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Discussion in 'FAQs' started by roryglasgow, Dec 8, 2001.
Are Micro-Trains couplers compatible with Kato knuckle couplers?
A "mostly" Yes. About 2/3rds of the Kato engines I have with knuckle couplers will mate up with Micro-trains equipped cars or engines. Sometimes a little push is needed to join up properly. However, they will not uncouple without the Great Hand From The Sky coming down and lifting up the car or engine. The other 1/3rd of my engines require the car or engine to be lifted onto the other in order to join up.
The "Great Hand From The Sky"?
I like that!
I also heard someone refer to it once as the "0-5-0 switcher"
Sorry, I don't have any experience with Kato knuckle couplers, but for manual uncoupling, I use these bamboo skewers (looks like a real long toothpick) that I swiped from the kitchen (shhh...she hasn't missed them yet! ) You just stick them between the knuckles, & twist. This little gizmo works in HO & N scale. I think you can buy something like this commercially, but if you can get freebies...
As I mentioned in another post, my wife got me a Kato SD80MAC for Christmas. It comes with their knuckle couplers. Well, everything except my passenger cars use Rapido couplers (except for the lead passenger car, which has a Rapido). I was thinking of converting everything to MT or something similar. MT is preferable because they seem to have the widest variety of styles and models. But I'm not prepared to shuck out the bucks to convert everything, and I don't want to halfway convert one car that will always have to sit behind this engine. To complicate things even further, it is undecorated...and I've never "decorated' a loco before.
Another alternative is to send the thing back, but I've not been able to get ahold of Hobby Circle, where she bought it. I had already tried to cancel the order before they sent it, but they ignored my request and sent it anyway. Ug...
For anyone else who might be interested... I was hunting around for information on various sites and found out on www.nscalesupply.com that the MTL-2004 and MTL-2001 fit the SD80/90s. Use the latter if running the engine on curves with less than a 12" radius.
If you have any radii smaller than about 11'', the lead car behind the SD80/90 will usually derail. The stock Kato couplers are very short and will play havoc with truck-mounted couplers. I'm planning on getting the longer MT couplers, even though they don't look prototypical. Having a derailment at every curve isn't very prototypical either!
I think I'm going to just replace the Kato couplers with Micro-Trains. The 2001 coupler has a longer shank than the 2004, and is recommended for tighter radii. In Spookshow's review of the SD80MAC, he mentions that it runs just fine around "9 inch" radius curves, and he uses Micro-Trains couplers.
My current plan is to get a set of trucks for one of the box cars, and simply use that box car behind this engine until I can afford to convert my whole fleet.
Now my question is: how long does the shank on the truck need to be? Can I get away with using a short shank (cheapest in bulk)? Or will I need a medium or long? I have a couple of spots on my mainline that have 9 3/4" radius curves.
The length of the shank on the freight car doesn't have any effect on how it goes around corners (at least in my experiences). The length differs because not every maker puts the bolster hole (where the pin that holds the truck on the car goes) the same distance from the edge of the car.
If you or your local shop don't have the MT binder available, goto the MT website and download the spreadsheet with conversion data. Just find your particular car and the appropiate truck is listed.
A handy little item is the sampler pack, which includes a pair of each size coupler, short, medium, and long. Not sure what style the truck is, but it makes a quick way of finding out what you need for a particular car. You should be able to find one for about $10-15.
In my experience, most cars are a medium length, which is available in bulk packs, along with a few long styles. The shorts can be fitted onto a medium-length car, but they will rub on each other. If your coupler box is a little long, as some prototypes are, it doesn't affect operations any.
FYI: the lengths of the truck/shanks are as follows:
(Measured from bolster hole to outer edge of couple box/bolster hole to end of coupler)
Short: 0.395"(10.0mm) / 0.537"(13.6mm)
Medium: 0.501"(12.7mm) / 0.651"(16.5mm)
Long: 0.788"(20.0mm) / 0.935"(23.8mm)
Keep in mind that the passenger trucks, which don't come in bulk
, have adjustable shanks that reach out to 1.05"(26.7mm) to the end of the coupler.