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Problems with Hornby and Bachmann tension lock couplings


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I'm sure  that I am not the only one to experience this problem. I use the plug in  NEM type coupling on my models, both on rtr models and on my scratch or kit built S Scale models. On numerous occasions the coupling hook - metal on Hornby couplings and plastic on Bachmann couplings - comes away from  pivot point into which the hook clips. It's almost impossible to get the hook back in satisfactorily and often comes away again.

 

Has anybody found a solution to this issue?

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It's a darned nuisance! I keep a stock of spare plug-in couplings and immediately replace the ones that fall apart like this. It is possible to replace the metal hook on its pivot and then gently squeeze the two arms slightly closer around the pivot bar. My success rate is only about 50%, though. If it reaches desperation point, I can put up with only one of a pair of touching couplings having the metal hook on it.

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You are most certainly not the only one to experience this problem, to which I have not found a solution, though I will sometime later today have a go at Mike's repair method.  My method of dealing with it is otherwise the same as Mike's, a stock of spare couplings to replace any hookless ones that occur. 

 

My mineral trains, one loaded one empty, are permanently coupled rakes with tension locks only on the outer ends; within the rake I use James' Trains 3D printed 3-link or instanters as appropriate.  These are avaialble from Shapeways and consist of the complete coupling, with hooks and the other coupling hanging down, detailed to include the 'horns' on the instanters that are used to shorten or lengthen the coupling with a shunting pole, and the NEM standard fitting on each end to go into the pockets.  I have found these to be very reliable but the empties rake needs a bit of ballasting for the sharpest curves.  No connection happy customer.

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Apart from the hook separating from the loop,  another issue with the Hornby coupler hook is that the hook remains in the unlocked (raised) position,  requiring manual intervention to return it to the locked (engaged) position.  For years I never had a functionality issue with the typical large tension lock coupler.  Also never had an issue with the early release Airfix small coupler.  The small Hornby tension lock coupler (NEM) though and the small coupler based on the old Airfix design are a problem.

Edited by GWR-fan
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Dapol couplers are even worse for escaping coupling hooks. I used tiny dots of superglue to fix a small piece of thin black card over the hook hinge. It worked. 

 

I have also met the occasional Hornby hook that won't return to the down position, carefully remove the hook and check the hinge end has no burrs, also the socket might be slightly obstructed. I still have some awkward hooks though and intend to add weight to the drop bar to persuade them to drop.

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My cure for errant Bachmann or Hornby metal coupling hooks is to press them back onto the pivot.  If they subsequently fall off again, a judicious nip with a pair of pliers closes up the gap in the hook enough to keep it on whilst still allowing the requisite movement.  

 

There's a bit of a knack to doing it, and it only needs to be closed up by half the width of a flea's thing*, but it works for me :)

 

*half the width of a flea's thing being less than the thickness of a tadpole's todger.

Edited by spikey
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I've just done a few Hornby couplings -these have metal hooks. I turned the model upside down and let the coupling drop so that is vertical. Then using a pair of tweezers (or a very small pair of pliers) give a very, very gently squeeze to compress the metal part by putting one of the jaws under the plastic and the other on top of the metal loop. If you compress it to much it will stop the loop falling back under gravity. Not easy but possible.

Edited by steverabone
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