Sergent Couplers


Bill Lane <billlane@...>
 

Hi All,

Sergent couplers have been available in S Scale for many years now. I have 1
pair that I have yet to try. Some of my S Scale friends have used them to
various extents, and even prefer them to Kadees. They do have to be
assembled which can take a little while for the first set. There is no
supplied draft gear (in S) at this time. My opinion from their experiences
is that they look great on contest models. You can uncouple with them with a
magnet wand, but they are not like Kadees. They may be better suited to
passenger cars with less switching.

Thank You,
Bill Lane

Importing a Brass S Scale PRR X29
http://www.pennsysmodels.com
The freight versions are currently in production

Modeling the Mighty Pennsy in S Scale in 1957


Pete Brown <YahooLists@...>
 

Besides looking great, you can uncouple *anywhere* just like with the prototype. No magnets under the track and no pre-determined uncoupling points.

The new versions require far less assembly than the old.

I have some comparison shots of the older version on my site here:
http://www.irritatedvowel.com/Railroad/Details/Couplers/

I'll update that page with the new ones as soon as I get my hands on them :-)

Pete

----- Original Message -----
From: Bill Lane
To: Steam Era Freight cars
Sent: Tuesday, April 05, 2005 7:36 PM
Subject: [STMFC] Sergent Couplers


Hi All,

Sergent couplers have been available in S Scale for many years now. I have 1
pair that I have yet to try. Some of my S Scale friends have used them to
various extents, and even prefer them to Kadees. They do have to be
assembled which can take a little while for the first set. There is no
supplied draft gear (in S) at this time. My opinion from their experiences
is that they look great on contest models. You can uncouple with them with a
magnet wand, but they are not like Kadees. They may be better suited to
passenger cars with less switching.

Thank You,
Bill Lane


John Degnan <RailScaler@...>
 

Having experience with both the HO and the S scale version of the "original" Sergent coupler, I can say that I do prefer the Sergent couplers to the Kadee in both scales in the appearance category, but haven't totally decided in the operations category.

However, having just received my sampler pack of the "NEW" HO Sergent coupler, I can pretty-well guarantee that Kadee couplers will fast become a thing of the past for me. The assembly is a little easier... more "foolproof," and the appearance is absolutely out of this world!!! My biggest problem was paranoia when assembling any Sergent coupler... afraid that I was going to do something wrong or lose a part.

Sergent couplers still lack a gearbox, but I noticed that the rear of the shank on the new version has flatter sides than the original, suggesting that maybe, just maybe it would work with a Kadee gearbox and centering spring... IF one so chose to go that route. Like on the original Sergents, the shank of the new ones still seems a bit too thick in my opinion, but that's nothing that can't be easily solved... if necessary. I have also found that the nuckle seems to lock tighter than the nuckle on the original Sergent coupler.

In closing, let me just say that Frank Sergent has earned his wings from me. And I cannot wait until these babies come out in S scale!


John Degnan
RailScaler@comcast.net
John's World on the Web :
http://www.trainweb.org/seaboard/welcome.htm
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but nobody is entitled to their own truth!


Jeff English
 

I agree with Pete. Besides the ugly pins, Kadee or any other
magnetic uncoupling systems induce unprototypical operating
practices.

I have assembled a half-dozen or so of the Sergent S-scale couplers
and tested them out, including some deliberately extreme situations,
and I have found them to be completely satisfactory. I recently
purchased a hundred more in anticipation of building out my fleet.

Jeff English
Troy, New York

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, "Pete Brown" <YahooLists@i...> wrote:
Besides looking great, you can uncouple *anywhere* just like with
the prototype. No magnets under the track and no pre-determined
uncoupling points.

The new versions require far less assembly than the old.

I have some comparison shots of the older version on my site here:
http://www.irritatedvowel.com/Railroad/Details/Couplers/

I'll update that page with the new ones as soon as I get my hands
on them :-)

Pete
----- Original Message -----
From: Bill Lane
To: Steam Era Freight cars
Sent: Tuesday, April 05, 2005 7:36 PM
Subject: [STMFC] Sergent Couplers


Hi All,

Sergent couplers have been available in S Scale for many years
now. I have 1
pair that I have yet to try. Some of my S Scale friends have
used them to
various extents, and even prefer them to Kadees. They do have to
be
assembled which can take a little while for the first set. There
is no
supplied draft gear (in S) at this time. My opinion from their
experiences
is that they look great on contest models. You can uncouple with
them with a
magnet wand, but they are not like Kadees. They may be better
suited to
passenger cars with less switching.

Thank You,
Bill Lane



Ted Culotta <tculotta@...>
 

My biggest source of apprehension is the dependence on the same old oversized draft gear. Does anyone in the know know if there are there any plans to offer draft gear that can compete with Accurail's Protomate? I think that using oversized draft gear is a little bit like making a better hansom in the face of the automobile. It's an improvement on something, but doesn't address all of the underlying problems.

By the way, the coupler itself looks very good compared to its competition.

Regards,
Ted Culotta

Speedwitch Media
100 14th Avenue, San Mateo, CA 94402
info@speedwitch.com
www.speedwitch.com
(650) 787-1912


Pete Brown <YahooLists@...>
 

Ted

I take it what you are looking for is the narrowness of the draft gear box that Accurail uses in their Proto:HO couplers? If so, I think that would be an interesting design improvement in the Sergent couplers. I'm not sure how they would do it, though.

I think everyone should replace their wheelsets with Proto:87 wheels too, but I don't see that happening in droves ;-) Personally I think the Sergent is such a huge improvement over even "scale" couplers, that the change is enough to make a huge difference, even if you don't/can't replace the draft gear boxes.

Pete

----- Original Message -----
From: Ted Culotta
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Tuesday, April 05, 2005 11:33 PM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Sergent Couplers


My biggest source of apprehension is the dependence on the same old
oversized draft gear. Does anyone in the know know if there are there
any plans to offer draft gear that can compete with Accurail's
Protomate? I think that using oversized draft gear is a little bit
like making a better hansom in the face of the automobile. It's an
improvement on something, but doesn't address all of the underlying
problems.

By the way, the coupler itself looks very good compared to its
competition.

Regards,
Ted Culotta

Speedwitch Media
100 14th Avenue, San Mateo, CA 94402
info@speedwitch.com
www.speedwitch.com
(650) 787-1912


Denny Anspach <danspach@...>
 

Although I will certainly take a hard look at these new assembled HO scale couplers when they become available, so far I must remain an "optimistic skeptic" that these couplers are designed primarily for seldom-operated shelf or display models, or models that may be committed to fixed consists operating on excellent trackage. Sergent tells you up front that they are not compatible with any of the Kadee-type couplers, and that the couplers have to been aligned, and the knuckles opened by hand- serious issues for most for even casual operation.

On overall scale appearance alone, the continued dependence of this coupler upon an oversized coupler box that the coupler shank may or may not be designed to fit is an astounding non-starter. Even if one is still willing to accept an appearance akin to a rose still plastered on an ugly face, an integrated coupler-and-box design and engineering is a key to fundamental operating excellence-just as on the prototype.

That the coupler so far has no admitted inherent design capability for automatic centering, or any means of opening the knuckles only adds to a high probability for expected routine dysfunctional operation characteristics.

A fine cast scale dummy coupler would seem to be a better deal, so far.

Denny


--
Denny S. Anspach, MD
Sacramento


Pete Brown <YahooLists@...>
 

Leave the knuckles open after uncoupling, don;t open them each time you wish to couple. Also, I think non-centering can be a nice boon. It will allow you to couple on curves, for one thing.

You're not likelty to get a scale draft gear box *and* the ability to have the swing required on our far-from-prototypical curves. Personally, I think the draft gear box is being used as an excuse for folks to not have to bother with couplers other than the usual suspects. The same folks that believe the draft gear box is a huge issue and really make it non-usable for appearance reasons, also have wheelsets that are 2x as wide as the prototype.

To each their own. :-)

Like Proto:87 wheels and track, I suspect these will be relegated to the finescale crowd for the most part. Scale couplers and wheels are the two things that have, to date, failed to make the mainstream, even when folks insist on other scale details on their vehicles. The main reason, of course, is that these things have a direct impact on how you build and run your railroad. If you just finished laying 50 switches, it seems unlikely that you'll convert them to Proto:87 specs. The same thing goes it you have 200 cars with Kadees installed. No one likes rework :-)

Pete
Proto:87 Modeler in Maryland

----- Original Message -----
From: Denny Anspach
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Wednesday, April 06, 2005 1:20 PM
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Sergent Couplers


Although I will certainly take a hard look at these new assembled HO
scale couplers when they become available, so far I must remain an
"optimistic skeptic" that these couplers are designed primarily for
seldom-operated shelf or display models, or models that may be
committed to fixed consists operating on excellent trackage. Sergent
tells you up front that they are not compatible with any of the
Kadee-type couplers, and that the couplers have to been aligned, and
the knuckles opened by hand- serious issues for most for even casual
operation.

On overall scale appearance alone, the continued dependence of this
coupler upon an oversized coupler box that the coupler shank may or
may not be designed to fit is an astounding non-starter. Even if one
is still willing to accept an appearance akin to a rose still
plastered on an ugly face, an integrated coupler-and-box design and
engineering is a key to fundamental operating excellence-just as on
the prototype.

That the coupler so far has no admitted inherent design capability
for automatic centering, or any means of opening the knuckles only
adds to a high probability for expected routine dysfunctional
operation characteristics.

A fine cast scale dummy coupler would seem to be a better deal, so far.

Denny


Ted Culotta <tculotta@...>
 

On Apr 6, 2005, at 1:38 PM, Pete Brown wrote:

You're not likelty to get a scale draft gear box *and* the ability to have the swing required on our far-from-prototypical curves. Personally, I think the draft gear box is being used as an excuse for folks to not have to bother with couplers other than the usual suspects. The same folks that believe the draft gear box is a huge issue and really make it non-usable for appearance reasons, also have wheelsets that are 2x as wide as the prototype.

To each their own. :-)
I have tested the Protomate couplers with their very narrow draft gear in conjunction with the angle cocks that I put just adjacent to the draft gear on 15" (yes 15") radius curves with NO operational difficulties. So operation within the context of curves should not be an issue, especially since most don't model angle cocks either at all or nearly as close to the draft gear as I do. I realize that there are other considerations. One is automatic uncoupling. I am from the school of thought that the prototype doesn't uncouple automatically so neither should my models. In honor of our risk averse, litigious society, I will add that YMMV.

Regards,
Ted Culotta

Speedwitch Media
100 14th Avenue, San Mateo, CA 94402
info@speedwitch.com
www.speedwitch.com
(650) 787-1912


docdenny34 <danspach@...>
 

Personally, I think the draft gear box is being used as an excuse for folks to not have to
bother with couplers other than the usual suspects. The same folks that believe the draft
gear box is a huge issue and really make it non-usable for appearance reasons, also
have wheelsets that are 2x as wide as the prototype.
Hm-mm. Pretty brave accusation about people who are strangers to the sender.

Many of us who are desiring scale sized coupler boxes are also happily operating
hundreds of cars daily with .088" wheels, and would go to wheels even more narrow if
standard NMRA trackage would allow it.

Denny


John Degnan <RailScaler@...>
 

Sergent tells you up front that they are not compatible with any of the Kadee-type couplers
Of course, and they're not supposed to be, nor do they need to be considering what they were designed to be (prototypical). But at the same time, I wonder if Kadee couplers faced your same arguement when they first came out and surely had to state that they were not compatible with the standard "horn-hook" couplers? They faced the same hill-to-climb and they climbed it to become a standard.

the couplers have to been aligned, and the knuckles opened by hand- serious issues for most for even casual operation.
Yes, but only initially true. Once your train is made up, theoretically, it should be no different than operating a kadee-equipt train (except for hand-waiving the uncoupler magent). But even Kadees can't offer fool-proof coupling on curves, so that evens the odds. And just to push my point a bit farther, joining these couplers when the nuckle is closed can't be any different than joining two dummy-couplers, removing the need of hand-opening them in the first place. And I've ever seen a dummy coupler than looked one fourth as good as the Sergent coupler.

the continued dependence of this coupler upon an oversized coupler box that the coupler shank may or may not be designed to fit is an astounding non-starter.
O.k, let me update my comment on this matter a bit. Since my last reply, I have proverbially "done-the-math" on this matter, and test-fit the new Sergent in a standard Kadee gearbox WITHOUT the Kadee centering spring. The result was that ONLY the paint on them (inside the screw-post hole) needed to be filed away to make it fit and operate PERFECTLY with no binding whatsoever! I next tried it WITH the Kadee centering spring, and didn't get as good a result as I'd hoped for... there was some binding, but I don't think it was due to the reduced clearance inside the gearbox due to the presence of the centering spring, but rather due to the "wings" of the centering spring that pressed against the sides of the coupler's shank. I'll look into this more this weekend and post another report.

That the coupler so far has no admitted inherent design capability for automatic centering, or any means of opening the knuckles only adds to a high probability for expected routine dysfunctional operation characteristics.
If non-opening nuckles is the problem, then why do you like Kadee couplers? They only "close" on their own (under spring power). Kadee's require a magnet to "open" the nuckel the same as Sergents do... just not in the same manner. And though I admit that I have only a very little operational experience with the Sergent, I want to state that I have had many problems with Kadee couplers in the past due to their loose coupling. The snug locking of the Sergent couplers promises to be a natural hinderance to uncoupling due simply to the law of physics - tighter grip, less slip. Sounds almost like a Seaboard Slogan that stated "Tight Grip, Safe Trip."


John Degnan
RailScaler@comcast.net
John's World on the Web :
http://www.trainweb.org/seaboard/welcome.htm
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but nobody is entitled to their own truth!
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
----- Original Message -----
From: Denny Anspach
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Wednesday, April 06, 2005 12:20 PM
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Sergent Couplers


Although I will certainly take a hard look at these new assembled HO
scale couplers when they become available, so far I must remain an
"optimistic skeptic" that these couplers are designed primarily for
seldom-operated shelf or display models, or models that may be
committed to fixed consists operating on excellent trackage. Sergent
tells you up front that they are not compatible with any of the
Kadee-type couplers, and that the couplers have to been aligned, and
the knuckles opened by hand- serious issues for most for even casual
operation.

On overall scale appearance alone, the continued dependence of this
coupler upon an oversized coupler box that the coupler shank may or
may not be designed to fit is an astounding non-starter. Even if one
is still willing to accept an appearance akin to a rose still
plastered on an ugly face, an integrated coupler-and-box design and
engineering is a key to fundamental operating excellence-just as on
the prototype.

That the coupler so far has no admitted inherent design capability
for automatic centering, or any means of opening the knuckles only
adds to a high probability for expected routine dysfunctional
operation characteristics.

A fine cast scale dummy coupler would seem to be a better deal, so far.

Denny S. Anspach, MD
Sacramento


Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

John Degnan wrote:
. . . I wonder if Kadee couplers faced your same arguement when they first came out and surely had to state that they were not compatible with the standard "horn-hook" couplers? They faced the same hill-to-climb and they climbed it to become a standard.

Hardly true about horn-hooks, John. In addition to the variety of one-off types (Baker, etc.) there were working knuckles (Devore) and good dummies (several mfgrs.) which were widely used. The horn-hook certainly did not become standard among scale modelers, then or ever.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2942 Linden Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@signaturepress.com
Publishers of books on railroad history


Pete Brown <YahooLists@...>
 

Denny, I don't mean to offend.

I guess my point (which was definitely made with a bit more fervor than was called-for - a blanket accusation is never a good tactic) is that people are dismissing these couplers for very inconsistent reasons.

To your point: standard NMRA trackage is grossly oversized, and even .088" wheels are pretty big, especially in the flanges :-)

I'll have to try one of these new Sergents in a scale draft gear box, or at least something closer to scale. I had my old Sergents installed in standard Kadee #58 draft gear boxes (sans-springs), which were fairly narrow, as I recall, and they worked fine.

Pete

----- Original Message -----
From: docdenny34
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Wednesday, April 06, 2005 5:38 PM
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Sergent Couplers



> Personally, I think the draft gear box is being used as an excuse for folks to not have to
>bother with couplers other than the usual suspects. The same folks that believe the draft
>gear box is a huge issue and really make it non-usable for appearance reasons, also
>have wheelsets that are 2x as wide as the prototype.

Hm-mm. Pretty brave accusation about people who are strangers to the sender.

Many of us who are desiring scale sized coupler boxes are also happily operating
hundreds of cars daily with .088" wheels, and would go to wheels even more narrow if
standard NMRA trackage would allow it.

Denny


Jared Harper <harper-brown@...>
 

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, Denny Anspach <danspach@m...> wrote:
Sergent
tells you up front that they are not compatible with any of the
Kadee-type couplers, and that the couplers have to been aligned, and
the knuckles opened by hand- serious issues for most for even casual
operation.
The prototype operations crowd should love this. I have read and been
a part of discussions about including time for simulated brake tests,
to take out the slack, for the brakeman to walk back to the caboose,
etc. Think of all the prototype operations you need to perform with
the Sergent coupler--centering, opening the knuckle--and because the
fit together tighter there's a more prototypical spacing between cars.
Part of the interest in adding these functions to your model
operations is to lengthen operating time because of the closer
distances between model stations as compared to the prototype. The
Sergent couplers being available assembled and painted has about
convinced me what coupler I am going to choose. I have communicated
with Frank Sergent and he says that scale width draftgear are being
considered and will probably be developed in the future, albeit not
the very near future.

Jared Harper
Athens, GA


Schuyler Larrabee
 

From: Denny Anspach

Although I will certainly take a hard look at these new
assembled HO scale couplers when they become available, so
far I must remain an "optimistic skeptic" that these couplers
are designed primarily for seldom-operated shelf or display
models, or models that may be committed to fixed consists
operating on excellent trackage. Sergent tells you up front
that they are not compatible with any of the Kadee-type
couplers, and that the couplers have to been aligned, and the
knuckles opened by hand- serious issues for most for even
casual operation.
I agree with Denny. I might well install some of these on some display models (on which I would probably use Precision Scale
P87 wheels as well) but if they don't couple with Kadees, their dead meat for me. I operate on a club layout with some 16-20
other guys (we have a bunch of people who are afraid of operations as well) who will never in a thousand years go to anything
other than Kadee. If I have couplers not compatible with Kadees, I might as well stay home.

On overall scale appearance alone, the continued dependence
of this coupler upon an oversized coupler box that the
coupler shank may or may not be designed to fit is an
astounding non-starter.
Agreed here as well.

That the coupler so far has no admitted inherent design
capability for automatic centering, or any means of opening
the knuckles only adds to a high probability for expected
routine dysfunctional operation characteristics.

A fine cast scale dummy coupler would seem to be a better
deal, so far.
Doctor Denny has it right, IMHO. The Reboxx coupler will mate with Kadees, and is as near to scale appearance as to not make
any diffference. Unfortunately, they are paralleling the Soundtraxx Tsunami as vaporware. And as Denny says later, I keep
telling them to go for the scale coupler box.

SGK


John Degnan <RailScaler@...>
 

. . . I wonder if Kadee couplers faced your same arguement when they
first came out and surely had to state that they were not compatible
with the standard "horn-hook" couplers? They faced the same
hill-to-climb and they climbed it to become a standard.
Hardly true about horn-hooks, John. In addition to the variety of
one-off types (Baker, etc.) there were working knuckles (Devore) and
good dummies (several mfgrs.) which were widely used. The horn-hook
certainly did not become standard among scale modelers, then or ever.
I wasn't referring to the horn hook couplers as being the hill-climber that became a standard, I was referring to the Kadee couplers becoming a standard over the horn-hook.


John Degnan
RailScaler@comcast.net
John's World on the Web :
http://www.trainweb.org/seaboard/welcome.htm
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but nobody is entitled to their own truth!
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
----- Original Message -----
From: Anthony Thompson
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Wednesday, April 06, 2005 7:28 PM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Sergent Couplers


John Degnan wrote:
. . . I wonder if Kadee couplers faced your same arguement when they
first came out and surely had to state that they were not compatible
with the standard "horn-hook" couplers? They faced the same
hill-to-climb and they climbed it to become a standard.

Hardly true about horn-hooks, John. In addition to the variety of
one-off types (Baker, etc.) there were working knuckles (Devore) and
good dummies (several mfgrs.) which were widely used. The horn-hook
certainly did not become standard among scale modelers, then or ever.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2942 Linden Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@signaturepress.com
Publishers of books on railroad history


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Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

John Degnan wrote:
I wasn't referring to the horn hook couplers as being the hill-climber that became a standard, I was referring to the Kadee couplers becoming a standard over the horn-hook.
Exactly my point, John. Horn-hooks were never standard.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2942 Linden Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@signaturepress.com
Publishers of books on railroad history


ljack70117@...
 

On Thursday, April 7, 2005, at 01:21 PM, Anthony Thompson wrote:


John Degnan wrote:
I wasn't referring to the horn hook couplers as being the hill-climber
that became a standard, I was referring to the Kadee couplers becoming
a standard over the horn-hook.
Exactly my point, John. Horn-hooks were never standard.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2942 Linden Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@signaturepress.com
Publishers of books on railroad history
They may not have been standards for the modeler but the manufactures put then in every kit and on every RTR.
Thank you
Larry Jackman
ljack70117@adelphia.
Shin: A device for finding furniture


John Degnan <RailScaler@...>
 

They may not have been standards for the modeler but the manufactures put then in every kit and on every RTR.
Thanks, Larry. This is exactly the point I was trying to make from the start.


John Degnan
RailScaler@comcast.net
John's World on the Web :
http://www.trainweb.org/seaboard/welcome.htm
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but nobody is entitled to their own truth!


Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

Larry Jackman said:
They may not have been standards for the modeler but the manufactures put then in every kit and on every RTR.
John Degnan replied:
Thanks, Larry. This is exactly the point I was trying to make from the start.
The crap that may be put in a kit is not "standard," any more than the steel axles and plastic wheels of Athearn wheel sets are "standard." (Unless, of course, you regard the train set crowd as the arbiters of standards.) Maybe it's escaped notice, but "standard" is not a synonym for "widely available."

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2942 Linden Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@signaturepress.com
Publishers of books on railroad history