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Andy Y

Dapol Easi-shunt magnetic couplings in N

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c6ccff1f6c65b0960e73b0725764fe63.jpg

 

Dapol have now released their 'Easi-shunt' N gauge couplings and track magnets announced less than two months ago at their 'N'thusiasts day.

 

Rather than give chapter and verse I've uploaded images of the excellent instruction sheet which accompanies the coupling pack.

 

Coupler_inst1.jpg

Coupler_inst2.jpg

 

The couplings are suitable for any N gauge stock which possesses NEM sockets, fitting is very straightforward and is less visually obtrusive than the hobby standard Rapido coupling.

 

Coupler_2a.jpg

 

The magnets are quite large and require 7 or 8 sleepers to be cut away, I did experiment with under-board neodymium magnets but these did not operate satisfactorily. Smaller magnets which would require less of the sleeper web to be cut away may be a possibility but I didn't have any suitably sized ones to hand.

 

Operation is very simple although uncoupling was not always successful with the light weight and low friction of contemporary wagons and coaches on an individual basis. The increased weight and resistance from a full train means the couplings operate more successfully on that basis.

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQKFuG5ql78

 

The couplings are a significant improvement over standard couplings in performance and appearance and it would be pleasing to see this and compatible couplings become an improved hobby standard.

 

As the RRP of the couplings is £5.95 per pair it is more realistic to consider these for train formations than for all items of stock. A pair of magnets are similarly priced.

 

Couplings_2.jpg

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From the descriptions given is it fair to assume they work like HO Ka-dee couplers?

 

I'd been wondering about looking for an N version for my stock...

best hold off on the balasting.

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It will be interesting to see if they can be used to close the gap on corridor stock. A welcome addition to N gauge.

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Thanks for posting this Andy.

 

Think I will stick with my fiddly DG's personally but its a nifty little video and I hope it meets with success.

 

Well done Dapol for sticking their neck out on something to improve upon the rapido... :fan:

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I can see a lot of barrow crossings being modelled ithe near future.

 

The pricing seems high for a single pair of couplings - although looking at American equivalents the same seems to apply, and larger volume packs generally are at lower unit prices. Let's hope the same applies here.

 

The real benefit I can see is as Andy has said - replacing end couplings on rakes of vehicles, and on appropriate locomotives. At least with NEM pockets now becoming widely available this is easily, (and temporarily if required) done without major conversions, and convertor wagons, with a different coupling on each end, can easily be made up.

 

Anyway, a definte step forward. Now to start experimenting with pairs of Neo-magnets under the rails to get the same effect.

Edited by OldNick

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my thoughts are, while they'll look appropriate on diesel stock, they won't look any more out of place on my Jinty or indeed black 5 (which is likely to only need to pull loco first) than the current rapidos.

 

what I don't know is how long NEM pockets have been used with regards to fitting them to my older stock...

 

Those magenets look as though they are twice, if not three times as long as they need to be.

 

is it possible to cut them in half or would the magnetticness fall out :jester:

Edited by Black Sheep

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These couplings look very similar to the USA Microtrains ones in terms of the knuckle so will be interesting if they are compatible in terms of the knuckles connecting and also the height at which they are set.

 

Will there be a Dapol coupling that will be a direct replacement for the Rapido style in older stock?

 

Ian

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have you tried them on any other bukeye system yet either the dummy Dapol or Bachmann american bukeye or must it be both couplings be magnetic

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You would need both to be magnetic to gain sufficient lateral separation.

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Does anyone know if there is a list somewhere of which British N gauge rolling stock is fitted with the NEM pockets that would allow the fitting of these couplers?

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As described and shown in the video these seem to operate exactly same way as Microtrains couplers. The magnets seem to be the same sized used for Microtrains couplers, too. As far as there size is concerned, the Microtrains magnets still work when they are shortened a bit. I can only assume these from Dapol would be the same. I've always thought the extra length was simply to make it easier to "spot" the couplers over the uncoupler.

 

I should point out that I have had significant problems using Microtrains couplers with older (Poole) Farish stock. The conversion from Rapidos to Microtrains is fiddly but not difficult. The problem is that the wheel sets and axles used in Poole Farish models have iron in them and are attracted by the uncoupling magnets. This tends to draw together wagons you want to separate! The wheels and axles used by Bachmann Farish and Dapol seem to be made from a different metal and are not attracted to the magnets. So for older Farish stock, for proper operation the wheel sets will have to be changed.

 

I am concerned that the shanks of these couplers look rather short which may cause problems on sharper curves and on locos with long buffers - the Farish Warship and Dapol 26 come to mind. But assuming these Dapol couplers fit in the NEM pockets of Farish locos, they will potentially be very useful for converting NEM pocket fitted locos to run with my Microtrains converted stock. I'll have to get a set of these and test them - unless someone beats me to that and posts their findings here!

 

Matt

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Matt

 

The Dapol ones do appear to be very similar to the Microtrains so let's hope thy are compatible. I will get some and have a play. I have used Microtrains on all my USA N scale stock and they work well but ave been reluctant to use them on the British stuff for a number of reasons but mainly as per your comment re the stel axles. I must admit that I didn't relies that the newer Farish ales were non magnetic.

I too have used cut down Microtrains magnets or under board ones ith the operators side of rails over the magnets painted a different colour so magnet locations cn be seen. The Dapol couplers o seem more expensive than the Microtrains ones though so I I'll have o be selective as o what thy get used on for now.

 

Ian

 

 

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I should point out that I have had significant problems using Microtrains couplers with older (Poole) Farish stock. The conversion from Rapidos to Microtrains is fiddly but not difficult. The problem is that the wheel sets and axles used in Poole Farish models have iron in them and are attracted by the uncoupling magnets. This tends to draw together wagons you want to separate! The wheels and axles used by Bachmann Farish and Dapol seem to be made from a different metal and are not attracted to the magnets. So for older Farish stock, for proper operation the wheel sets will have to be changed.

 

Sounds like a very good reason to change the wheelsets with the added bonus that the stock will look better due to the blackened wheels.

 

The way that these works will make it very tempting to try them out. If they work then hopefully there will be bulk packs that come in significantly cheaper.

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Farish have also been working on a similar knuckle coupling, and from conversations with them and with Dapol it seems they have taken two incompatible routes to get them to market. Neither company has said they are incompatible or given any dimensional data to support it, so these conclusions are driven by descriptions.

 

Dapol have gone for a straight through design, lpacing the knuckle coupling at the same height of the (european standard) NEM pocket. This is simple to engneer, and they have stated that they will be supplying NEM pockets as a glue-on replacement accessory for stock with pre-NEM Rapido couplings.

 

As Farish is part of Bachmann, and they already provide non-NEM-mounted knuckle couplings for American stock, they have designed their knuckle couplings to ride at the American standard height not the NEM height. This allows interoperability with other Bachmann products, but (presumably) not with Dapol couplings. It has two disadvantages though - first of all the plug-in unit has to have a vertical joggle to get the coupling head to the right height, and secondly it may interfere with UK height beffer beams. Fromt he discussions it sounds as if getting the first issue sorted without vertical slop is what has taken them so long to develop.

 

What it has not been possible to determine yet is whether the actual heads and mechanisms are compatible anyway, even if they were at the same height.

 

As the one constant (on recent stock anyway) is the height of the NEM pocket,and it allows easy substitution, I can see some people going for one 'standard', and some the other, depsnding on a variety of factors.

Edited by OldNick

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It looks very promising. The separate NEM pockets for converting older stock seems an acceptable compromise to the engineering challenge of making a new coupling fit older stock and has the added benefit of being extremely useful for kit builders.

 

On the magnet front, I have an interesting idea. It is possible to buy 2mm deep by 3mm diameter cylindrical rare-earth magnets on eBay which fit snuggly between the sleepers of Peco streamline track. These are often used by N gaugers to operate couplings like D&Gs or Peco Elsies.

 

In theory, mounting a pair of these with opposite poles facing upwards just inside the rails should provide the same shaped magnetic field as the Dapol uncoupling magnet. I have seen people do the same in 00 with Kaydees and mounting at the 1 o'clock and 7 o'clock positions seems to give the best results. I have some of the magnets already. My local model shop does not have the couplers in yet but as soon as they do I will get some to experiment with and post the results here.

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Squires also do small square section magnets that can be rotated to provide the correct magnetic field to operate Kadees and Microtrains. As to whether they have any left at the moment then not too sure. I meant to have a look when I was in their shop last Saturday but forgot.

 

Ian

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I'll definately be making the switch from rapidos to these as my stock collection is currently quite small.

 

The only problem I can see is when Dapol and Bachmann/Farish publish images of their stock. If the N Gauge stock has this new coupler style added at the factory as standard, it is going to get a little harder to tell the difference between the OO and N stock. I've gotten used to looking for rapidos to tell the difference!

 

Matt.

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Hi

 

From the photos and video they look the part. For British modellers I consider this a huge leap forward, anything is better than the what we are currently using. I will certainly convert as all my stock is nem pockets and use electro magnets in highly viable areas for auto uncoupling.

 

As to price I have no issue with it and would gladly pay that for improved looks and quality shunting around the layout.

 

Well done Dapol another great product and something we have needed for ages.

 

Martin

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I'm certainly interested in these including the NEM pockets as a lot of my stuff isn't NEM fitted. Personally I don't mind cutting coupler boxes off, just done it with a rake of 28 wagons to fit Tomix couplings within the rake, but some may not wish to make such an irreversible mod because they may want to sell the stock on later.

 

I may buy a couple for trials but before spending serious money I need to be confident that whichever one I choose is adaptable to most or all of my stock. I'd also be interested in an electromagnet solution, preferably one that involves little or no modification to the already-laid track or preferably goes under the baseboard. However I have visions of this needing enough power to dim the lights in the neighborhood and/or attracting distant metal objects in the way a magnet always does in cartoons.

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Are there any issues with loco mechanisms and magnets like this? I assume leaving a loco parked over one wouldn't be a good move...?

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Are there any issues with loco mechanisms and magnets like this? I assume leaving a loco parked over one wouldn't be a good move...?

 

Since that is effectively what anyone using Microtrains (or in HO/OO - Kadee) couplers or equivalent use, I don't think there are any issues. I'm sure we'd have heard about them over the last 30+ years...

 

Adrian

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"they have designed their knuckle couplings to ride at the American standard height not the NEM height."

 

Not according to conversations i have had with Colin Albright but i might be wrong and didnt talk to him :locomotive:

cheers

Dave

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I'm certainly interested in these including the NEM pockets as a lot of my stuff isn't NEM fitted. Personally I don't mind cutting coupler boxes off, just done it with a rake of 28 wagons to fit Tomix couplings within the rake, but some may not wish to make such an irreversible mod because they may want to sell the stock on later.

The reluctance to carve up older stock has always been a barrier to the adoption of alternative coupling solutions. However in this case it may be acceptable. You can get NEM Rapido arms so converting stock back for resale is quick and painless. I do not think that most people buying second hand would care whether an item has a Rapido box or NEM pocket as long as it can take the Rapido coupler.

 

The only issue that might occur is people who are relectant to carve up "collectable" items. N gauge has not really been around long enough to have an equivelent of tin-plate.

Edited by Karhedron

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I suppose these neat little couplers would work on 4mm stock providing curves arent too sharp?

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"they have designed their knuckle couplings to ride at the American standard height not the NEM height."

 

Not according to conversations i have had with Colin Albright but i might be wrong and didnt talk to him :locomotive:

cheers

Dave

 

If they haven't that's excellent news, but in coversations I've had with him some time ago at exhibitions (all long before I had any idea you were releasing knuckle couplings) he was certainly talking about the need to 'step' the head height away from the NEM height, as well as issues with making sure they didn't flex vertically. Of course, haviong not seen his couplings I could have misunderstood what he said, or things may have changed.

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