19th Mar 2004, 05:58 PM
Re:Hands-free Operation - Magnetic Couplers
I can tell you this much, the "obvious" placement and the best placement are often different. I first learned about this in John Armstrong's book on realistic track planning. You need to take into account car length and the amount of space it takes to uncouple. You may already understand this but I just thought I would point it out. If you aren't experienced with the use of magnets, I would definetly read as much as I can before designing or placing magnets (I guess that is sort of what this forum is for eh? 8) ). I place mine generally one to two car lengths beyond the turnout. Running back and forth over the turnout while trying to uncouple is problematic.
I use rare earth magnets that I glue to a substrate. Never used electromagnets, not even in my HO days. I have also never had a problem with undesired uncoupling (due to magnets). The action of uncoupling seems to make this improbable, at least in my experience. As far as improving operations, IMHO there is no operations without them! I don't like hanging over the layout or having to touch cars or scenery.
Also, many people make the mistake of assuming you have to put magnetic couplers on all your rolling stock. For those of you on a tight budget, just think about how you are going to operate. If you are generally picking up or dropping cars in groups then only the first and last car in that grouping would need to have magnetic couplers.
Enough of my opinion, on to someone else....
20th Mar 2004, 12:00 PM