Coupler query (N Scale)

Just inherited some assorted N scale US outline stuff (-very- assorted)
Bachman GP40, Model Power Alco Century 420 - Both with standard Arnold type
N Gauge couplers (the Bachman loco is very smooth, the MP engine less so).
Assorted MP freight stock - bit basic and all Arnold couplers
Assorted Atlas freight stock - very nice indeed - Think these have the Atlas couoplers
Questions - Is the Atlas coupler really compatible with the MicroTrains type? (Getting either may be tricky in the UK and it would be nice to have as many options as possible).
What is the minimum radius US outline stock will handle and does this cause break-aways? I have a collection of redundant Fleichmann track which has a min radius of 7.5 inches or thereabouts. The German stuff handles this fine (they even have a trick coupler for close coupling passenger stock that expands on the curves). The Arnold couplers on some makes of UK outline tend to come uncoupled on these very tight curves.
This my first real go at US outline so I know almost nothing (got a couple of books on order though, mainly due to the Atlas stock, as I said very nice indeed). I have a space five feet by about two feet to play with for experiments, so tight curves are attractive.
Regards
Mike
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Where are you based?
It sounds like the NMRA British Region probably has all the answers to your questions.
Send a message to snipped-for-privacy@nmrabr.org.uk It will come to me and when I get the information I will respond either by sending it to someone near you or by letting you have my personal telephone number
If you (or anyone else) is near Brighton 12-14 February the NMRA will have its display stand at Model World in the Brighton Centre

PS Are you the same gut who's been posting on the UK site recently? Nice to see someone asking intelligent questions and getting intelligent replies
--
Mike Hughes
Marketing Co-ordinator NMRA British Region
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writes

<<<<<<< SNIP>>>>>>>
\

What inrelligent replies ? The only reply I saw was "send these questions to someone who will send them on to another",etc. Providing a telephone number is good, but how does that answer the questions for those of us who also are interested in the answers. I'm not sure what you want the OP to do, but for my part, that's not the way I've seen USENET work.
We all understand that replies are those of the replier and not the organization he/she is associated with (unless so stated), so don'r worry about mis-representing a group.
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John Carter wrote:

The ones on the UK site, obviously.
cheers, wolf k.
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Mike Smith wrote:

Generally speaking, knuckle couplers of different makes will mate with each other on straight track, but may have issues on curves. All couplers will have difficulty coupling on small radiius curves (anything less than about 20" is small radius IMO.)
Minimum curve should be 10" or therabouts (Atlas min is 9.97") IMO, minimum radius should be 15" or more, especially is using body-mounted couplers.
There are several issues with couplers: a) Track: dipsy-doodling, rollercoaster track will cause unintended uncoupling. This effect is worse with N, as the coupler heads are about half the depth of HO couplers.
b) Body versus truck- (bogie-) mounted couplers: Don't mix them , esp. if using small radii. Worst case is body-mount on a long car and truck-mount on a short one. Such cars can derail each other.
c) Coupler height: Arnold couplers are especially sensitive to variations, esp. when track isn't dead level. Either buy or make a gauge, and ensure all couplers are within about 0.25mm of correct height.
d) Coupler mounting: again, Arnold couplers have more problems than MTL couplers, mostly because of manufacturing sloppiness (variations in spring stiffness, mold parting lines/flash where it shouldn't be, etc.)
All in all, I recommend MTL couplers. If you have problems getting them in the UK, mail me offgroup at noshomosu usual-wierd-sign sympatico li'l dot ca. I can supply at very good prices.
cheers, wolf k.
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Mike Smith wrote:

Normally yes but the Atlas coupler boxes tend to fall apart just by looking at it, and they often loose their trip pin.

It is not tricky at all. A lot of good web shops carry them. I use http://www.nscalesupply.com /, http://www.modeltrainstuff.com/ and http://www.wig-wag-trains.com /, no problem at all, and great service from all of them.

That depends on whether the couplers are truck mounted or body mounted. 40'-50' cars with truck mounted couplers generally traverse 9.75in radius curves (Atlas minimum fixed radius curve), similar cars with body mounted couplers may need 11-12in radius curves. Longer cars may need larger radius curves.

I think 40' cars with truck mounted couplers will run on this track but you may have problems if your locomotives have body mounted couplers (this is usual for newer N scale locomotives).
Truck mounted and body mounted couplers generally do not operate well together on small radius track. The body mounted coupler on a locomotive may derail the nearest truck on a car with truck mounted couplers due to the larger swing of the body mounted coupler and the much heavier locomotive. Changing the locomotive couplers to a type with a longer shank may prevent this.
Generally I recommend using Micro-Trains couplers as they are sturdier and more reliable than most other types and come in a large variety of types. The Micro-Trains web site http://www.micro-trains.com/ has a coupler conversion chart that covers most N scale locomotives.
--
Venlig hilsen/Best regards
Erik Olsen
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I'm not in N scale but your problem more sort of sounds like the generic problems that beginners often have with coupling. First off, trying to get only one brand of couplers on all of the equipmnt makes sure that there are no incompativilities between makers. The MTL coupler not only works very well but it is a much more scale looking coupler than other designs. One of the big rules is that the track HAS to be smooth and even. Kinks in track, both in side to side aangle and especially in up/down angle makee for big problems. Go out and look at some real track and note how much it looks like a single smooth ribbon. This means that the roadbed also needs to be smooth and level. Joints of all kinds need to be finished so that ther is no big gap or peak in the rail ends. It may not seem too big at the rail but any change in height does get magnified by the car body and that will throw the couplers out of alignment with each other. Basically, if you see equipment go bump over a spot in the track, it is bad and needs to be inspected and repaired.
-- Bob May
rmay at nethere.com http: slash /nav.to slash bobmay http: slash /bobmay dot astronomy.net
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Well, usually, anyway.
http://www.livescience.com/images/041222_perma_railroad_03.jpg
Hint: Don't lay your track on permafrost.
~Pete
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wrote:

Well, usually, anyway.
http://www.livescience.com/images/041222_perma_railroad_03.jpg
Hint: Don't lay your track on permafrost.
~Pete
Thank gents - 9.5 inches will do (the more recent UK outline stuff cannot manage anything less than 10.5 inch radius, the Fleichmann stuff goes down to 7.5 inches with no problem).
Hi Mike - Sorry I'm not using the NMRA site yet (couldn't find it, but got the link from your post)
Obviously the easier the curve the better, but when I was in the US in the 1980s there was a - seriously- tight curve feeding the cannery just down the road, which planted the seed of interest.
I'll start off with a simple oval with a few industrial spurs and see how I get on with it.
Thanks again for the advice - If I get stuck with the trucks I'll take up Wolf's offer.
Regards
Mike
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