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Uncoupling cars

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, September 17, 2020 10:24 PM

 There's always a DCC uncoupler onboard each car. Then you cna drop any car, anywhere, without any GHA (Giant Hand Action). The problem, besides the potential cost, is coming up with an addressing scehe, since many car numbers are not suitable to use as DCC address and if you start taking say the last 4 digits, you can easily tun into conflicts with cars from different roads, or even different types fromt eh same railroad. Not to mention conflicts with loco addresses.

 They do work well - typically they pull open a standard Kadee coupler, so coupling back up it simple and can be done gently, unlike those toyliek things MTH uses on their locos, which uncouple fine, but require slamming in to a cut of cars pretty hard to couple abck up again.

 Hmm, maybe I should order some Sergents and put them on a couple of cars and see if I like them. Not terribly expensive if they just end up in a drawer. My only concern is that at this point,m if he's trying to wind down the business, and no one takes up his offer of the designs bneing free to use for anyone, then I have a bunch of cars I can't switch over. Or some older locos - with Kadee, I can just get an overset or underset, short or long shank to fit a specific purpose, with Sergent it's pretty much up to you to fabricate whatever you need to make it work if the car doesn;t already directly work with either a Kadee #5 or use thes the Accurail narrow draft gear box.

                                    --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 Southgate 2 on Friday, September 18, 2020 3:16 AM

I use a simple devise that mechanically raises a permanent magnet up under the ties to uncouple. No unwanted uncoupling, and reliable uncoupling. It works most the time for delayed uncoupling with Kadee 5s, and all the time with  "whiskers" 

You bamboo skewer guys make a good case, but my layout height at just under 5 feet doesnt really allow for that Dan

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Posted by rrebell on Friday, September 18, 2020 12:47 PM

[quote user="cowman"]

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 

 

 

Well, this is not true. We took a small farm that was homsteaded and turned itn into the start of multiple well offs. Like most things, you have to be smart about your decisions and hedge your bets. Remember many farmers who bet on this or that crop because it was hot, only to have the prices crash before they made back their investment. Remember when we bet a small acrage on mustard for a time when wheat was main crop, then mustard crashed, some had bet the farm on mustard prices remaining high, so to speak.  Same with this hobby, you don't realy beleive Kader is in it because they like trains. Also why are Bachmann trains so cheap (street price), the chinese way is long term investment, when we think 10 years time line, they think 100.

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Posted by fwright on Friday, September 18, 2020 4:09 PM

Southgate 2
You bamboo skewer guys make a good case, but my layout height at just under 5 feet doesnt really allow for that.

You are right - skewers (or Sergent couplers) - really impact layout design and operating environment.

In a different way, the various fixed or "temporary" fixed magnet schemes limit and impact operations.

Given how slow those Oregon boys are to get track laid, skewers win for the time being.

Someday, when I want to uncouple where I don't want to reach in, I will have to go to fixed or temporary magnets in places.  Someday.  Meantime, there are always all my locomotives to repair, construct, remotor, and/or regear so they can be converted to DCC.  And once converted, it would be nice to get them painted and lettered appropriately.

Fred W

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

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Friday, September 18, 2020 4:31 PM

rrinker
 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.

It maybe that they are only selling down their stock at this point but not manufacturing any more couplers.  A couple of big Sergent users on another forum have said Sergents is no longer manufacturing couplers.  A couple of them have been experimenting with 3D printing them due to this.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, September 18, 2020 9:12 PM

 Per the Sergent web site, a few styles can be manufactured without 3D printing, so they continue to produce those, for now. They still list packs of 144 still in stock, so either he made a LOT for stock, or is still at this time willing to replenish stock on those, at least until the dies wear out. 

 There is a group on groups.io, but to join you have to send an email about yourself, except that when you aren't an approved subscriber yert, you get a 500 Undeliverable message sending the email that htey request you send. Ooops. You can read messages even without being a member, and there are some things but not much about anyone else actually producing product for sale. 

 But, I did go ahead and order a 6 pack, uncoupler, height gauge, and assembly fixture. I will see if I like them and if I want to pursue swapping everything over.

                                       --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 snjroy on Sunday, September 20, 2020 7:30 AM

I rarelly do manual uncoupling on my layout. I spent a lot of time designing my yard and mainline to achieve it. First, the underneath uncouplers are all located on straight sections of track; two, I use the Rapido uncoupler that really works well on the mainline. I used bachmann magnetic uncouplers for my yard, which work well, except with the few cars that I have that still have metal axles, that cause unwanted uncoupling from time to time. Finally, I have zero inclines on my layout...

Simon

 

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Tuesday, September 22, 2020 9:26 AM

One more vote for the bamboo skewer. Just tried it yesterday.

Mind you, only top quality works. Mine was the obviously superior Williams Sonoma. 

Don't accept second best.

Alyth Yard

Canada

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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, September 22, 2020 9:43 AM

 Sergents should be here in an hour or so. But I probably won;t have time to actually assemble and install them for some time.

 The trick I foudn with skewers is to file a bit at the tip, to flatten it slightly instead of being just a sharp point. Not turn it into a mini flathead screwdriver, just make is so it's not perfectly round.

                                 --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 CandOsteam on Tuesday, September 22, 2020 11:38 AM

rrinker

 Sergents should be here in an hour or so. But I probably won;t have time to actually assemble and install them for some time.

 The trick I foudn with skewers is to file a bit at the tip, to flatten it slightly instead of being just a sharp point. Not turn it into a mini flathead screwdriver, just make is so it's not perfectly round.

                                 --Randy

 

 

 

Randy,

 

For some pointers based on my experience assembling/operating/uncoupling
Sergents, see my 2016 post http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/88/t/253265.aspx

Good luck with test driving the Sergents and I'd be happy to answer any question you might have after playing with them.

 

Joel

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

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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, September 22, 2020 5:19 PM

 Well, I have them in hand, and apart from having to contact them because the kit of 6 couplers came with the bigger casting, the knuckle, balls, and springs, but not covers - I can't put any of them toigether yet. I'm already thinking this is not going to be for me. Awfully tiny and fiddly, I can't imagine getting the ball in the hole, even with the assembly fixture. I can barely see the thing. If I get replacement parts for the missing stuff, I'll still give these a go. 

                        --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 BroadwayLion on Wednesday, September 23, 2020 7:02 AM

One of the problems with a Kadee magnet for uncoupling is thqt modern locomotive are so precise in their handling that a train might not uncupple right over the ramp.

LION"S solution was a 'cutting key'. I have a real 1:1 cutting key from the NYC subway, but then those are electronically operated coulkers with all air and electricap portions built into the coupler.

You might not hae this on the railroad of you, but my cutting ke is simply a push button wired as a reversing switch. A little jab at that thing and the modern locomotive will make no visible jerk (he is at the other end of the wire) but it will keep on running as if nothing had happened, but hat little unpreceptible shudder is enough to leave the cars behind at the magnet while the locomotif continues on into they yard for servicing.

 

For a big long fright train, cutting in the muddle automadickaly is less of a possibility. I guess you need to get out the coffe stirer and send the Conductor back to unkople it manually.

 

ROAR

The Route of the Broadway Lion The Largest Subway Layout in North Dakota.

Here there be cats.                                LIONS with CAMERAS

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, September 28, 2020 12:27 PM

 So today I got a package in the mail, it was the missing pieces from my Sergent kits. I dry assembled one - not too bad with the fixture, but I also didn;lt put the little ball in. I'm definitely going to need a different sort of tweezers to handle those without shotting them across the room. For the number I need to convert what I have now, plus all anticipated additional rolling stock, I still think they might be too fiddly. If they were still sold assembled, I would probably go for it. Theyt do look nice and I like the way they operate. Maybe if I was only building a small switching layout with a handful of cars and one or two locos. 

 I'm sure if I build these 6 it will get easier to put them together, but due to the small size of the pieces, it will always take a few minutes per coupler. And I need around 100 pair already just to do what I have now, not counting the unbuilt kit stash or the whole fleet worth of undec locos that need painting. 

 After actually having some in hand, I'm leaning 75% at this point to not switching. Unless someone starts offering them in bulk, assembled.

                                         --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 CandOsteam on Monday, September 28, 2020 1:43 PM

rrinker

 So today I got a package in the mail, it was the missing pieces from my Sergent kits. I dry assembled one - not too bad with the fixture, but I also didn;lt put the little ball in. I'm definitely going to need a different sort of tweezers to handle those without shotting them across the room. For the number I need to convert what I have now, plus all anticipated additional rolling stock, I still think they might be too fiddly. If they were still sold assembled, I would probably go for it. Theyt do look nice and I like the way they operate. Maybe if I was only building a small switching layout with a handful of cars and one or two locos. 

 I'm sure if I build these 6 it will get easier to put them together, but due to the small size of the pieces, it will always take a few minutes per coupler. And I need around 100 pair already just to do what I have now, not counting the unbuilt kit stash or the whole fleet worth of undec locos that need painting. 

 After actually having some in hand, I'm leaning 75% at this point to not switching. Unless someone starts offering them in bulk, assembled.

                                         --Randy

 

 

 

 

Randy,

 

If you want to try out a few cars with Sergents, make a "transition car" with your Kadees on one end and a Sergent at the other end.  If you make two, you can sandwich a bunch of Sergent-equiped cars in between to try these out on your railroad to see if you like Sergents enough to go forward.

Yes, the steel balls are tricky to handle.  The way I get around this is to magnetize a small jewelers screwdriver with a quick swipe on a magnet and use it to "grab" a ball to place in its location.  I use a small wooden stick or anything non-magnetic to push the ball off the jsd into the receiving pocket (hole).

Hope that helps. 

Joel

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

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Tuesday, October 6, 2020 8:50 PM

Bamboo skewer is definitely the best uncoupling device out there. 

Superior even to the five fingered sky crane.

Alyth Yard

Canada

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Posted by rrebell on Tuesday, October 6, 2020 10:21 PM

Just tried out the dental toothpick brush, thought I was buying the bristle type but got the rubber brisle type by mistake, happy accident. Will have to keep on experimenting but so far vastly superior. It is like the rubber grabs the parts so they don't slip back together.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, October 6, 2020 10:31 PM

rrebell
Just tried out the dental toothpick brush, thought I was buying the bristle type but got the rubber brisle type by mistake, happy accident.

Could you share the manufacturer, part number, or description of this happy mistake? It sounds perfect.

-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, October 7, 2020 9:10 AM

Don't know, took it out of packaging and tossed it, nothing on the pick itself. Bought at the dollar store and blue green in color.

 

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Posted by Llenroc fan on Wednesday, October 7, 2020 9:56 AM

I don't know about the rubber ones but you can go to WalMart or Neighborhood Market and they have their generic brand of them for a fraction of the name brands.

Wally World has everything it seems.

 

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, October 7, 2020 10:59 AM

rrebell
Don't know, took it out of packaging and tossed it, nothing on the pick itself. Bought at the dollar store and blue green in color.

I will check out my local Dollar Tree today and see what I find in there.

Llenroc fan
Wally World has everything it seems

I only go into Wal-Mart about once a month now. I will also see what is there next time I am in.

-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, October 8, 2020 3:26 PM

Played with it some more today because I was testing out an engine with a string of cars, worked very well and on a slight curve. Will test later today if the world dosnt collapse and try an 18" radius curve.

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Posted by rrebell on Thursday, October 8, 2020 3:31 PM

Desided to go ahead and try as I am waiting for some plaster cloth to set. It worked every time I tried it, which was only a few, but still much beter than any other method I tried. Still have to try generic to generic couple but no probles with one of each and Kadees worked even better.

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