Jump to content

Recommended Posts

I've just started on a small 1x4' switching layout and am using Peco uncoupling ramps. (I was into 00 from 2004 to 2015, but have been mostly using N scale for the past 3 years, so I'm a little out of practice with 00 ramps.)

 

I'm having some trouble with these -- most are Peco ramps and (unfortunately) I'm using a mixture of track. This layout was assembled with Peco, Atlas and other track from my spare supplies. Some of the uncoupling ramps are a fraction too high (while others are slightly too low) and some don't fit well into the track between the sleepers -- as a result, they don't stay in position well which can wreak havoc with my rolling stock.  Basically, the ramps are either too low (so nothing uncouples) or is too high (so that the loco and other stock gets stuck or jammed).

 

Fortunately, I have also made an uncoupling tool (as per a how-to description in Hornby Magazine years ago), which works well.

 

However, does anyone have any suggestions for how to improve these uncoupling ramps -- are there any modifying tricks or could they even be glued into place? Obviously, the latter should only be done after lots of testing & checking, but glueing would at least hold them in place.  Or, can I increase their height slightly by adding thin strips of cardboard below them? I've tried this a little with limited success.

 

Thanks in advance,

Rob

Edited by GreenDiesel
Link to post
Share on other sites

Rob no doubt Peco ramps like Peco track? Unless they don’t operate correctly there either.

I don’t think your going to find a one fix for all, it seems to me you need to either make the track uniform or slice a bit off in the high instance and pack a slice on in another. If your gluing not sure you have it over there but copydex is what I’d try ends up rubbery when dry and easier to remove later.

I did make something of my own design once, coat hanger wire in a straw glued to baseboard, right angle one end to operate a small C shape at right angles the other that slid under the rail to centre of the track. Then formed a plastikard ramp, just a flat ^ shape. Long one side short the other with lead shuck on under the short side to give a drop back motion. The end of the long side being glued and the short side floating. The wire operates it by turning the C from facing down over a sleeper to standing up as a C.

I have some photos if your interested.

But now I’m heading over to this method

magnets and bent staples.

Food for thought.

Cheers

Ade

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, Ade. I'll continue to tweak the couplers and will consider swapping in Peco track where the couplers are used. I think I heard of the staples and magnets method before but will still check that video. Cheers, Rob

Link to post
Share on other sites

Rob,

 

As I developed my layout, I changed from Hornby track to Peco flexi-track and, at the time I had tension lock couplings on all my rolling stock.  I bought a number of the Peco uncouplers and found them completely unreliable even with Peco track.  In my case, part of the resaon was that the coupler heights and sizes varied across my stock and, in the case of one of my diesel lcoos (bearing in mind they are all under ten years old) the droop of the coupling in its NEM socketand the low-slung motor bogie meant that both elements struck the ramps.  I tried filing down the ribs but the outcome was not satisfactory so I abandonned the ramps.  In the end I changed couplings to Kadees and have recently installed a number of their delayed action uncoupling magnets.  I find this setup very good (if not 100% successful).  And I have not found the coupler heights to be as critical as the measurements given by the manufacturer would imply - ie there is a bit of tolerance.

 

Harold.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If you do so, Rob, it is worth buying the height gauge even though I say the height is not that critical - it gives a standard to aim for . . .!

 

Harold.

 

Thanks, Harold. It's a good option. I was operating this layout tonight and these ramps were giving me a lot of trouble -- if they are high enough to uncouple, locos stall on them but if they're low enough (for the locos to travel over them), they won't uncouple.  Otherwise, I'm happy with the layout and it's working well!   ... Is it difficult to replace the tension-lock couplers with Kadees?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Depends!  There is a large range to choose from; the NEM ones (with fishtails) come in four shaft lengths but only one shaft position - ie low - so that the knuckle sits high relative to the shaft.  If the NEM pocket is set at a suitable height, then it is dead easy to fit them - pull out the TLC and push in the Kadee - but you need to select the correct shaft length to get close-coupling without buffer lock.  If there is no NEM socket on the rolling stock you have to remove the fixing for the TLCs and replace it with the box that comes with the chosen Kadee.  Kadee has changed its numbering since I did mine but the old No 5 suits most situations, even if you have to use a bit of ingenuity - you may be able to fit with a screw or you may be able to use plastic cement.  The non-NEM units come in three different shaft heights and there are different shaft lengths/fixings/ways of working.

 

I don't know how familar your with the range but here is a link to the website https://kadee.com/

 

I hope this helps.

Harold.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Depends!  There is a large range to choose from; the NEM ones (with fishtails) come in four shaft lengths but only one shaft position - ie low - so that the knuckle sits high relative to the shaft.  If the NEM pocket is set at a suitable height, then it is dead easy to fit them - pull out the TLC and push in the Kadee - but you need to select the correct shaft length to get close-coupling without buffer lock.  If there is no NEM socket on the rolling stock you have to remove the fixing for the TLCs and replace it with the box that comes with the chosen Kadee.  Kadee has changed its numbering since I did mine but the old No 5 suits most situations, even if you have to use a bit of ingenuity - you may be able to fit with a screw or you may be able to use plastic cement.  The non-NEM units come in three different shaft heights and there are different shaft lengths/fixings/ways of working.

 

I don't know how familar your with the range but here is a link to the website https://kadee.com/

 

I hope this helps.

Harold.

 

Thanks, Harold. I'll still give this some thought. Interestingly, I have an old brake van (Triang or Triang Hornby?) that belonged to my Dad, which has a Kadee in one end and a tension lock in the other. 

 

Also, a few years ago -- when I was really into 00 -- I also had a fair bit of North American HO stock and some of those had Kadees. This is just a longwinded way of saying that I was somewhat familiar with the different types of Kadees a few years ago. So maybe I could experiment with 1-2 wagons, etc.  Most or all of the model train shops here (in Toronto) carry a good supply of Kadees.

Link to post
Share on other sites

That's interesting Rob.

 

The worst thing about Kadees is their propensity for shedding the little coil spring that lets the knuckle flex - so be very careful to handle them wothout touching it!  I have cursed many a lost one or three but recently, having acquired a great set of fine tweezers, I have had much greater success in refitting them.  First thing is to work over a plain white box with no joins or flaps in the base.

 

Good luck.

Harold.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thread the spare springs on a piece of wire and link the ends. That way they'll still be there when you want them. Another piece helps with locating a spring in the knuckle and usually stops the wretched thing flying across the room. Working inside a box is also a good second line backup. Since doing this I've only lost one of two out of a couple of packets of spare springs.

 

When I used tension locks, I made uncoupling ramps fron thin clear plastic (plenty of this for free in today's excessive packaging). This is relatively unoctrusive and can be made flexible enough by fixing only one end to operate the couplings, while at the same time depressing easily to not block low slung chassis. The droppers should all be at the same height* above the rails and the couplings should all be of the same design** for the best results.

 

* I don't know what the recommended height is, but  the 1/32" of Kadee and Peco/HD seems reasonable. (I treat this as a minimum clearance as it requires freedom from track irregularities, but avoid going over 1mm.

 

** I favour the Mainline design, but these are in short supply (I only fit them to my small stock of TOPS era vehicles).

Edited by Il Grifone
Link to post
Share on other sites

...  Most or all of the model train shops here (in Toronto) carry a good supply of Kadees.

 Since you are in North America, ISTM that Kadee is the obvious available solution in reliable RTR autocouplers. Neat magnetic uncoupling with no fouling, job done.

 

I run a mixed economy in autocouplers on my OO.

Kadee for the coaches, which had knuckle couplers.

Modified mount Bachmann miniature tension lock with the Brian Kirby magnetic uncoupling mod. on the freight stock. Joy unbounded, the Kadee track magnets permanent and electromagnet, both work the BK modified tension lock. (There's a benefit in the miniature tension lock for loose coupled UK wagon stock: positioned with the bumper bar face co-planar with the bufferhead faces, the full loose-coupled effect is available, the wagons buffer up when pushed, open out to scale separation when pulled, and with complete buffer locking protection. Works down to about a 24" minimum radius.)

Link to post
Share on other sites

An alternative to the ramps is to use a piece of clear plastic, the type used in shirt collars ( if they still do) or the windows in Metcalfe packs. 

 

Cut a strip about the width of the ramp and a bit longer. Push the ends under a couple of sleepers at each end  so it forms a hump in it. It should be flexible enough to allow stock to go over but enough lift to uncouple.

 

I started using this method because many Bachman locos grounded on the ramps because of the under side detail

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, that is exactly what is happening to my locos. The detailed Bachmann ones especially get grounded on the ramps. But if I manage to make the Ramps lower, nothing uncouples. I'm going to experiment with some of the suggested strips of plastic this week, (as well as Kadees, i think I still have some). Thanks! Rob

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 years later...
  • RMweb Gold
On 12/04/2018 at 01:20, GreenDiesel said:

I've just started on a small 1x4' switching layout and am using Peco uncoupling ramps. (I was into 00 from 2004 to 2015, but have been mostly using N scale for the past 3 years, so I'm a little out of practice with 00 ramps.)

 

I'm having some trouble with these -- most are Peco ramps and (unfortunately) I'm using a mixture of track. This layout was assembled with Peco, Atlas and other track from my spare supplies. Some of the uncoupling ramps are a fraction too high (while others are slightly too low) and some don't fit well into the track between the sleepers -- as a result, they don't stay in position well which can wreak havoc with my rolling stock.  Basically, the ramps are either too low (so nothing uncouples) or is too high (so that the loco and other stock gets stuck or jammed).

 

Fortunately, I have also made an uncoupling tool (as per a how-to description in Hornby Magazine years ago), which works well.

 

However, does anyone have any suggestions for how to improve these uncoupling ramps -- are there any modifying tricks or could they even be glued into place? Obviously, the latter should only be done after lots of testing & checking, but glueing would at least hold them in place.  Or, can I increase their height slightly by adding thin strips of cardboard below them? I've tried this a little with limited success.

 

Thanks in advance,

Rob

 

Discovering exactly the same problem @GreenDiesel, did you ever find a solution to it with the PECO one's?

 

I know I can try the clear plastic sheet option but the PECO type look neater and in my yard setting can be disguised as walkways in the way the manufacturer intended.  Chopping out the sleeper at one end is an obvious thought, as my problem is the sleepers are not set to the same spacing as PECO anticipated with their moulding  so one or other end cannot drop into the gap.

 

Edited by john new
Posted accidentally before i had finished typing it!
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • RMweb Gold

I tried the Peco ones, on my return to this hobby, but couldn’t really get on with them. Much more expensive, but work better, I use Heathcote Electronics ones, which use a below-board servo to raise the ramp. Height, depth and duration are all modifiable. No connection except satisfied customer.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...
On 14/11/2020 at 05:53, john new said:

 

Discovering exactly the same problem @GreenDiesel, did you ever find a solution to it with the PECO one's?

 

I know I can try the clear plastic sheet option but the PECO type look neater and in my yard setting can be disguised as walkways in the way the manufacturer intended.  Chopping out the sleeper at one end is an obvious thought, as my problem is the sleepers are not set to the same spacing as PECO anticipated with their moulding  so one or other end cannot drop into the gap.

 

Hi... Just saw this! No, I haven't found a solution. Uncoupling works on some wagons but not others. In the end, I've been using a homemade uncoupler -- I got the "plans" or instructions for making this from one of the very first Hornby Magazines and it works great. An uncoupling ramp would look and work better, but, yes, I gave up on them and now use this uncoupler device instead.

  • Informative/Useful 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 14/11/2020 at 07:09, ITG said:

I tried the Peco ones, on my return to this hobby, but couldn’t really get on with them. Much more expensive, but work better, I use Heathcote Electronics ones, which use a below-board servo to raise the ramp. Height, depth and duration are all modifiable. No connection except satisfied customer.

I'd be interested to find out more about these. I'll google them.  Rob

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • RMweb Gold
14 hours ago, GreenDiesel said:

I'd be interested to find out more about these. I'll google them.  Rob

 

I actually modified the Heathcote ones. As they come, they comprise a servo, control board and piano wire and see-through plastic sheet. The ramp (plastic sheet cut to size) is pushed up/down by the piano wire, itself attached to the servo arm. I experimented and felt I wanted a little more ‘robustness’, so I changed the piano wire for dowel rod and the plastic for a lollipop stick, cut to size. In fact, I used two dowel sections, one driven by the servo, and the other serves to keep the uncoupler ramp in alignment with track centre, otherwise it can swing a little. The control board (as provided by Heathcote) allows options for setting the start point of the uncoupler, the finish height when raised and the duration of how long it stays up (ie time to move loco forward).

The photos (One below board, one above) below give some idea. The lollipop stick is yet to be painted a dark brown grimy colour, and the dowels are predrilled and secured by a track pin and glue. The challenge I’ve found is that of course as the servo arm rises, it also arcs through a slight lateral movement, as well as the intended vertical, meaning that it tries to move the vertical dowel out of true. But if the holes through the baseboard are slightly (but accurately so) too large, there is sufficient play to allow for this. Note my incorrect holes nearby! Ignore point motor and autofrog device in photo.

FED2A30A-A29A-4F75-9411-84BF57E34C81.jpeg

0A88AE10-B4EF-4BDB-A604-93FB146FD696.jpeg

Edited by ITG
Added info
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.