magnetic uncouplers and ballest

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by CAS, Feb 3, 2006.

  1. CAS

    CAS Member

    Here is another question for everyone. [​IMG]

    I will be using 2 types of uncoupling magnets. The ones that go under the track, and the ones that are affix to the top of the ties.

    I will convert all my cars and loco's to MT couplers. Not a big fan of thinking about using skewers to uncouple by hand.

    I'm pretty sure i won't be able to put ballast over the above the ties magnet, due to the height already. But what about the magnet that goes under the track? Do i ballast the track normal, sparingly? Not sure if the ballast, bonding agent, and diluted water will have a effect on the magnet, to uncouple my cars.
    If there is no effect after ballasting the track, i might just go with all under the track magnets.

    Thanks for the help.
  2. abutt

    abutt Member

    CAS...If you go for under the ballast/track, consider the electro-magnetic. Wherein you must activate the magnet with a push-button. Kadee sells these too. Under the magnet track installation means you can't see it. You need sort of "mile posts" to show you, the operator, where they are. I wish I had done this with my incoupling magnets. It's kind of a thing where you really have to plan ahead!

    Ballast and bonding agents seem to have no effect on the magnets, so not to worry.

    Uncoupling takes a lot of planning ahead. You've got to stare at your layout plans and really figure just where you're going to have to uncouple for industries, etc. This sounds like a real drag, but believe me it's time well spent.

    Good luck,

    Allan (abutt)
  3. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    As part of the planning Allan suggests, do not count on delayed action uncoupling. I've yet to find anybody in HO or smaller who could make the delayed action feature work consistently with all their rolling stock, especially through a turnout or two. Along with near perfect adjustment of couplers and uncoupling ramps, the delayed feature requires "just right" rolling qualities in the cars, and flawless slow speed performance of the locomotive with nary a hiccup or stutter while pushing in delayed action mode.

    Consistent, non-delayed uncoupling is an achieveable goal.

    Just something to keep in mind.

    yours in uncoupling
  4. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    Lets also not for get that accidental uncoupling at the wrong time when a train passes over them.
  5. abutt

    abutt Member

    As Fred and Ed said...perfect uncoupling is an ideal that few can achieve. First of all, you must have walk-around to be able to be right there with the train consist. Secondly, as Fred states, you must be expert and slow motion and just the right hesitation over the magnet -- then pushing the open couplered car is the last hair-pulling stunt! It all sounds so easy in the Kadee literature. I always carry an uncoupler probe in my car-card box, and use it 60% of the time. When I build my next layout in the sky, I'll ask St. Peter to remind me to lay out the electrical magnets before I lay the track!

    Keep smiling. Remember, it's only a hobby.

  6. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    The exacting trackwork that is required, along with the flawless rolling stock you need are the two biggest reasons two of the local clubs have recommended against them. In fact, one club went so far as to remove the magnets from their "public display module" and buy a pack of bamboo skewers.

  7. abutt

    abutt Member

    Following Andrew's thread...with my before-mentioned dedication to my rolling stock...couplers, trucks, weight, etc., I still have trouble. I think I might just go ahead and remove the magnets (they are so unprototypical!) and be done with it. My 2-foot deep layout allows me access to all the trains. So, if the Canadians can do it, so can I.

  8. sputnik

    sputnik Member

    That has been my experience too.

    You have found me, sir!

    I have been able to do delayed uncoupling with all of my rolling stock and engines (my detailed engines have Z-scale couplers at that), on my layout with 9 3/4" radius curves, using Kadee's undertrack permanent uncoupling magnets. I can't claim a 100% working record, but I can claim very few issues while operating.

    But, it requires MT trucks and couplers, and it requires a bit of work with the couplers to get them just right for delayed uncoupling, and some maintenance to keep it up.

    It requires very accurate placement of the magnet under the track. I mounted it under the track, and then performed some operation sessions, and did final adjustments to the magnets as needed. They were permanently secured with the ballast when the track was ballasted.

    To eliminate unwanted uncoupling (and to eliminate the "bounce" in the train), I added those "resisting springs" to an axle on each and every car. While that was a simple fix, it does increase the amount of force needed to move the car, decreasing the number of cars a particular engine can pull. Not an issue for me, but could be for others. Working with the wheelsets so that the cars run smoother will also help with this. The only unwanted uncoupling that you simply cannot avoid, is when you push a cut of cars into a spur, and when you stop, if couplers are over a magnet, they will uncouple when you back out of the spur. So you have to be aware of that when spotting cars.

    Lastly, I still normally use an uncoupling pick while operating my layout. It's a table top layout, so it's no stretch for me. The reason is not because the delayed doesn't work, but because it's just simpler in alot of cases during switching to stop the train and uncouple with a pick, as opposed to dragging the train out to where the magnet is, uncouple, and push it back. This is not because I didn't place the magnets in good locations, it's because one can't place them everywhere. So when I operate, I use a combination of both.

    And while I have achieved functional delayed uncoupling, I don't know if I would do it again. My final plan for my little layout is to put it in a coffee table, and so working delayed uncoupling would be necessary under glass, and I would do it again. Otherwise, I would probably forego all the work to mount the magnet, adjust it correctly, and maintain all couplers to the point where they work for delayed uncoupling correctly.


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