Beginner H.O

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by jej34, Dec 10, 2006.

  1. jej34

    jej34 New Member

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    Hi All,
    I have inherited a H.O set that was partially started. My father ha)d built around 30 car's or so. I thought it would be nice to set up for my 2 year old son and just simply run a circle around the christmas tree. I bought a transformer and some track. The couplers on the Athern cars are the ones with the metal hooks on them (maybe x2f, I 'm not up on couplers yet) If I try to put any kind of speed to the trains (on 1 engine and 3 cars) they become uncoupled. I guess my question is, is there any trick to coupling that I am not doing. Do I interlock the metal hooks on each car before coupling? What is the purpose of that hook that seems to just hang there?

    Any help would be great
    Thanks Joe
  2. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

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    Welcome to The Gauge, Joe:wave:

    Metal horn/hooks go back to the 50s and 60s, it sounds like any springs which aid in keeping them coupled are shot. Sometimes they were wire or bits of rubber. Getting those old boogers to work will be quite a trick if that is the case. A tip would be to glue a short piece of rubber band to the left side of the coupler box so that it pushes the hook to the right as you're facing it. Since you're only going to run it for Christmas this trick will at least hold them together.
  3. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

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    jej34:

    Coupler types attached below. Which ones do you have?

    Attached Files:

  4. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

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    The pins coming down from the coupler are designed to be squeezed together as they were pulled or pushed thru an uncoupling ramp made for them. When slack was given in the train, they would push apart far enough to pull away, leaving the car behind in the siding. It was a good, if not ugly and not entirely reliable way to do switching in a day when there were 7-8 different couplers out there.
  5. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

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    Ah, yeah, Tom, would've been good to figure out which ones were there first:oops: :thumb:

    I had found out recently that a majority of modelers still use those horn/hooks.
  6. jej34

    jej34 New Member

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    I have the one on the right. Looks like the knuckle coupler
  7. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

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    jej34:

    The knuckle couplers that comes with Athearns use an tiny spur of plastic to keep the knuckle closed. Problem with that particular knuckle coupler is that the plastic spur sometimes do not provide enough spring tension to keep the knuckle closed well enough, which means the cars can uncouple on curves.

    I would advise you to change to a better knuckle coupler. Get some Kadee couplers, which uses a much more reliable brass spring to keep the knuckles closed. Those keep my cars coupled, and this is on 18" curves (and yes, most of my rolling stock is Athearn retrofitted with Kadees).

    Shaygetz:

    Yeah I figure the photos would help jej34 end his coupler confusion once and for all. :thumb:
  8. jej34

    jej34 New Member

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    Ok, so the hooks don't get ibnterlocked. To connect these cars I should just be able to pull a car up to the car in front of it and when it locks, that's it? These cars were never used ever ! that's what was throwing me for a loop. Like I said if I keep the speed down. they seem to stay hooked.
  9. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

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    Most knuckle types come with plastic spring work that fails very easily in storage. As Tom says, your best bet is to replace them with Kadees, #5s most likely, hopefully you have a hobby shop nearby.
  10. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

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    Sounds like the earlier knuckles from about 8 years ago that had plastic springs to close the knuckles. In storage, they would be held open and the plastic would "memorize" this and never close again.
  11. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

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    If its just for Christmas, I'd pinch them closed and seal them with a dab of Crazy Glue. They'll work just fine, just lift them to uncouple.
  12. jej34

    jej34 New Member

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    Ok, Sounds like I know what I need to do. Thanks for all of your help
    Guy's. I am a newbie to this, I have been flying Radio controlled Helicopters for 20 years but have never messed with trains.
    Have a great night

    Joe