toto

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 Posted: Wed Mar 26th, 2014 03:56 pm
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Chubber
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Hi Toto,

I have all the gen on this with photos posted on this forum but be blowed if I can findit!

I used little 4mm neodymium magnets which can be retro fitted any where beteen two sleepers .

If Ron sees this he'll find it, he's wizard like that......

Frusterated Doof



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 Posted: Wed Mar 26th, 2014 04:13 pm
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MaxSouthOz
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Is this the one, Doug?

http://yourmodelrailway.net/view_topic.php?id=6277&forum_id=11&highlight=neodymium



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 Posted: Wed Mar 26th, 2014 05:22 pm
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toto
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Cheers chaps,

The type shown here are permanently on, Am I right in saying that ?

I take it that you would have to come to a complete halt over the magnets to get it to work or the wagons would uncouple every time you went over them which may not be the desired result.

:hmm

Cheers

Toto

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 Posted: Wed Mar 26th, 2014 07:09 pm
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Chubber
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Well done Max!

What did you search under?

Yes you not only have to stop, you must go astern very slightly to allow the little hooky bits on the tension locks to disengage. As you do so you can hear the couplings click open.

When painted matt black they are inconspicuous.

As long as you keep moving forward slowly they stay coupled.

Doug



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 Posted: Wed Mar 26th, 2014 09:03 pm
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BCDR
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Hi Toto,

Try the Kadee system. Knuckle couplers with magnetic pins, under-the-track magnets. Most modern stock has NEM pockets, if not they can be retrofitted.

Nigel



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 Posted: Wed Mar 26th, 2014 09:06 pm
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BCDR
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Hi Toto,

See my how-to in Members Workbenches on how to convert older stock to Kadee knuckle couplers.

Nigel



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 Posted: Wed Mar 26th, 2014 09:48 pm
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toto
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Hi Nigel I'll have a look.

Cheers

Toto

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 Posted: Thu Mar 27th, 2014 12:34 am
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Sol
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And for Kadee, look in the Index - this thread deals with magnets for uncoupling
http://yourmodelrailway.net/view_topic.php?id=8481&forum_id=6&page=1



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 Posted: Thu Mar 27th, 2014 12:36 am
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Sol
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Plus for tension lock
http://www.rmweb.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=35605&hilit=kirby#p546209

as noted in YMR Index under U



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 Posted: Thu Mar 27th, 2014 01:30 am
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BCDR
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I read the thread on the magnets, interesting.

Kadees only need a very small distance to decouple, but like Sol said need straight or only very slightly curved track (although I've got them to work on 36" radius curves - just use 2 or a larger magnet). They come with an intensifying plate, which is essential for thick ties such as Peco code 100. They're also pretty forgiving regarding the positioning over the magnet, which I suspect the neodymium magnets are not. Unless you have DCC control of the engine, getting them to uncouple can be an interesting exercise.

Interesting to use, stop over the magnet, back-up slightly, move forward and uncouple. Or stop, move forward, the couplers will then come apart when stopping again and backing up slightly. The big issue is that it takes really good control to do the latter, which is why fixed magnet positions are a bit restricting. I really wouldn't want to try this with DC control. One other issue is that running slowly over magnets can inadvertently result in uncoupling. This probably applies to the neodymium ones as well. Which is why electric magnets are useful, as they're either on or off. Plus the height of the actuating arm has to be adjusted to the correct position.

I know of one narrow gauge layout where the magnet sits on a shelf below the track, connected to a push-pull rod, it can be moved out from under one set of  tracks and over to the next set of tracks as required. This sort of thing is best done at the planning stage, not as a retrofit. No reason why this couldn't be made to work along a length of track in a siding covering say 4-6 wagons. Something to think about while I'm still in the baseboard construction phase.

Nigel



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 Posted: Thu Mar 27th, 2014 01:47 am
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MaxSouthOz
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I gave away passive magnets years ago.  I've not tried the "rare earth" magnets, but I've used them on Sol's layout and they work as well as the Peco, but are unobtrusive.  So much so, that markers are needed to see which ties are really a row of magnets in disguise.

As Nigel says, accidental uncoupling can be an issue.  It's an annoyance during operating sessions.

The electro-magnets would be a better option, as it gives more control.  I understand that with Peco couplers, it's still necessary to do the "shuffle."  The bonus with the shuffle is that the car can then be pushed to its spot and then backed away from, without the coupler closing.

I prefer the DCC uncouplers which are driven by a solenoid inside the car, and controlled by a two function decoder.  As I run Railroad & Co, Traincontroller has complete control over when the coupler opens and closes, so the cars can be spotted anywhere on the layout.

It's a bit expensive at the start at US$80.00 per car, but they are all bespoke.  As mine is a US outline shunting layout, I use all boxcars, but other rolling stock can be fitted out by the supplier - or you can do it yourself, once you have one of his and can see how he goes about it.

It obviates the need to fit uncouplers to the locos, which can be very difficult.



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 Posted: Thu Mar 27th, 2014 03:18 pm
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Gary
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Hi Toto,

In regards to the 'staple glued to the tension lock coupler' method for auto uncoupling, the only draw back is that the coach/wagon can only be uncoupled over the magnet. Whereas Kadee couplers have 'delayed' mechanism where you can roll over the magnet, uncouple, back-up slightly, then push the uncoupled wagon into its final resting position and then roll away without the wagon/coach attached... Nigel mention above, "Unless you have DCC control of the engine, getting them to uncouple can be an interesting exercise.".This is not necessarily true, as I have built quite a few layouts as dc controlled, and employed Kadees within the operation. Over the years I really never had any major problems with the wagons staying attached.

Cheers, Gary.



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 Posted: Thu Mar 27th, 2014 05:52 pm
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BCDR
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Hi Gary,

Must be my steam-era DC controller and ancient locomotives with brute force motors. Plus I use DC once in a blue moon, and then only to test motors before DCC conversion. A lot of the old ones don't start lurching along until at least 4-5v is applied. Backing up too much can cause them to re-couple. Going very slowly in DCC at speed setting 1-2 (which for most of my stock is about a scale 1-2 mph) can result in uncoupling when you don't want it as the couplers have to be under constant and even tension. This is not normally an issue with large stock (passenger stock) with a bit of drag, light goods wagons or vans in my experience need some additional mass (lead sheet, shot, or steel plates).

Once the Kadees are set-up with the actuator pins in the couplers set at the right height (get the Kadee tools for this, it's worth the money) they work a treat. I am using magnets primarily for engine running around on the new layout, the uncoupling positions are pretty constant, and with 3 magnets placed at coach length distances apart different train lengths can be used. I am still not convinced that fixed magnets are right for shunting as their positioning can restrict operations a bit, especially if different length trains are used. I'm going to see whether movable magnets would be more appropriate (instead of push/pull rods), rather than numerous under-the track fixed magnets that require various locators. I'm lucky in that the layout will have only have one carriage siding (fixed positions), and two major goods sidings (movable magnets), and my baseboard depth of 6" allows various mechanisms to be out of sight.

Irrespective of what mechanism is used (tension locks with iron wire, Kadees, or even a Peco decoupling ramp (SL-29 for HO/OO), which does exactly the same job and was specifically designed to work with tension locks (and can work under DCC control), hands-off operation is in my opinion a must. Having said that, uncoupling in real life is essentially a hands-on operation, even with knuckle couplers. Many would argue that a 1:1 scale hand from the sky is fine with 1:76. No different to placing a wagon on the track. It's definitely cost effective, especially if prototype couplers (hooks, links and the like) are being used.

Nigel




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 Posted: Thu Mar 27th, 2014 08:46 pm
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BCDR
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Hi Toto,

I've ordered some neodymium rare earth magnets, 1/4" diameter with backing plates (12 for $3.95), so a little experimentation is on the to-do list for next week. A lot cheaper than  a Kadee under the track uncoupler, but do they give the  delay? Not important for running around, for shunting however......Anybody got any information?

These fit in between the sleepers of EM gauge track quite nicely (not so for HO/OO), so if used would be hidden by a thin coat of ballast. I'm particularly interested in the optimum vertical and horizontal distance from the Kadee actuator pin. I tried it with the only size I have around - 1/2" - they would have to be let into the baseboard under the track (or even under the baseboard). Bit too powerful.

Nigel



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 Posted: Thu Mar 27th, 2014 09:01 pm
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emmess
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Excellent timing, Toto! After a few months away, I have just come back today and am starting a small 00 shunting layout for my son. Was considering auto uncoupling, did a search and here is your question from yesterday! :)



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 Posted: Thu Mar 27th, 2014 10:41 pm
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toto
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Hi Emmess ,

Hope you find the thread of use. There has already been plenty of good idea's and advice so fill yer boots. I just hope that you can pick these things up better than me.

I am going with 4 mm x 1.5 mm and the pull is 0.36 kg. it was recommended that 0.14 kg was used but I mucked up the order.
Never mind, if they are to strong, I'll play about with the depth and distance as well as the length of the metal actuator pin that is glued on to the coupling. Once I get that right it should be a case of keeping it standard..........ha ha ha.

It will be fun trying anyway. I'll post the results of my efforts although it may still be a week or so away as I have my work cut out for this weekend already.

Feel free to use the thread with your own findings if you wish.

Cheers

Toto

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 Posted: Sun Aug 6th, 2017 04:44 am
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Sol
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I have added to this thread coz it appears that there is some confusion re Kadees & uncoupling.

A general statement - once you decide to embellish/modify/convert couplings that come on your rolling stock, it is another aspect of the hobby - one that can take time & money.
The money side especially if converting to Kadees for your stock - & of course that depends on the amount of stock ( my current coach & wagons stock is 290 - all with Kadee couplers).
The time side spent IMO should not be classed as wasted as one learns from trying all the various ideas.

Within this forum are many ideas on modifying T/L even with delayed uncoupling and if they cannot be found under Gormos'  threads,

then YouTube by typing in  Great Chesterford Junction Model Railway

and even I found this one  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nu1QnEe-p1Y

and more on T/L  http://yourmodelrailway.net/view_topic.php?id=5857&forum_id=11
http://yourmodelrailway.net/view_topic.php?id=6277&forum_id=11





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