(F) A coupling question (not again)

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(F) A coupling question (not again)

Postby Richard » Wed Mar 08, 2006 3:25 pm

I know this question must appear on a regular basis, but I have done a search over past postings trying to decide with which coupler to go for.

The link and pin couplers Steve supplies with his wagons are fine, but presuming my layout (if it gets that far) would benefit from auto couplings, I need to think about that before I build too much stock.

The choice seemed to be between DG couplings and Kadee (I don't know which version of each type would be the ones to use).

Any (clean) suggestions ?
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Postby Steve Bennett » Wed Mar 08, 2006 4:10 pm

Don't worry Richard, this question does come up on a regular basis, but it does help to decide from the beginning what you are going to use.

As you say, the link and pin type that I supply with the kits, will get you started, but are not really suitable for much more than a continuous run layout.

For the DG Couplings, go for either the Type B or C, both are the same, except the Type C is in a slightly thicker brass which is only really needed if you plan on pulling heavy wagons or long rakes of them, but they are stronger also. I would recommend also getting the loop bending jig (LBJBC), it will make life a lot easier. Direct link to the page on MSE's site here:

http://www.modelsignals.com/couplings_frame.htm

With Kadees the most common and easily available is their No. 5, which I would recommend for fitting to wagons. When it comes to loco fitment, the easiest is the ones designed for an NEM coupler pocket, which with a bit of trimming will fit into a link and pin coupler pocket. The No. 18 is probably the best. You can use the No. 5 on a loco, but accomodating the draft box which contains the centering spring, can be a problem. I have always found M G Sharp of Sheffield very good for obtaining Kadees but I expect others will be able to recommend other sources.
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Postby Simon Andrews » Wed Mar 08, 2006 4:36 pm

From personal experience I would suggest you base your choice of coupling on the type of layout you are planing; continuous or end to end, shunting, or continuous run, and most importantly the minimun radius of any curves. Many auto couplers have problems with curves under 8" radius (dependant on rolling stock wheel base and overall length). For extremely tight radius (down to 3") fixed link/bar couplers work very well.

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Postby MOG » Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:13 pm

I've tried out Sprat and Winkles from MSE before (on OO stock).

They work well but I used the 4mm and found them to look a little large (3mm look better apparently), and they were pretty fiddly to set up.

Are DG's easier to set up?
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Postby Alan » Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:35 pm

Steve Bennett wrote:I have always found M G Sharp of Sheffield very good for obtaining Kadees but I expect others will be able to recommend other sources.


If you're a member of the 7mm Narrow Gauge Association, that's a good place to start, failing that eBay?

Kadees are best explained by the company themselves:

I use Kadees in O-16.5 and On30 but DG's in Gn15 and then only at each end of a rake of three. You're doing the best thing, working it out first. I didn't start there and paid the price, literally!
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Postby Steve Bennett » Wed Mar 08, 2006 11:52 pm

As you can probably see the DG work with a loop which is lifted to uncouple. In the instructions that come with them, it tells you how to make them using phosphur bronze wire to form the loop and to solder on a tail of steel wire to this loop, to act as a magnetically attracted lever.

The two types of wire are included in the kit. This is hard work and the solder joint is always vulnerable to breakage, so I devised a way of bending the loop and lever up from one piece of soft steel wire. A lot easier to make, less likely to get damaged and most of all, no need for a soldering iron. Here is a pic of my version of the loop and lever, the lever is trimmed to length once the coupler is mounted and is over length in the pic. I hope it makes sense:

Image
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Postby Mike Lee » Thu Mar 09, 2006 7:54 am

If the whole loop is all steel wire does this not affect the magnetic uncoupling? Would it be better to fit a phosphor bronze loop and wrap soft iron around the 'lever' similar to the Sprat & Winkle? Any thoughts? I am certainly going to get some DG's and will have a play around.

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Postby MilesB » Thu Mar 09, 2006 9:17 am

If the idea of bending up bits of wire worries you, there are two other similar options, that both include etched brass loops:

B & B couplings -- available in various scales.

'Greenwich' couplings, which were originally designed for OO9 scale, and so have a more useful bigger buffing head.

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Postby Steve Bennett » Thu Mar 09, 2006 9:56 am

Mike Lee wrote:If the whole loop is all steel wire does this not affect the magnetic uncoupling?


Doesn't seem to Mike, I have never had a problem with it. I guess there is enough leverage in the length of the lever, to counteract the magnetic pull on the loop part, which is further away from the magnet. I have used this method in both Gn15 and On15 (O scale, 9mm gauge) where the coupler is a lot closer to the magnet, without it being a problem. I know what you mean though, logic would suggest it wouldn't work.

Another point that I will cover in the next part of the guide, is that, unlike in the instructions, you only need a loop at one end of the wagon (unless individual wagons will be turned around on the layout, like by a turntable). This means less work and it does give better performance when coupling wagons together, as there is no chance of one loop obstructing the other when two wagons are brought together. I hope this is making sense, it must be difficult to get a picture of it without having anything in front of you.
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Postby chris krupa » Thu Mar 09, 2006 9:57 am

I'm afraid that I'm going to disagree with the general consensus here on two counts.

First of all, I'm not convinced that link and pins are not suitable for other than a continuous run. I've used them on Gn15 Matthews Corner and O9 Ryelands Lane. Both of these layouts are relatively limited operation end to end shunting layouts but then that's mostly what you get with modelling minimum gauge. I've not found link and pins fiddly but you do need a little practice. The great advantage of link and pin is that it is 100% reliable. There's no breaking of trains anywhere on the layouts and they are forgiving of dodgy track laying (to which I admit).

I've operated layouts with so called automatic couplers which fail to uncouple on the magnets and instead do it in unexpected and unwanted places. People have often mentioned the so called 'magnet shuffle' as trains are run backwards and forwards over magnets to get recalcitrant couplings to part. Uncoupling them by hand is difficult if there is general failure to uncouple where you want them. The setting of these couplers needs to be very precise in my experience and life is just too short to spend that amount of time when link and pins are so much easier.

Secondly, I've tried DG's and had very little success with them. I've found them extremely fiddly to assemble and actually you'd do better with three hands. If you must use a magnetically operated fold up coupling, I think that the Greenwich coupling is easier to assemble, more robust and has a better buffing face which has been specially designed for narrow gauge use (yes, I am a Greenwhich Club member but I have no vested interest in the couplings).

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Postby Steve Bennett » Thu Mar 09, 2006 11:06 am

I see the Greenwich Club members are ganging up on me here. For me personally, the Greenwich coupling needs to be mounted too low and lacks the delayed action facility (although this can be achieved by sticking a pin into the wagon body). Also both Miles and Chris have stated that the Greenwich has a bigger/better buffing face than the DG, not so, the DG buffing face is 8mm wide, the Greenwich 6mm wide, the Greenwich is slightly deeper at 2.13mm against 1.76mm. The extra depth of the Greenwich is useful, but the extra width of the DG is more useful when used on 16.5mm gauge.

As I have all the different types here, including the Paul Windle which is similar, I will make some of each up next week, to show the different types, though I do hesitate at the thought at putting the B & B together, you need six hands for those, rather than just three for the others. :)
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Postby Mike Lee » Thu Mar 09, 2006 11:33 am

Steve, have to agree with you on the B & B, tried them a few years ago, gave up. While we're on the thread, the only other delayed action coupling I have used successfully with magnets was the Sprat & Winkle, although I did not put the wire across the buffer beams, but made a small loop, it worked excellently. I have thought about trying them on narrow gauge with a 'centre buffer', the problem is there is no buffing area.

Ive sketched a few possible mods that could be made by adding a plate to give a buffing are but they all seem to foul the operation. Has anbody any thoughts on using or adapting Sprat & Winkle as I was very happy with them.

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Postby Steve Bennett » Thu Mar 09, 2006 12:01 pm

Yes, I would agree Mike, the Sprat and Winkles are a very good coupling, I used to use them in OO standard gauge, they were the first automatic coupling I ever used, but when I went Narrow Gauge, couldn't think how to adapt them and switched to DG's. Fitting a buffing face would be a problem and they won't handle tight curves unfortunately. If you managed with S & W's, you should be fine with DG's, they are easier, IMHO.
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