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Thread: Z couplers vs. N couplers on N scale equipment?

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    Default Re: Z couplers vs. N couplers on N scale equipment?

    How 'bout that, more stuff that I actually have experience with.

    Quote Originally Posted by "avel"
    1. How many different lengths and offsets are there for Z couplers? Primarily I am talking about Micro-trains selection.
    There are very few choices out there right now. There is one main version (pre-assembled or kit), and a couple designed to be installed in certain cars/engines. This issue that I've run into is that there are no long-shank versions for using with snowplows or on certain engines. I've been planning on modifying a coupler for that, but I just haven't spent too much time on that yet.

    2. How hard is it to couple together on a curve? and is there a minimum curve that I should expect them to couple together reliably on?
    That kind of depends on the equipment, and how it's mounted (body or truck). For my few engines with Z couplers so far, it is a little more awkward on my 9 3/4" radius curves, but not enough to be an issue. I think that they work well enough that you should spend the effort on trying it on your equipment and layout.

    3. How well should I expect N and Z couplers to work together?
    They work together very well. The Z couplers work as well with the accumates as the N couplers do. And the MT Z and N couplers work very well together, even with delayed uncoupling. I've even noticed that the slightly larger box of the Z coupler actually allows for a little more room than the N scale 1015, so in some ways, the Z couplers actually work a little better.

    Of course, that slightly larger box means that on you may have to remove one of the couplers on some engines to get the shell off of the chassis.

    It is definitely worth spending the effort to do some tests to see if they'd work for you, as they really make a difference in how a highly detailed engine or car looks, as you can see in the comparison shot below of my GP30 project when I was first trying them out for myself.



    EDIT: Oops, I moved things around on my website, and forgot to update the image link.

    ---jps

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    Default Re:Z couplers vs. N couplers on N scale equipment?

    Here are some article on z scale coupler conversions:

    http://www.pcrailroad.org/Equipment/...Conv2Atlas.htm
    http://www.pcrailroad.org/Equipment/...vRivarossi.htm


    Admin note:

    The above links are brought to you by Peter of P&C Railroad fame. He recently sent out an email about his current situation. I quote from part of the email.

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    Default Re:Z couplers vs. N couplers on N scale equipment?

    Thank you both.


    jschuknecht, I was actually browsing your site when you replied to my post, and Admin I have been frequenting their web site for quite a while and actually checked it after I posted my questions. From what I have learned its not that bad of an idea to use Z scale couplers on N scale equipment. The only disadvantages I see is the whole, if you have a plow the coupler might not be long enought situation, and on some railroad equipment it might take some thinking to install them right. But I will go ahead and purchase some and try it out.

    One thing im still not sure about is adjusting the trip pin height, if I mount the couplers at the height that NMRA recommends will I have to straighten out the trip pin so that it hangs lower to enable uncoupling over the magnets?

    Its not a biggy, my layouts not large and I am able to reach each location by hand but its good to know.

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    Default Re:Z couplers vs. N couplers on N scale equipment?

    Quote Originally Posted by "avel"
    ...One thing im still not sure about is adjusting the trip pin height, if I mount the couplers at the height that NMRA recommends will I have to straighten out the trip pin so that it hangs lower to enable uncoupling over the magnets?
    As it turns out, you don't have to adjust the trip pin so that it hangs just over the railhead. The trip pin works just fine with my underground magnets, and I have found no need to adjust them from how they were "out of the box".

    ---jps

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    Default Re:Z couplers vs. N couplers on N scale equipment?

    Quote Originally Posted by "jschuknecht"
    The trip pin works just fine with my underground magnets
    What kind of magnets do you use?

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    Default Re:Z couplers vs. N couplers on N scale equipment?

    I used standard issue Kadee/MT 308 underground permanent magnets (the ones that are appox. 1/4" x 1 1/2" x 2" with a steel backing). They sit under Peco code 55 track, Woodland Scenics' ballast set with diluted white glue, and Woodland Scenics' black foam roadbed.

    I was surprized to find that the NN3/Z couplers actually seemed to work a little smoother, and a little more reliably over these magnets. But that could be because of the draft box design, and I've only had three engines with Z couplers so far.

    ---jps

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    Default Re:Z couplers vs. N couplers on N scale equipment?

    Avel:

    I use the MT # 905 Z coupler on all the pilots of my steamers. They work very well and give you a working coupler for steam loco pilots. :wink:

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    Default Re:Z couplers vs. N couplers on N scale equipment?

    Hey I checked out your layout at Webshots.com, and I have a question. With the HO to N conversion of the layout plan and your space what is your minimum radius?

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    Default Re:Z couplers vs. N couplers on N scale equipment?

    Quote Originally Posted by "avel"
    Hey I checked out your layout at Webshots.com, and I have a question. With the HO to N conversion of the layout plan and your space what is your minimum radius?

    Avel:

    The minimum radius is 12 3/4".

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    Default Re:Z couplers vs. N couplers on N scale equipment?

    Quote Originally Posted by "avel"


    jschuknecht, I was actually browsing your site .
    I just had a look at your website as well, very nicely done.

    I bought 5 packages of assembled Z scale couplers and I think I'm hooked. They sure look good on N scale equipment. My plan for now is to use them for front couplers on all the F7's I currently am building. When you think about it is the front coupler of most locomotives that is clearly visable. By using the Z scale couplers there you can ancheive a fine scale look, and front couplers are functioned(as a general rule) less then couplers at the back of an engine

    I have read along with interest and can see how the smaller surface area could lead to unexpected uncoupling if you have any uneven track surfaces. I don't think I'll have a problem with my layout(at least it never has been a problem with N scale MTs). This is another case where having them on the front of a loco makes sense. Most times you are using the front coupler for spotting a few cars on a level siding. Not a very stressful situation for the front coupler.

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    Default Re:Z couplers vs. N couplers on N scale equipment?

    could someone post pics of befor and after using this conversion?

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    Default Re:Z couplers vs. N couplers on N scale equipment?

    Here is one on a project while it was in progress:



    While I'm in the midst of other projects, I'm getting things together for an article on Z couplers for this site. But it will be awhile, because I have to get to a few different projects before I have all I need.

    ---jps

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    Default Re:Z couplers vs. N couplers on N scale equipment?

    Just seeing those 2 photos of the Z and N scale couplers on the GP-30 makes me want to run out to my local hobby shop and buy some Z-Scale couplers!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Except it's after 11:00 pm here and I'm in my PJ's ready for bed!
    Very nice photo that clearly shows the difference.
    I am definitely going to look into swapping couplers.
    Thanks,
    Ds

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    Default Re:Z couplers vs. N couplers on N scale equipment?

    Great thread! I'm gonna have to try a set or two of those on a couple projects!
    Scott S.

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    Default Re:Z couplers vs. N couplers on N scale equipment?

    Just wondering, what does the Z-scale coupling box look like?
    I've been considering putting some of these on my Australian stuff for a while now, but its a little hard to find the Nn3/Z couplers down under.
    Also, how well do the Z couplers work on long wagons? (e.g. 89' flats)

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    Default Re:Z couplers vs. N couplers on N scale equipment?

    I too am interested in how well the Z couplers perform when used on N...
    Coupler height is greater on N than Z, how does this effect the response to track magnets?
    Being smaller, are they pickier on alignment?

    I take it that there is less variety of Z couplers to choose from... does this pose a major problem when outfitting N items?
    Bryan
    “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519)

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    Default Re:Z couplers vs. N couplers on N scale equipment?

    Here is a drawing from the Walthers web site (www.walthers.com):

    Size-wise, it's a little smaller than the N-scale version of the same design.

    As far as how they would work on long cars, engines, etc., it has been my experience so far that they work similarly to the N-scale versions (as long as they are mounted similarly, I.E. body-mount vs. body-mount, and truck-mount vs. truck-mount). I haven't tried every combination, and I don't have cars longer than 50' on my small layout, but I don't see anything that would cause an issue, other than the difficulty of having to mount the couplers on trucks yourself.

    As far as track magnets, I have not had to touch the trip pins on the Z-couplers, as they work just fine for me at that height right out of the box.

    In my experience, I wouldn't say that they were picker about alignment, but they are different. In one "iffy" magnet location on my layout, the Z-couplers are more forgiving, while on another, the Z-couplers are more problematic.

    But that brings up another issue. For those of us who use coupler pics, don't forget that the smaller couplers, and the closer coupling distances in some situations, will make using coupler pics more awkward. You definitely have to modify your Rix-pix to work well.

    And lastly, yes, there is a very limited variety of couplers to choose from at this time. Your choices are a pair of conversion couplers for Marklin Z equipment (which isn't too useful for what we're doing), and the 903, which is a package of 4 unassembled couplers. The 905 is simply a set of 4 assembled couplers. That's it. And the short shank means that you can't use it on a locomotive with a snow plow, or in some other situations.

    ---jps

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    Default Re:Z couplers vs. N couplers on N scale equipment?

    Thanks for the image. As for fitting them to truck mount, the shank looks almost identicle to a 1025/1023, so it could just be a drop in conversion, similar to replacing a knuckle. (I've had to replace the knucles on so many MT couplers i've lost count.)
    Once again thanks for the image, and the part numbers.

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