Magnet location

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Kevinkrey, Nov 28, 2007.

  1. Kevinkrey

    Kevinkrey Member

    I have a magnet that came with my DCC set. I know GARY S. had a thread all on magnets but there was too much info there. How do they work? I am building my ore dock and it is hard to reach it, can I put the magnet right at the beggining, but then would cars uncouple as I pulled them off the ore dock slowly? I need (quite) a bit of help here.
  2. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    For the magnet to actually uncouple the cars, there needs to be slack in the couplers. If you're pulling a train over the magnet, the couplers are in tension, so there's no slack, no uncoupling. If you're pushing a train over the magnet, there is slack, but uncoupling won't occur unless you stop the train with a pair of couplers over the magnet. This is all under ideal conditions. If the loco on the train momentarily falters due to poor electrical contact, false, or unwanted, uncoupling can occur. To see how this occurs, set up your magnet with a piece of flex track and a few ore cars. You don't even need a loco: just use your hand to push or pull the cars over the magnet. Try a smooth push and a smooth pull over the magnet, then repeat with a hesitation or two thrown in, to see what happens. Also practise deliberate uncouplings, both pushing and pulling. This should give you some idea of the capabilities and limitations of magnetic uncoupling, and allow you to make your decision based on your results.

  3. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Kevin, the uncoupling magnet issue, sadly, isn't a simple one. You should read everything you can, check out the Kadee website, and other stuff on the net.

    You should perform some experiments like DocWayne has stated. Set up some track with some magnets and play around with them. The location of the magnets on the layout is critical for smooth operations. Another critical aspect is coupler adjustment, and not just height. The centering spring tension is important too. It will take you awhile, with lots of trial and error to perfect your system. Another thing to consider is the use of electromagnets.

    Good luck! We're here to help however we can.
  4. Dansco

    Dansco Member

    One thing I just discovered after bashing some flat cars that’s causing me some frustration is this: If you have magnetic metal wheal axels, and if the car is free rolling enough (or just very light) then the magnet can "attract" and pull the car forward, which if your going slow, can make slack in your coupling and cause the cars to become uncoupled. I still love my magnets, I have them all over the place, I want event more!

    Here is how I mount them:
    Using the Kadee delayed action magnets, I figure out where I want to put them, then cut out ties in that area, then mount the magnet to a piece of double sided tape. This seems to get just the right height for me. A little below the rails. The Kaydee documentation says they should be a little above the rails, but this always causes me problems, with some of my fancier engines.

    Be sure to get the kaydee coupler gauge thingy and the special pliers come in very handy. Makes tweaks to the leg a snap.
  5. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Dansco, what I prefer is the Kadee "under the ties" magnet. It is strong enough to be buried in the roadbed so you don't have to cut out the ties. The track goes right over them, and the magnet gets covered under the ballast.

    There is no doubt that cars with steel weights or axles can be affected by the magnets. I remove any steel weights from my cars and use lead instead. I also use Intermountain metal wheelsets which are non-magnetic. I also weight my cars at about 1.5 times the NMRA standard which somewhat prevents inadvertant rolling and unwanted uncoupling.

    On my flat cars, I replaced the steel weights with sheet lead.
  6. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    There are two other options that come to mind:

    1) If you still want "remote" uncoupling, you could use an electro-magnet that can be turned on only when needed. For it to work properly though, all considerations for permanent magnets apply.

    2) Uncouple by hand (BTW, is this what you are doing elsewhere?). You can manually set the couplers in the "delay" position before backing the cut of cars out of reach. The advantage of this method is that you do not need to worry about the height of the "airhose/glad hand". In fact, you can cut them right off...

    You are under no obligation to use the magnet just because it came with the set...! ;) :D

  7. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

  8. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    And by "manually", Andrew means by use of a mechanical tool, such as a screwdriver, pick, or skewer. Those gladhands are required if you plan on using the Rix magnetic uncoupling tool, or a similar product, as the gladhands are the only magnetic part of the coupler.

  9. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Thanks for clarifying! :thumb:

    Yes, I mean uncoupling with a pick-type device that is used to basically "pry" the couplers open. Choices include a small standard screwdriver, a stainless steel pick (like an icepick...! :eek: ), or even a lowly bamboo skewer.

    If you use a Rix magnetic tool, or a little hook that, well, hooks the gladhand, then the gladhand has to remain in place...!

  10. Kevinkrey

    Kevinkrey Member

    I do maually uncouple elsewhere, but the ore dock is hard to acsess , it can be if needed and for photos which I will take many of, but magnets would stop me from crawling under benchwork to get to. think I will go do some experimenting. Thanks.:wave:
  11. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    You can make an automatic uncoupler without having to go to the relatively expensive electromagnets. The other problem with the Kaddee electromagnets is that if the power is left on the coil too long they will burn out like a switch motor. What you can do is cut a hole in your road bed (cork, foam, or whatever you use) where you want to position your magnet. Put a thin piece of styrene (.010-.015) over the hole. Make a hinged trap door to mount your magnet to, and hook it to a choke cable. When you pull or push on the cable depending on how you hook it up, the magnet will swing up between the rails just under the thin styrene. You can put your ballast over the styrene to hide it. When the magnet swings up under the styrene, the cars will be uncoupled automatically. When you don't want to uncouple, the magnet is swung down out of the way so that it has no effect on the couplers. I would like to take credit for this idea, but I saw it in an issue of either Model Railroader or Railroad Model Craftsman about 15-20 years ago.

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