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Thread: What couplers for a new shelf switcher layout?

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    Default What couplers for a new shelf switcher layout?

    What coupler is the superior choice these days?


    Ciao!

    Brian S

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    Micro trains are considered standard by most
    :bottle::bottle::gdl::mp15:

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    Micro Trains....nothing else
    Modeling the Pacific Electric Playa Desnuda Branch in N Scale

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    Ditto. I kind of take them for granted until I get a new car with something else that doesn't couple or uncouple as smoothly (if at all) as an MT.

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    It depends on what defines "superior."

    If you want scale fidelity, than Micro-Trains True Scale couplers are what you're looking for. However their TS line doesn't provide for remote uncoupling.

    If you want to avoid the "slinky effect" while switching, Accumates, Athearn (McHenry), or Kato will perform well. Robust and easy to uncouple with a hidden magnet or sharpened skewer.

    As mentioned above, standard MT couplers are popular. These come close to scale and are easy to couple and uncouple. Trouble is the "slinky effect" due to their internal centering spring. You can either ignore it, or you can install retaining springs on selected cars that will induce drag to offset the effect.

    I have MTs on my cabooses and covered hoppers, Accumates on my locomotives, and Athearns on my coal hoppers. The cabooses get a retaining spring on one axle. I don't experience any significant issues amongst the brands.

    I would go to all True Scale if I could find a suitable adapter draft gear box for Bluford Shops hoppers.
    Last edited by Paul Schmidt; 13th Jul 2020 at 05:30 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Schmidt View Post
    I go to all True Scale if I could find a suitable adapter draft gear box for Bluford Shops hoppers.
    I want to say someone over at therailwire has designed a 3D printed coupler box that fits 99% of rolling stock for the TSC. If my fleet was much, and I mean much, smaller, I'd switch over to TSCs on all my stock also. Wish MT would make more styles of the TSC, if they made one with a shank similar to the 1015, or offset height heads, I'd be much more inclined to seriously look at them, but currently, my hurdles are my fleet size and lack of shank/offset head designs

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    The True Scale Coupler looks great, but they are a little bit stiff. I considered doing it, but like others, too many cars
    Modeling the Pacific Electric Playa Desnuda Branch in N Scale

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ike the BN Freak View Post
    I want to say someone over at therailwire has designed a 3D printed coupler box that fits 99% of rolling stock for the TSC.
    I'll be sure to look into that. I think @jpwisc may have a similar lead?

    And yes, especially with some brands of cabooses, offset shanks are needed. I'd go over to Z scale MTs if a suitable offset shank coupler, which I'd install on cabooses, was available. As it is now, the Z scale coupler is too low when installed on my Atlas Southern caboose or FVM Milwaukee Road cabooses.

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    You said for a shelf switching layout. To me that limits you to two choices, Micro-Trains or McHenry.

    Those are the only two I can get to reliably magnetically uncouple and to reliably do delayed uncoupling. Since it's a switching layout, I'm assuming one or both of those features is important.

    Unfortunately, only Micro-Trains is readily available in all the varieties needed to convert different cars and engines.
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    You cannot beat MICRO-TRAINS LINE couplers. They might be a bit oversize, but when you have them installed correctly, adjusted RIGHT, and have uncoupling ramps set RIGHT, you can't do better. I use ELECTRO-MAGNETIC ramps for uncoupling. Almost NO false uncoupling, with the electro controlled ramps. Turn them on when you need them, turn them off when you don't. Got the idea of trying Z scale MTL's. HMMMMMM I wonder?
    DIESELS ?!?!?! We Don't Need NO Stinkin' DIESELS!!!

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    @briansommers
    If you're curious as to what the "Slinky Effect' is, watch this video and keep an eye on the last few cars.

    Ed posted this a few years ago to show exactly what it is.
    It can be quite annoying.

    Paul Schmidt said he installs "retaining springs" on his cars to help reduce this effect:
    https://www.micro-trains.com/index.p...product_id=342
    They are small springs that sit between the end of the axle and the side frame of a truck.
    It puts a very small amount of drag on the axle which then helps keep the train stretched out so they don't bounce like they do in the video.

    Like Paul, all of my cabooses have at least one if not two springs installed.


    Last edited by Allen H.; 13th Jul 2020 at 07:15 PM.
    The Little Rock Line blog


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    ^that's not an issue with the video playback...
    Modeling the Pacific Electric Playa Desnuda Branch in N Scale

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    I guess this is the guy on Shapeways you were talking about? https://www.shapeways.com/shops/wutt...pler+Boxes&s=0

    I used his 1015 boxes (actually he designed them for me) on a bunch of tank cars and can only say they work great.

    About the slinky effect: There are two "generations" of MTL knuckle couplers: The (newer) 1015s / 2004s, which have the spring in front of the center post of the coupler box, so the spring is compressed when the car is pushed (pulling forces transfer directly from the coupler to the center post), and everything else (that I'm aware of), which has the spring behind the center post, so the spring is compressed when the car is pulled. Since you only get the slinky effect when the force transfers through the spring and I only have 1015s / 2004s, I "only" see it when pushing cars, others will see it when pulling trains as well.

    YMMV,
    Heiko

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Schmidt View Post
    I'll be sure to look into that. I think @jpwisc may have a similar lead?

    And yes, especially with some brands of cabooses, offset shanks are needed. I'd go over to Z scale MTs if a suitable offset shank coupler, which I'd install on cabooses, was available. As it is now, the Z scale coupler is too low when installed on my Atlas Southern caboose or FVM Milwaukee Road cabooses.
    Yes, for the TS couplers I use these boxes. They give the most prototypical look of anything I’ve found so far. Mostly I use them on decorative pieces. The 905 does couple easier, but the TS hold really well and look good doing it.
    https://www.shapeways.com/product/ZB...924&li=ostatus
    Karl

    CEO of the WC White Pine Subdivision, an Upper Peninsula branch line.

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    One thing that has really happened with MT's over the years is that the knuckle is noticeably 'thicker' (vertically) than it originally was. When I've compared some of the very oldest body-mount couplers I have with new ones, there's about a .020 difference in knuckle height. It's even obvious in the original height gauge that has the coupler mounted in it. If you compare that with the height of the 905 Z it's only about .010 higher.

    It's REALLY noticeable on some couplers like the drop-shank (904??) where the modern production is much heavier in the knuckle. I have a really old one on my first Micro-Ace 2-6-0 and it is so much tinier than a new one.

    I've read this was a mold change to 'increase reliability' but I never had any problems to begin with. But if you get differing opinions here, be aware of that, because that's why I went to Z knuckles in as many applications as I have - with functional magnetic uncoupling by bending the trip pin way down. But I will second the suggestion that a drop-shank Z as well as a short-box one (made like a 1015 or the passenger car T shank) would be wonderful for so many applications.
    Randgust N scale kits web page at www.randgust.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by randgust View Post
    One thing that has really happened with MT's over the years is that the knuckle is noticeably 'thicker'
    I got a couple like that too. Doc says it's arthritis. ...

    But seriously, I'd never heard anyone complain about bustin' a knuckle with MTs, ever, back in the old days. Nothing wrong with beefing up for reliability though.

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