Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Has anyone had any experience with Rapido uncouplers

1919 views
28 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 11,974 posts
Has anyone had any experience with Rapido uncouplers
Posted by hon30critter on Friday, July 31, 2020 1:52 AM

Hi gang!

I'm considering using several Rapido uncouplers on my layout. Has anyone used them? If so, what do you think?

Here are the instructions for them for those of you who might not be familiar with them:

https://rapidotrains.com/sites/default/files/2018/04/11-Instructions_march2018.pdf

Thanks,

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    January 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 9,264 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, July 31, 2020 10:15 AM

Dave: I have not tried them, but I am also interested.

It looks like a pretty good solution to accidental uncouplings.

Hopefully we hear from someone with real experience with this product.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

  • Member since
    January 2004
  • From: Canada, eh?
  • 10,937 posts
Posted by doctorwayne on Friday, July 31, 2020 11:42 AM

They're probably useful on the mainline, to avoid accidental uncoupling, but for other applications, such as industrial tracks, where you'd simply want to drop-off a car or two for  loading/unloading, the Kadee under-track magnet is a cheaper, and easier-to-install, option. 
Even cheaper, with no installation required, would be manual uncoupling for both industrial tracks and the mainline, although the track would have to be within easy-reach. 

Wayne

  • Member since
    November 2013
  • 1,167 posts
Posted by snjroy on Friday, July 31, 2020 11:45 AM

Hi there. I installed one Kadee electromagnet uncoupler, and 3 Rapido uncouplers on my layout 2 years ago. I strongly recommend the Rapido ones. They are easy to install if your layout is still at the benchwork stage (same for Kadee, by the way), but superior in terms of performance. I ended up replacing my Kadee with a Rapido one. 

Simon

PS: The first Rapido that I bought had a mistake in the instructions about the wiring. I can't remember exactly what, but I think they fixed that in the later ones.

  • Member since
    November 2013
  • 1,167 posts
Posted by snjroy on Friday, July 31, 2020 11:47 AM

doctorwayne

They're probably useful on the mainline, to avoid accidental uncoupling, but for other applications, such as industrial tracks, where you'd simply want to drop-off a car or two for  loading/unloading, the Kadee under-track magnet is a cheaper, and easier-to-install, option. 
Even cheaper, with no installation required, would be manual uncoupling for both industrial tracks and the mainline, although the track would have to be within easy-reach. 

Wayne

 

For my yard, I used the Bachmann magnet ones. They work fine, although they will do the unwanted uncoupling from time to time (just like the Kadee ones).

Simon

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 11,974 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Friday, July 31, 2020 12:45 PM

snjroy
I installed one Kadee electromagnet uncoupler, and 3 Rapido uncouplers on my layout 2 years ago. I strongly recommend the Rapido ones.

Thanks Simon!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    January 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 9,264 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, July 31, 2020 6:19 PM

snjroy
They are easy to install if your layout is still at the benchwork stage (same for Kadee, by the way), but superior in terms of performance. I ended up replacing my Kadee with a Rapido one. 

Thanks... good information to know.

I am going to buy a Rapido one and do some tests... as soon as I have some time.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

  • Member since
    March 2012
  • 374 posts
Posted by PC101 on Friday, July 31, 2020 9:09 PM

RAPIDO RailCrew #32001. I love them so far on the main line. The worst is having to drill the 1-3/4'' holesaw up through my 3/4'' base plywood (1-1/2'' for foam per instructions) and not ripping up the already laid track above. That takes skill and know how. I put a radiator clamp around the holesaw so the holesaw will only cut so deep and not go in to the cork roadbed or rip though the foam, then hand turn the holesaw the rest of the way up to the ties. The 'uncoupling machine' sits against the tie bottoms or should not be more then 1/4'' below the rail.

The toggle switch (return to center, on-off-on) is good, you do not have to hold the toggle switch to keep the 'uncoupling machine' activated or deactivated, the blue LED (DO NOT LOOK AT THE LIGHT) centered over the track will light when activated (NICE). You can hear the 'uncoupling machine' when activated and deactivated (CLICK ON-CLICK OFF) (NICE). I removed my Kadee #309s (sorry Kadee) and I am working in the RAPIDO RailCrew #32001. I would mark/number the 'uncoupling machine's' terminals with a black sharpie fine point pen #1 through #5 in the correct order. Then paint color #1 in gray (+), #2 in white (-), #3 in white (-), #4 in red (-) and #5 in black (+). How long they will last ???. I had to soldered one wire, the gray one (from power to toggle circuit board), (gray + & white -), back on the toggle switch's circuit board, my fault. The removed Kadee #309 will supply me with yards of Magnet wire for other projects.

The down side is... Get rid of any rolling stock (BB Athearn to name one) with Steel axles. The 'uncoupling machine' will draw the steel axles even when NOT activated. Well don't get rid of the rolling stock, just the wheel sets with Steel axles.

Ack, I just broke off the white (-) wire from power to circuit board. I'm not that rough on stuff.

If you can install them as you go along laying track, before the track is fasten down, all the better. 

LISTEN RAPIDO, NOW IF the toggle switch circuit board had those box wire connections (like on the 'uncoupling machine') that you slip wires of any lenght into, now that would be the Cat's meow.

I thought I was done...If you stop two cars over the 'uncoupling machine', then throw the toggle to activate to uncouple them, at that time you will weed out your weak or poorly attached coupler/draft gear boxs.      

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 11,974 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, August 1, 2020 2:04 AM

PC101
RAPIDO RailCrew #32001. I love them so far on the main line.

Hi PC101,

Thanks for the information and advice. I'm still at the benchwork stage so installing them shouldn't be too difficult (turning a hole saw by hand!! No thanks!!). I can put the track down temporarily to locate the starter hole, and then remove the track before cutting the hole itself.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    February 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 28,739 posts
Posted by rrinker on Saturday, August 1, 2020 1:16 PM

 Rapido has a video showing the installation (on Jason's layout, naturally), and the most recent issue of Rehab My Railroad on MRVP has David Popp installing one as well.

                                         --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 11,974 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, August 1, 2020 9:39 PM

rrinker
 Rapido has a video showing the installation (on Jason's layout, naturally), and the most recent issue of Rehab My Railroad on MRVP has David Popp installing one as well.                                          --Randy

Thanks Randy, I'll have a look.

The reason that I want remote uncouplers even though all of the track is within 20" of the fascia is that I want to be able to operate almost the whole layout from either side. The layout is 5'4" wide so there will be duplicate panels on both sides of the layout. Only the service yard will be run from just one panel. All I have to do is wire the two momentary uncoupler switches in parallel.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 11,974 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, August 1, 2020 10:40 PM

Well, I'm pretty much sold on the Rapido uncouplers so I'm going to order them.

Thanks for everyone's input.

Dave

Edit: I ordered a 12 pack directly from Rapido. So far I only need 10 but the comparative cost meant that the two extras were only $10 each.

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 13,062 posts
Posted by Overmod on Sunday, August 2, 2020 6:57 AM

PC101
LISTEN RAPIDO, NOW IF the toggle switch circuit board had those box wire connections (like on the ''machine'') that you slip wires of any lenght into, now that would be the 'Cat's meow".

Hmmmmm... I see opportunity knocking and I'm not in a position to exploit it.

Build a small spring box terminal, either with lever lock/release (as in cheap speaker terminals) or tool insert (a smaller version of push-insert house-wiring switches and receptacles) with a spade terminal that fits a typical attach screw.  Mold them in colors if desired and perhaps 'profiled' so they can be 'ganged' for strength when arranged side by side or joined with appropriate-width strips of 2-sided foam tape.  Converts any screw-on to push-in.  Two of these made or joined back-to-back is an easy replacement for inline splicing or joining two wire-end devices reversibly in about the same envelope as an 'irreversible' suitcase or Scotchlok connector.

Not a substitute for continuous high-current connections, of course, and that may be why it hasn't been marketed here.  But otherwise useful, including perhaps secure breadboard test wiring

A version could have a loop molded and attached for a wiring tag in Braille so the blind could work up under benchwork or in areas inaccessible with screwdrivers...

  • Member since
    January 2004
  • From: Canada, eh?
  • 10,937 posts
Posted by doctorwayne on Sunday, August 2, 2020 1:19 PM

PC101
...LISTEN RAPIDO, NOW IF the toggle switch circuit board had those box wire connections (like on the ''machine'') that you slip wires of any lenght into, now that would be the 'Cat's meow".

I'm guessing that you're referring to the set-up on the RailCrew switch machines...

...and you're correct - they're very easy to use, since the connections can be made at the workbench, then simply plugged-in under the layout.

While I don't need any such uncoupling devices, I did find the RailCrew switch machines to be a bit of a mess to install if the layout is in a somewhat "finished" state...

...but things did eventually get cleaned-up, and they work well...

 

Wayne

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 11,974 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, August 2, 2020 11:56 PM

doctorwayne
I did find the RailCrew switch machines to be a bit of a mess to install if the layout is in a somewhat "finished" state... ...but things did eventually get cleaned-up, and they work well...

Hi Wayne,

I kind of wish that I had held off buying Tortoises for my turnouts because of the apparent ease of installing a working switch stand that the Rapido switch machines offer. No big deal. I can do operating switch stands with the Tortoises too.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    January 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 9,264 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, August 3, 2020 12:43 AM

hon30critter
Edit: I ordered a 12 pack directly from Rapido. So far I only need 10 but the comparative cost meant that the two extras were only $10 each.

I placed an order with Model Train Stuff (MBKlein) today, but they did not have any opf the Rapido uncouplers in stock.

In looked on eBay, and the only guy in the US selling singles wanted $25.00 for one.

I will get one soon(ish) and try it out for myself.

hon30critter
I kind of wish that I had held off buying Tortoises for my turnouts because of the apparent ease of installing a working switch stand that the Rapido switch machines offer.

If I was not already 100% satisfied after 20+ years using Tortoises, I would certainly give the Rapido switch machine a try.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 11,974 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Monday, August 3, 2020 1:41 AM

SeeYou190
I looked on eBay, and the only guy in the US selling singles wanted $25.00 for one.

Hi Kevin,

Here is Rapido's own listing. $20.95 USD ea. $18.91 ea. if you buy the 12 pack:

https://rapidotrains.com/products/ho-scale/parts-accessories/ho-scale-railcrew-switch-machine-uncoupler

I have no idea what import duties might be incurred or how shipping costs compare. You can place a trial order to find out.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    January 2004
  • From: Canada, eh?
  • 10,937 posts
Posted by doctorwayne on Monday, August 3, 2020 2:17 AM

hon30critter
I have no idea what import duties might be incurred or how shipping costs compare. You can place a trial order to find out.

Dave, there's no duty on model railroad stuff coming into Canada.  However, the HST will likely be applied, and, when I've ordered stuff from the U.S. and had it sent here, there's what's called a "handling fee".  I see no need for a third party to handle anything, but they do, and it can be surprisingly expensive.
F'rinstance, I ordered some brass shapes (angles, channels, etc.) from K&S, in Chicago, about $33.00(U.S.).  It was delivered to my door (I forget what the shipping charge was), but the total cost was $99.00.
I then decided that I no longer needed anything delivered to my door from anywhere outside of Canada.

Now, I order whatever I want from the U.S., and have it sent to a friend in Ohio whom I visit several times a year.  When I visit, I'm usually there for at least 3 or 4 days, and when I return to Canada, I am allowed to bring in, duty- and tax-free, up to $800.00 worth of goods...not just train stuff, although that's usually what it is...although I did bring a set of tires with the train stuff a couple of years ago, and just squeaked under the limit.  Even with the exchange rate, almost everything was cheaper than I could have bought it here.

I would like to support Canadian businesses, but not if I'm being ripped-off.

And, of course, with the border currently closed and unlikely, perhaps, to re-open this year, there's a pretty good pile of stuff waiting for me.

I do miss my friend, too.

Wayne

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 11,974 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Monday, August 3, 2020 2:39 AM

doctorwayne
Dave, there's no duty on model railroad stuff coming into Canada.

Hi Wayne,

I was actually referring to items being shipped from Canada to the USA, in this case to Kevin in Florida. I'm guessing that, if Rapido is listing their products in USD on the Canadian website, it can't be too expensive to ship them to the US. Perhaps it would be best if Kevin was to contact Rapido directly to see what they advise.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 11,974 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Friday, August 7, 2020 12:35 PM

Got a package from Rapido today! I opened it up to find a dozen RailCrew switch machines. Unfortunately, I ordered uncouplers. The invoice even said uncouplers. GrumpyBang Head

Oh well, stuff happens. Maybe they will let me keep the switch machines!!Smile, Wink & Grin

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 13,062 posts
Posted by Overmod on Friday, August 7, 2020 12:40 PM

Don't let Jason live this down! Big Smile

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 11,974 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Friday, August 7, 2020 12:48 PM

Overmod
Don't let Jason live this down!

Ya, I figure he owes me a couple of FP9As at least!Smile, Wink & Grin

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: 4610 Metre's North of the Fortyninth on the left coast of Canada
  • 6,914 posts
Posted by BATMAN on Friday, August 7, 2020 1:22 PM

hon30critter

 

 
Overmod
Don't let Jason live this down!

 

Ya, I figure he owes me a couple of FP9As at least!Smile, Wink & Grin

Dave

 

HA! I tried that one when both my Hudsons went back twice, except I asked for a PGE RDC. I got a very nice reply from Mohan.Laugh

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

  • Member since
    March 2012
  • 374 posts
Posted by PC101 on Saturday, August 15, 2020 2:05 AM

snjroy

Hi there. I installed one Kadee electromagnet uncoupler, and 3 Rapido uncouplers on my layout 2 years ago. I strongly recommend the Rapido ones. They are easy to install if your layout is still at the benchwork stage (same for Kadee, by the way), but superior in terms of performance. I ended up replacing my Kadee with a Rapido one. 

Simon

PS: The first Rapido that I bought had a mistake in the instructions about the wiring. I can't remember exactly what, but I think they fixed that in the later ones.

 

Went to my LHS yesterday, mask required. I found lots of stuff, and there was a Rapido Uncoupler #320001 in a Blister package, Ok, I can find a place that it will be needed at some point in time. So I buy it. I get home and start checking out the difference in the other Rapido Uncoupler #320001 in the ORANGE box I have.

ORANGE BOX: has small silver mounting screws for the  panel face plate (+), the panel face plate has Black print and outline on it (+), the toggle switch is mounted on a circuit board and the small wires are soldered to this board, wires are color coded for locations of hookup (four different colors) (+), wiring instructions that are correct (+), Orange Packing Box takes up less room to store extra ones till needed (+), price was right $15.99 (+). Wiring instructions are printed on a 8-3/16'' x 11'' sheet of glossy print paper.

BLISTER PACKAGE: has larger black mounting screws for the panel face plate (?ok), the panel face plate has no Black print or outline on it (-), the toggle switch has the small wires soldered directly to it (no circuit board) (+), two colors of wires (red and black) (?ok), wiring instructions that are not correct, dated Jan. 2016 (-), two Blister packages take up the same space as four Orange Boxs (-). Price was $17.99. Wiring instructions are printed on a 5-7/16'' x 8-3/16'' sheet of paper. 

For both set ups, the wires that are soldered on the toggle switch studs (Blister package) and the wires that are soldered on the toggle switch circuit board (Orange Box) are fragile at the joint, do not twist them around to many times.

For the Orange box, after I resoldered all four wires back on the board, I layed the Toggle Switch's wires back across the circuit board and wrapped Kapton tape around the board and over the wires to hold them sercurely to the circuit board as a stress relief of their solder joints. 

In the correct instructions, this is my way of saying it, starting at the solid end block on the "Terminal Block'' the first wire hole (w/h) down is #1 (LED +), the second w/h is #2 (panel LED -), w/h #3 is (Track LED -), w/h #4 is (Magnet -), w/h #5 is (Magnet +). Both Magnet wires #4 (-) and #5 (+) come from the Toggle Switch. All other wires #1 (+), #2 (-) and #3 (-) tie into wires between the toggle Switch and DC Power Supply (+ & -).

I'd think Rapido would have a picture on there Web Site showing this wiring problem.

         

  • Member since
    February 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 28,739 posts
Posted by rrinker on Saturday, August 15, 2020 4:24 PM

 There shouldn't be any problem ordering from Rapido for US delivery. While I haven't ordered from Rapido, I have ordered multiple times from Fast Tracks, and never had an issue, just the price of the items and a reasonable shipping charge. I would not be too concerned if there was something I needed and the only place it was available was from a Canadian-based seller.

 And pretty prompt, too. Not next day Amazon Prime fast, but fast compared to the "good old days". Granted, I'm not THAT far from Canada - I could leave now and be in Toronto while it's still today, even though it's after 5pm today. Driving. It might actually take longer to fly.

                                       --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

  • Member since
    February 2008
  • 7,158 posts
Posted by maxman on Saturday, August 15, 2020 9:44 PM

rrinker
I could leave now and be in Toronto while it's still today, even though it's after 5pm today. Driving.

Have they decided to let Americans in?

  • Member since
    February 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 28,739 posts
Posted by rrinker on Saturday, August 15, 2020 10:54 PM

maxman

 

 
rrinker
I could leave now and be in Toronto while it's still today, even though it's after 5pm today. Driving.

 

Have they decided to let Americans in?

 

Figure with enough Molsen or Moosehead and back bacon I can bribe my way in. Maybe a supply of new hockey sticks. Laugh

                                 --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

  • Member since
    February 2008
  • 7,158 posts
Posted by maxman on Saturday, August 15, 2020 11:43 PM

rrinker
Figure with enough Molsen or Moosehead and back bacon I can bribe my way in. Maybe a supply of new hockey sticks. 

Maybe that will work.  But to be on the safe side, be sure to drive backwards as you approach the border.  That way, if they catch you, you can say that you were just leaving.

  • Member since
    February 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 28,739 posts
Posted by rrinker on Sunday, August 16, 2020 1:21 PM

 My choice of bribe material would help with that explanation, too. Good day, eh?

(no offense intended for any of our Canadian friends - one of these days I would like to visit a more rural area, I've only been to effectively downtown Toronto. Transcontinental trian is in my top 5 bucket list trips)

                          --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!