Uncoupler magnets: Your experience?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Santa Fe Jack, May 7, 2007.

  1. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    The only way for nondelayed to work is to position a magnet anywhere you want to spot a car. If you have a long warehouse with 5 doors or spots for cars on a siding, you would need 5 nondelayed magnets to spot cars there.

    Another trick I've seen written up is to mount a delayed action coupler to an upside down "L" shaped bracket with a hings at the corner. The magnet then folds down away from the track unless you want to uncouple at which time a simple pull on a cable lifts the magnet into position to uncouple.
  2. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member


    What track are you using? it is my understanding that the "on top of the ties" magnets will only work for code 100 rail. With code 83 and smaller, they have to be cut into the ties otherwise you will have the uncoupling pins and possibly the bottom of your loco trucks dragging on the magnets.

    As for the crowded control panels: What type of layout do you have? Mine is an around the room shelf, so you have to walk along with the trains. I have a pushbutton located in the fascia where each electromagnet is. Doesn't really clutter up anything.

    Let us know how everything is working, I am very interested, and this is one of my favorite mrr subjects.

    One other issue, it is somewhat important where you place these magnets, more than just what is obvious. Distance from the end of the spur can be important.

    Check out this thread: http://forum.zealot.com/t117168/

    and this one: http://forum.zealot.com/t115115/

    for more info than you care to read!
  3. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    Responses to Gary:
    Oooh - good point. I am using exclusively Walthers Shinohara code 83 nickel-silver. So, that suggests doing this under the track. That looks nicer, anyway.
    If you visit the web site (which needs reorganizing so that everyone is not forced to download all the pics) in the sig you'll see that it is a freestanding 6'x10' stowable table layout. The control panel will occupy one corner of the surface, in a triangular hinged sheet of 1/8"-thick aluminum. The control panel is to be blended into the layout, disguised as an amusement park train (about 1:10 scale in HO scale) in a public park (I am using 1:900 track and a train from Tiny Trains). The control panel will be a roughly-to-scale replica of the whole layout. Space is tight, but I really like this idea, so I'm living with the small space.

    Thanks for your interest. I think I'm going with the undertrack magnets, Kadee 308. I wonder why Walthers lists this as O scale?
  4. riverotter

    riverotter Midwest Alliance Rail Sys

    Have you ever seen a magnet for uncoupling cars on a real railroad? All the blah blah blah about "prototypical realism" cracks me up when I see those Kadee "hoses" hanging down. Operators on my layout uncouple cars and throw switches manually, just like the real world.
  5. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    Hmmmmmm. Of course I also don't tend to see giant pointed telephone poles coming from heaven to separate the couplers on local prototype freight cars. :)

    Personally I like to be hands on in my uncoupling because its fun for me but I can see how magnets create an image of prototype operation as well. Its like observing a railroad at work with only the absence of moving little people taking care of the business of uncoupling. To each their own. The coupler issue doesn't seem to need to be as contentous as the
    Ford Vs Chevy debate! :)
  6. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    No I haven't, but I have also never seen bus wiring running underneat the track, I have never seen track feeders coming up through the ground soldered to the rails. I have never seen nickel silver rail. I have never seen a real railroad glue their ballast down... plastic ties? Never. Plastic Geep bodies? Never saw one. An electric motor used as power for a 4-8-2 steam locomotive? Doubtful. And when was the last time any of us put diesel fuel in an Athearn SD-40?

    Yeah, I agree with ya. Another thing that cracks me up is acetal plastic trucks. And plastic car bodies instead of steel. DCC? What a joke! You reckon UP ever bought a Digitrax Zephyr to run their trains? What about over-size switch stands used to operate a turn-out?

    Hmmm.... when was the last time your operators had to walk 300 yards along the track to get from one switch to the next? When have your operators ever ridden the train from one location to the next?

    Alright, before anyone blows a gasket, understand that this is all in fun.
    :-D :-D :mrgreen: :-D :-D
    I am just pointing out that to argue that something is "unprototypical" opens up a huge can of worms concerning ANYTHING that we do as modelers.

    To be "prototypical" would require a full-size 12"= 1 foot layout. I think we all assume that certain aspects of mrr are not like the prototype, and each of us must make a personal decision as to what is valid and what is not.

    And if yall don't know, I LOVE my Kadee magnets!:-D
  7. riverotter

    riverotter Midwest Alliance Rail Sys

    "Alright, before anyone blows a gasket, understand that this is all in fun."

    :-D That was my intent, too. I may not have used enough "smiley face" emoticons in my original post. :) I'm not really a curmudgeon. Well, not a total curmudgeon, anyway. :mrgreen:

    One of the great things about this hobby is that there is no "one right way" to do it. Whatever you like, you can do. At one point when I had just gotten back into this hobby after an absence of several decades and was trying to decide what I wanted to do, I had an 8' x 16' Plywood Pacific with one loop of track each with N, HO, S scale, and On30 trains!
  8. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Thanks for taking my post in good humor. I agree with your points. For me, tinkering with the permanent magnets and electromagnets and couplers has given me a lot of enjoyment and satisfaction. And now that I have them working nearly flawlessly, they are fun to use too.

    Looking forward to more good discussion,
  9. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    I'm not sure about the code 83 track of other manufacturers, but if you want to use the "on top of the ties" magnets with Atlas code 83, simply remove the ties where you want to place the magnet. (Don't remove the ties completely: use a utility knife to cut out the centre sections of the ties to leave an opening the same width as the magnet.) Then, using contact cement, glue a piece of .060" sheet styrene, cut to the same size as the magnet, on top of the roadbed in the opening, then use the same cement to fasten the magnet to the .060" styrene shim. This gives the exact height recommended by Kadee. This method will work for other makes of track, too, simply by adjusting the thickness of the shim.

  10. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    When I started in HO, Kadee couplers were mechanically operated by a diamond-shaped ramp, which, when raised, acted to separate the straight pins which extended down from corner of the knuckles, which in turn, opened the knuckles. There was no delay option available, and also no "false uncouplings". You could uncouple "on the fly", without having to put slack in the couplers, too. When this style was discontinued, I used side cutters to remove the "air hose" thingy from new Kadees. It just didn't look like an air hose to me. :roll:
    I do use track magnets in my staging yard, as it's the only way to separate passenger cars fitted with diaphrams, and I have one on the silo track lead at GERN, as the delayed feature is useful here. Otherwise, I use the Rix magnetic uncoupling tool.

  11. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Say it ain't so, Doctor Wayne! :-|

    Are you telling me that you use BOTH of the unprototypical uncoupling practices on your layout? The buried magnet under the track (which never occurs on the prototype) AND the giant pole with a magnet extending down out of the sky (which also never occurs on the prototype)?

    Oh my gosh!:cry:

    At least I have eliminated ONE of these poor practices on my layout!:wink:
  12. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    It's even worse than that: the magnet isn't even buried. Not only that, but the staging yard is switched by an 0-5-0, most of the rolling stock has plastic wheels, and the air brakes on the trains don't work because the reservoirs on the locos are filled with lead. And, just between you and me, I think that the owner/operator is n-u-t-z.:eek:
    The "magnet" - nice hole-in-the-sky, too, eh?

    The domain of the 0-5-0: A regular switcher seems to have problems with the grade between "staging", at the top, and "storage", at the bottom.

    You can also see that giant Rix switchman, between the oil container and the steamer without a track, along with one of the supports holding up the "sky". Looks like the giant lift-out at the doorway has been lifted-out, too. :rolleyes:

  13. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Thank you for brightening my evening and making me smile, Wayne! Oh man, I really enjoy you guys!:-D Funny stuff!
  14. zappa

    zappa New Member

    a quick question for the magneto gods here.
    are the kato unitrack magnetic uncoupler delayed magnets?

  15. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Hmmm.... I thought I was an uncoupler magnet "gawd" but since I don't know anything about the Kato magnets, I stand demoted. :confused:

    Anyone else use them?
  16. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    hmmm... I had a bachmann magnet that worked out ok on the backmann track. i ended up buring it in my cork road bed to see how it worked, but then forgot about it later and ballasted over it! It only seems to work some of the time, but its also on a curve. I can't tell exactly where the best spot for it is either, so i just uncouple the usual way. I'm thinking of getting above track magnets, but not glueing them down, if possible. That way i can take them off for pictures if they don't look right. I know in the future my layout needs to be as hands off as possible because i want to install catenary.
  17. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    Thanks for all the discussion.

    In the end, however, I've decided to not use any magnetic uncouplers. Most of the places I'd use them are on curves, however slight, and I think I'll just go with the Rix tool.

    BTW, does anyone want any Kadee 308 magnets? I bought 10 of them, and now will not be using them. D'oh!
  18. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    SF Jack, if you would have offered the magnets 6 months ago, I would have bought them from you. But I've already purchased what I need.

    One thing is for certain: If you plan on using magnets, you have to take them into consideration during the design stages of the layout. There are a number of considerations to account for, such as straight track, and distance from the end of spurs to name a couple.
  19. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    Right. I was trying to work them post-design, as I was laying down track. After much fiddling, I decided that this was not going to work well.

    But it's OK. One design consideration I made was that I would be able to reach any part of the layout by hand, meaning no further than three feet in. For the walkaround layout, that meant a maximum width of six feet. So, I can get to what I need to with the Rix tool or at the very least the ol' 0-5-0 switcher.
  20. Mannix

    Mannix Member

    If anybody is interested in purchasing Kadee 308 delayed Magne-Matic uncouplers, I have 4 more than I need for my layout. These are in the original envelopes, and they have not been opened. I will sell them for $4.75 each and that includes shipping.

Share This Page