Feb 8, 2011
I don't know but,how about a coupler like Sargent Engineering?
Sergent Engineering Home Page
The Sergents are excellent. I say patience.....a better coupler IS coming.
I am reasonably happy with the existing Micro-Trains couplers, except that a more compact mount for the 1021/1022 would be nice. As is, major surgery on the coupler box is needed for an adequately compact F-unit mount.
The MT automatic coupling/uncoupling feature is important to me, and works well, if careful initial adjustment is performed.
I experience no slinky effect, as I follow MT's advice, and put a damper spring on each car, and 2 on each caboose. True that this makes cars less free-rolling, but that gives an excuse for more engines.
Do you know something we don't?:tb-cool:
I think MT coupler mounts are close to as compact as they can be as all the moving parts, as it were, are in the coupler box, with a coupler like the McHenry the only thing that moves is the knuckle itself so the mounting can be as compact as you like. A McHenry could easily be made with just a short shank with a mounting hole like the Unimate couplers a lot of us use on our IM F units. The problem is McHenry's are owned by the same company as Athearn and they are only interested in replacing Accumates with a coupler they don't have to pay for, not getting into the N scale coupler business themselves.
I'm sorry, I just find that as an unacceptable band-aid solution to an antiquated flaw in the coupler design. With a better coupler design we won't need to "handicap" our rolling stock like that.
The only reason why we can't have a Kadee-like coupler in N scale is because the technology did not exist back then to accommodate one. This is the 21st century now.
Forget the damper springs--I just model a mountain railroad that uses mid-train and tail end helpers. No slinky effect that way.
I'm happy with MTs, but if a better looking automatic coupler came around, I might be tempted. Unimates are handy for unit trains, however.
I think there's no reason we can't have a cast nonferrous metal coupler, with a metal magnetic trip pin. Those Z scale couplers posted above look great, but for those of us with tight curves (N scalers often go N because of little room for a layout) the short shanks make it tough to navigate tight radii. I say a universal length/height coupler with different size/height pocket options for all mounting scenarios sounds feasible and cheaper to engineer....
With track tolerances as good as they are now, a finescale (Z-ish) coupler would be quite reliable for those of us who put modest care into trackwork. Unitrack and TruTrack remove those decoupling-by-poor-track problems anyway.
Universality among many brands would be a huge leap forward for the scale. and most decent Z couplers will mate up to MT's, right? I have yet to play with Rapido's new rigid jaw coupler but it sure looks nice.....
You guys take this hobby way to seriously. Dampening springs are a fix for a flaw? I see it as a solution to a problem of the picky. People complained and they came up with a solution.
I'm just glad I can reliably pull a train I can enjoy, not nit-pick millimeters.
Now, to each there own, I still don't understand the 28, 33, 36 inch wheel debate. The difference between 28 and 36" wheel in N scale is about 1 millimeter, just don't see what all the fuss is about.
I absolutely agree with this, and see no problem with the spring solution on my layout either
Yes, you're right. People complained...about a flaw.
Tellyawhut. Show me a prototype train where the last car thrusts rapidly back and forth and I'll shut up about the whole coupler thing.
Holy prototypical metal couplers, Batman! I emailed them to offer them in N scale. Man, those are cool. Have you seen them in person? The pics look great.
There's a joke in there somewhere, about a caboose thrusting back & forth....
On anothet thread read, more comes to mind; I have noticed Atlas Trainman cars, with their decent couplers, for $7 retail. Adding MT's to those would be about $3-5 retail depending on application. I like the idea of another coupler replacement option, since truck-mounted ain't my style anymore. And I looooove slow, smooth train operation so that puts stock MT's out. I have been doing well with Atlas' knuckle, and want to start metal-wheeling everything. Those FVM wheels look delicious. Think it's time I started swapping wheels, and fleet replacement couplers come next. If I had a chance to once-and-for-all get all my rolling stock uniformly coupler'd and wheel'd for $4-6 a car, it's well worth it. Now if I had a chance to use couplers that looked far more proto, and stopped the slink without adding drag springs, I'm on it like white-on-rice.
Gonna go look into those Full Throttle couplers.... but I am excited to see where this thread takes us!
I am agreement with those here who say that MTL is just about the best coupler in N scale. The original question was about designing the perfect coupler, so I took the things I like about three different models of MTL couplers and combined them with some aspects I like of McHenrys.
prototypically weight your cars and they won't bounce. This is a model were you are going from tons to ounces---some liberties have to be expected.
On a side note--since your microtrains trucks are junk in your opinion--I would like to offer a quarter a piece for all whole truck and couple combination that you don't want.
The Full Throttle Z couplers look good. I'm not sure about the plastic finger spring for the knuckle closure though. In HO, Bachmann and Accumate tried that and they don't hold up. The fingers weaken over time and you get unreliability down the road. Now with Z, and somewhat with N, the stresses aren't as large so maybe that won't happen with the smaller scales.
As far as the perfect coupler.....
Take the McHenry design....
Make it slightly smaller, doesn't need to be scale size, we still need reliability...
Add the RDA (Reverse Draft Angle) feature to the glad hand....
Offer a mounting box for them so we don't have to shim and create a box each time...
Design the coupler box to eliminate the verticle play issues....
Offer different shank lengths, short, standard (what we have) and long...
Offer over and under shank versions of each....
With that I would be happy.
I can't stand the slink in MT couplers. I model steam era and love long trains so adding unnecessary drag to the train is counter productive. Those stupid drag springs cut train length by 2/3's, especially with grades. Modeling steam, I don't want to have to double head to pull a 20 car train, that's just not right. The spring is a bandaid fix at best. When I run long trains, I make sure that the MT cars are up front so the drag on the cars behind keeps them from slinking.
BTW - For those of you that didn't know, the McHenry's drop into an MT 1015 or even the truck mount coupler boxes if you want to take the time to convert. They work even better in them because the MT box is a little thinner in height than the Accumate box they were designed for. You have to shave a little off of the verticle height of the coupler hole but beyond that, they fit perfect.
I was pulling long trains with the Rapido couplers back in the 80s with no unprototypical slink.
I agree adding a spring is a band aid fix to a design flaw that should be address by MT..
BTW and as food for thought..
Where would N Scale be today if we didn't complain and request improvents? There would be no LP wheels,no C55 and locomotives would look like they did in the 80s with open pilots.
Another band aid fix to a long time design fault?
Hold that thought untill I decide if I want to change to the Atlas truck and couplers or continue to body mount the couplers..I will sell you some use slinkies.
Two questions from a relative "newb" to this issue...............
1) Has there been any update on the "Full Throttle" couplers being available as a separate item? ( if so, how do I get some to try? )
2) How are the "FT" couplers mounted?
Thanks for the assist.........................:tb-cool:
What I am referring to is the plastic "lip" used to hold the mounting screw for the MT 1021/1022 coupler. As designed, it protrudes from the back end of the coupler, and can interfere with the rear locomotive truck when mounted for close coupling, in particular on certain early cab units such as EMD F-units. For these locomotives, I have to modify 1021s by cutting off part of one side of the coupler box, and welding the "lip" on transversely. This allows the mounting screw to be drilled & tapped off to the side, thus clearing the rear truck. I would like to see this as a standard option, thus avoiding this "major surgery". See image below, showing the rear of a Samhongsa brass F7B from the 1980s. In this case I went farther than merely turning the box cover sideways, and instead cut off the back portion and welded on a small plastic ring off to the side (above left of coupler box on the brass engine shown).
I understand your perspective, if you like to run long trains. However, on my modest-sized N-scale layout, max train length is only 7 feet, powered 95% by diesels, so I can tolerate the reduced pulling power. Also, I use the automatic coupling/uncoupling feature of MT couplers for switching, adding/removing helpers, etc., so I need 100% reliable automatic couplers. This currently means MT, which currently means use of damper springs. Also, slow-speed switching is important for me, so I need springs on all cars. The upshot of all this is that, unlike many other modelers, I can’t support sacrificing the superior “automatic” aspects of MTs in favor of improved appearance or no slinking.
So far, my experience with the McHenry and automatic uncoupling is that they often work too good. The uncouple very easy over the magnets, sometimes too easy. By far the worst for auto uncoupling is the Accumate.