The Gentle Art of Couplings

dave_long
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Re: The Gentle Art of Couplings

Postby dave_long » Thu Sep 26, 2013 5:31 pm

I'm a fan of S&W's too Andy. I think if I went back to any other 4mm gauge then I wouldn't hesitate to use them. However I'm too young to use eyesight as a reason not to use 3 links/screw couplings. I probably would consider it over the Ajs when that time comes though.

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Andy C
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Re: The Gentle Art of Couplings

Postby Andy C » Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:29 pm

Having said that Dave, I do find them a little obtrusive, and on North Ballachulish, the intention is to use DG's, although having seen the Dinghams, which are much the same principle, Im wavering that way. A bit of experimentation is called for!

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Tony W
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Re: The Gentle Art of Couplings

Postby Tony W » Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:37 pm

But you'll never be sure which is the best, Andy, because even 3 links couplings are a compromise. :D

Tony

Redgauntlet
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Re: The Gentle Art of Couplings

Postby Redgauntlet » Thu Jan 23, 2014 5:07 pm

Hi,
Hope I'm not too late to join the debate. Many years ago Dave Franks, when he had a retail stall, put me onto B&B Couplings. These seem to quite a competent design and probably deserve wider appreciation although they are never mentioned when the merirts of various couplings are discussed.

They are similar to Dinghams but a bit smaller and operate in either direction. They also fit under the buffer beam and are already chemically blackened. Like most small things they can be a bit of a challenge to assemble! I don't know whether they are still available, I bought a few frets from them about 5 years ago. My layout isn't advanced enough to give them a good test but they couple and uncouple OK on a test track.

I have seen them in use on a couple of Exhibition Layouts so they seem to meet some people's expectations. I have the address if anyone is interested and I could also probably find some photos.

Ian

martin goodall
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Re: The Gentle Art of Couplings

Postby martin goodall » Fri Jan 24, 2014 8:25 pm

At the risk of repetition, I made some extensive experiments with magnetically operated auto-couplings, and came to the conclusion that a pivoted loop, which is raised by the magnet works best. The assembly and fitting of my own design of auto-coupling (the “Burford” coupling) can be found as a .PDF file here:

download/file.php?id=2009

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John Donnelly
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Re: The Gentle Art of Couplings

Postby John Donnelly » Sat Jan 25, 2014 2:27 pm

My thought are also turning to couplings and which ones to go for.

Correct me if I am wrong but it appears that, for the most part, all these systems rely on a 'hook' of one sort or another and, as a result, there appears to be no way of uncoupling when the couplers are in tension. I'm planning a small layout (Standard Gauge Workshop size) of a real location and one of the workings involved the train coming down a slope at which point the brake van was uncoupled and rolled in to it's own siding - I'd hope to be able to recreate this but it appears that the available auto couplings may not allow for this?

John

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Tim V
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Re: The Gentle Art of Couplings

Postby Tim V » Sat Jan 25, 2014 2:36 pm

DCC control of the couplings will do what you require.
Tim V

nigelcliffe
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Re: The Gentle Art of Couplings

Postby nigelcliffe » Sat Jan 25, 2014 3:48 pm

John Donnelly wrote:My thought are also turning to couplings and which ones to go for.

Correct me if I am wrong but it appears that, for the most part, all these systems rely on a 'hook' of one sort or another and, as a result, there appears to be no way of uncoupling when the couplers are in tension. I'm planning a small layout (Standard Gauge Workshop size) of a real location and one of the workings involved the train coming down a slope at which point the brake van was uncoupled and rolled in to it's own siding - I'd hope to be able to recreate this but it appears that the available auto couplings may not allow for this?

John


Pretty much any of the systems described will uncouple over their mechanism (typically a buried magnet) if the coupling isn't in tension. If your train is going downhill, then the buffers and couplings should be in compression from the weight of the train.

Or, as Tim V said, DCC control of the coupling should make it release on request (also radio or IR control is a possibility, using batteries in the van, thus avoiding need for pickups and continuity of track current to a four wheeled vehicle).
Remote release of a three-link or screw coupling is simple if the action is to just "kick" the link out of the hook on the vehicle. Or remote release of any of the automatic and semi-automatic coupling systems.
There is loads of space in a brake van for a mechanism, decoder, and if necessary, either a motor for drive or DCC-operated brakes (I'd look at pulling a band around an axle for the brake) within to allow it to run into the siding under control of an operator.


(If going to Missenden in March, then its a good topic for the Saturday evening, when I'm due to give a talk which will then roll into a discussion on remote control of couplings ).

- Nigel

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John Donnelly
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Re: The Gentle Art of Couplings

Postby John Donnelly » Sat Jan 25, 2014 4:04 pm

Thanks Nigel, food for thought there, I'd certainly never thought about 'driving' the brake van...

One thing I did forget to mention in the original question is that, when going down hill, the brake van led the train with the locomotive at the rear so the couplings will be in tension...

John
Last edited by John Donnelly on Sat Jan 25, 2014 4:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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grovenor-2685
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Re: The Gentle Art of Couplings

Postby grovenor-2685 » Sat Jan 25, 2014 4:11 pm

The guard would have had to brake to slacken the couplings, you can't uncouple the real thing when in tension either, unless you have a slip coach set up. So looks like Nigel's brake is needed.
But if its only in one place just put a magnet under the rail and it will hold onto the tyres enough to slacken the couplings briefly.
Keith

nigelcliffe
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Re: The Gentle Art of Couplings

Postby nigelcliffe » Sat Jan 25, 2014 4:22 pm

Yes, Keith's idea of a magnet below the rails might make an effective brake, particularly if the magnet can be moved, or varied in intensity (an electromagnet with a variable supply ? ). That then reduces the complexity. I'd be tempted to try a few experiments with a handful of rare-earth magnets on a moveable stick, and see if they can provide controlled braking of the van.

I can see lots of scope for prototypes; time for the lego, coathangers, selotape, etc.

- Nigel

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Serjt-Dave
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Executive Decision

Postby Serjt-Dave » Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:46 pm

Hi All. As you recall I started this thread to discuss the pros and cons of all the different ways of coupling, and after much experimenting with different systems {except AJ's as I just don't like them} I have decided to go the Screw and 3 link couplings with the assistance from the hand of god.

First of all I tried S&W and found them about 80% reliable. In that on my test track I did 10 shunts. 8 of them did what I wanted to do the other 2 failed either not uncoupled or re-coupled when desired too. I did this several times and the results were about the same. I also reduced the overall size of the coupling as well which made them less obtrusive.

Next Dinghams. Basically I found them similar to S&W though slightly more reliable at 9 out of 10 shunts successful. Not a lot could be done to improve their appearance though the newer ones are better.

My favourite ones now the Winterley coupling. I really liked these and they were as good as the Dinghams at 9 out of 10 shunts successful. The only thing that lets them down was their appearance and I couldn't get the vehicles as close to each other as the other types of couplings.

To me I felt that DCC controlled couplings are not advanced enough for what I want to do. It seems that you can couple/uncouple and engine from a rake of stock but not one vehicle from another and another etc, unless all your stock is fitted decoders and the required mechanics.

My last test was with manual couplings {screw and 3 link}. 100% reliable {and I didn't drag a vehicle off the track with the uncoupling hook}, and of course they look right. Drawback is I have to get off my arse whilst shunting and physically do the coupling and uncoupling which is what I didn't want to do.

So what was I going to do? I was going to go with the Winterley ones and tweak them somewhat to be closer and less ugly like. But then I got a thinking! In my current hobby as a re-enactor {Napoleonic Wars} we rely on research and strive to get thing as correct as possible, so surly I must apply this to my railway modelling? So what's the point of making a loco, coach or wagon correcting every detail only then stick a non prototypical coupling on it? Okay we do have to compromise to a certain degree but while I can see have have a steady hand I think I must go with the more prototypical type of couplings. May be when my eyesight fails and the jitters set in I'll have to rethink things and hopefully by then the DCC option may have improved.

Dave

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Tim V
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Re: The Gentle Art of Couplings

Postby Tim V » Mon Mar 24, 2014 9:09 pm

Another way of looking at the problem (like your Napoleonic wars) is to look at the prototype, and understand how shunting was done, then look at the model and see how close we get to it. You may find that "another way" is appropriate.
Tim V

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David Thorpe
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Re: Executive Decision

Postby David Thorpe » Mon Mar 24, 2014 11:58 pm

Serjt-Dave wrote:Next Dinghams...........Not a lot could be done to improve their appearance though the newer ones are better.


Have the Dinghams been upgraded recently?

DT

Terry Bendall
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Re: The Gentle Art of Couplings

Postby Terry Bendall » Tue Mar 25, 2014 7:23 am

Some interesting comments Dave. It can be a difficult decision, but personally I will always go for 3 links/instanter/ screw couplings (non working) for as long as I can see sufficiently well to do the couplinbg up. Everyone will have their own view but in the end it is down to the layout owner to do what he or she wants.

Terry Bendall

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Serjt-Dave
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Re: The Gentle Art of Couplings

Postby Serjt-Dave » Tue Mar 25, 2014 3:09 pm

Tim. I fail to see how shooting some Frenchman named Bonaparte and coupling up a 16 ton mineral wagon have anything in common. LOL. But understand what your saying. When I first started on the Railway as a guard some blar blar years ago I spent most of my first year shunting wagons etc, and if I use the same method of how we used to shunt stuff about I won't have many models left.

DT. I think I may have misread a comment from earlier in this thread. It was stated "Dinghams now more realistic" so I assume that the new one I obtained were better than previous one. Sorry for any confusion.

Terry. When I decided to get back into Model Railways I wanted to be able to run my layout from a far well sitting back in a comfy chair and to be able operate it with the minimal interaction from me other than operating the control panel and throttle. With DCC most of this can be easily achieved. The only thing was how to shunt etc. If I was going to build a layout for exhibitions etc I would go with the alto-couplers but as this is for my personal enjoyment I think I will stay with the manual couplings and as you say whilst you can see and be able to operate them to me it's all part of the fun of running your own railway.

I've got just over a year of fighting the French Ogre before peace is declared in Europe {Waterloo June 2015} and then I can start building my layout so by then I could change my mind.

Dave

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steve howe
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Re: The Gentle Art of Couplings

Postby steve howe » Thu Jul 24, 2014 10:08 pm

I am currently playing around with the Dingham coupling, initial impressions are good. The only difficulty I have had is making the latch operate reliably every time. I'm using the 'No. 1 version' of a loop filled with solder as the instructions say this is less conspicuous than the 'No. 2 version' which is an all-etched tab. The latch has a tendency not to drop every time, despite making all the clearances loose. I've not yet tried the No. 2 type, has anyone any experience of either?

Steve

David Knight
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Re: The Gentle Art of Couplings

Postby David Knight » Fri Jul 25, 2014 1:10 am

Steve,

I've done both and while the filled loop is a little more unobtrusive the tabs are more reliable. At 'normal viewing distances' any advantage is lost so I've standardised on the number 2 version. I've been using Dinghams for at least 12 years now and have seen nothing to match them for reliability in operation and appearance.

HTH

David

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steve howe
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Re: The Gentle Art of Couplings

Postby steve howe » Fri Jul 25, 2014 12:20 pm

Great, thanks David, I'll give the other version a go.

Steve

SFB
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Re: The Gentle Art of Couplings

Postby SFB » Sun Feb 15, 2015 1:56 pm

I have started to build a few wagons for my layout but first I wanted to check out the Sprat and Winkle coupling. I'm pleased to say that it worked perfectly on the two wagons that I used as a test. I'm using the 3mm/ 4mm finescale version which is clearly less obtrusive than the normal 4mm version. So far so good.
Here is the (slight?) problem, and I wonder what the best way would be to deal with it. . .
I'm using the "lower" fixing method, which means that the hole in the coupling hook to take the three links is about 2mm lower than a normally fitted wagon coupling hook would be. As a result, the bottom link sits just below rail level. I'm sure that this is not very prototypical!
As I can see it there are several possible ways forward - use only 2 links, rebuild all my 3 links with smaller links, add a cheat loop to the coupling hook and put two links into it.

Is there a recommended solution? Should I ignore the problem altogether?

Philip Hall
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Re: The Gentle Art of Couplings

Postby Philip Hall » Sun Feb 15, 2015 2:26 pm

Looking at one of my old wagons it seems I made the top link a bit smaller, and soldering that one to the hook seemed to improve the 'pull down' of the hook towards the magnet. I wouldn't have the bottom link too far off the rail level as otherwise the magnet beneath the track won't pull them down strongly. I used to use Sprat and Winkle permanent magnets.

If you are able to look up MRJ No 0 I wrote of my experiences with the 3mm coupling and, although I have, for the moment, gone back to loose couplings, they were, for me, the most reliable of all of the varieties, and the most robust.

Philip

SFB
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Re: The Gentle Art of Couplings

Postby SFB » Sun Feb 15, 2015 5:44 pm

Philip, I do have issue 0 and have read the article.

Eventually, I want to run a pick up goods train that will drop a coal hopper off on some coal drops, and on the other side of the main line, drop and collect covered vans and open wagons at a goods siding and goods shed. As there are several trees between me and them, and the whole area is in a slight cutting I cannot reach over. So I have to have automatic couplings. The curves are not severe. Those are the reasons for going with S & W plus I have seen AJs working less than well on more than one layout.

I'll re-read the article, but right now my favoured solution is put in what I called a cheat loop - something like half a chain link. I suspect it will not be very visible really and it sounds like your smaller chain link idea. I also like the idea of soldering it in to stabilise the coupling a little. These tiny 3-links move to and fro immensely quickly!

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Noel
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Re: The Gentle Art of Couplings

Postby Noel » Sun Feb 15, 2015 6:14 pm

SFB wrote:As a result, the bottom link sits just below rail level. I'm sure that this is not very prototypical!


If you use brass or whitemetal wagons this might also result in intermittent short circuits when on complex pointwork...

Noel
Regards
Noel

Philip Hall
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Re: The Gentle Art of Couplings

Postby Philip Hall » Sun Feb 15, 2015 8:53 pm

Another tip, which I forgot to mention, is to make only the bottom link of ferrous material, which stops the links getting magnetically stuck to one another.

Philip

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steamraiser
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Re: The Gentle Art of Couplings

Postby steamraiser » Sun Feb 15, 2015 9:20 pm

As a result, the bottom link sits just below rail level. I'm sure that this is not very prototypical!

Couplings hanging below rail level is definitely not prototypical.

The bottom loop could snag on facing point locks, check rails etc which could lead derailments both in the model and the full size.

I use AJs. They do take some tweaking and maintenance, but given proper attention in building and upkeep they will work reliable.

Before adopting AJ's I converted two sets of the same number and type of wagons as a trial One set AJ's and the other set Spratt & Winkle.
I have also he'd exhibition experience operating an EM layout which used S&W's.

Gordon A
Bristol


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