Recommended Couplers?

Who can recommend reliable couplers for HO trains? I have horn couplers, of course, but want something that will keep the cars hooked
together through thick and thin. I don't do anything fancy so they never need to be uncoupled. I don't need the expensive Kadee magnetic kind or anything like that. I tried some accurail unit train couplers here tonight (recommended at a hobby shop) but unless your cars line up exactly right they don't work well either. It's so frustrating when the trains keep coming apart. I'm a novice at this so any advice will be appreciated.
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wayne wrote:

From what you are asking I would recommend bailing wire.
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A piece of string.
-- Cheers Roger T. See the GER at: - http://www.islandnet.com/~rogertra /
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If your trains keep coming apart, it might not be the couplers. Check your trackwork and make sure it's smooth and flowing.
Couplers that aren't the same height are also bad news. Whatever you decide to do, find a way to standardize coupler height. I'd recommend a Kadee coupler height gauge and knuckle couplers.
You do need to uncouple your train every now and then, as it's easier to put one car back on the rails than it is 40. Also, different cars will develop problems and if they're permanently coupled it'll make repair very difficult.
To me, KD couplers are worth the price for just about anything that needs a coupler. They're almost indestructable, and the most common problem is easily solved. (If the knuckle spring gets lost, it's cheap and easy to put another one on. Well... as easy as working with a spring can be.)
Puckdropper
--
If you're quiet, your teeth never touch your ankles.

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On Oct 9, 8:03 pm, Puckdropper <puckdropper(at)yahoo(dot)com> wrote:
 Well... as easy as working with a spring can be.)
Yes.
Meaning an Optivisor, the proper tool, and a Marine Master Sergeant's vocabulary all help.
~Pete
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On Thu, 09 Oct 2008 22:33:51 -0700, Twibil wrote:

The #158s will eliminate that problem - no extensive vocabulary required :-).
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I don't have one near by to examine, but as I recall the "whisker" #148/# 158 couplers still employed the knuckle spring in the same matter as the # 5. Those are the hard ones to get back on. The brass centering springs are fairly easy to install in most cases.
Puckdropper
--
If you're quiet, your teeth never touch your ankles.

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On Oct 10, 1:56 pm, Puckdropper <puckdropper(at)yahoo(dot)com> wrote:

Ok, I'm convinced. Kadee is the only way to go. However, there seem to be dozens of different kinds of Kadee couplers! More advice is needed please. What kind do I want?
Wayne
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Ok, I'm convinced. Kadee is the only way to go. However, there seem to be dozens of different kinds of Kadee couplers! More advice is needed please. What kind do I want?
Wayne
That depends on the car. IF it is an Athearn then the #5 or #58 or the new 'whisker #158' would be a simple replacement. Check the Kadee web site www.kadee.com and click on coupler conversions for other stock. If the coupler is mounted on the truck (the wheel part) then you would have a choice of replacing the truck with a Kadee truck/coupler set, or body mounting the coupler and cutting the coupler off the truck. While there click on Couplers and watch the animation to see the benifit of using a Kadee coupler.
--
Frank Rosenbaum
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If you're not sure what Kadee couplers to use, go to their website and it will tell you which ones to use for what car.
http://www.kadee.com /
-- Cheers Roger T. See the GER at: - http://www.islandnet.com/~rogertra /
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Kadee couplers are generally all the same size, what changes are how long they are and where the knuckle meets the shank.
Generally you need to know two numbers: 5 and 58. The #5 is termed "old reliable" and fits just about everything. The #58 is the "scale" coupler where the width was reduced to scale size.
Bulk packs of No.5's and No.58's are available, if you don't need coupler boxes (most cars have them already) they're a good buy.
A relatively new coupler style to Kadee's lineup is the whisker coupler. They're the same size as the No.5 and No.58s, but instead of the brass centering spring they have a couple of wires that perform the centering function.
Puckdropper
--
If you're quiet, your teeth never touch your ankles.

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The dozens of different kinds are different mounting designs for some of the really stupid manufacturing designs that are on some of the equipement that has beeen built in the past. As others have said, the #5 will usually do in most cases. Go to the Kadee site listed elsewhere in this thread for what exact number is required for any particular car or locomotive. If you're running only short trains, you may also want to consider some of the Kadee compatible couplers like the McHenry ones for their lower price. Please note that they will be fitting only the more common coupler pockets tho. They will mix well with the Kadees for those difficult to fit cases. I will also note here as has been noted by others, the couplers need to be properly mounted at the right height (they all need to be the same height amongst your equipment more than some exact number) so a "standard" coupler on a block of wood is a good thing to have to measure how high the couplers that you put on are to the track level. In addition, the track needs to be properly laid. Joints need to be smooth and no sudden changes in height are allowed or the couplers will indeed raise up and uncouple from each other - no more track sitting under the Christmas Tree! The best judge for trackwork is to take a long car and see what the couplers do as the car goes down the track. Anyplace that the height changes is a place of trouble which needs to be fixed.
-- Bob May
rmay at nethere.com http: slash /nav.to slash bobmay http: slash /bobmay dot astronomy.net

Ok, I'm convinced. Kadee is the only way to go. However, there seem to be dozens of different kinds of Kadee couplers! More advice is needed please. What kind do I want?
Wayne
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On Fri, 10 Oct 2008 18:56:00 +0000, Puckdropper wrote:

You're right - I forgot that because I've never had a problem with the knuckle springs. Maybe I'm just lucky, or possibly because I seem to spend more time building models than I do running trains :-).
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I have found that an Xacto knife helps with putting a knuckle spring in place.
--
Frank Rosenbaum
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I've used that and a flat screwdriver. With either tool, it seems the process that works best is to place the spring in one prong and compress the spring to fit on the other. If you're lucky, you get it done on the first try...
Usually I wind up having the spring shoot out and get lost on the floor. I can usually find it once, but not a second time. So I get another knuckle spring and try again. It only takes 5-6 tries now...
Puckdropper
--
If you're quiet, your teeth never touch your ankles.

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On 10/10/2008 10:42 PM Puckdropper spake thus:

Well, you know the rule: any time you work on something with teeny-tiny parts, you have to drop each part on the floor at least once. I find it useful to take all the parts in a pan and drop them on the floor (gently), then pick them up and start the project: that way, they've already hit the floor one time.
--
Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the
powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.
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On Oct 10, 10:42 pm, Puckdropper <puckdropper(at)yahoo(dot)com> wrote:

Ever seen a jeweler's apron? It's simply a piece of cloth that fastens along the lower front edge of your workbench. When you sit down to work you just lift the loose edge of the apron and drape it across your lap.
That way when a tiny irreplaceable part dashes off the workbench towards the floor it generally falls onto the apron and can be easily retrieved.
I think Micro-mark actually sells them.
~Pete
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On Oct 10, 10:42 pm, Puckdropper <puckdropper(at)yahoo(dot)com> wrote:

Ever seen a jeweler's apron? It's simply a piece of cloth that fastens along the lower front edge of your workbench. When you sit down to work you just lift the loose edge of the apron and drape it across your lap.
That way when a tiny irreplaceable part dashes off the workbench towards the floor it generally falls onto the apron and can be easily retrieved.
I think Micro-mark actually sells them.
~Pete
I tried the apron once. Damn near pulled the workbench over when I stood up.
--
Frank Rosenbaum
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Puckdropper wrote:

    I've eliminated losing small pieces by simply doing the assembly inside a clear garbage or recycling bag. When the part drops or in the case of a spring goes flying off, it can travel no further than the confines of the bag's interior. Much fewer headaches using this approach.
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Brian Smith wrote:

How long can you hold your breath?
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