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Uncoupling cars

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Uncoupling cars
Posted by rrebell on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 12:35 PM

You know, I have never found a method of uncupling cars that worked all the time and any manual types always seem to move cars too much.

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Posted by pt714 on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 12:49 PM

My manual uncoupler is a thin bamboo skewer with a sharp point on the business end and a marble-sized wooden bead glued to the other end (for better control). Stick between Kadees and twist gently. My cars typically don't move much during the uncoupling.

Phil

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Posted by wjstix on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 1:03 PM

I do manual uncoupling truly manually...that is, with my hand. I reach around one car with my thumb on one side, and my middle finger on the other, and grab the truck. Then I lift it enough to disengage the Kadee coupler, move the car slightly off-center so I can re-engage the couplers in the 'delayed' position, and then set the car back down.

BTW I remove the "hoses" on the Kadees that would engage an electric or magnetic uncoupler; they just get in the way.

Stix
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 1:15 PM

I have actually designed all my HO layouts with careful thought into placing the Kadee #308 under the track magnets so I can use the delayed function of magnetic Kadee couplers to push cars into position.

I do not like to touch the layout for any reason when I am playing with the trains.

-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.

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Posted by rrebell on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 1:28 PM

Got plenty of those magnets but didn't use and they did not work well on curves.

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 2:27 PM

  I use skewers. They do work best with real Kadees, opening up 'compatibles' liek Accumate is hit or miss. Which is why I repalce any non-Kadee couplers with real Kadee.

 I don't use any track magnets, fixed or electromagnets, but I haven't brought myself to cut off the kadee 'air hoses' yet. I paint them grimy black with a dab of silver on the tip. Both previous layouts had any uncoupling area easily reachable from the operating area, and my new one continues that.

                                                --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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

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Posted by kasskaboose on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 2:29 PM

It seems that the consensus is using a bamboo or BBQ stick to uncouple.  That's prob easier than a finger.  My fear is knocking over the car with my fingers and damaging the scenery.

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Posted by RR_Mel on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 2:39 PM

I’ve had very good luck with the Kadee 321 between the rails magnets.  I also tried the ⅛” Neodymium magnets but didn’t find them as nice as the 321s.  I also have a pair of Kadee 309 under the layout uncouplers, they work very good.

I also made a couple of my own design under the layout uncoupler that also work very good.

This is a link to the Mel uncoupler.
https://melvineperry.blogspot.com/2020/01/january-25-2020-mels-magnetic-uncoupler.html

All of the uncouplers work good except the individual magnets, I didn’t give up easy, I tried the magnets in several positions and I just wasn’t as happy with their operation as the regular Kadee’s.  My own rendition works very good but way too much trouble to make them.  Because they are very conspicuous they are used in hidden areas.

My choice would be the Kadee 309 for ease and aesthetics.  I have not tried the Rapido Railcrew, looks very promising.
 

Mel



 
My Model Railroad   
http://melvineperry.blogspot.com/
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.

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Posted by CandOsteam on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 2:48 PM

Before going over completely to Sergents Smile, I used-with great success-the Kadee #241 manual uncoupling tool that has a designed spade shaped head to open knuckles.  https://www.kadee.com/documents/241.pdf

Joel

Modeling the C&O New River Subdivision circa 1949 for the fun of it!

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Posted by fwright on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 2:51 PM

I started out being one of those who believed human hands do not belong in the scene.  It's hard to let go of.

But then reality of wanting to operate a layout sets in.  Even in my Lionel days, I hated being limited to uncoupling over a ramp.  The later post-war at least had tabs on the couplers to uncouple manually.

And now in HO and HOn3, I'm certainly not going to install an uncoupling device everywhere I'm going to uncouple.  Switching is part of the operating fun for me.  And when I realized that once I started using bamboo skewers for uncoupling (I collect chopsticks and carve them down), I had already set myself up for walk-around operations, it made the other decisions easy.  Walkaround control (I use tethered because my layouts are small), turnouts operated by switches in the fascia or manually, no indicator lights needed, and no control panels needed.  Shelf layouts are more conducive for skewer operations than rectangular, so continuous running is no longer a big deal.

One little locked-in decision makes many of the others for you.  I love this hobby!

Fred W

....modelling foggy coastal Oregon in HO and HOn3, where it's always 1900....

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Posted by tatans on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 3:26 PM

The guy that invents an effective, easy, method of uncoupling cars on a model railroad will be the 3rd richest guy in the U.S.

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Posted by mvlandsw on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 4:32 PM

I like to use a sharp lead pencil. Placing the point between the Kadee uncoupling pins from the side opens both knuckles at once. I find this much easier than trying to get a stick into the small space between the knuckles from above.

Mark Vinski

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Posted by rrebell on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 5:23 PM

All this imput got me to tweek a plastic sckwer that worked but still had issues with, I found out that the unit needs to sit on the coupler and the tapered part only going down so far. Will keep working on it.

 

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 5:52 PM

Note that Kadee 322 permanent magnet code 83 uncoupler is to be installed so that 1/64" protrudes above the railheads. 

They make a gluing jig 334 which, in the accompanying instructions, very explicitly requires that the uncoupling magnet be installed so as to be below the railheads by at least 1/64" and no more than 1/32".

Kadee makes a lot of stuff and almost all of it is really good, but when they blow it they really do.

Fitting the magnet into the jig and then into the piece of track will leave the magnet proud of the railheads by 1/64" by my expert Mark I micrometer calibrated eyeball so that's how it's going to be.

No squeeze out room for the glue though......

Alyth Yard

Canada

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Posted by cowman on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 7:25 PM

I have found that the skewers that come with a chinese meal, are thinner and work better than the BBQ/kabob skewers available at the grocery store.  Probably could make your own by sharpening a thin dowel.

Good luck,

Richard

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Posted by OldEngineman on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 10:19 PM

I use a "plastic fantastic brakeman" -- the Rix uncoupling tool.

You can also "flip it around" and use the "flat end" to make hitches where the couplers don't naturally align (curves, etc.).

But the Rix doesn't work on everything. It's best with Kadees, but it has problems with the couplers Accurail uses on some of their cars. And if you have a car with a lot of metal near the end (caboose with metal ladders, things like that), the magnets on the coupler will make it harder to handle, and might even pull a metal part off the car. So in those cases, I just use "the big hand".

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 11:51 PM

RR_Mel
All of the uncouplers work good except the individual magnets, I didn’t give up easy, I tried the magnets in several positions and I just wasn’t as happy with their operation as the regular Kadee’s. 

I also experimented with a few different uncouplers using small round powerful magnets.

It was a frustrating failure.

-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.

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Posted by selector on Thursday, September 17, 2020 12:32 AM

Add me to the list of those who like to line their turnouts by hand, who uncouple by hand/skewer.

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Posted by rrebell on Thursday, September 17, 2020 12:39 AM

Well I tried a few other shapes but the one that works best is made out of 1/8" plastic rod tapered to a point only in the last 3/16" on one side. Works 80% of the time first try with non Kadees. We will see if I can do better.

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Thursday, September 17, 2020 6:53 AM

CandOsteam
Before going over completely to Sergents

While they do look good, I don't have time for yet another hobby so good old Kadee's will have to do. Smile  Didn't Sergents shut down?

tatans

The guy that invents an effective, easy, method of uncoupling cars on a model railroad will be the 3rd richest guy in the U.S.

I kind of doubt that.  From my observations, few got filthy rich producing model train products.  But I'm sure it would make a lot of model train people happy none the less.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, September 17, 2020 8:02 AM

 "The best way to make a small fortune in model railroading is to start with a large fortune"

 There was a rumor of Sergent shutting down, but they are still there and taking orders. It appears they had some issues with their older investment casting equipment so some items are permanently out of stock - on the web site it says they are encouraging others to make these parts since the design was open sourced for anyone to use.

 I've considered switching over, before I get too far along, but I keep flipping back and forth. 

                                        --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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

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Posted by josephbw on Thursday, September 17, 2020 8:19 AM

Here's what I use on my layout. With a little slack between the couplers, you stick the brush between the faces of the coupler, give a gentle clockwise twist, and the couples open up.

Here's a link to the brushes.

https://www.gumbrand.com/new-proxabrush.html

Edit: These are available at drug stores, grocery stores and even Wally World.

 

Joe

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, September 17, 2020 8:45 AM

josephbw
Here's what I use on my layout. With a little slack between the couplers, you stick the brush between the faces of the coupler, give a gentle clockwise twist, and the couples open up.

That looks like an interesting tool.

It is difficult to tell by the picture how big these are.

-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.

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Posted by rrebell on Thursday, September 17, 2020 9:58 AM

Wish we had a  real product engineer here as there must be a simple engineering solution, after all someone finally got a chemist to anilize the black gunk on our layouts.

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Posted by CandOsteam on Thursday, September 17, 2020 10:13 AM

Frank Sergent is still making his most popular coupler, but as stated in this thread, he is winding down and encouraging others to take on production by publicly sharing technical information.  I bought enough to outfit my entire fleet of steam locomotives and rolling stock (several hundred pieces).  I don't think I need any more at this point, but may buy another batch to prepare for "the day".  I admit there is a learning curve to assembling and using these, but personally I love them after more than 30 years of Kadees. 

BTW, I can still use #58s with Sergents because of my broad curves and turnouts.

 

Anyway, Sergents are definitely an acquired taste and for some, once tasted, too good to resist (that's me!).

 

Joel

 

Modeling the C&O New River Subdivision circa 1949 for the fun of it!

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Thursday, September 17, 2020 10:32 AM

I had always been a magnetic uncouplers guy.  I have permanent magnets on most stub-end sidings, and electromagnets on mains to avoid unwanted uncoupling.  But, I have mostly moved to bamboo skewers, because they give me the ability to uncouple anywhere, not just where I've placed a magnet.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by Marc_Magnus on Thursday, September 17, 2020 11:01 AM

It's a never ending subject, there are a lot of post about this subject and many tips to uncouple cars using Kaddee or MT couplers.

None seems to be better than another and all are good to use but are not perfect.

The perfect uncoupler device will make the inventor a real god for model railroaders

I have try different method for my N scale layout, permanent magnet, electromagnetic magnet, bamboo stick with the results we all know

I ended by a very simple device using permanent magnet as a start.

The magnetic field of a magnet can only uncouple the couplers when positionned perpendiculary on the track.

If you turn this magnet only 90° the field didn't act anymore on the couplers.

This reflexion ended with a simple device put under the track, invisible when ballasted and easy to operate.

The device is hand moved or can be moved with a servo easily, it avoid  any unwanted uncoupling which is often the case with permanent magnet between the track

Sure it's not the ultimate solution for uncoupling cars but it works and he is easy to build.

The design come from a friend idea Jacques Leplat a well know Belgian modeler in Europe which as published many books on the hobby and has translate in French the Kalmbach book "railroading with John Allen".

The device use a kaddee permanent magnet, glued on the intensifier plate and grinded in a round pattern; the intensifier is drilled in the middle and a shaft is fixed on the intensifier and fixed on a support, any arms or device can be used to rotate the magnet.

A round hole is drilled in the roadbed and the magnet is installed under the track; to hide the magnet a very thin sheet of plastic

The system is inexpensive

 

1. a magnet posed perpendicular under the track uncouple

 

2. when the magnet is just turned 90° the field of the magnet don't uncouple anymore

 

3. here is the device; the rounded magnet put in place under the track ( J. Leplat picture)

 

4. first a round hole is drilled in the roadbed at the strategic place to put the magnet ( J. Leplat picture)

 

5. the device seen in place under the roadbed, the brass tube on the left is the actuating arm with a lock spring made of piano wire ( J. Leplat picture)

 

6. Another view of the complete device ready to be installed (J. Leplat picture)

 

7. a plan which explain the installation

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Posted by York1 on Thursday, September 17, 2020 11:27 AM

Marc_Magnus
It's a never ending subject, there are a lot of post about this subject and many tips to uncouple cars using Kaddee or MT couplers.

Marc Magnus,

It's good to hear from you again.  How is your layout building coming?  You do such good work, maybe you could post some of your progress on the Weekend Photo Fun thread.  It starts every Friday and modelers post pictures of their projects through Sunday.

York1 John       

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Posted by cowman on Thursday, September 17, 2020 11:58 AM

[quote user="rrinker"]

 "The best way to make a small fortune in model railroading is to start with a large fortune"

                                        --Randy

 Sounds like farming and I'm into both.  No wonder I'm still working an outside  job and not in the trainroom.

As I said in my above post, I like the smaller wood skewers.

Have fun,
 
Richard 

 

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Posted by josephbw on Thursday, September 17, 2020 12:14 PM

SeeYou190

I take the clear cap off and put it on the top of the brush. In that configuration it is 4" tall. Without the cap the brush part is 2-3/4" tall.

Joe

 

I just looked again at the label on my package. It is for tight teeth. This works just fine for the couplers. The wide brush shown in the picture may not work as well.

 

 
josephbw
Here's what I use on my layout. With a little slack between the couplers, you stick the brush between the faces of the coupler, give a gentle clockwise twist, and the couples open up.

 

That looks like an interesting tool.

It is difficult to tell by the picture how big these are.

-Kevin

 

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