Remote controlled uncoupling

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Acela82, Aug 13, 2005.

  1. Acela82

    Acela82 New Member

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    Are there any systems on the market to uncouple a Kadee equipped locomotive from a car remote controlled via DCC? I´m not talking about a stationary magnet or something like that, i mean a system installed in the locomotive, i have planned to add such a system to an Atlas locomotive, but don´t know how to do it...

    Thanks, Michael
  2. hummerdaves

    hummerdaves Member

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    Last year MRR did a article on DCC controlled un-coupling. An electric actuator was installed in a H.O SW1200, But I have forgotten what issue it was.

    Hope this will help.:thumb:
  3. zedob

    zedob Member

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    They didn't seem too impressed with it if I recall correctly.

    Didn't it lift the coupler on the loco up?

    Seems like a very small selenoid could be used to pull the "air hose" in Kadees' natural flow of motion. I don't operate using DCC, so I'm no expert, but I believe some of the newer recievers have enough functions available to operate an accessory like a selenoid. If you can turn on a ditch light, you should be able to fire up a selenoid.

    The mechanics would probably be the hardest, but not insurmountable. It would definately be a nice option for a loco.
  4. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    It might be an interresting excercise, but since you could only uncouple a car from the locomotive, and not be able to "work" an entire train, it would seem to be very limited.
  5. Acela82

    Acela82 New Member

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    Russ you are right, but whats on the Prototype? Only the locomotive, if ever, has an automatic coupler, i think they are installed on some switchers. The cars must be uncoupled by hand...
  6. zedob

    zedob Member

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    I thought about that too, but seeing what's available in DCC these days, would it be possible to have recievers in cars equipped with controllable couplers?


    It wouldn't be cheap to convert all of one's fleet, but it would be rather neat.

    Hey, I can dream.
  7. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

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    Two ways come to mind. First the article mentioned above, as I recall it used a decoder to turn on and off a current thru a type of wire which expands and contracts to open the coupler jaw. I have no idea what mag or when, but a search on the index at MR's site should find it.

    Second, Tony's Trains (www.tonystrains.com) sells a unit I think he calls DDC which as zedob wrote, works by lifting the locos coupler to clear the adjacent cars coupler. He also sells locos with this installed. Pretty expensive as I recall, I never really considered it.

    Gary
  8. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

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    don't those coupler work magneticly? theoreticaly you could have a really tiny electromagnet or something hidden on the locomotive close to the coupler's metal wire, and when you press the button the magnet will magnetize and pull the coupler free.
  9. sidneylopsides

    sidneylopsides New Member

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    I've been wondering about this too, actually for n scale. A mechanical system that moves the coupling away would be more realistic, but would require enough power to overcome any friction between the parts. An electromagnetic system would be easier to make and use, but would it be strong enough?
    Maybe a new hybrid system can be devised. I'm going to muse over this.
  10. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

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    I don't know if anyone's still reading a thread this old, but here goes...

    An automatic coupler contained in the locomotive was developed a very long time ago - for Hornby OO tinplate. I don't think they ever used it in their scale models. I think current Lionel O equipment might have a similar system, though.

    It would be great if such a system were commonly available for HO and N, but I suppose it would add so much to the price of locomotives that it wouldn't be worth it. And, unlike other miniaturized electrical devices, model locomotives don't seem to get cheaper with time...
  11. sidneylopsides

    sidneylopsides New Member

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    Maybe one of us can make something?
    For N gauge, I was thinking of a very simple system using muscle wire, using a small length of it running along from where the connector is mounted to the top if the "hook".
    Here's a pic:
    [​IMG]

    The wire would be looped, so a small hook n the back of the connector would be handy, and I was just thinking of superglueing the wire at the bogie end, a small dab should do it. The power sires can be run alongside the pickup wires to hide them. I guess you could even colour the muscle wire to hide it.
    running the wire along the same axis as the connector allows the connector to move freely whilst in normal use, but when a current is applied it will lift the hook, hopefully decoupling. By just using muscle wire it is very small, so can be bogie mounted or chassis mounted depending on model, and would be very simple to install. Just need some muscle wire to test with :D
  12. Jonnyspeed

    Jonnyspeed New Member

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  13. zedob

    zedob Member

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    When you think about it, it's not a bad price considering what it avails. Maybe not as good as controlling a loco coupler, but more freedom than relying on permanant (in the layout) uncoupler ramps. I can see where it could be a problem on my layout, due to a one loco one car lead track to my industrial area and for run-arounds, but it does have some merit.

    I'd like to see further progress form them. Actually, from what I've seen accomplished over the last 35 years in MRRing, I have no doubt that I will see full trains with fully operational DCC couplers, at an affordable price. Just look what's been done in the last 10 years.