Hand uncoupling

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Nomad, Apr 12, 2007.

  1. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Is there any modifactions to the Kadee #5 couplers that makes them esier to hand uncouple? Some of mine uncouple as soon as I use the skewer and others I have to keep twisting the skewer. I can get the skewer stuck and actually lift the two cars up trying to uncouple, but it's not always at the same spot on the layout. Thanks for any help.

  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    The key is to have slack in the coupler. If you need to, you can push the cars slightly together to help. The other trick is to hook the "gladhand" from the side, rather than trying to pry the coupler faces apart. 'Course this only works if you haven't cut off the gladhands, but can be useful for close coupled cars, or passenger cars with diaphragm details.

  3. nhguy

    nhguy Member

    A lot of my layout owner friends cut off the over-sized hose or glad hand on the bottom of the coupler. This does make it easier to uncouple and does a lot for the overall looks of a car. As Andrew said, make sure you have slack between the cars. Sometimes it also depends on where you put the skewer. You have to get it between the knuckles' moving parts and twist
  4. shortliner

    shortliner Member

    One quick tip - coat the pointy end of the skewer with ACC (LET IT DRY!!!) or rubber cement, then stick it between the couplers - it gives it "tooth" and helps with the twisty action
    Shortliner(Jack)away up here in the Highlands
  5. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Ya know, it dawns on me that all these problems could be eliminated by using magnets under the track! :D
  6. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    :p ;) :D

    They'd have to be super-extra strong magnets if you cut off the gladhands... sign1

  7. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Magnets under the track sometimes result in unwanted uncoupling. If the problem occurs in the middle of a train, you will sometimes uncouple and have to recouple each car in the train before you get past the magnet.
  8. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    Everyone has their favorite ways of doing things! I like hand uncoupling with skewers just because it feels like I'm more involved in the railroading process during operations. I'm a brakeman! :) Magnets impress me though. Its very cool to watch a car uncouple for a set out without touching it.
  9. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    I know, I would rather go with magnets since I can't stand for very long, but I have never had good luck with them.

  10. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Sorry guys, I thought everyone would catch the tongue-in-cheek tone of my comment, considering the discussions about magnets and uncoupling we've been having in several other threads. :oops:
  11. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    No problem, Gary.

  12. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    You're at risk of a hamr...! ;) :D sign1

  13. I've only ever used magnets in my somewhat limited attempts to actually do any switching operations. For the most part, they have done their job as designed.

    However, I'm gearing up for some larger layouts with more switching capabilities, and I don't really want to be putting magnets all over the place (either between the tracks or under the tracks.) I'll probably use a few where they make sense.

    Having never tried (let alone heard of) the skewer method, I'm interested in finding out how it is done. What type of skewer is used? How is it used? What is the technique that is involved?

    Much thanks,
  14. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    I've been very happy with the use of magnets on my layout so far.

    If someone wanted to use magnets and expense wasn't an issue, the double coil electromagnets with pushbutton and time delay would be the ticket. Put them everywhere you need to uncouple... within reason. The delayed action comes in handy.
  15. nhguy

    nhguy Member

    And it costs too much! sign1 A package of skewer is much more cost effective. :thumb:
  16. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    I suppose it is all in the eye of the beholder. To me, a $500 brass engine costs too much yet there are those who love them. $150 for a craftsman structure is debatable as to cost effectiveness, yet there are plenty of them that have been bought.

    A $30 Kadee boxcar is a beautiful thing, but not very cost effective when the same car can be represented by a $3 Life-Like item purchased off the scrap table at the swap meet.

    I think the argument that uncoupling with a skewer is more realistic than uncoupling with a magnet is spurious at best. It just depends on point of view. To me, a giant hand with a giant "hickory stick" coming out of the sky is just as unrealistic as uncoupling with magnets.

    For someone who places priority on "hands-off" railroad operations, the electromagnets are very reasonable. And, I have really enjoyed the engineering aspect of my whole endeavor, experimenting and modifying the things.

    Hey, hope no-one takes my thoughts in this post wrong... I am having a lot of fun with you guys, especially Loren and Andrew, and others, with our discussions on uncoupling in several other threads. Whatever method of uncoupling each of us chooses is the right choice. There is no "wrong" option. And, as long as we are picking up and setting out cars and in general running our model railroads like the real thing, instead of just watching the trains go around in circles, then I am all for it!:)

  17. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    I just use a toothpick on my N scale layout.I might try a magnet on the spur.
  18. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Right on !
    And Gary, no harm, no foul. As you say, I am having to much fun. Maybe we oughta try and can this stuff and sell it.

  19. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Model railroading is fun, but joking around with you guys makes it REAL FUN!

    :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D
  20. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Jim, there are a number of devices that would come under the genre of "skewer". I guess the first that comes to mind is the use of a wooden "kabob" skewer that you can get at your local grocery store. The slack is put in the couplers by a backing move, and then the skewer is slipped between the knuckle faces to open the couplers. Micro Mark also offers a steel rod with a point that works on the same principle.

    Another tool that the guys in my local modular club have made is to take a piece of piano wire and bend the end of it into a small "z" shape. The other end is glued into a 6 inch piece of wooden dowel to serve as a handle. The wire can be used to open the couplers by the skewer method, or it can hook the "glad hands" and open the couplers that way.

    Kadee has come out with a tool that is inexpensive, made of plastic with a pocket clip on the handle end. The other end comes to a point with a kind of "bow tie" cross section on the working end. You slip the "bow tie" between the couplers and twist the tool and the couplers come apart. The Kadee tool is a copy of a tool made originally for accu-mate couplers, but it works for both types.

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