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Thread: Hands-free Operation - Magnetic Couplers

  1. #1
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    Default Re:Hands-free Operation - Magnetic Couplers

    Aaron,

    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....

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    Default Re:Hands-free Operation - Magnetic Couplers

    I've switched with magnetic couplers both in HO and N, and have personally found it to be a real pain.

    I actually use a small flathead screwdriver to do most of my uncoupling. a twist of the blade between the pulling surfaces takes care of releasing the cars, and I can uncouple anywhere I want to, without thinking about where to place magnets while building the layout.

    Paul
    For decoder installation and JMRI services, please visit http://www.bentraildigital.com
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    Default Re:Hands-free Operation - Magnetic Couplers

    I too use the rare earth magnets and place them under the track. I generally place them beyond the turnout, or if in a yard, it is placed on the yard lead.

    I also use a device the looks like a U witha stick on it.



    There are mangets on the two fork parts and this is put between the cars and it pulls the couplers apart.



    Ian
    Ian MacMillan

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  4. #4
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    Default Re:Hands-free Operation - Magnetic Couplers

    I am building one of those uncouplers tonight!

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    Default Re:Hands-free Operation - Magnetic Couplers

    They work great!
    Ian MacMillan

    Rockingham Junction Models
    N Scale, by N Scalers
    www.rockinghamjunctionmodels.com

    Pine Tree Models
    Quality N Scale Kits
    www.pinetreemodels.com

    [url=http://www.last.fm/user/Ianscape/?chartstyle=asimpleblue5][img]http://imagegen.l

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    Default Re:Hands-free Operation - Magnetic Couplers

    Question: Where can you pick up a set of magnets for this?
    Aaron

  7. #7
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    Default Re:Hands-free Operation - Magnetic Couplers

    Search for rare earth magnets on eBay. That is where I get mine. I buy them in bulk.

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    Default Re:Hands-free Operation - Magnetic Couplers

    Rare Earth magnets are also called Neodymium magnets (that might help you track some down)...

    As a starter, here is one site: http://www.wondermagnets.com/cgi-bin...ts%3BNeodymium
    Bryan
    “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519)

  9. #9
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    Default Re:Hands-free Operation - Magnetic Couplers

    I think Bryan's link is the same guy I bought from on eBay. Got 100 1/8" magnets for less than 20 bucks shipped.

    I glue 4 of them on a .40 styrene substrate. Make sure there polarity is all the same.

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    Default Re:Hands-free Operation - Magnetic Couplers

    here is another web site with uncoupler info hope it helps

    http://aglasshalffull.org/article-uncouplers.html

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    Default Re: Hands-free Operation - Magnetic Couplers

    Quote Originally Posted by "afhirschfeld"
    1. If you take advantage of magnetic couplers, how do you operate them? By permanent magnets on the track, hidden electromagnets mounted under the track or other methods.
    I have hidden permanent magnets under track.
    2. Where is the best place to place magnets for improved operation? The base of a turnout seems to make sense to me but I have never tried it.
    In my situation (2 1/2 x 5), I have a magnet in front of every spur, and at the ends of the passing siding. Sometimes, one magnet can be placed so that it covers a couple of spurs facing in opposite directions.
    3. If you do use magentic couplers, how have they improved operations?
    They allow me some hands-free operation, and minimize the need to stretch over and pick at the couplers with a tool, or hold the U-shaped uncoupler over it. Someday, I may very well put my layout in a coffee table, and being able to operate it under glass would be nice.
    4. Do you ever get undesired uncoupling where you locate a magnet?
    Since I have permanent magnets, this is definitely an issue. Six of my seven magnets are on my "mainline", so trains run over them all of the time. If some equipment is not rolling smoothly, there will be some uncoupling over the magnets. I use MT's restrictor springs on all cars, and I have to work on some cars, but once I've got a car sorted, it doesn't uncouple at the wrong time. It requires a higher standard of rolling stock, which makes for more work.

    Because of the close quarters of my layout, I find myself doing alot of switching movements, so I have to be careful of inadvertantly uncoupling cars by stopping with the couplers right over a magnet.

    And another consideration (especially on a layout like mine with very short spurs) is that you have to be careful when spotting cars in spurs. If you are spotting a car(s) at the end of the spur, and if you have some cars between the engine and the car(s) you are spotting, you could end up with couplers sitting right over the magnet. At this point, all of those cars could be "trapped" on the other side of that magnet, and you would be forced to use the 0-5-0 switcher. So when deciding on switching moves, you have to change things so that it doesn't happen (unless you don't mind using the 0-5-0 switcher).

    One other consideration is that couplers like Atlas' Accumate do not work with magnets, and so you would have to replace those with MTs.

    ---jps

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    Default Re:Hands-free Operation - Magnetic Couplers

    I use a mechanical device for uncoupling. It was fashioned out of a knitting needle and operates like a RIX pic.

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