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Members Monthly Project June - Members monthly projects - More Practical Help - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Wed May 18th, 2011 04:59 am
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Sol
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Kadee couplers – the YMR Project for June.

Not withstanding the various threads & posts that are spread throughout YMR and some are listed in the Index, below is my take on these couplers.

The Kadee Quality Products Company was founded in the 1940's by brothers Keith and Dale Edwards. That's where you get the "K" and "D" in Kadee. It was the late 1940’s/ early 1950’s that the knuckle coupler first appeared & has born many clones since the patents ran out some years ago.
 

This thread will discuss the H0 scale versions which are also suitable for 00 scale and will comprise three parts:

1.     The versions called NEM 362 – Plug in for European/UK equipment.

2.     The coupler mounted in boxes.

3.     Getting the heights correct.

 
I have approval from Kadee – Sam Clarke – to post any photos of Kadee items in this thread.

Ideally the back part of the knuckle should be in-line with the buffer faces are this photos shows


 


Irrespective of how you mount your couplers. I suggest you invest in one of these gauges that do a multitude  of jobs,  Kadee #206 Insulated Multi-Purpose Coupler Height Gauge






 




 
 EASY TO ASSEMBLE & USE
Includes the #148 "Whisker®" Coupler & #158 "Scale" "Whisker®" Coupler. A must have tool for gauging mounting height, correct coupler height, trip pin, and permanent uncoupler heights for achieving trouble free coupler performance. Also has a built in HO track gauge.
"Takes the guess work out" 

 
 

Part 1:-


NEM versions 

#19 as an example
 there are 4 shank length sizes #17 to #20  - shortest is 7.11mm (9/32”) to 11.68mm (29/64”) – most UK stock are good for #19 to keep buffers just apart. 

They can replace the existing Tension Lock couplings on most modern UK stock that have the NEM pocket as per this standard http://www.doubleogauge.com/standards/couplings.htm.

Early Bachmann stock prior to the DOGA standard had two different height pockets & thus had stepped or non-stepped T/L & plugging a Kadee in resulted in the knuckle being too high in some cases.

With the exception of VITrains locos, the majority of modern locos from Bachmann, Hornby, Dapol & Heljan all use the NEM 362 pocket to the DOGA standard.  VITrains requires modification of Kadee as they use a NME 363 pocket. 

The major problem I have found outside of height variances, with Kadee NEM couplers is, coupler droop. This droop, while the knuckles will still engage, let the glad arm/air hose hang too low & will hit rails at they go across points and crossings. This slackness is in the pocket so a sliver of styrene under the shank in the pocket fixes the droop and this does not interfere with the coupler action.

They do cost a little bit more than the conventional #5 couplers but make up for convenience.

These couplers have two springing actions – the whole shank has a small amount of movement due to the method used to anchor the NEM pocket to the body of the rolling stock plus a fine hairlike spring to give the entire knuckle movement capabilities. Note that the couplers also use a small coil spring on each head to keep the knuckle closed under normal circumstances. The spring is not that strong to prevent the magnet in the track from doing its job http://www.kadee.com/animation/c1.htm.

It is also possible to drill a small hole in the shank & screw the coupler to the body. This is satisfactory for 4 wheel vans as there is sufficient movement in the knuckle for curves. Not recommended for  long wheel based like coaches. 

 

Part 2 

The coupler mounted in boxes.
 


 No doubt the  #5 coupler is one most known ( http://kadee.com/htmbord/page5.htm)& it has many variations in length & whether the knuckle is centred or under or over centreing on the shank & there are Series of the 20’s; 30’s & 40’s depending on the style of shank, knuckle placement & box.

 The older style of boxes, either the traditional rectangular #232



 or the circular #233



for restricted space, while they are still available, are being replaced with click together boxes of #242 & #252

http://kadee.com/htmbord/page242.htm




http://kadee.com/htmbord/page252.htm

respectively as these suit the new type whisker couplings like #140 series. The next photo is #148 - equivalent to #5 in size.



I can only say that whatever type of box, etc used, follow the instructions re preparing the coupler, that way, you are almost certain of it working properly.

The bronze spring  #634 used for non-whisker couplings



should always be mounted on the top of the coupler for the best in the uncoupling action http://www.kadee.com/htmbord/page5.htm

whereas the  #621 spiral spring also for non-whisker couplings


 can be installed either way

http://www.kadee.com/htmbord/page33.htm


Kadee advised sometime ago, that #5’s will still continue in production with all the other older versions being superseded by the Whisker versions.

 

Part 3 Getting the heights correct.

As I mentioned at the start, you do really need the height gauge & while modern NEM fitted stock maybe almost spot on, older stock needs some work. The lip on the gauge gives the height of the top of coupler box that is fitted to the chassis.

Now in USA outline, even on bogie stock & carriages, the coupler box is fitted to the body as in most cases, the track radius can be larger than on layouts built in the UK. The lack of buffers also is a help in USA/Australian outline.

Almost all Australian outline & a large majority of USA outline use Kadee,


just like Matilda ( pic courtsey of Max)
& others use the clones.


 Even Bachmann UK use a clone knuckle coupling on some of the modern bogie rolling stock eg
.  
http://www.ehattons.com/StockDetail.aspx?SID=32755

Model UK locomotives vary so it is impossible to give a “standard” method of mounting and  I have posted one method on a Bachmann Class 44

http://yourmodelrailway.net/view_topic.php?id=6456&forum_id=16

For steam loco with pony trucks, I have managed to screw a NEM coupler on to get the correct height 







 A bit dark I know - sorry about that.

Each loco has to ne looked at - use the height gauge as well.



For goods stock such as

http://yourmodelrailway.net/view_topic.php?id=7940&forum_id=16


http://yourmodelrailway.net/view_topic.php?id=3445&forum_id=17


 

Bachmann goods stock can easily have the #5 coupler box installed by removing the NEM socket, filing/paring away the small raised square of plastic which is part of the underframe & screwing the box onto the chassis. This box will protrude out from under the buffer beam like this photo.


 
Sorry for the focus problem

 If this is not to your liking, removal of the NEM mounted block will give more space to have the box back in line with the buffer beam but then a long shanked coupler like a #26 coupler will be needed. Of course, the small round box like #233 could be used.





The above shows a Bachmann chassis with the old tension lock unit at the top & the new #233 box & whisker #148. mounting screw & the screw hole ready. On my Rail Empire, buffers are no longer needed as the coupler does all that is required for pushing.

The following shows it lined up against the height gauge.




To screw boxes to underframes, Kadee have drill & tap sets #246 as an example with matching screws from steel screws from 1/8” to ¾” long with #1706 ideal. Personally I use similar size self –tapping screws after I have pre-drilled with a #50 size bit.

 

Coaches

Bachmann http://yourmodelrailway.net/view_topic.php?id=3444&forum_id=16

Hornby http://yourmodelrailway.net/view_topic.php?id=3438&forum_id=17

 
The above is a just a few & many more are via the Index links BUT you may have to be prepared  to cut into the bogie or buffer beam to install the coupler boxes. In some cases, the NEM type coupler can be screwed to bogies.


Some Hornby & Dapol wagons, once the older type of coupling is removed & the underfloor cleaned up, additional pads of styrene maybe needed to get the mounting down to match the height gauge. On some large 4 wheel Hornby wagons such as a VDA van as per http://yourmodelrailway.net/view_topic.php?id=8283&forum_id=17 , in which I modified to fit bogies, I had to Dremel  out the buffer beam to be able to fit the coupler box. It all depends on what bogies are used to what items of rolling stock.

A couple of Hornby & Dapol wagons to show the underneath  

This has a styrene pad between chassis bottom & box to get a base to be able to screw into.



A Dapol van with a standard box with an Underset shank to get the height correct.



In every case, remember the back part of the knuckle should be in-line with the buffer faces.


There is not one specific coupler to fit all circumstances though once you have fitted a set to one specific type of manufacturer & rolling stock, others of the same style should be identical.


I can only suggest that for those just starting out, that a sample pack like this site has http://www.kato-unitrack.co.uk/kadee-mgs-uk-starter-pack-3068-0.html

 
Part 3A – Uncoupling is another story & I think the recent thread by Perry with his new magnets should be read by all those keen on Kadees.

http://yourmodelrailway.net/view_topic.php?id=8481&forum_id=6


 

In winding this up, Kadee are one method of having auto uncoupling & positioning of the wagon where you want it as compared to tension lock units. Each different type of coupling have good & bad points & what you use is dependent on how you are going to run your Railway empire.

 

Comments are of course welcome.

 **************************************************************

 

 



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 Posted: Tue May 31st, 2011 09:57 pm
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Sol
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Now many of us use Kadee so any tips that you have found, add them to this thread or point it towards your thread/posts.

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 Posted: Tue May 31st, 2011 10:13 pm
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georgejacksongenius
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Wow Sol,
            That's like the Encyclopaedia Britanica of coupling info! Excellent!!


:pathead

Cheers,John.B.:thumbs

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 Posted: Wed Jun 1st, 2011 09:24 am
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gdaysydney
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Thanks for taking the time to put this project together Sol.

I have purchased a variety of different types based on recommendations from this and other forums so tonight I am going to forget about programing RR&Co or scenary make a start on one of old wagons  - (now where did I put my dremel.?)

Previously I have only tried to convert wagons where I have seen it done elsewhere and someone has already done the hard yards of working out which of the numerous Kadee couplers will do the job.

When I look at the Kadee site which lists the different types  of couplers I find I get anxious when I see measurements to five decimal places.:shock:     Should I pay less attention to this and just focus on the  Long, medium  and short definitions and the overset centreset and underset to determine which is the best coupler to purchase? and ditto for the box size? 

Also I see the couplers also come in many combinations that involve Plastic, Metal , "scale" and "SE"  and then standard and whiskers -  can you give me some advice as to what I should be looking for?



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 Posted: Wed Jun 1st, 2011 02:30 pm
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Sol
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OK Dave firstly this is what I just posted into another forum , a result of a question.

Ok, first things.
Conversion charts are available ex Kadee http://www.kadee.com/conv/holist.pdf but mainly for the USA outline.

the 20, 30 & 40 series. all have 9 basic couplers; long, medium & short short shanks & either centreset, underset or overset as described http://www.kadee.com/htmbord/coupler.htm a big page of info.
The 20 series are very hard plastic with a different mounting box
the 30 is also plastic but the round type box
the 40 is metal shanks with the standard box as used in #5

Plastic shanks are perfect for installing into body mounted metal coupler box like many USA outline locos had so power was not transmitted via the couplers creating a possible short circuit on double heading. Such as http://kadee.com/conv/pdf/h121.pdf

Unfortunately, the old style 50 page catalogue is no longer available which had pictures of the lot - one now has to peruse the website
for instance a #25 http://kadee.com/htmbord/page25.htm has many options.


Now while the 20,30 & 40 series are still available, I now prefer the Whisker 140 odd series & the new "click" boxes.
With buffers, the short I cannot see any use, the majority would be medium, long tend to move up & down more.
Scale size like #58 require track that is bloody good & not bumpy & locos that do not jerk their way around the track.

Now a UK conversion chart - yes it would be nice & it needs someone with a big bank balance to obtain many of the different stock including locos to fit Kadees to or just compile it from the many forums/websites.

Perhaps it is something that could be started on YMR - like the thread - decoders into locos - which started off good but eventually had one thread per loco.


But I will repeat - use the height gauge to get the base correct.

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 Posted: Wed Jun 1st, 2011 04:59 pm
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John Flann
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Ron, superb effort. I wish this had been available when I first started converting my Bachhmann/Hornby/Dapol OO stock.

As a result I have rather a pig's breakfast-dog's dinner type set up. But it all works, so I'm content now.

You don't mention I think, 156's. These have a nice long shank, are easy to fit to the body and are ideal for bogie coaches on smallish radius curves.



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 Posted: Wed Jun 1st, 2011 09:57 pm
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MaxSouthOz
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Excellent work, Sol.  Very comprehensive.  :thumbs



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 Posted: Wed Jun 1st, 2011 11:04 pm
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gdaysydney
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Spent 3 hours last night on my first "go it alone" conversion on a bachman five plank wagon.

From the collection of couplers I have acquired it appeared that a #38 would do the trick.  I removed the old coupler and filed the bottom of the wagon flat.  Then I tried to assemble the coupler :brickwall  I successfully mangled the first Torsion Spring so I called upon SWMBO and with two pairs of hands a second spring went in with minimun fuss and effort.

With the coupler assembled I carefully applied a spot of super glue to keep the assembly in one piece and then pondered on how I could permanently attach the coupler to the bottom of the wagon.  I decided that a screw would not work - even if I could find one that fitted (where do you buy them?) as the base of the wagon did not appear to have sufficent depth so I  used super glue.

I was feeling very smug as I put the wagon next to the height guage but this was a BIG mistake :Red Card  I wasn't aware at that moment  the superglue wasn't quiet dry and a small amout ran into the coupler so after I removed the wagon from the height gauge it was as stiff as a board.

:thud

Having read Ron's post this morning I think I was using the wrong coupler -  which would explain the plastic screws that came with the coupler.

Tonight I will try again

 



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 Posted: Wed Jun 1st, 2011 11:14 pm
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Sol
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John Flann wrote: Ron, superb effort. I wish this had been available when I first started converting my Bachhmann/Hornby/Dapol OO stock.

As a result I have rather a pig's breakfast-dog's dinner type set up. But it all works, so I'm content now.

You don't mention I think, 156's. These have a nice long shank, are easy to fit to the body and are ideal for bogie coaches on smallish radius curves.

John, my stock is also like  your "pig's breakfast-dog's dinner type" - a result of fitting Kadee to a variety of wagons styles.
Coaches, yes a direct fitting of long shanked couplers to the body would be better than having to mutilated the bogie - I had thought of it but getting a mounting base on the chasis without modifying the bogie did seem a bit too much.

Coaches have two problems - not only the buffers but corridor connections. the newer models with side moving NEM pockets fixes that perfectly - just like the Keen system   http://www.fortunecity.com/marina/fishing/456/gangways_and_couplings.htm

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 Posted: Wed Jun 1st, 2011 11:26 pm
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Sol
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Dave, #38 is ideal as it has the small box  but as you say, a real PITA to put together . I find the whisker version #148 & the click box is better IMO.
I also use this from Kadee to hold couplings together Kadee tweezers # 1020



Screwing the box  on is better, allows for replacement. Not only the plastic screws #256 which are 1/2" long but there are smaller steel screws such as #1706  1/4" long
http://kadee.com/htmbord/screws.htm

I do not know if they are available in most hobby shops ( actually in Sydney, this shop does have a lot of Kadee bits
http://www.casulahobbies.com.au/catalog/ )

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 Posted: Thu Jun 2nd, 2011 04:58 am
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John Flann
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Ron, well I'm glad I am not alone, it really is rather a pain fitting Kadees to a variety of goods stock, but like you I got there.

For the coaches it is only those on the outer ends of a rake do I fit the 156's, the couplings on the bogies for those I cut off. I just fix the box by glue on a piece of card also glued, below the buffer beam.

I also have the coupling head proud of the buffers, OK you don't have close coupling but you avoid buffer locking.



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 Posted: Thu Jun 2nd, 2011 01:53 pm
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I wrote the previous post after rather a busy day and I was tired. It may be confusing where I refer to 'buffer locking' ,that was incorrect, for that's unlikely to occur with Kadees because usually the shank portion keeps the vehicles apart.

The difficulty arises when the shanks are too short and the inner buffers on British stock bear against it each other on a sharpish curve and there is insufficient flexibility between the two. Then vehicles can be become derailed. That can be avoided by using a longer shank or by positioning of the coupler box.

The problem only arises with (British) vehicles with buffers. American (and others) not having them do not suffer the problem.

I think Ron cuts the buffers off his free lance stock.  And in that respect follows American practice.  But no doubt he will clarify.



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 Posted: Thu Jun 2nd, 2011 02:04 pm
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Sol
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John that is correct - I am slowly removing buffers.
By having the inside face of the knuckle in line with the buffer face, the nature of the coupling prevents buffer lock on all except sharp curves like under 18 inches. Th at would not be noticeable on 4 wheel stock but longer bogie stock, couplers mounted to the chassis & having buffers, then problems occur.
That could be the reason why UK outline still has tension locks mounted on bogies, not on the chassis.

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 Posted: Fri Jun 3rd, 2011 11:18 pm
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Sol,
Do you have any tips on how to assemble the kadee couplers? When I remove the existing coupler and try and place all those pieces together, I can't keep them aligned together to get that tiny screw back in the middle. Yes, mine have only one screw to hold the three pieces together. It is located in the center of the coupler.

Of course it could be my large fingers keep getting in the way!

Thanks for doing this Sol.
Wayne



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 Posted: Fri Jun 3rd, 2011 11:24 pm
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Hi Wayne.  I have the same fingers.  I'm not an expert like Sol, but I use Blu Tack to hold the coupler in its box, then I only have to deal with the other bits.  A magnetic screw driver helps with the screw.



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 Posted: Fri Jun 3rd, 2011 11:34 pm
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Sol
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Wayne, it is good fun especially using the #30 series with the small coil spring. That is why I now prefer the whisker couplers & the "click" boxes  but you could always use one of these #701 - Coupler Assembly Fixture for #5

http://kadee.com/htmbord/page701.htm




The reverse tweezers also help.

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 Posted: Sat Jun 4th, 2011 07:12 am
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gdaysydney
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How correct does the correct height have to be? 
This is my second attempt - this time I gave the #38 a miss but reused the coupler which was longer than the standard #5.
The result was as below - the knuckle is about 1mm proud of the fitted coupling
Question is does this give me a pass mark or is it "try again"



Screws are on order from Casula Hobbies - in the meantime I have attached with Super Glue.



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 Posted: Sat Jun 4th, 2011 07:54 am
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Sol's driving back the 60 km from my place to his home, but I reckon it's pretty good.  Mindue some of mine overlap by half as they go over the humps in the track.  It looks OK to me Dave.  :thumbs



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 Posted: Sat Jun 4th, 2011 09:42 am
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Sol
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Dave, not bad but you could drop the box down a bit more ( hard now that you have glued it though,) by using shims of styrene or Kadee units #211 http://kadee.com/htmbord/page211.htm

The end lip of the new plastic height gauge is perfect for getting the coupler box at the correct height.

The next thing to do is to test the gladarm for magnetic uncoupling - too high & it may not work so using the Kadee pliers #237 http://kadee.com/htmbord/page237.htm will allow you to adjust the glad arm.

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 Posted: Sun Jun 5th, 2011 01:57 am
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gdaysydney
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Sol wrote: Dave, not bad but you could drop the box down a bit more ( hard now that you have glued it though,) by using shims of styrene or Kadee units #211 http://kadee.com/htmbord/page211.htm

The end lip of the new plastic height gauge is perfect for getting the coupler box at the correct height.

The next thing to do is to test the gladarm for magnetic uncoupling - too high & it may not work so using the Kadee pliers #237 http://kadee.com/htmbord/page237.htm will allow you to adjust the glad arm.

Thanks Sol - I have some screws on order and I have found that even when superglued the boxes are relatively easy to remove so I'll have another go as you suggest.  I'll order some shims and it sounds like the new gauge may be in order as well as the kadee pliers. 

(I'm getting to understand why many just sell their old rolling stock and replace with stock that have NEM sockets - although even then its not foolproof.)

While I wait for the the screws to arrive I've decided to have a go at an old Lima NCB wagon - trickier as the couplings are attached to the axles.    I'll practise on my old wagons before I start on the locosexclam:  



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