Magnetic couplers

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by ezdays, Feb 12, 2003.

  1. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Can I assume from what you're saying, that Atlas doesn't sell the coupler (with or without a truck) by itself? It sounds to me like they should; but then, who has ever taken my business advice before anyway?:D

    I'm going to be heading into a part of town next week that has a train shop that should carry MT. Roy's Train World in Mesa should be able to help me here. I was there a few months ago, but was looking at HO stuff since I hadn't made up my mind which scale I was going with.:p I am please to report I'm getting my head on straight slowly but surely.:eek:

    D:cool: N
  2. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Hi Don,

    The Atlas on-line catalog lists them as available separately or on trucks. They come installed on some of the Atlas rolling stock instead of the Rapidos. I don't know if that's across the board. I don't want to go against the grain of the prevailing Kadee wisdom, but the Accumate seems well designed and Kadee (MT) compatible. I'm using Kadee on my HO stuff.

    The Accurail site seems to list only the HO gauge version, which I can't figure out, since they apparently make them for Atlas. I guess it's a new product for them.

    HO gauge coupler swaps can be a pain. N-scale truck swaps seem a little easier, at least to me.
    Good Luck!!! :D :D
  3. wendell

    wendell Member

    I know your asking about magnetic uncoupling but where you do'nt have and uncoulper installed you can use a small screw driver to open the couplers buy inserting it between the coupler and gentle twisting and the coupler will open wendell
  4. nmtexman

    nmtexman Member

    You have a lot of posts here with a lot of questions. Most are answered for you already. I'm just going to summarize them all in one message.

    Magnetic couplers work by having the trip pins moved by a magnet. Therefore any two piece coupler having metal trip pins will work as a magnetic coupler. Kato has their version, MicroTrains theirs, and Atlas has Accumates. These are the only two part couplers that I know of in the market for N-Scale.

    Of these three, Microtrains is the best thus far although Accumates are definitely catching up. You can buy all three of these brands (Kato, MT, Accumates) separately. MT offers full truck conversions, or you can buy one of their many specific sets. Accumates I've only seen available in full truck conversion. Kato I've only seen available separately.

    Roundhouse also has a version of a knuckle coupler and I believe Intermountain used to use a version of these. These, however, are not magnetic; i.e.; they will not uncouple automatically.

    There are some problems with various brand knuckle couplers working with other brands. I think these have been solved for the most part. The older versions of the Roundhouse knuckle couplers did not play well with other brands at all. The newer versions look better and connect to other brands better also. They are not, however, magnetic. You can drill a hole and place a metal trip pin in them, but they are one-piece and will not uncouple automatically.

    MT Couplers are available from several on-line sources; BLW is one of them . I think Wig-Wag will also be able to get them for you:

    These are the two I know for sure. Your local LHS should also be able to order them thru Walthers: . If you do not have a LHS, you can order through Walthers also.
  5. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way


    Thanks for the recap and thanks to all that responded. I now have a better idea of what's available and where to find it. That was the purpose of my post to start with.

    Uhh, sounds like someone in another post is having @!!&# problems with MT couplers. :rolleyes: Hey, I guess it could happen to anyone. I cannot see running a RR without them though. :cool: That's why I wanted to know what I need to do before I start laying track.

  6. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    OOne small step...

    ...for the uninitiated.:rolleyes:

    I was able to get to a "local" train shop, (I say local, but it is about a 90 mile drive one way). They weren't that sharp when it came to couplers, and told me if I bring in my cars, they will look them up on the MT web site and get the conversion #. Well, I don't know, but I've been there probably more times then they have the past week. Anyway, I bought some Atlas cars with MT couplers (well, two of them were marked Micro Train and three had Kadee), and a few 1015 (unassembled) couplers to play with for my other cars. Suddenly, things are starting to become clearer.

    Here's what I've concluded, please correct me if I'm wrong:

    • Building couplers by hand just ain't worth the $1 savings buying them assembled.

      I now see the difference between truck mount and body mount, and you cannot change cars from one to the other.

      If a car needs a truck mount, they only way to convert it is to replace the truck and coupler, like the 1037 that Ty suggested.

      My caboose needs a body mount like the 1015

      My Bachman F-9 and F-9A engines looks like they can use the 1015, but mounted on the truck.
    My Life-like GP-38 appears different and I'm not too sure how to convert it. It looks like the coupler body is moulded as part of the wheel assembly. The MT web site says to use a 1135, or possibly an 1128, 29 or 30. Anyone have any thougts on this. I'd hate to ruin a good engine because I got careless.


  7. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Re: One small step...

    Hokey dokey, this time I know I got it, seeing is believing and I found what I needed in another shop and I am now happily conveting a few test pieces before I go ahead and order more. I'm even halfway through conveting my GP-38.

    I appreciate all your tips and leads as to where to find what I need. The places you guys told me about are all at least 25% less than any shop in the Phoenix area. To be sure, one shop was selling parts at well over the MT "list" price.:rolleyes:

    Ya gotta admit though, there are waaaayyy too many choices out there and you can get a really bad headache just trying to sort it all out.:eek:

    thankyou, thank you, thank you,

    D:cool: N
  8. nmtexman

    nmtexman Member

    I'm glad you're catching on so well to the MT frenzy. Micro Trains has a conversion spreadsheet that you can download from their site if you have Excel on your system. You can also look at them on line. They even sell a yellow loose-leaf notebook full of these tables in addition to lots of other information about MicroTrains.

    One thing that is happening in the industry lately is that most new engines come out requiring body mounts. Kato engines (SD40-2, SD80/90, P42's, etc) all use the 2004 coupler. If you buy the 2004-1 it is already assembled for you. All you have to do is pull the clip, remove the Kato couplers and replace them with the 2004-1s, put the clip back in (make sure it snaps) and you're done!

    Atlas recommends the 1015/1016 (short vs. long shank, same coupler) on their SD60s, U25Bs, SD35s, etc. It works the same way as for the Katos; i.e., remove the clip, remove the old coupler & replace with 1015/1016, replace the clip (listen for the snap).

    LifeLike does it for their FB-2, C-424, GP-20, SD7, SD9, etc.

    Unfortunately, there is no -1 version for the 1015/1016s yet, so you gotta put them together yourself. MT does make a jig that makes this chore much, much easier, however.:D :D

    This is a good trend I think. Engines need the body mount more than cars do.

    Another thing to consider; one of the members of my N-trak club has been mounting Z-scale MT couplers on his engines:eek: . This gives a closer coupling and makes things look even better.:D
  9. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way


    I'm much appreciative of all the response and help I've gotten. I've already converted one engine and a few cars and have ordered what looks like will work for my other engines and a bunch of 1037's for the rest of my cars. I also oreded a few uncouplers to give me a chance to play with them before I put the track down. My background drives me to do a lot of bench testing before I charge off, and right now that's just as much fun to me 'cause I'm learning something new each time.:D Geeze, I don't know how much more excitement I can take. :rolleyes:

  10. who_dat73

    who_dat73 Member

    Wow this really helped

    I am going through the same thing right now and finding this was a God send I am gonna try to start on my converting here in the next few days.

    Thanks guys
  11. 3railguy

    3railguy Member

    I agree with everyone on knuckle couplers. I have only been into N scale for a 1 1/2 years and bought most stuff with knuckle couplers. I have converted only a handful of cars and engines and yes it is confusing. After converting a few cars, it starts becoming clearer to you. Micro Trains couplers in my experience are most reliable. Atlas Accumates come in second. I do not like Kato couplers. They break too easy.

    The latest trend is to install body mounted Z scale couplers because their smaller size is more realistic. These are tricky to install. Especially on engines.

    Another improvement N scalers make is to convert to metal wheelsets. Both Intermounatin and NWSL sell them. Metal wheel sets roll better and keep the track cleaner.

    There are no electromatic uncouplers in N scale I know of.

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