Couple/Uncouple N Scale

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by jland31, Jun 18, 2002.

  1. jland31

    jland31 Member

    I'm putting a 4'x8' N Scale layout together. By design there is one mainline & lots of industries & yards with 14 turnouts [all electrically pwr'd].
    I'm looking to your experience & knowledge in selecting the best coupler/uncoupler system for "N" cars & engines.
    I guess by best I mean the ability to couple & uncouple remotely with a high degree of certainty as some of the locations are not readily accessible.
    At this point I have 8 engines & 103 cars with assorted trucks & couplers installed. About half of the cars are M/T.
    I'm really willing to do what's needed to end up with the most reliable system available.
  2. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Welcome to the Gauge jland! :) If you are going to uncouple remotely I would recommend the M/T's.
  3. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi jland31
    When you say M/T, I expect you mean Micro Trains yeh!
    Also only half have been changed from the Arnold Rapido type "BIG HOOK" my advice is to change them all to M/T's and use the magnet for un-coupling (Delayed version)

  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I've been out of N Scale for years now, but I still butt in to the forums.

    Just out of interest, what other couplings would be under consideration? I know Rapido-type (basic, comes with everything) and Kadee (now called MicroTrains). I even have the original Lone Star type, which is now about 40 years old.

    My experience is that the Rapido ones wouldn't uncouple and every manufacturer made them a bit different. M-T worked well; you needed to pay attention to horizontal slop caused by wheels being under gauge and the truck pins being loose.
  5. jland31

    jland31 Member


    Thanx Guys:
    Shamus- what type of Magnet ? Delayed??? Thats a new term for me.
    How does it work? Who makes it?
  6. kettlestack

    kettlestack Member

    hi jland31,
    Personally, I wouldn't use anything but MT's on my N equipment. They are virtually "bulletproof" in operation.
    MT make two type of uncoupling magnets. One is not as broad as the other as it is intended to uncouple only by having the knuckles just clear each other. The broader magnet pulls the couplers well to the side. This enables the coupler guide plates (I don't know the technical description for it) to line up with the gap in the other car's coupler, thus enabling the uncoupled cars to be pushed to their destination without the couplers re-engaging.

    Another bonus using MT's is the gap between cars is very small and looks really prototypical. They still go round very sharp bends without trouble.

    I started years ago to convert my 80+ N rolling stock to MT's.
    My wife (bless her heart) bought me several packets of the "assemble them yourself" ones! :( . It wasn't long before I bordered on the demented trying to avoid those tiny bits falling appart before I could finally seal the assembly.
    Imagine my joy when MT started to produce complete truck/coupler assembies! For me it was a godsend, remove the old truck/coupler, pop in the new one and voilla, one ready to roll car! These truck/coupler are available in bulk and are well worth the money (saves your sanity):) . Also they are available in archbar, bettendorf and roller bearing styles.

    Go for it friend.

  7. BDC

    BDC Member

    There is another option too. Atlas has started to sell their magnetic coupler in singles for about $2.50 to $3 each. They had a couple of problems when they first introduced the coupler, but it looks like they've been fixed. M/T has the larger selection of truck styles, but if you plan on running on Atlas' code 55 track or any smaller, you'll need to purchase the low-profile wheels seperately. Either one sure beat Rapidos!
  8. kettlestack

    kettlestack Member

    Wow yes BDC, I completely forgot about the new Code 55 track!
    Good job you mentioned that.
    Mind you, I have no experience of the Code 55, so I only have other peoples word about MT flange depth problems on it.

  9. K.V.Div

    K.V.Div Member

    I have found that the magnetic knuckle couplers work the best if you want the uncoupling option.
    Kadee (now Micro Trains) introduced their version back around 1968 and, more reciently, Atlas released the Accumate coupler on their new offerings, followed by Kato's new magnetic coupler.
    To use these couplers magneticly, you need to have a magnet mounted either between the rails (made by Microtrains), or under the track (made by Kadee, Microtrains, and Bachmann).
    To use them, you need to stop the train at the point you wish to uncouple at over the magnet, back up just a tad and pull foreward.
    If you wish to spot cars in a siding or at an industrial spur, carry out the above instructions, followed by: Insuring that the coupler trip pins have pulled each coupler over to the side (the delayed position), slowly back up, ensuring that the lip (that straight piece on the left hand side of each coupler) is against the lip of the other coupler and slowly push the car into the desired spot.
    Once you have placed the car where you want it, pull forward, leaving the car at the desired spot.
    Personally, I don't use the magnets for coupling, as I find it too restrictive for my operations.
    I started using aN "Uncoupling Pic" made by Rix Products, which is a 4-5" long, thin plastic stick with a slot style screwdriver head on it.
    Once you have spotted the car or stopped the train where you wish to uncouple, simply insert the pick between the two couplers and gently twist in a clockwise fashion and the couplers should disengage.
    If you don't have such a tool, then try using a small slotted screwdriver of the same size, and if that is too expensive, or if you need lots of them, pick up a package of bambo skewers from the local supermarket (Grocery store), and, with some fine sandpaper, shape one end to a flat, screwdriver shape and you are in business.


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