towerwarlock

Train Couplers

17 posts in this topic

traintech1.jpg

Has anyone tried using comething other than the magnets for the train couplers? Say something along the lines of O-Gauge couplers? That way you can set up to uncouple the cars without touching them?

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I haven't seen anything that can couple and uncouple hands-free, but I've seen a number of different techniques on flickr. Check out this one from gambort, for instance.

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I was thinking along the lines of non-lego model railroads where the couplers can be uncoupled using a special uncoupling track section for switching cars. Any ideas? With the magnets you have to uncouple the train cars by hand.

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Once upon a time during the 12 volt era, when Lego produced a plethora of train-related accessories many enthusiasts would clamor for modern versions of today (which, due to costs, will likely not be seen again, if the company's current but sensible 'as few train specific elements as possible' stance) a set was produced for just such a situation!

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Though I personally do not own and have not used the set, to my understanding, when the toggle was pressed, small grey "grabs" took hold of the bottom of one set of magnetic couplers (presumably a consist to be detached from a locomotive) while the loco itself could then continue on, minus it's train. This was made possible by the old design of magnet holster used during the era, which employed a small 'bar' on one end, hanging downward, to more aesthetically resemble (at the time in which the prototype stock of the era was in use) European coupling proper, as shown here, contrasted with the later 9 volt/RC design, which omitted it completely:

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From what I hear, however, the 12 volt automatic decoupler was not an efficient means of preforming said task, and didn't work more often than it did. Even so, it's application today is more or less limited to a 12 volt layout (or section of layout) running classic 12 volt stock, which is far from practical for most layouts and MOCs, which usually have their roots in 9v (and the vastly more common new design of coupler!)

For the creative and technically minded, a modern solution is more than likely possible - has then ever yet been something proved unsolvable with LEGO? Unfortunately, I am not one of those brilliant minds - but I imagine that accomplishing such an action would depend upon your intended usage - do you intend to build a section of track that decouples all type of stock (with standard magnetic coupling) or a specific piece for a MOD or MOC designed to uncouple a special design of coupler? The latter should be fairly simple to find a suitable answer to with standard pieces, but as for the former, I suspect that electronics and programming would probably have to be involved, such as any of the Mindstorms systems and/or the new Power Functions system (which I believe go hand and hand currently, IIRC.)

Here are a few pictoral solutions from various Brickshelf users, primarily utilizing the 9v electric system.

Hope this helps, and good luck with your dilemma! :classic:

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do you intend to build a section of track that decouples all type of stock (with standard magnetic coupling) ... but ... I suspect that electronics and programming would probably have to be involved

Nice analysis. I'm not sure about that. So long as the rear wagon uses standard train wheels you have a fixed height to work with. Slow your train to a crawl and you could do it mechanically by taking advantage of this. Not that I'm a technical expert by any means but I reckon it could be done.

I'm also thinking that a modified (and uglier) version of my coupler linked above could be made for easy decoupling.

Tim

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I was thinking along the lines of somehow attaching the couplers from an O-Gauge train to Lego Trains to replace the magnets. Then using something along the line of the O-gauge decouplers. However I am thinking maybe a mechanical one down in the track. Hmmmmmm. . . . . .

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I'm a fan of the kadee coupler solution. I think a pair of Kadee O scale cost the same as a pair of sealed magnet train buffers, but allows us to do both shunting and more accurately model north american prototypes. I'll be using those for my micro layout I'm building now since it's a 5x2 baseplate layout for just switching games.

Here's some Lugnet threads that talk about it:

http://news.lugnet.com/trains/?n=29970&t=i&v=a

http://news.lugnet.com/trains/?n=25596&t=i&v=a

This would be my kadee coupler pick:

http://www.kadee.com/htmbord/page806.htm

As far as purity goes, I think there's some exceptions that can be made out of necessity. There's plenty of examples out there such as using Brickarms supplements to model militaria, or prior to the Emerald Night, using BBB wheels for steam locomotives.

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Since I have a limited number of couplers, for tender engines I just use a ball-and-socket connector, or maybe a 1x2 hitch with a 3x2 plate with a hole.

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What about just using a magnetic uncoupler like the ones used to uncouple theKadee couplers. those model railroad couplers are often referred to as "magnetic knuckle couplers" and use a special uncoupler which can be mounted between rails or under the track. I dont know the exact mechanics of how this stuff works exactly but it might do the job without using non LEGO couplers. The only issue with the Kadee couplers is how to connect them to the cars.

Sal

WFB, WI

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What about just using a magnetic uncoupler like the ones used to uncouple theKadee couplers. those model railroad couplers are often referred to as "magnetic knuckle couplers" and use a special uncoupler which can be mounted between rails or under the track. I dont know the exact mechanics of how this stuff works exactly but it might do the job without using non LEGO couplers. The only issue with the Kadee couplers is how to connect them to the cars.

Sal

WFB, WI

Sorry these would not work for lego couplers. These uncouplers (i think) is just a magnet or can be an electromagnet, when the train moves over this in the reverse direction it attracts a small piece of metal in the coupler, and pulls it to the left (or right). When the train moves forward it uncouples.

Mike

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To all interested, I have just completed adding a pair of Kadee Knuckle couplers to a pair of trucks. I will be taking them down to Brickworld tomorrow and post pictures tomorrow night. They are an almost direct replacement for the train buffer piece.

Sal

WFB, WI

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To all interested, I have just completed adding a pair of Kadee Knuckle couplers to a pair of trucks. I will be taking them down to Brickworld tomorrow and post pictures tomorrow night. They are an almost direct replacement for the train buffer piece.

Sal

WFB, WI

I can't wait to see these pictures of your couplers in action.

I'm a conformist! ! :sweet:

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To all interested, I have just completed adding a pair of Kadee Knuckle couplers to a pair of trucks. I will be taking them down to Brickworld tomorrow and post pictures tomorrow night. They are an almost direct replacement for the train buffer piece.

Sal

WFB, WI

Yes please post them! I'm working on a small switching layout and I was going to use kadee couplers for all the uncoupling I'd have to do. Please also tell us the model of kadee coupler you picked since I'm having trouble deciding.

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As promised I just posted pictures of my Kadee knuckle couplers mounted to LEGO trains on My Flickr.

I used:

1 pair of Kadee #806 Knuckle couplers with short draft gear box about $4.00 US

A 5 pack of #2-56 bolts 1/2 inch long, you only need 2, (1 per coupler) about $2.00 US

A 16 pack of #2-56 washers, I used 12, (6 per coupler see pictures) about $3.30 US

2 2x2 coupling plates about $.17 US a piece

2 slightly larger washers to cover the hole in the 2x2 coupling plates (I dont have a size or price for those, I found some that I already had)

A 12 pack of $2-56 nuts (you only need 2, 1 per coupler) about $3.30 US

The bolt fits the hole in the coupler draft gear box meant for mounting perfectly. 5 of the 6 #2-56 washers are used to fill the hole in the 2x2 coupling plate, the larger washer goes on top of the coupling plate with the 6th #2-56 washer atop that. This is needed because the #2-56 washers slide though the hole in the 2x2 coupling plate.

As they say a pic is worth a thousand words, so have a look at the pics on My Flickr I will post more and maybe a vid of it in action when I have a chance (probably this winter).

Sal

WFB, WI

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Nice! I usually don't like to modify my Lego, but this is an idea I might consider. Thanks so much for including all the info and pricing on the non-Lego parts you used.

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Posted Today, 09:20 PM

Nice! I usually don't like to modify my Lego, but this is an idea I might consider. Thanks so much for including all the info and pricing on the non-Lego parts you used.

As stated the one modification I did is optional, if you dont want to cut the bearing element, the 2x2 coupling plate would stick out one stud, (only being attached to the rest of the truck by one set of studs). I preferred it being one stud closer, therefore I made the modification. Other than that there are NO necessary modifications to add the Kadee knuckle couplers its just a "bolt on".

Sal

WFB, WI

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As stated the one modification I did is optional, if you dont want to cut the bearing element, the 2x2 coupling plate would stick out one stud, (only being attached to the rest of the truck by one set of studs). I preferred it being one stud closer, therefore I made the modification. Other than that there are NO necessary modifications to add the Kadee knuckle couplers its just a "bolt on".

Sal

WFB, WI

Great information legoboy3998! I'm seriously interested in getting a bunch of Kadee couplers, especially now that the separate magnets are no longer available from LEGO.

I like the fact that this conversion is just a bolt-on. I was looking over the instructions for the Kadee coupler and I noticed that there was no counter-indication to cutting off the end of the draft gear box. They even recommend it in this flyer http://www.kadee.com/html/S-G%20body%20mount%20couplers%20ins.pdf Since I don't like to mutilate LEGO, that's the option I will probably take (I like the close-coupling feature). I'll try to post pictures when I get some couplers.

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