...

Welcome Guest ( Log In | Register )

2 Pages V   1 2 >  
Reply to this topicStart new topic
> Couplings.
Mr N. Ladd
post 5 Jul 2016, 15:32
Post #1


Passed Fireman
****

Group: Members
Posts: 486
Joined: 3-December 15
Member No.: 21,897



Most of the hobby has moved forward in recent years. I have seen vast improvements in detail and choice. Some of the locomotives didn't really need a revamp, but they have had such and the results are brilliant though somewhat expensive. In all the brilliant innovations in technology are we not missing something major in the smaller scales in recent years. Realistic looking couplings that do not interfere with the running qualities as do some current coupling systems like close coupling coaches etc.
While many convert to Kadees, they often look more out of place then a large tension lock when placed on most British outline models.
There must be an answer for mainstream manufacturers to work to. Sprat and Winkle look OK as the bar is less visible then current systems used. If manufacturers chose something along those lines but maybe mounted further down and possibly able to be used with tension lock hooks as well?
It have found it so weird these days to see a call for greater realism of locos, rolling stock and even scale trackwork when a huge lump of plastic coupling sticks out either end of the item being run!

Go to the top of the page
 
+
stuartp
post 5 Jul 2016, 19:28
Post #2


Engine Driver
*****

Group: Members
Posts: 555
Joined: 14-May 08
Member No.: 3,012



But what do you replace it with ? The traditional British screw / 3 link coupling is inherently impossible to automate, and the automatic alternatives are either unrealistic, or temperamental, or fragile or all three. A mass-produced S&W out of stamped metal and stiff steel wire (and smaller) would get my vote, but it won't cope with trainset curves unless you mount it clear of the headstock, and at that height (and in a more robust material) it has little advantage over the tension lock apart from delayed uncoupling.

Modern MU modellers have the advantage here in that the various modern couplings at least look a bit like a Kadee but even those struggle with R2 curves when fitted in the correct place. No coupling, proprietary or scale, will cope with R2 curves and side buffers when mounted on the headstock of a coach unless you want a huge gap between the gangways, and most auto couplings rely on the buffers when propelling which will also put a lot of people off.

What I would like to see is a delayed action version of the tension lock coupling available commercially. The bulk of the market expects a coupling to work reliably on sharp curves in both directions, couple automatically and be fairly bombproof, and that's a tough call for a commercial product.


--------------------
Go to the top of the page
 
+
Richard Johnson
post 6 Jul 2016, 01:46
Post #3


Just another modeller
Group Icon


Group: Plus+
Posts: 9,981
Joined: 19-May 06
From: Settle, UK
Member No.: 703



*** Any coupling will need definitions of where it could be used / under what track-work limitations.

I'd suggest that the small hook and loop OR the EU equivalent are probably both close to the ideal for short or long rolling stock and sharp curves. There is no point in reinventing the wheel really... keep them for off-the shelf stock but move everything to NEM pockets and encourage cottage industry to come out with conversion kits for older stuff.

For modellers who CAN live with larger radii - more is possible.

Screw and 3 link is harder, but although fiddly it isn't totally impossible to automate - Of course it adds a need for precision and care in mounting + restrictions on radii + where coupling could be done.... so would not be a universal answer. I have spent ages playing with this idea... with many more experiments to come.

I also personally quite like the Dingham coupler in that it is at least fitted in the right place on each item of stock and works reliably.

The question is - where are automatic couplers really important?

Anyway - are they really needed on every item, both ends? Most model railways I observe move trains, change locos and while they may change out sections of trains, very seldom shunt individual items...

Richard

QUOTE (stuartp @ 6 Jul 2016, 03:28) *
But what do you replace it with ? The traditional British screw / 3 link coupling is inherently impossible to automate, and the automatic alternatives are either unrealistic, or temperamental, or fragile or all three. A mass-produced S&W out of stamped metal and stiff steel wire (and smaller) would get my vote, but it won't cope with trainset curves unless you mount it clear of the headstock, and at that height (and in a more robust material) it has little advantage over the tension lock apart from delayed uncoupling. Modern MU modellers have the advantage here in that the various modern couplings at least look a bit like a Kadee but even those struggle with R2 curves when fitted in the correct place. No coupling, proprietary or scale, will cope with R2 curves and side buffers when mounted on the headstock of a coach unless you want a huge gap between the gangways, and most auto couplings rely on the buffers when propelling which will also put a lot of people off. What I would like to see is a delayed action version of the tension lock coupling available commercially. The bulk of the market expects a coupling to work reliably on sharp curves in both directions, couple automatically and be fairly bombproof, and that's a tough call for a commercial product.




--------------------

Direct honest advice from DCC, DC & Modelling experts

Please do visit us at Unit E, The Sidings, BD24 9RP.... right behind Settle Station.
Ph +44 (0) 1729 821 080 or email to
[email protected]
Further customer service available online at:
https://www.dccconceptsforum.com
Go to the top of the page
 
+
34C
post 6 Jul 2016, 10:52
Post #4


In depth idiot
**********

Group: Members
Posts: 7,178
Joined: 31-May 07
Member No.: 1,818



QUOTE (stuartp @ 5 Jul 2016, 20:28) *
But what do you replace it with ? The traditional British screw / 3 link coupling is inherently impossible to automate...

Something close in appearance is possible, but very demanding of installation precision and wheel and track standards for reliably repeatable results. A non-starter for commercial OO and set track radii. The nearest thing is the Dingham design, already mentioned: it would be nice if commercial RTR OO had a dedicated standard for in bufferbeam mounted couplers, with this design (or a development of) as an option. But the fact is that OO RTR manufacturers simply picked up the NEM coupler pocket standard as an off the shelf option and went with it.

QUOTE (stuartp @ 5 Jul 2016, 20:28) *
...Modern MU modellers have the advantage here in that the various modern couplings at least look a bit like a Kadee but even those struggle with R2 curves when fitted in the correct place. No coupling, proprietary or scale, will cope with R2 curves and side buffers when mounted on the headstock of a coach unless you want a huge gap between the gangways, and most auto couplings rely on the buffers when propelling which will also put a lot of people off...

With the knuckle coupler having been introduced to UK use in the late C19th, there's no restriction to those MU Johnny-come-latelys! The real problem in my opinion is that the slack in model knuckle couplers means they don't optimally work camming close coupling mechanisms which are a very good solution for gangwayed coach close coupling: operable on the tightest rad curve that the uncoupled bogie vehicle can go around. That needs a superior model knuckle design.

QUOTE (stuartp @ 5 Jul 2016, 20:28) *
...What I would like to see is a delayed action version of the tension lock coupling available commercially. The bulk of the market expects a coupling to work reliably on sharp curves in both directions, couple automatically and be fairly bombproof, and that's a tough call for a commercial product.

Difficult to design, because the released latches on a pair of tension lock couplers have no mechanical interaction, and it is undesireable that they should do so; unlike Kadee where the latching components remain in contact and thereby hold themselves uncoupled. 'Hold unlatched' possibilities all fall down on the random uncouple problem if any couplers 'bump' while a train is in motion. At least that's the conclusion I have reached after a lot of experiment; if someone can crack this one I'll be first in the queue to try it out. As things stand the 'Brian Kirby' mod applied to the Bachmann miniature tension lock is as good as it gets for this coupler type; reliably achieves a clean uncouple over a permanent magnet or electromagnet uncoupler with no need for a 'shuffle'. Very pleased with the performance on my goods locos and wagon fleet.
Go to the top of the page
 
+
stuartp
post 6 Jul 2016, 19:45
Post #5


Engine Driver
*****

Group: Members
Posts: 555
Joined: 14-May 08
Member No.: 3,012



QUOTE (34C @ 6 Jul 2016, 10:52) *
As things stand the 'Brian Kirby' mod applied to the Bachmann miniature tension lock is as good as it gets for this coupler type


Agreed. I model in OO and have always used 3 links, screw etc appropriate to the vehicle in question. But my current layout is a 9' end to end with nothing more tortuous than a Streamline medium crossover to negotiate.

The next one will be a large continuous run with curves down to R3 (not on the visible bits) and one board too wide to reach over to uncouple in the goods yard (yes I know but it doesn't fit the other way round). The curves aren't an issue, I can propel 3-link-fitted 16 tonners round a 1st radius curve dead slow if the loco doesn't have a long overhang, but the wide board is a killer. So autocouplings are essential. To that end I have been experimenting a bit with the various designs and for what it's worth, here's what I've found:

Spratt and Winkle: Reliable if set up correctly, and will work on trainset curves on bogie vehicles if you mount them at 10mm high on the bogies (not 12mm or 14mm as per the instructions). Fiddly to build accurately and vulnerable to damage in the stock box. Easy to fit to locos in as far as you don't need to, just need a loop.

Dingham: Very unobtrusive, compatible with three links, reliable. Fiddly to build, single ended (but work round-able with a bit of faff), won't tolerate 3rd radius curves.

AJ: Almost invisible, fairly easy to set up. Vulnerable to damage and not reliable in OO due to the slop in the track gauge.

P4me (a simplified AJ): Advantages as per AJ, slightly more reliable due to the simpler design, stupidly cheap (0.10 guitar string and a staple) vulnerable to damage. Winning so far though.

Brian Kirkby tension locks: Reliable, cheap. But still looks like a tension lock and no delayed action.

Lincs: A kind of armoured AJ. Robust, copes with tight curves if bogie mounted at 10mm high, no delayed action. Running the P4me a close second at the moment.

Not considered : Kadees and similar, on appearance alone. I'd rather keep the tension locks.


--------------------
Go to the top of the page
 
+
34C
post 8 Jul 2016, 10:30
Post #6


In depth idiot
**********

Group: Members
Posts: 7,178
Joined: 31-May 07
Member No.: 1,818



Neat review. I'll expand it with some summary experience of RTR options. (A must for me, as with over a thousand vehicles to operate a mainline scenario, anything but attach and forget 'forever' is impractical.)

Miniature tension lock. Very robust and reliable if properly installed at consistent position, and only one manufacturer's version is used. Choose Bachmann's version and the non magnetic hook may have the Brian Kirby mod for magnetic uncoupling applied. Not tried the Dapol or Heljan versions to see if they can have this mod applied. (On short wheelbase wagons positioning it with the bumper bar face in the plane of the bufferheads allows wagons to buffer up when pushed, and pull out to the usual 6" between buffer heads of loose coupled traffic, works down to 24" minimum radius.)

Kadee. Very robust and reliable if properly installed at consistent position. Clear winner for appearance where prototype used knuckle couplers (GNR, ECJS, LNER, SR, BR gangwayed coaches). May be mounted correctly in bufferbeam, still fully capable with adjustment of the 'tail', appearance further improved.

Bachmann E-Zmate. Found on some of Bach's modern wagons, installed in the bufferbeam. Modifying the appropriate traction to put a coupler in a matching location and thus pull them has proved simple enough. Looks good, performs reliably.

Roco type, also sold as Hornby R8220. Robust, not the best autocoupler in the world, but operates the close coupling mechanisms on modern RTR coaches and kitbuilds fitted with the Keen units to perfection. Combinations of these two fully compatible couplers enable errors in coupler pocket position made by manufacturers to be easily overcome!

As implied by the above I operate a mixed economy: wagons, tension lock mostly; coaches Roco type inside sets, Kadees on set ends. Locos equipped per designated turns, mainline diesel types with both tension lock and Kadee.
Go to the top of the page
 
+
Sol
post 9 Jul 2016, 02:50
Post #7


Station Master
Group Icon

Group: Plus+
Posts: 1,286
Joined: 14-January 07
From: Evanston Gardens, South Australia
Member No.: 1,346



QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 6 Jul 2016, 11:16) *
Anyway - are they really needed on every item, both ends? Most model railways I observe move trains, change locos and while they may change out sections of trains, very seldom shunt individual items...

Richard



Interesting in that all the model rails layouts I operate on, do change locos & have a lot of shunting - in both USA, UK & Australian outline.


--------------------
Ron Solly
Devan & Summersett Railway - very, very loosely based on GWR/WR/BR.
Using NCE DCC.
Go to the top of the page
 
+
Richard Johnson
post 9 Jul 2016, 04:56
Post #8


Just another modeller
Group Icon


Group: Plus+
Posts: 9,981
Joined: 19-May 06
From: Settle, UK
Member No.: 703



*** Granted Sol, but quite probably we each tend to move in circles with similar operating interest so no surprises in the difference.

Even so, both of us change out locos and probably "head end" stock of course. I'd bet that passenger trains are rarely changed out significantly though - so they could or have a different requirement for coupling issues, which was my point. Not all things need to be the same. With the exception of Kadee I'd probably sit somewhere in 34C's camp (I do use Kadee on some things I model and did try kadee on some UK stock, but didn't like defacing and reducing the believability of my kit-built UK locos with them.

AU and US have traditionally both been Kadee based from the early years, so this discussion isn't really all that relevant to them.

Regards

Richard


--------------------

Direct honest advice from DCC, DC & Modelling experts

Please do visit us at Unit E, The Sidings, BD24 9RP.... right behind Settle Station.
Ph +44 (0) 1729 821 080 or email to
[email protected]
Further customer service available online at:
https://www.dccconceptsforum.com
Go to the top of the page
 
+
Brossard
post 9 Jul 2016, 13:23
Post #9


Station Master
******

Group: Members
Posts: 1,312
Joined: 16-August 07
From: A Bloke in Quebec
Member No.: 1,958



Not he first time this question has been but worth a review every now and then. Despite the huge improvements in quality, accuracy and performance compared to when I started 30 years ago, we are still stuck in the dark ages wrt couplings.

A vote of thanks to stuartp for reviewing the available couplings. I must admit that my hackles rose slightly when I saw that Kadee only rated a "not considered". I think Kadee is of great value to UK modellers. One of the first things I decided to do all those years ago was to ditch the T/L coupling for something else...but what. Obviously, the best looking coupling is 3/screw link and I did have look (a couple of times over the years), but, regrettably, I had to conclude that, for me, it wasn't going to work.

So, what else? Well, the only other coupling that I became aware of was...Kadee. Wow! These were not expensive, and worked reliably, and, I thought at least a Kadee looks like it belongs on a railway vehicle (not a UK vehicle granted), unlike all the others. At the time there were no NEM pockets so fitting Kadees was sometimes a challenge, but I was never defeated.

Fast forward to today, Kadees can be made to be unobtrusive. No 17 - 20 are a godsend to many of us and I have used these in profusion. With time though I came to think that these look a bit clunky and have been moving to the 158 (so called scale head). These are quite fine in appearance but the track does need to be well laid. Even with regular Kadee, I have see trains uncouple when going over a hump or through a dip.

The other thing I have eschewed is the notion of auto uncoupling. For most types of coupler, this is achieved by means of either a permanent or electro magnet. I always felt that to be a faff and don`t bother. Instead I use a bamboo skewer to uncouple Kadees. In life, couplings always require the intervention of a human so I`m not bothered about the 12``- ft hand decending. Because I don`t use magnets, I can dispense with the trip pin which looks generally awful and is especially ridiculous on an unfitted wagon.

An example:



So, my vote is for Kadee. If you`re going to fit the wrong coupling on a UK wagon, fit one that looks like a piece of railway kit. The foregoing is MY opinion and obviously there are some strongly held views for other methods, none of which are wrong. We modellers have to think about what we are trying to achieve and decide on the best way to get there.

Richard raises an interesting point about passenger stock. Most of the time, we run fixed rakes and might occasionally change locos. My view on coach coupling has evolved and now I use the hook and bar method recommended by Tony Wright. This enables the distance between coaches to be adjusted to be as small as possible, consistent with track radii. The application of soft wire between the coaches gives the impression of hoses. A simple folded paper gangway eliminates the daylight (something I abhor).

Another example:



Anyway my tuppence worth.

John


--------------------
John

Go to the top of the page
 
+
stuartp
post 9 Jul 2016, 16:45
Post #10


Engine Driver
*****

Group: Members
Posts: 555
Joined: 14-May 08
Member No.: 3,012



QUOTE (Brossard @ 9 Jul 2016, 13:23) *
A vote of thanks to stuartp for reviewing the available couplings. I must admit that my hackles rose slightly when I saw that Kadee only rated a "not considered". I think Kadee is of great value to UK modellers.


Thanks. My only issue with Kadees is appearance - to me they just look wrong on a Big Four goods wagon. Which is really really annoying because in every other respect they are ideal . I do actually use them on BR and LNER coaches within sets, but mounted in the correct place on the headstock and not in the NEM pockets. Ironically the fact that they look like proper railway couplings is part of my problem - they're the right couplings in the wrong place so the usual "This is a blatant compromise because it's a model" suspension of disbelief doesn't work. I can accept static figures and vehicles, compression of distances and the hand of God doing the uncoupling, but buckeyes on a 16 tonner jars as much as a Jinty with GWR on the side would !

I must admit your photo is making me think again though, they're certainly less obtrusive than a TL although as I will eventually need the remote uncoupling feature I need to keep the trip pins.


--------------------
Go to the top of the page
 
+
Brossard
post 9 Jul 2016, 18:07
Post #11


Station Master
******

Group: Members
Posts: 1,312
Joined: 16-August 07
From: A Bloke in Quebec
Member No.: 1,958



Cheers Stuart. As I said, Kadees do look wrong on a goods wagon but can be made to look better.

IMO performance has to trump appearance when we have a working model railway, so, Kadees do it for me.

I meant to add, wrt to coaches, that I have tried Kadees and find the slop to be excessive, around 4mm IIRC. Difficult to maintain that close coupled look. The bar and hook doesn`t permit any slop when tension is taken up.

Glad my picture made you have a think, that`s what it`s all about, sharing experience and ideas.

John


--------------------
John

Go to the top of the page
 
+
cold wombat
post 11 Jul 2016, 18:13
Post #12


Baggage Porter
*

Group: Members
Posts: 8
Joined: 7-July 16
From: Perth, Australia
Member No.: 25,329



As someone "sitting on the sidelines" (for now) working out which way to jump, this is a pertinent question. I don't really want to model US, but the 'bar & hook' coupling on UK stock has me wanting to go anywhere else. I realise it can be changed with some work and expense, but it adds to the time, cost and frustration with having to do something that should be unnecessary. I get the impression this is an issue that's been kicked around the block more times than anyone cares to count, but I think it does have a significant impact for anyone doing anything but toy railway sets. It's the least realistic system of them all. As a kid I started with Tyco with the horn hook couplers which looked reasonable (to my uncritical child's eyes) and seemed to work well. Even then when I couldn't care less about "prototypical" issues (and tbh, I still don't all that much) I could see that the Hornby sets that otherwise looked so desirable in the shop window looked bloody awful when it came to couplers. Surely a better 'default' option can be found? Transitioning might take a good few years, but the sooner something is done the better imho. Sorry if I've not offered anything positive and said nothing that hasn't been said before but it's an issue that's rubbed me up the wrong way for a good while.
Go to the top of the page
 
+
Richard Johnson
post 12 Jul 2016, 01:29
Post #13


Just another modeller
Group Icon


Group: Plus+
Posts: 9,981
Joined: 19-May 06
From: Settle, UK
Member No.: 703



*** The OO side of the hobby actually started off reasonably with the original Hornby Dublo coupler... In UK terms, perhaps the best of the low cost RTR couplers ever if looked after properly. This was all lost (the whole hobby lost a quality leader) when HD fell by the wayside and the Triang hook and bar was substituted.

A real shame.... but it's not going to change now as there is too much water under the bridge, but the overdue addition of the NEM coupler pocket over the past few years eases some changes and the current Bachmann hook and loop is at least a significantly smaller derivation and relatively reliable too.

Having once modelled US in the early days, the US Horn-hook was an unmitigated disaster really... it was certainly smaller than UK couplers but a really unreliable coupler compared to the hook and loop.

If prototype does not bother you then the small Bachmann or the Kadee will work well for you.

If it really bothers you then go US or AU (normally sold with Kadee or Kadee clones) or European with European type couplers which are generally OK...

However if you really want UK prototype and you are starting off, then simply focus more towards Bachmann/Heljan etc than Hornby... the B and H and other stuff is, any way, more often than not a better product than Hornby manages.

Richard


--------------------

Direct honest advice from DCC, DC & Modelling experts

Please do visit us at Unit E, The Sidings, BD24 9RP.... right behind Settle Station.
Ph +44 (0) 1729 821 080 or email to
[email protected]
Further customer service available online at:
https://www.dccconceptsforum.com
Go to the top of the page
 
+
34C
post 12 Jul 2016, 12:17
Post #14


In depth idiot
**********

Group: Members
Posts: 7,178
Joined: 31-May 07
Member No.: 1,818



Seems to me there is a gap in the OO RTR market for something Dingham like - user selectable to mount in either an NEM pocket or DIY in the bufferbeam - which might find support now the product is vastly improved, and still improving

QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 12 Jul 2016, 02:29) *
The OO side of the hobby actually started off reasonably with the original Hornby Dublo coupler. In UK terms, perhaps the best of the low cost RTR couplers ever if looked after properly. This was all lost (the whole hobby lost a quality leader) when HD fell by the wayside and the Triang hook and bar was substituted...


I'd offer a different perspective, that H-D were well off the pace by the late fifties and earned their failure through not having developed sufficiently from their good beginnings to maintain the ability to charge the premium price of their product. As kids at the time my circle much favoured Triang. The vast old tension lock won over the Peco simplex of H-D: on H-D track the simplex uncoupled every few yards; on the Triang system the tension lock coupler stayed coupled. The loco bogies and trucks fell off the H-D track - we ran without them - whereas Triang princess bogies and trucks stayed on the rails. And so on. H-D was both expensive and not such a good performer in the hands of kids.

I do think it a shame that they didn't improve and maintain a leadership position in the UK market. We might have got a finer scale product much earlier if that were so. I wasn't buying RTR by the late 1960s: it was all kits, and then EM gauge, and P4 was going to come over the horizon a few more years ahead.

QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 12 Jul 2016, 02:29) *
...However if you really want UK prototype and you are starting off, then simply focus more towards Bachmann/Heljan etc than Hornby... the B and H and other stuff is, any way, more often than not a better product than Hornby manages...


But that doesn't work for most who get the bug. Whether it is 'buy what you like' or 'buy to suit a prototype' despite complaints about duplication, there isn't really that much. I had to wait a decade for Heljan to finally produce something that suited my modelling, despite being very interested in sampling their product. (They have come through in trumps now.) Still not had anything suitable to try from Dapol. Meantime Hornby have had a free run, first they improved, then they retreated, and now they are back big time as far as my interest is concerned. And Bachmann - having until two years ago 'led the charge' consistently for over a dozen years - are now apparently becalmed (or mired?) and appear to have lost the plot somewhat.
Go to the top of the page
 
+
Brossard
post 12 Jul 2016, 12:55
Post #15


Station Master
******

Group: Members
Posts: 1,312
Joined: 16-August 07
From: A Bloke in Quebec
Member No.: 1,958



...but how many people out there feel strongly enough about this issue to militate about it? Obviously we few who have responded to this thread feel that way and have taken steps to satisfy our coupling needs. There may be more who want something better but can't articulate what that may be.

I think most accept the T/L as the way of things (just like OO gauge). I can't see the manufacturers coming up with anything different. I note that Hornby included a pair of couplings that look European(Roco?) with my last coach. These don't offer any improvement in appearance and I can't comment on performance.

One slight drawback with Dinghams, that was pointed out to me by a user I spoke to, is that they are handed. Not a show stopper, you just have to orient stock accordingly.

Traditionally, UK modellers know that the manufacturers will not act and have gotten on with the job. If T/L couplings really and truly get up your nose, the only solution I see is for the modeller to figure out what system he/she wants and work on that.

John

Oh and one other thing, where is the OP in this discussion? In my mind (old and crusty as it is), forum etiquette demands that the OP at least acknowledge those who have made the effort to respond and to join in. Maybe he's done a Farage.


--------------------
John

Go to the top of the page
 
+

2 Pages V   1 2 >
Reply to this topicStart new topic
2 User(s) are reading this topic (2 Guests and 0 Anonymous Users)
0 Members:

 



RSS    Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 11th July 2020 - 15:37