Help with Uncoupler

Pfunk Mar 1, 2022

  1. Pfunk

    Pfunk TrainBoard Member

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    I have been reading a ton of mixed reviews about the Kato magnetic inline uncouplers and their reliability. Am planning this whole run with Unitrack and would like to have a loco on a parallel track and turnout that I can uncouple my oil cars and switch locos to.

    I found a Gaugemaster electromagnet with pushbutton actuator (https://www.gaugemasterretail.com/magento/seep-gmc-em1.html) that looked super slick until I saw a YT video of it and it comes off pretty janky in operation - actually had to be put back in place by hand, which to me defeats the purpose.

    Finding an old Kadee in n-scale is not easy, affording it seems even harder.

    I had considered fashioning a small electromagnet on a switch mounted below the rails, similar to how the Gaugemaster is designed, but am afraid of something homemade affecting the loco (perfect example - a tiny 200N e-magnet is about $10, and when energized can produce up to 45lb of pull. These Kato locos cost too much to sabotage with that real science stuff) o_O

    I mean, a Rix is still a foolproof method (I say that, but I'd be the one to frack that up lol), but not nearly as much fun.

    Do you guys just go with the inlines and "hope for the best", or is there a better way to rig one up to make it work reliably?
     
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  2. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    I'm kind of ignorant on the whole realm of magnetic couplers and uncoupling tracks. I bought a Kato Unitrack 20-032 Magnetic Uncoupler Track and am impressed with it. It offers full functionality, being able to uncouple and push cars to a distant spot beyond the uncoupler and leave them, and to pull across the uncoupler with a cut of cars with no uncoupling. People use electromagnets, but what additional functions do they offer? I want to be sure I'm not overlooking something. Thanks.
     
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  3. Pfunk

    Pfunk TrainBoard Member

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    This is the exact one I was talking about tbh. People either love it or leave it, it seems.

    I would trust the recommendation of a TB'er over something on Amazon 11x out of 10, but there's a lot to be found on hobby forums that go both ways on the Katos so was just hoping for some insight. Thanks for your response!
     
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  4. Pfunk

    Pfunk TrainBoard Member

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    I still think of everything in terms of DC application bc I am still not sure which way I want to go, but this is essentially how I think it would have to go:

    **the "box" between the frogs here would be the inline magnetic uncoupler, the green would be the energized portions of track for the evolution. Behold my epic 2003-ish MS Paint skills**

    If there's a better way, am all ears.
     

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  5. sidney

    sidney TrainBoard Member

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    ive got one of these in my kato track with a push button works pretty good
     

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  6. Pfunk

    Pfunk TrainBoard Member

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    That switchable Kadee is exactly what I want but every one I find in N is $$ when the HO ones are like $13.99
     

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    Last edited: Mar 1, 2022
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  7. Pfunk

    Pfunk TrainBoard Member

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    Wait, does the HOn3 kit work with N scale? Seems to be what am reading. If so, problem solved.
     
  8. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

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    That's a good question. It could help, maybe.
     
  9. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    Trying to couple/uncouple on a curve can be a problem (worse with shorter radius curves).

    Putting the uncoupler in the middle of a crossover S-curve is probably not a good idea, since the geometry of un/coupling between cars in an S-curve can be difficult.

    Given that the siding in your illustration is outside the main loop, it has a greater radius, which is better than a shorter radius. I would put the decoupling magnet to the left of the switch, on the siding, rather than in the crossover S-curve track. Be sure to place the magnet far enough left that the railcar has cleared the points of the switch when the other end of the railcar is over the decoupling magnet.

    I've tried the kato uncoupler tracks, and they work okay, but I found it easier to just use a wooden skewer or similar tool. Placement of the kato decoupling magnets is also problematic, because you cannot place the magnet where it works with the car spotted correctly (you won't be able to pick up the car later, since you cannot couple to it over the magnet, unless there is excess siding behind the spot, to push the car off the magnet and couple there, before pulling it out of the siding). So you end up having to place the decoupling magnet ahead of the spot, dance the jig with the loco there, and push the car to its spot uncoupled.

    An electromagnet would work better, since it would allow you to de/couple at the spot. But if you have multiple spots on the same siding, then you need an electromagnet at each spot, otherwise you are still making extra moves to decouple the individual cars, and might as well have one permanent magnet (or a skewer).

    YMMV; Closed course, professional driver; Objects in mirror are closer than they appear; yada, yada, yada...
     
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  10. Todd Hackett

    Todd Hackett TrainBoard Member

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    I could not pass this one up. Was at the Corvette Museum last fall and found a sticker for the mirror(s) - "Objects in mirror are loosing". Just had to put one on the passenger mirror of the tractor.
     
    CSX Robert likes this.
  11. Pfunk

    Pfunk TrainBoard Member

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    That's pretty much how I tackled it. Everything I am reading says that Kadee in-track switchable HOn3 works with n-scale Unitrack, which explains why I had so much trouble finding one marked as N. It will go out on the main line where a magnetic couldn't and disconnect there, then the single loco can enter the turnouts. New loco backs out and reconnects with rake, off it goes on it's merry way.

    Maybe not the most realistic switching maneuver ever, but 110% accomplishes what I am after (y)
     

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