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Thread: Issue with Micro Trains Couplers

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    Default Issue with Micro Trains Couplers

    I have quite a bit of rolling stock, well over 100 cars, and they are a combination of primarily Micro Trains and Kato couplers. Many people seems to prefer the Micro Train Couplers but I don't particularly like them. The problem I have is the couplers have way too much slop/looseness in them. I am tired of the constant expansion and contraction of the cars when I start up or go in reverse. I also get some "pogoing" of the cars if I run at slower speeds. Is there anything that can be done with these couplers to prevent that? The Kato couplers don't have any slop in them and I prefer them. All of my uncoupling is done manually with a pick so automatic uncoupling is not important to me.

    Any help you can offer with the MT couplers would be appreciated.

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    The problem with coupler slack is also a problem with the prototype. Actually its worse, couplers break as the engine accelerates and brakes go into emergency.

    The "pogoing" is unique to MTL couplers AFAIK. Search this site for "slinky" and you will find quite a few threads on this. Solutions include replacing every coupler's spring with a rubberband and adding friction to an axle on the last car on your train.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NtheBasement View Post
    Actually its worse, couplers break as the engine accelerates and brakes go into emergency
    Hmm. Worse? Not by a long shot. There is no "slinky effect" as with MT couplers, and knuckles typically only break due to poor train handling, occasionally due to metal fatigue.

    I have yet to hear of a knuckle breaking due to a train going into emergency. Not saying it can't happen, but it's rare.

    @Dave S, you can switch to all Accumates, or McHenry or MT TruScale couplers. I'm changing over to the latter. A little tough to couple, easy to uncouple, but no slinky effect and they look a little better.
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    Okay, I am considering changing all of my plastic wheel sets to Metal Ones and some of my, soon to be owned, Atlas Trucks and Couplers to MT Trucks and Couplers. Before I do though, and excuse my ignorance, but what the heck is this "Slinky Effect"?

    If this "Slinky Effect" is synonymous to MT Trucks and Couplers, is there a better option that is a direct (no alterations to anything) replacement for the Atlas trucks and Couplers?

    Hope I haven't side tracked too much from the thread here.
    Cheers Tony

    "Knowing what to do is one thing ... being able to do it is another"

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    OP complained about two things, slack and yoyo. Slack is prototypical, yoyo is not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Schmidt View Post
    I have yet to hear of a knuckle breaking due to a train going into emergency. Not saying it can't happen, but it's rare.
    I think we are on the same page wrt slack. Did not mean to imply reversal of cause and effect. Improper handling of slack causes knuckle breakage which causes braking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wombat457 View Post
    but what the heck is this "Slinky Effect"?
    Quick search on YouTube, this is the first video I saw that looked like it showed the effect.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wombat457 View Post
    Okay, I am considering changing all of my plastic wheel sets to Metal Ones and some of my, soon to be owned, Atlas Trucks and Couplers to MT Trucks and Couplers. Before I do though, and excuse my ignorance, but what the heck is this "Slinky Effect"?

    If this "Slinky Effect" is synonymous to MT Trucks and Couplers, is there a better option that is a direct (no alterations to anything) replacement for the Atlas trucks and Couplers?

    Hope I haven't side tracked too much from the thread here.
    Slinky effect refers to the tendency of a string of MT's coupler equipped equipment, under some conditions, to resemble a "slinky" toy; stretching and compressing due to the springs in the couplers. It is most pronounced when pushing a string of cars (or perhaps descending a grade). It is a characteristic of the design, and has been known for years. It is why Micro-trains sells springs to install on caboose wheelsets to add friction drag (a slight braking effect if you will). A caboose with brakes on will cause the entire train to be in slight tension, overcoming the slinky effect that might otherwise occur.

    I recall some action on the old Atlas forum, where the two "schools" swapped out their Micro-trains trucks/couplers for Atlas Accumate trucks/couplers. I believe the exchange rate was two Micro-trains in return for three Accumates. I was in the Micro-trains camp, so was able to avoid spending some money completely replacing Accumates with Micro-trains. I've never had much of an issue, but my layout has no grades and I rarely back up anything.

    The only scenarios where I found the effect particularly offensive was when installing MT 1015s between some of the older Atlas locomotives that originally came with Rapido couplers. Once Atlas went to the Accumates, the condition was eliminated. Accumates in locomotives are fine in my book, because they are screwed in; thus avoiding the potential for the "exploding Accumates" that have plagued some freight cars.

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    This is a the best video of the "slinky" effect:



    Swap the MT's out for McHenrys. The McHenrys fit in the MT truck coupler pockets.

    Everyone talks about the spring in the truck, really. Tried that and that is laughable that it is even possible to put the spring in the truck.

    Just put a #00-90 screw in the Atlas truck coupler pocket to hold it closed.

    Harold

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    Thanks for the info and was curious for the reasons stated and that I had not noticed anything like that with my MT rolling stock and Kato, BLI or Bachmann engines.

    That being said, my trains tend to only go in forwards and don't spend too much time as slow or very speeds.

    Henry,

    I don't want to bog this thread down with this so could you take a look at a thread I started on Atlas Trucks and Couplers please:

    http://www.nscale.net/forums/showthr...639#post539639

    Appreciate it and sorry for the deviation of this thread.
    Cheers Tony

    "Knowing what to do is one thing ... being able to do it is another"

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    Quote Originally Posted by hminky View Post

    Everyone talks about the spring in the truck, really. Tried that and that is laughable that it is even possible to put the spring in the truck.

    Laughable?? Not sure what springs you're using here. I've used the Micro Trains 1953 Truck Restraining Springs for years, and never had an issue. How exactly have you tried to install these that has left you with the idea that "it is not even possible?"

    Quote Originally Posted by hminky View Post
    Just put a #00-90 screw in the Atlas truck coupler pocket to hold it closed.
    The accumates that I've encountered (on freight car trucks) didn't have mounting holes, as they were snap together construction and integral with the truck. Not sure what "coupler pocket" you're referring to here, unless it is a pocket on a locomotive or car with body mount couplers. Is that what you're talking about?

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    Quote Originally Posted by NorsemanJack;539641[COLOR=#222222
    ][/COLOR]
    The accumates that I've encountered (on freight car trucks) didn't have mounting holes, as they were snap together construction and integral with the truck. Not sure what "coupler pocket" you're referring to here, unless it is a pocket on a locomotive or car with body mount couplers. Is that what you're talking about?
    The coupler cover has a lug with a hole.

    Drill thru that hole into the truck with a #00-90 tap drill.

    Tap the truck #00-90.

    Drill out the cover hole with a #00-90 clearance drill. Countersink the hole in the cover.

    Use a #00-90 x 1/8 long screw to hold the cover.

    Harold


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    Quote Originally Posted by hminky View Post
    The coupler cover has a lug with a hole.

    Drill thru that hole into the truck with a #00-90 tap drill.

    Tap the truck #00-90.

    Drill out the cover hole with a #00-90 clearance drill. Countersink the hole in the cover.

    Use a #00-90 x 1/8 long screw to hold the cover.

    Harold

    Is that the cure for the "exploding accumates?"

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    As others have stated, slack is prototypical. You can actually use the slack to your advantage when starting a large train by running it all in ( push all the slack possible into the couplers ) then running it back out ( pull all the slack out of the couplers ). If you do this right, you basically start one car at a time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave S View Post
    I also get some "pogoing" of the cars if I run at slower speeds. Is there anything that can be done with these couplers to prevent that?
    There is actually something you can do to remedy the slinky effect: add more drag to your cars.

    The slinky effect is caused by the centering springs inside the coupler body expanding and contracting. This is made worse by free-rolling axles that don’t allow sufficient tension in the spring system.

    At least when you assemble the MTL couplers yourself, they come with two sizes of springs. The smaller diameter springs go inside the coupler boxes. The larger diameter springs are intended to be used as drag adding devices. You don’t need ( or want ) to install these on every car, but if you install them on cars that always ride the end of the train ( such as cabooses or cars with EOTDs installed ) you can greatly reduce the slinky effect without significant impacting the length of trains you can pull.

    All of my uncoupling is done manually with a pick so automatic uncoupling is not important to me.
    I also do all of my uncoupling with a pick or a small screwdriver. The slack in the couplers actually aides this process because it gives you some room to insert the pick.

    Paul
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    Quote Originally Posted by pbender View Post
    I also do all of my uncoupling with a pick or a small screwdriver. The slack in the couplers actually aides this process because it gives you some room to insert the pick.
    Very good point.
    Cheers Tony

    "Knowing what to do is one thing ... being able to do it is another"

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    Thanks for all your comments. I think I'll try experimenting with a few different brands of couplers that you guys have recommended to see what results I get.

    One further observation on changing the MT wheels/axles from plastic to metal. The MT plastic wheels have quite a bit more drag to them than the metal wheels. That tends to magnify the "pogo" effect (at least it did for me when I changed a bunch of the wheels to metal) since the cars roll easier with the metal wheels. In fact I was thinking about going back to the plastic wheels just for that reason.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NorsemanJack View Post
    Is that the cure for the "exploding accumates?"
    Here:

    http://www.nscale.net/forums/showthread.php?44998-Cure-quot-Exploding-quot-N-Scale-Accumates


    Harold

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