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Noel

Kingsbridge - Kadee + coupling conversions

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Kadee's have transformed my enjoyment of this hobby. Shunting, coupling and uncoupling using magnets has been so much fun and engaging. I now spend much more time 'rubik cube' shunting and marshalling wagons in yards than main line running, and even marshalling older non-uniform coaching stock. 

The addition of Wheeltappers DCC sound chips which their F12 auto-uncoupling function is an added bonus but not necessary. F12 synchronises a short nudge of the loco back and forth with notching sounds and coupling noises for use with both uncoupling and coupling.  I've found only one delayed uncoupling magnet is needed per yard if placed strategically due to the delayed uncoupling action (i.e. uncouple over the magnet but push wagon past back into a siding of choice).  This negates the need for multiple magnets.  

PS: I agree with Graham, gearbox mounted whisker spring kadee's are more consistently reliable for uncoupling than NEM kadee's due to the greater rotational movement of the former (i.e. shank pivots in gearbox in addition to knuckle rotation).  With this in mind I have started to cut away NEM pockets on some of my 2 axle rolling stock and replace with gearbox kadee's.

PS2: http://www.wheeltappersdccsounds.co.uk are the same Irish sound projects sold by DCkits.  They are not done by LegoManBiffo who does all the UK stuff.

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Video clip demo of shunting using Kadee uncoupling magnets and using delayed uncoupling to marshal wagons.  Only one single magnet is needed in the goods yard which enables uncoupling in any yard siding.  Have enjoyed shunting operations.

 

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 Very nice Noel. 

How do you find the kadee magnets versus DIY neodymium cubes or similar?

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55 minutes ago, BosKonay said:

 Very nice Noel. 

How do you find the kadee magnets versus DIY neodymium cubes or similar?

Hi Stephen.  

Kadee better so far.  To be honest I've only tried the neodymium magnets on bits of test track so far.  The kadee 321 enables delayed uncoupling which a single pair of neodymium cans cannot do.

The first batch of neodymium magnets I tried were too strong (i.e. N50) which caused occasional un-commanded uncoupling when pulling over them.  Just received some N35 strength neodymium which I will try with three pairs in a line between sleepers to see if I can get 'delayed' uncoupling working.  Basically one pair of the neo's don't create a big enough field to keep the knuckles open for delayed uncoupling.  The neo's may work better if placed in each siding just for uncoupling over the magnet (i.e. no delayed).

If I was starting out afresh, the ideal would seem to be a single electro magnet at the head of each yard because you could reverse and stop stock over it without uncoupling when the magnet was switched off.  But for retro fits on existing layouts the 321 between the rails magnet works well once one gets used to the technique. Apologies for the long answer.

Cheers

Noel

 

Below are N50 strength which seems too strong.

 

Edited by Noel
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Hi Noel,

If you use more magnets to create a bigger magnetic field they work better than the kadee magnet. I use 3mm dia neodymium magnets and they sit nicely between the sleepers. I find 6 or 8 in a row works well.

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42 minutes ago, Noel said:

Hi Stephen.  

Kadee better so far.  To be honest I've only tried the neodymium magnets on bits of test track so far.  The kadee 321 enables delayed uncoupling which a single pair of neodymium cans cannot do.

The first batch of neodymium magnets I tried were too strong (i.e. N50) which caused occasional un-commanded uncoupling when pulling over them.  Just received some N35 strength neodymium which I will try with three pairs in a line between sleepers to see if I can get 'delayed' uncoupling working.  Basically one pair of the neo's don't create a big enough field to keep the knuckles open for delayed uncoupling.  The neo's may work better if placed in each siding just for uncoupling over the magnet (i.e. no delayed).

If I was starting out afresh, the ideal would seem to be a single electro magnet at the head of each yard because you could reverse and stop stock over it without uncoupling when the magnet was switched off.  But for retro fits on existing layouts the 321 between the rails magnet works well once one gets used to the technique. Apologies for the long answer.

Cheers

Noel

 

Below are N50 strength which seems too strong.

 

The neodymium magnets are a cheap alternative but they create their own problems. Like Noel said the uncoupling area can be way to small making uncoupling difficult. it get's even more messy when you're driving a sound equipped loco with lots of momentum as it makes it very hard to stop in the right place! Also the magnets can be way to strong which forces the coupler knuckles too far apart. This means the couplers won't reengage correctly when pushing the stock which causes buffer lock and derailments! The electromagnet uncouplers are a good alternative but again but are near impossible to retrofit to an existing layout. The between track magnets not be visually appealing but they simply work best.

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15 minutes ago, Dave said:

Hi Noel,

If you use more magnets to create a bigger magnetic field they work better than the kadee magnet. I use 3mm dia neodymium magnets and they sit nicely between the sleepers. I find 6 or 8 in a row works well.

But again they tend to be too strong for the couplers and push them too far to the side. Also, when you increase the area you start to get problems with the magnets attracting the metal axles of the rolling stock.

All methods have their drawbacks but the Kadee uncoupler's problems are purely cosmetic, they work well.

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I've tested 2mm cubes in rows of 4, which has been successful too, there is definitely a fine art to it!

 

 

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11 minutes ago, BosKonay said:

I've tested 2mm cubes in rows of 4, which has been successful too, there is definitely a fine art to it!

 

 

It's also dependent on which couplers you use. The neodymium magnets work fine with the NEM couplers as the sideways movement is more limited, but draft box Kadees get pushed apart too far to reengage for delayed uncoupling. Also, NEM and draft box couplers don't like to be mixed and matched.

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I still have some two axle wagons remaining to convert from NEM mounted tension lock couplings to Kadee, but I now plan to cutaway the NEM pockets and mount 14x series draft gearbox Kadee's instead of plugging in NEM kadee's.  Reason is the whisker couplings mounted in gearboxes have more pivot movement than the NEM kadees which only rotate at the knuckle head.

I will be testing some less powerful N34 neo's on a piece of test track for comparison with the 321 magnet, but primarily to check how they work for delayed uncoupling.  Will report back when done. Visually I find the 'between the rails' magnets don't look out of place when disguised as walkways across the tracks.  

 'Hands free' kayee uncoupling has transformed how much more I enjoy and operate the layout with more focus on shunting operations than lots 'roundy roundy' action. :) 

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2 hours ago, Dave said:

Hi Noel,

If you use more magnets to create a bigger magnetic field they work better than the kadee magnet. I use 3mm dia neodymium magnets and they sit nicely between the sleepers. I find 6 or 8 in a row works well.

Thanks Dave.  Will be trying out 'delayed uncoupling' with a similar setup when I get time to setup another test track with N34 neo's. It is important to get the poles of the rows magnets either side of the track centreline correctly aligned (i.e. N v S). Noel

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2 hours ago, irishthump said:

But again they tend to be too strong for the couplers and push them too far to the side. Also, when you increase the area you start to get problems with the magnets attracting the metal axles of the rolling stock.

All methods have their drawbacks but the Kadee uncoupler's problems are purely cosmetic, they work well.

Not necessarily, the trick is to push them down into the baseboard. I have successfully done this, I drill through the baseboard and then push the magnets in. I then adjust by pushing them in further until they work perfectly!  

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@Dave

Yeah I get that, but to be honest I find that to be a lot of messing around. The Kadee magnet is plug and play and I can deal with how it looks. Also easily removed if needs be.

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1 hour ago, irishthump said:

@Dave

Yeah I get that, but to be honest I find that to be a lot of messing around. The Kadee magnet is plug and play and I can deal with how it looks. Also easily removed if needs be.

That's what swung it for me too after an initial bout of enthusiasm for the neo's.  The 321 installs easy and just works out of the box (sleeve) :) I use a dap of bostik on a few sleepers to hold it which makes it really easy to remove or reposition if necessary.  As there is only one needed per yard throat they haven't proved an eye sore so far, especially if made to look like a walkway (which I haven't done yet). :) FWIW I hadn't great luck in test experiments with their bigger under track magnet, which isn't really on for retro fitting anyway due to board cutout, only for a new build.

Edited by Noel

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PS: There is no absolute right or wrong just what works best for ones own layout and mode of operating.

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I think I posted this clip elsewhere before, but for completeness have added it to this Kadee specific thread.

 

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