Couplings

I am just starting in railways (n gauge) and am confused about couplings. I have seen people refer to different types, most commonly Tension Lock.
Is this the type that I have on my Graham Farish rolling stock?
I have also noticed reference to magnetic de-couplers, do these refer to uncoupling a magnetic coupling or are they for standard ones? Sorry if this sounds thick but I am finding it a bit of a mystery particularly as I have installed a couple of the Peco uncouplers and found them to be unreliable to say the least.
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Keith Willcocks
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"Keith Willcocks" wrote

Graham Farish fit 'Arnold' style coupling to their N-gauge stock. Tension-lock refers to the couplings generally fitted by Hornby and Bachmann to their 'OO' items.
John.
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On Mon, 15 Jan 2007 13:19:03 -0000, "Keith Willcocks" wrote:

Arnold Rapido I think. (but I am just thinking about starting in N as well ! so treat what I type with some caution :) )

This is as far as I have researched so far :- There are couplings that can be uncoupled magnetically (the couplings themselves are not magnetic but include steel bits in them that are pulled by a magnet or an electromagnet mounted on the baseboard.) They are DIY replacements for the standard Rapido. Things to Google for are Sprat & Winkle couplings, I have a link somewhere, but not to hand at the moment, I'll be back later when I find it, and there is another one as well which escapes me ,,,, ummm !
There is also an electromagnetically operated mechanical uncoupler, the Peco PL25, it seems to be a rod which is pushed upwards by an electromagnet to lift the Rapido to uncouple it. But I must be missing something because that would need very precise positioning of the rolling stock ??? :(
I wonder if this is the one you have or is it the SL330 simple mechanical device ?

Thank you for posting that, I have been asking the same question in various other places and you are the first person to report on actual experience.
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I wrote:

MicroTrains, that is one I was trying to think of ( thanks Wolf !) It is the N equivalent of the Kaydee coupler which you may also have seen mentioned, it is much favoured in the US and gets good reports,
The other magnetically operated one is is the Alex Jackson, DIY with springy wire :- http://www.mmrs.org.uk/coupling.htm
and the Sprat&Winkle can be found here :- http://www.modelsignals.com/s&w_detail/acn-3/sheet.pdf
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The one I have is the simple mechanical one. Very hit and miss and sometimes derails the train if it doesn't sit down properly.
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Keith Willcocks wrote:

The most common couplings are:
a) the "Rapido", invented by Arnold. It couples by the jaws sliding over each other and dropping into place. A pin underneath is pushed up by an uncoupling ramp, which disengages the couplers. Originally, Arnold licensed the use of this coupler, now its patent has expired. This is the "standard" coupler to which you refer, and as you have discovered it's not worth a rat's back end. One reason: the couplers are not made to a uniform standard.
b) the knuckle coupler, made by Micro-Trains, which looks like a Buckeye coupler, and works on the same principle: the jaw opens sideways when coupling or uncoupling. It has a curved steel pin projecting underneath, which looks vaguely like air-brake hoses. A magnet between or under the rails pulls the jaws sideways, which disengages the couplers. Micro-Trains' patent on this coupler is still valid, so there are no clones available (as there are for HO/OO, since Kadee's patent ran out.) The Accumate coupler avoids the patent issue by using a different mechanical principle, but otherwise is compatible with Micro-Trains coupler. The knuckle coupler is quite reliable compared to the Rapido, but reliable coupling and uncoupling in N is much more of a problem than with larger scales.
Both of these types of couplers rely on tension to keep the couplers engaged when passing over an uncoupling ramp or magnet. Or bumps and undulations in the track, for that matter.
The "tension lock" coupler is the OO train-set type familiar from Triang, Hornby, and others, and the variations designed by modellers in EM/P-4 to look less obtrusive. AFAIK, no N scale manufacturers supply rolling stock equipped with these. Some modellers have devised N versions of these "invisible" couplers. I'm sure someone will direct you to any relevant websites.
Over here, most new N scale product is now equipped with Micro-Trains couplers. Micro-Trains makes mounting devices etc to convert all major N. American brands, and also offers couplers that fit the NEM coupler box.
BTW, if you mix 4-wheel stock with body-mounted couplers and bogie-stock with bogie-mounted couplers, you will have coupling problems. Body mount all couplers, using long shanks on the bogie stock, or devices that increase the couplers' swing.
Also make sure that all couplers are exactly the same height above the rail. NMRA standard height is 0.216" or 0.548mm, measured at the horizontal centre line of the coupler face. Easiest way to ensure this is a coupler-height gauge. You can make one yourself: shape a small block of hardwood, and fasten a coupler to its top. Shave away the bottom of the block until the coupler is at the correct height. (5.5mm above the rails, and allow at most 0.25mm variation, easily seen by eye.) Glue a couple of pieces of strip wood to the bottom of the gauge, centered and 9mm apart. This hold it in place on the track.
HTH
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Keith Willcocks wrote:

The standard Farish coupling is "Arnold" type. The common alternatives in N are:
Microtrains - US designed (sometimes called Kadee, which is the name of a larger scale version). Work well if setup properly. Can be operated by magnets buried in the track. Require two poles of the magnet to be presented either side of the centre line of the track (so one arm goes left whilst the other goes right). Can be done with buried fixed magnets, or fixed magnets on mechanical linkage to raise/lower. Allows "delayed uncoupling" where a wagon is uncoupled, then propelled down a siding in the uncoupled state.
And then the small cottage industry supplied types:
MBM - obselete "upside down tension lock". Still sold by the N gauge society, I think mostly to those who adopted it years ago. Magnetic operation. No delayed operation.
DG - available commercially (I think through MSE ??). Mixture of etched parts and some fine wire loops. Magnetically operated (either simple electromagnet coil, or movable fixed magnet), and allows "delayed uncoupling". A bit fiddly to assemble.
BB - similar to DG. Arguably easier to assemble. Mechanically compatible with DG.
Sprat and Winkle. I don't know anyone using it in N/2mm, but someone must.
And finally the "roll your own":
Alex Jackson (or AJ). See Manchester MRS site for gory details. Can work in N/2mm, but fiendishly difficult to make work reliably. Sprung variant devised by Jim Watt might be better, but even harder to make. Works much better in 4mm scales or bigger.
Electra. Rotary action DIY coupler. Somewhat similar in concept to the AJ, but a lot easier to build in 2mm. DIY from bits of wire and thin tube.
Must be a few more somewhere...
- Nigel
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Kadee used to make the N-gauge coupler at one time, until they hived them off into a separate company.
--
Jane
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On Mon, 15 Jan 2007 22:45:45 +0000, Jane Sullivan wrote:

Yes, to MicroTrains is my understanding
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WaltA wrote:

Just to stir the mud a bit:
"Kadee" stands for KD, initials of the two brothers who founded the company. Eventually, they split, and one of them took the N-scale coupler. This descendant of the original Kadee now produces a large range of N scale cars. They expanded in Z scale a few years ago, and last year began production of HOn3 (HO scale, 3ft narrow gauge) cars.
HTH
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On Mon, 15 Jan 2007 21:26:36 -0000, "Nigel Cliffe" wrote:

Yes, Scroll 1/2 way down below the Sprat&Winkle section : http://www.modelsignals.com/couplings_frame.htm No info sheet :( I've not found any description on the web of how they 'do'

New one to me ! Any link to more info please ?

Another new one to me, any link to more info please ? (/echo !)
I searched on Electra Coupling and got a load of waveguide and laser stuff !
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AJ,
Subscribe to Yahoo Groups N Gauge. There is a file on there describing the couplings available which I found to be very informative.
P.

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compatible
Once you've subscribed look under Files: Coupling information - the one you'll want is "N Gauge Couplings v0.1 draft pdf
P.
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On Tue, 16 Jan 2007 02:26:03 -0000, "Steve" wrote:

Thanks, found it, and some pics of the DG as well :)
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WaltA wrote:

2mm Scale Association website products lists has description of them.

Photo somewhere on my photos website. Not sure whether they are still available, as one of the two "B's" died quite a few years ago. N Gauge list page Steve mentioned might have information.

Only documentation I know is the 2mm Scale Association Magazine backnumber's, which are available to members.
www.nigelcliffe.photobook.org.uk
www.2mm.org.uk
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Nigel Cliffe wrote:

Here in the US there's another. Sergent. Works magnetically, but with a wand, not a magnet in the track. Take a look at:
http://www.sergentengineering.com /
But AFAIK they're only available for HO and may not look anything like UK prototypes.
--
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Nigel Cliffe wrote:

And I forgot one !
The MFK; absolutely brilliant idea, but the loops are too long for UK stock, so the buffers end up too far apart.
http://www.raw-nette.de/mfk4.htm and in video: http://www.raw-nette.de/t2/mfk_kup1.m1v
- Nigel
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On Tue, 16 Jan 2007 19:09:05 -0000, "Nigel Cliffe" wrote:

Interesting version of the "hand of god" ! :)
Might need good connections to enable an auto method though ;-)
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Thank you folks for a terrific response. You have given me a lot of excellent information and a good range of places to read it all up. Thanks again.
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Keith Willcocks
(If you can't laugh at life, it ain't worth living!)
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