Topics

Kadee Scale Coupler Operational Reliablity


Scott Seders
 

I have been using Kadee scale couplers on all of my rolling stock.  Currently, I do not have a layout.



I have a friend (who is a very good modeler) who claims that he is having difficulty with scale couplers uncoupling where there is any height irregularity in the track.  As such he as gone back to using number 5 couplers.


What is anyone else experiencing?   



Thanks,
Scott Seders

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Brian Carlson
 

I'm going to assume he is referring to 58's and 78's or the scale whisker couplers (number forgotten) They are smaller, (duh) so they are less tolerate of dips and humps in the track. but they operate fine on layouts as long as the height is correctly set. This often includes a 0.005 shim in the coupler box to take the droop out. We've been using #5's 58's and 78's for years on the club layout.
brian carlson

--- On Wed, 2/10/10, sseders@comcast.net <sseders@comcast.net> wrote:


From: sseders@comcast.net <sseders@comcast.net>
Subject: [STMFC] Kadee Scale Coupler Operational Reliablity
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com
Date: Wednesday, February 10, 2010, 11:00 AM


 





I have been using Kadee scale couplers on all of my rolling stock.  Currently, I do not have a layout.

I have a friend (who is a very good modeler) who claims that he is having difficulty with scale couplers uncoupling where there is any height irregularity in the track.  As such he as gone back to using number 5 couplers.

What is anyone else experiencing?   

Thanks,
Scott Seders

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]








[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Tim O'Connor
 

There are now many brands of Kadee-style couplers out there,
including some "scale" (P:HO) sizes. I have found that it's more
important than ever to have all couplers at the height prescribed
by the Kadee coupler height gauge. The only coupler I'm definitely
tossing is the original oversize Accumate (not the scale Accumate)
which is consistently problematic with the new smaller couplers of
all brands. Atlas continues to use the huge Accumates on its new
RTR models!

Tim O'Connor

I'm going to assume he is referring to 58's and 78's or the scale whisker couplers (number forgotten) They are smaller, (duh) so they are less tolerate of dips and humps in the track. but they operate fine on layouts as long as the height is correctly set. This often includes a 0.005 shim in the coupler box to take the droop out. We've been using #5's 58's and 78's for years on the club layout.
brian carlson
------------------------------------
I have a friend (who is a very good modeler) who claims that he is having difficulty with scale couplers uncoupling


Mark
 

They will have trouble on longer cars or engines over abrupt track changes. Happens very rarely and still prefer the scale couplers.

Mark Morgan

--- On Wed, 2/10/10, sseders@comcast.net <sseders@comcast.net> wrote:

From: sseders@comcast.net <sseders@comcast.net>
Subject: [STMFC] Kadee Scale Coupler Operational Reliablity
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com
Date: Wednesday, February 10, 2010, 11:00 AM







 













I have been using Kadee scale couplers on all of my rolling stock.  Currently, I do not have a layout.



I have a friend (who is a very good modeler) who claims that he is having difficulty with scale couplers uncoupling where there is any height irregularity in the track.  As such he as gone back to using number 5 couplers.



What is anyone else experiencing?   



Thanks,

Scott Seders



[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


James F. Brewer <jfbrewer@...>
 

Actually, regardless of what coupler you use, your track should be as smooth as possible.  I am using  #5, 58 and 78, and recently decided to standardize on the Kadee "scale" whisker coupler and IM semi-scale wheelsets.  I have not had any problem with the couplers in operation; they will uncouple using a skewer just like the larger #5s.



Jim Brewer

Glenwood MD


Schuyler Larrabee
 

Scott, your friend needs to improve his track. 58s and their cousins operate fine on my club layout and the improvement in appearance makes the care in trackwork worthwhile.

YMMV, of course.

SGL



I have been using Kadee scale couplers on all of my rolling stock. Currently, I do not have a layout.

I have a friend (who is a very good modeler) who claims that he is having difficulty with scale couplers uncoupling where there is any height irregularity in the track. As such he as gone back to using number 5 couplers.

What is anyone else experiencing?

Thanks,

Scott Seders

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Scott Seders
 

That is what I thought when I first heard of his troubles.

I would have thought had there been a significant problem with scale size couplers there would have been an outcry about it on the net.

Scott Seders


Schuyler Larrabee wrote:

Scott, your friend needs to improve his track. 58s and their cousins operate fine on my club layout and the improvement in appearance makes the care in trackwork worthwhile.

YMMV, of course.

SGL



I have been using Kadee scale couplers on all of my rolling stock. Currently, I do not have a layout.

I have a friend (who is a very good modeler) who claims that he is having difficulty with scale couplers uncoupling where there is any height irregularity in the track. As such he as gone back to using number 5 couplers.

What is anyone else experiencing?

Thanks,

Scott Seders









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Tony Higgins
 

Brian, I assume you are making the .005 shims. Can you describe them? ...material used, how you make them, do they go above or below the coupler?

Thanks,
Tony Higgins
Pittsford, NY

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, Brian Carlson <prrk41361@...> wrote:

I'm going to assume he is referring to 58's and 78's or the scale whisker couplers (number forgotten) They are smaller, (duh) so they are less tolerate of dips and humps in the track. but they operate fine on layouts as long as the height is correctly set. This often includes a 0.005 shim in the coupler box to take the droop out. We've been using #5's 58's and 78's for years on the club layout.
brian carlson

--- On Wed, 2/10/10, sseders@... <sseders@...> wrote:


From: sseders@... <sseders@...>
Subject: [STMFC] Kadee Scale Coupler Operational Reliablity
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com
Date: Wednesday, February 10, 2010, 11:00 AM


 





I have been using Kadee scale couplers on all of my rolling stock.  Currently, I do not have a layout.

I have a friend (who is a very good modeler) who claims that he is having difficulty with scale couplers uncoupling where there is any height irregularity in the track.  As such he as gone back to using number 5 couplers.

What is anyone else experiencing?   

Thanks,
Scott Seders

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]








[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Jim Betz
 

Scott,

Here are my observations/experiences on this topic.

1) The Kadee semi-scale couplers (#58/etc.) look better.
This is not a small difference. When you look at a train
going by - even 6 feet away from you - you can spot the
cars that have the smaller couplers. Fairly easily.
And they are close enough to scale size that you don't
see the same "noticeable" difference between them and the
"true" scale couplers (the only ones I know of are the
Sergent).

2) They couple and un-couple - with themselves - reasonably
well. I'm talking about "intended" couplings/uncouplings
on straight level track.

3) They are more finicky about coupling/uncoupling than the
#5s (again intended" and straight level track). How
much more finicky (i.e. whether or not you care) is for
you to decide.
Much of the time it will be "no big deal". Every once
in a while it will be a considerable problem (see the
next item right below this one).
My experience is that they are noticeably more difficult
to uncouple compared to how well they couple. How much
more is a matter of personal opinion.

4) They are noticeably more finicky about coupling/uncoupling
on curves or grades (again "intended"). Even a slight
curve can make them noticeably more difficult than a #5.
It is my belief that the reason for this is that because
the overall coupler 'head' size is smaller that they
tend to 'miss' more often. And they seem to "lock with
each other" more than the #5s (a good thing when you are
going down the road but not so good when you are trying
to uncouple them).

5) They are more sensitive to any 'rapid vertical changes'
in the track ("vertical kinks") than the #5s. This
translates to more break-in-twos than you have with #5s.
Here's an interesting 'fact' ... go out and measure the
joint between two pieces of rail (in good repair) on
the real railroad nearest you. Measure how 'true' the
joint is in terms of the accuracy of both the height and
width of the rail. I suggest just taking a 12" straight
edge and holding it along the rail and look at how well
it lays along the entire 12" of the rule. Now go do the
same thing on your layout using the same ruler. Most of
the time you are going to discover that your layout is
essentially at the same accuracy as the real RR. Maybe.
You will probably find it is difficult to impossible to
find rail that you can really use to measure on the sides
(on the top is usually no problem).
But your layout is 87 times smaller. Said another way -
the real RR is 87 times "more accurate" than your layout is.
Many of the 'average' joints on your layout will be
measurably more "out of true" than the real RRs ever are.
And the worst joints you have - even the ones that you are
still willing to live with because they aren't causing any
problems - will be significantly more out of true when
compared to the real RRs.
Yes, careful attention to how you lay your track, and
how true it is, will improve things. But you are never
going to be as good as the real RRs. I've never done
any research on this but I suspect that the acceptable
variations when real rail is manufactured (the plus or
minus n thousandths) is probably the same or even smaller
than our scale rails!
Said another way - in order to get our rail to be
truly accurate in the vertical dimension - we should be
using styrene or paper shims under one rail for most (all?)
of our track joints. I don't know any layouts that have
been built this way. I'm not even suggesting that we
should be doing this. I'm just saying that if we want to
be as accurate as the real RRs are we would have to do
this.

6) They are much less tolerant of any mis-match in coupler
height between two cars. Not hard to explain/predict -
and not an "original" observation ... but still important
to state. Said another way ... the amount of difference
you were willing to tolerate with the #5s won't work with
the semi-scale couplers - standards must be strictly
enforced. Another aspect of this is that you hear
guys say all the time that they add a shim to the
coupler box to prevent them from drooping. Why Kadee
hasn't designed and marketed a box with this on it is
somewhat of a mystery to me ... but I suspect it is
related to their desire to market to installers who
just want to swap out the coupler (and not the box
also).

7) They are noticeably more difficult to couple/uncouple
with other size couplers/manufacturers. If you are
using the Kadee semi-scale couplers on some cars, but
not all, you will have more problems than if you use
just one coupler make/size/design. Kadee says that
the semi-scale couplers are "compatible with" the #5s.
I seem to have a different standard than Kadee does
with respect to the term "compatible". What I see
happening "all the time" (often enough that I'm not
using the term "sometimes") is that when you are
coupling they won't couple (easily) ... and when you
are uncoupling that the two couplers will "hang up
on each other" and both will deflect to the side as
a unit. (This happens whether you are using magnets or
picks.)
There are times when trying to couple/uncouple a
semi-scale with a scale coupler is significantly
more difficult and can reach the frustration level.
There are other times when it will be a 'little more
difficult'.
This is not a 'small difference' as far as I'm
concerned. If you have a mix of brands you are going
to have more problems than if you don't. Even more
so if you are using the semi-scale couplers.

I operate on a wide variety of layouts with very different
mixes of couplers (all #5s, all 58s, a mix of mostly 5s and
some 58s, a mix of mostly 58s and some 5s, etc.). And I go
to 2 or 3 (or more) op sessions a month. (Included this so
you will have some idea of what my 'background' is.)

I have to admit that my attitudes toward the semi-scale
couplers go up and down based upon my most recent op sessions.
If the last two or three sessions have been on RRs with stellar
track and strict car standards I tend to be more in favor of
the semi-scale couplers than if my last few sessions have been
on "regular" layouts.
When I go to a "prototype meet" ... all I see are the
semi-scale couplers. No surprise - they look better and
the emphasis at these meets is on 'how accurately the models
re-produce the prototype'.

I have to say that I have similar attitudes/experiences
with respect to the same topic for wheels.

******

These are my observations/experiences. The thing -you- are
going to have to do is to establish for your self whether or
not you will use the semi-scale couplers - and if you do what
it will take to get operational characteristics that are
acceptable to you. I suggest that you do your own tests -
on the layout nearest you with the best track you can find -
and make up your own mind about what you consider acceptable.
And don't forget to consider how it looks as part of the
equation!
And if you do decide that they are your standard - it's
much better to "do them all" ...
- Jim


Ned Carey <nedspam@...>
 

Brian, I assume you are making the .005 shims. Can you describe them? ...material used, how you make them, do they go above or below the coupler?
I use the bronze flat spring that comes with the number 5s. Just trim off the "wings" and file flat.

Ned Carey


Tim O'Connor
 

Tony, you can use a piece of strip styrene of whatever thickness
you desire to correct droop when the coupler droops within the
pocket. You glue the strip (i.e. shim) at the open edge of the
pocket, so the shank of the coupler is lifted upwards. A little
experiment will show how much shim you need. Note this is only
for coupler droop -- if the pocket is too low, then you need
another solution. Obviously you glue below the coupler -- I've
never seen a Kadee coupler droop upwards. (Pocket tilt is a
different problem.)

Tim O'Connor

At 2/11/2010 01:08 PM Thursday, you wrote:

Brian, I assume you are making the .005 shims. Can you describe them? ...material used, how you make them, do they go above or below the coupler?

Thanks,
Tony Higgins
Pittsford, NY


Brian Carlson
 

Like Tim said: I use strip stryene, usually 0.010, or 0.005 as required, fit to lip, glue, no droop. I don't like using the spring material it's easier for me to glue plastic to plastic but YMMV. If you need a strip thicker than 0.010 you have bigger issues like a loose box, or angled one.
Brian Carlson

At 2/11/2010 01:08 PM Thursday, you wrote:

Brian, I assume you are making the .005 shims. Can you describe them? ...material used, how you make them, do they go above or below the coupler?

Thanks,
Tony Higgins
Pittsford, NY







[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Scott Kremer
 

I use black sheet styrene, cut into narrow strips. It is obviously
smooth and you do not need to paint it unless the little bit of shine
bothers you. It is a good bearing surface. As Brian indicated .005 or
.010 works fine. I do this on almost all of my cars. I find that even
when the coupler looks fine on its own it will sometimes "droop'" if it
is under stress as in a heavy train. Just glue it to the coupler pocket
under the coupler shank at the front edge of the pocket.

Scott Kremer

On Feb 11, 2010, at 6:12 PM, Brian Carlson wrote:



Like Tim said: I use strip stryene, usually 0.010, or 0.005 as
required, fit to lip, glue, no droop. I don't like using the spring
material it's easier for me to glue plastic to plastic but YMMV. If
you need a strip thicker than 0.010 you have bigger issues like a
loose box, or angled one.
Brian Carlson

At 2/11/2010 01:08 PM Thursday, you wrote:

>Brian, I assume you are making the .005 shims. Can you describe
them? ...material used, how you make them, do they go above or below
the coupler?
>
>Thanks,
>Tony Higgins
>Pittsford, NY




Denny Anspach <danspach@...>
 

The operational coupling reliability level attained with the smaller couplers is determined by how accurately the couplers can be, and are centered/aligned at the moment when the couplers meet. The smaller gathering range of the smaller couplers reduces the room for error in this regard, requiring the operator choosing these couplers to pay even more attention to the biggest endemic culprit in the allowing of any given car to be off center: excessive axle/wheel-set end play. The usual excessive coupler shank length offers even more opportunity for poor centering.

Coupler droop is a big problem with any coupler using the standard "Athearn" or Kadee boxes, and IMHO is one of the biggest root problems with uncouplings/derailments, i.e. couplers pulled into distortion, allowing their draft angles to work into an over-ride; or more catastrophically, a coupler magnetic glad hand pulled down to snag the next closure rail. The droop in the proprietary #78 box is also excessive.

That except for the short shank #153 semi scale couplers, the other Kadee semi scale couplers (58, 78) are on prototypically excessively- long shanks. The weight of the heads sticking on the ends of these long lever arms do nothing but exacerbate the drooping problem. IMHO, from a prototypical point of view, seeing a coupler head sticking out like akin to a head on the end of a pole destroys any advantage that a small coupler head might otherwise provide. In this regard, if short shanks are not a choice, you are better off sticking to regular sized couplers, where the large heads pretty much hides the fact that the shank is too long, and that it is in fact sticking out of a grossly oversized coupler box.

Personally, I see no visual advantage at all to using semi scale couplers of any variety unless the shanks are short.

Denny


Denny S. Anspach MD
Sacramento


Tim O'Connor
 

Denny Anspach wrote

That except for the short shank #153 semi scale couplers, the other
Kadee semi scale couplers (58, 78) are on prototypically excessively-
long shanks... Personally, I see no visual advantage at all to using
semi scale couplers of any variety unless the shanks are short...
Denny,

Consider that most (uncushioned) model draft gear do not extend further
than the end sills, and then the extra shank length (.031) plus the smaller
coupler head means that the car-to-car distance is closer to prototype
than you might expect if you're only considering the shank length. So if
you insist on using only the "short" shank #153 then you must also mount
your draft gear so the distance over pulling faces of the couplers is
set according to the prototype.

Tim O'Connor


Denny Anspach <danspach@...>
 

On Feb 13, 2010 Tim O'Connor wrote:

Consider that most (uncushioned) model draft gear do not extend further
than the end sills, and then the extra shank length (.031) plus the smaller
coupler head means that the car-to-car distance is closer to prototype
than you might expect if you're only considering the shank length. So if
you insist on using only the "short" shank #153 then you must also mount
your draft gear so the distance over pulling faces of the couplers is
set according to the prototype.
What is the scale relationship, i.e. distance, between the striker plates of coupled car, and/or what is the correct scale relationship, i.e. projected distance, between the face of the coupler box striker plate and the end sill on an individual car?

My opinion presumes that the coupler box striker plates are, or are placed in at least a close semblance of the correct prototype position, which IMHO they mostly are in the great majority of the fine models that the members of this list seems to embrace.

The Accumate Proto couplers are dead on, striker plate to striker plate, and the Kadee #153s are just two inches over- not enough to notice. This means that if the striker plates of the coupled cars have the correct relationship to their respective cars, then the use of these couplers will result in the coupled distance between the cars being at least very-close-to-prototype as well.

By the way, trains of fine prototype cars individually coupled at prototype distances apart can look stunning! ("Quality is the close attention to detail.).

DEnny


Denny S. Anspach, MD
Sacramento


Jim Betz
 

Denny, et al,

While I agree that the standard length of the shanks on
the Kadee product line (and all other mfgrs as well - with the
possible exception of the Sergents) is longer than it should be -
it does mean that we can operate our model trains on track with
significantly more curvature than the prototype. The same can
be said of the width of the coupler box - and that measurement
is directly related to the same thing.

I have never seen a layout that has truly prototypical
curvature standards. And even those that have truly generous
standards (such as "nothing smaller than 36" on the mainline")
still have several areas on the layout that have smaller
curves and lower numbered turnouts. If I remember correctly
a #10 turnout -approaches- the typical smallest radius of the
prototype (and I'm not talking about mainline). Yes, of course,
these are generalizations/standard practices and you can go
out and find examples where the real RRs had more curvature
than these statements. But they are pretty close to what
the real RRs use as their standards (which they may or may
not break depending upon the situation).
On our layouts we 'fudge' even our own standards - not once
in a while but often/always. The phrase "I can make it fit if
I use a #4 turnout here for this industry track" is one I hear
a lot. The other thing you hear are statements such as "we
have 30-inch radius every where on our mainline - except for
the areas at _____ and _____" ... and those statements are made
proudly/as a brag about how generous that particular layout is.
And there is a real reason why the time-saver is based upon
all #4 turnouts.
If I remember correctly I think that an HO layout would
have to adopt s curvature standard of something approaching
that used on O-scale in order to be in the same ball park as
the real RRs.
I can't remember ever seeing a commercially available
turnout number larger than a #10. Even Fast Tracks only
goes up to a #12 (and I'll predict that they don't sell very
many of them!) - in HO and N ... and they only go up to a #6
in O-scale.

If you can get Kadee (or any other coupler mfgr) to answer
you I'm certain that you will find that the size of the coupler
box and the length of the shank has been chosen in order to
provide for operation of normal length equipment on tight
radius curves (where tight is defined as 22" or larger - at
least). The other thing that you will be told is that they
are using the sizes/measurements they are using due to the
NMRA standards/RPs.

Until we start to have layouts that do not compromise on
the curvature and turnout numbers in use I'm afraid we are
going to have to compromise on the coupler boxes and shanks.
I don't see any way around it.
I'll even go further and state that due to the sheer
number of layouts and existing model trains that are
already out there already you are going to be hard pressed
to figure out how to influence/change this reality. We may
be 'committed' to this state "for ever". *Sigh*
On the other side - I'm not sure any of us would ever
attempt to build a layout based upon true prototype
curvature standards ... we just don't have the space.

One last thing - all of the above relates directly to
the operational characteristics of our 'typical' trains and
is equally applicable to all scales and eras. If your layout
is early enough in the STMFC era that you have only 40'
or shorter freight cars then you might be able to use
smaller boxes and shorter shafts. Even a train of all
50' cars, going around a 40" radius curve - will look 'funny'
when compared to the real RRs. By 'funny' I mean that the
cars will be hanging out over the rail in the middle of the
car further than you will see them do on a real RR.
- Jim

P.S. It certainly -seems- to be true that having a coupler
box available that has a 'built-in shim' across the
opening to prevent coupler droop would be a good idea.
But I highly doubt we'll ever see it from Kadee - if
for no other reason than that it would prevent that
box from being used for a #5 with the existing copper
centering spring.
A good argument can be made for the idea that a
coupler "needs" to be able to 'droop' during certain
loading situations. I have certainly seen couplers
between two cars that were "pulled down" from the
normal orientation when going thru a vertical curve.
Less possible movement in that direction under these
conditions would translate into more frequent break-in-
twos (but eliminate others).
And I'm sure that Kadee will tell you that if your
couplers are drooping that you need to look at how
they are installed and fix the problem that way. And
their argument is technically correct. However, it is
also true that installing a shim may be a much quicker
and easier way to fix the problem on a particular
installation.
One thing that I've seen done (and done myself) is
to reverse the copper spring in the box - to put the
'face' of it below instead of above the coupler. This
is one "quick and dirty" way to correct droop.


Dennis Storzek
 

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, Tim O'Connor <timboconnor@...> wrote:

Denny,

Consider that most (uncushioned) model draft gear do not extend further
than the end sills, and then the extra shank length (.031) plus the smaller
coupler head means that the car-to-car distance is closer to prototype
than you might expect if you're only considering the shank length. So if
you insist on using only the "short" shank #153 then you must also mount
your draft gear so the distance over pulling faces of the couplers is
set according to the prototype.

Tim O'Connor
That's not a foregone conclusion, Tim. Back when I did the first kits for Accurail, I looked at this; my thought was to position the coupler pivot point so the cars had the correct coupled distance. What I found was that the coupler box would have to end back under the car, which was not going to please the customers. So, I just put the end of the box at the correct location of the striker plate, and figured some day our model couplers would finally catch up. From what I've seen, most manufacturers have done the same, modeling the car, but not paying much attention as to what the modeler is going to put in the coupler box.

Dennis


Craig Zeni
 

On Feb 14, 2010, at 8:20 AM, STMFC@yahoogroups.com wrote:
3b. Re: Kadee Scale Coupler Operational Reliablity
Posted by: "Jim Betz" jimbetz@jimbetz.com oldrockygn
Date: Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:30 am ((PST))

Denny, et al,

While I agree that the standard length of the shanks on
the Kadee product line (and all other mfgrs as well - with the
possible exception of the Sergents) is longer than it should be -
it does mean that we can operate our model trains on track with
significantly more curvature than the prototype. The same can
be said of the width of the coupler box - and that measurement
is directly related to the same thing.

I have never seen a layout that has truly prototypical
curvature standards. And even those that have truly generous
standards (such as "nothing smaller than 36" on the mainline")
still have several areas on the layout that have smaller
curves and lower numbered turnouts. If I remember correctly
a #10 turnout -approaches- the typical smallest radius of the
prototype (and I'm not talking about mainline). Yes, of course,
these are generalizations/standard practices and you can go
out and find examples where the real RRs had more curvature
than these statements. But they are pretty close to what
the real RRs use as their standards (which they may or may
not break depending upon the situation).
On our layouts we 'fudge' even our own standards - not once
in a while but often/always. The phrase "I can make it fit if
I use a #4 turnout here for this industry track" is one I hear
a lot. The other thing you hear are statements such as "we
have 30-inch radius every where on our mainline - except for
the areas at _____ and _____" ... and those statements are made
proudly/as a brag about how generous that particular layout is.
And there is a real reason why the time-saver is based upon
all #4 turnouts.
If I remember correctly I think that an HO layout would
have to adopt s curvature standard of something approaching
that used on O-scale in order to be in the same ball park as
the real RRs.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3IO0XYI8mew - my modular group. The curve the train passes on is 86" radius... 7'2"...and comparing it to main railroads it looks pretty tight. It's pretty sharp for us nowadays. Nothing tighter on the mainline except for the turnouts used to access the yards...which we detest but yards take up enough room without #18 turnouts leading in and out of them.

We use a mix of #5 and #58/158 couplers on our modular layout. If they match up to the Kadee gauge we have very little issue with random uncouplings in 80+ car trains running for 8 hours a day as moving scenery. Cars that uncouple or derail more than twice get lifted and inspected...usually finding a droopy coupler being the cause.



Craig Zeni
Join the Penn Central Railroad HS at www.PCRRHS.org


Denny Anspach <danspach@...>
 

The stated goal of this list is that "Emphasis is to be placed on
the study of the prototype with a goal of producing models of them
with as great a degree of accuracy as possible". To the extent
possible, that is also my goal on this thread.

There is not a single operational nor visual positive side to coupler
droop, and although I cannot speak for them, I will not believe that
Kadee, Sergent or Accurail (the only coupler manufacturers that I know
of who are actually thinking about such things, not merely producing
commodity knock-offs) would disagree.

However, all manufacturers (less Sergent) are all hostage to the fact
that although coupler boxes are made to a rough standard (the old
original Athearn box of the late '50s), in fact the coupler boxes can
vary considerably in depth, as do the thickness of coupler shanks.
The latter is even more variable when one considers that some coupler
shanks take into account the thickness of a sheet bronze centering
spring (even if the coupler does not need such a spring), while others
do not. As a result, the fact that any given coupler will in fact have
a smooth net fit in any given coupler box can be a crap shoot. The
Accumate Proto coupler is the exception (as I also believe the Sergent-
with-coupler-box) where the coupler and box are engineered as single
entity. As a result, they are the only couplers currently on the
market with no significant droop.

Shims can help, but required thicknesses can be surprisingly variable
(see above), and can also represent for the unwary modeler a lot of
pretty fiddly work.

We confuse operational practicality with prototype accuracy. They are
not the same thing.

As a matter of practicality or desperation, I may choose to (or HAVE
to) tow my freight cars with linked paper clips, loops of string, or
chewing gum around 9" horizontal and 45º vertical curves, but it
surely would be a stretch for me to assert that has anything to do
with prototype modeling (except detraction) (:-).

Denny


Denny S. Anspach MD
Sacramento