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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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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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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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Next Kadee conversion target were some recent Intercity Mk4 coaches (CAF look-a-likes due livery respray). I decided to convert these coaches to kadee because the supplied Hornby TLCs are massive, visually obtrusive and not suitable for reliable high speed push operations. It was a fairly straight forward involving a little cutting, fettling and superglue in a styrene sandwich. I used Kadee No 18s with the shank cut short and super glued them to the adapted bogie ends using a styrene sandwich. There was no space to either add a NEM pocket, nor easily fit draft gearbox kadees. As these are mainly going to operate as fixed rakes, the visual benefits as well as closer coupling was the key draw of kadees as well as reliable push operations at speed which TLCs are not renowned for.

Start by cutting away the large plastic TLC hoop followed by shortening the bogie mount slightly.

IMG_9780.jpg

Then after using the Kadee height gauge I elected to use shortened kadee no 18 NEM couplings by making a styrene sandwich which the shank of the no 18 was super glued into. 

IMG_9808.jpg

Test line up bogie with height guage - all good to go so refitted to coach

IMG_9781.jpg

Happy with height. Next were successful test runs both pull and push mode using 222 as the loco.Also tested couplings worked with other locos, and when hooked up to other coaches (eg mk2d and mk3) for storage transfers, etc

IMG_9784.jpg

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Noel-Is it the same type-(kadee no18) coupler that is fitted to locomotive 222?

I have no experience of kadee couplers on my layout but I feel they are ideal for my MK4 end coach set.

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3 minutes ago, ttc0169 said:

Noel-Is it the same type-(kadee no18) coupler that is fitted to locomotive 222?

I have no experience of kadee couplers on my layout but I feel they are ideal for my MK4 end coach set.

Hi Noel I will have to check which I put in no 222, it may have been a no 18. Either way the NEM pockets on MM 201 locos are too low and not at the correct height for NEM specs so I had to bend the trip pin up a little to stop the coupling founding point rails and uncoupling magnets. Its easy to adjust using their dual mode trip pin pliers, or to be honest a fair of needle nose pliers would do with a bit of dexterous hand juggling. The Kadee pliers is great for bending the pin down (ie increasing the radius of the bend) in situations where the NEM pockets is marginally too high to the trip pin too high above magnets. I think this is mentioned on my kadee workbench conversion thread where one of the items covered was 201s.

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On ‎2‎/‎12‎/‎2019 at 8:25 PM, Noel said:

 

IMG_9781.jpg

 

Noel, am I right in thinking that the section the coupler fits into is actually part of the coach underframe and not part of the coupler?

In that case, if I were you I'd be tempted to go the whole hog and cut that section from the bogie then attach it to the underside of the coach. Should then be easy enough to fettle an opening to fit a draft box into. An undershot, long shank Kadee (no. 147) would fit perfectly. It looks like it would sit far enough back to give close coupling and the long shank should give it plenty of room to swing on curves.

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1 hour ago, irishthump said:

Noel, am I right in thinking that the section the coupler fits into is actually part of the coach underframe and not part of the coupler?

In that case, if I were you I'd be tempted to go the whole hog and cut that section from the bogie then attach it to the underside of the coach. Should then be easy enough to fettle an opening to fit a draft box into. An undershot, long shank Kadee (no. 147) would fit perfectly. It looks like it would sit far enough back to give close coupling and the long shank should give it plenty of room to swing on curves.

Hi Graham,

Thanks for suggestion. The original TLC coupler was an integrated part of the bogie. I removed it and fitted a NEM no 18 Kadee to the bogie by making up a sandwich of styrene (ie no NEM pocket, not enough space). There is not enough clearance between the bogie and coach underside to fit say a no 141 or 147 draft gear box whisker coupling which suites bogie stock. I'd have to remove a lot of the bogie to give it enough clearance and fitting direct to coach body could lead to unreliable running problems over points, etc, compared to the bogie following changing track direction especially on such excessively long rolling stock (ie 78ft scale length compared to 62ft for 1960s stock).

Noel

 

kadee_chart_201805a.jpg

PS: I suppose I could cut the bit of the body under frame box that is attached to the end of the bogie off and glue to coach body underside and then make a recess within that to accommodate either a no 141/147 draft gear box or even a NEM pocket. But rigid direct to a long body could possibly cause running issues. NEM pockets would be ideal as I could then fit Roco close couplings with Keen systems swivel plates, but a lot of work to merely pass the intercity 'duck test'. :)

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20 hours ago, Noel said:

 

PS: I suppose I could cut the bit of the body under frame box that is attached to the end of the bogie off and glue to coach body underside and then make a recess within that to accommodate either a no 141/147 draft gear box or even a NEM pocket. But rigid direct to a long body could possibly cause running issues. NEM pockets would be ideal as I could then fit Roco close couplings with Keen systems swivel plates, but a lot of work to merely pass the intercity 'duck test'. :)

That's exactly what I was suggesting!

I find body mounted couplers on long stock are far more reliable over curves and points than bogie-mounted. Once they have enough room to swing, of course.

 

Edited by irishthump

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46 minutes ago, irishthump said:

That's exactly what I was suggesting!

I find body mounted couplers on long stock are far more reliable over curves and points than bogie-mounted. Once they have enough room to swing, of course.

 

Fair enough. I’ve had more success with bogie mounted couplings if keen systems swivel plates not feasible to retro fit. 

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On 2/12/2019 at 10:22 PM, RobertRoche said:

I did a similar change of couplings on mine but using Bachmann 36-025 mini couplings.

288575949_SDC17863Cropped.thumb.jpg.581bd56dd6d301f681825db0e3d1d378.jpg

That’s a big visual improvement on the massive Hornby TLCs

ps. My OCD requests that buffer be rotated to the level. :)

Edited by Noel
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Converted some IR Intercity Hornby Mk4 Coaches to Kadee couplings by cutting the ugly tension lock couplings off the bogies and replacing with NEM pockets housing a mix of Kadee no 17 and no 18 NEM couplings. Test run forwards and backwards proved successful. Next is to cannibalise and respray donor BR donor DVT into IR intercity livery to go with these coaches and 222. Head hung in shame at the modernity of such a train infesting the layout. 1f642.png?_nc_eui2=AeFy-5UVP5-tkFTCa69Nr:) . . . but I quite like it. The kadee's also get the coaches coupled much closer together than the ugly Hornby Tension lock couplings.

Kaydee_Hornby_Mk4_Coach.jpg

Height gauge essential for correct coupling and especially trip pin height over rails. The odd bogie I had to use the kadee trip pin pliers to change the radius of the pin so it would sit at the correct height above the uncoupling magnets.

IMG_9962.jpg

The coaches sit closer together than they did with the large plastic moulded in Hornby TLCs.

IMG_9964.jpg

I'll have to get an immunity certificate from the ancient society of CIE B&T brethren for infesting the layout with such incompatible modernity  or I could be sentenced to 'rot forever in the bogie of eternal stench' for operating post 1974 model stock! :) 

PS: This was a much easier conversion job on the bogies than last weeks surgery.

Edited by Noel
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Started working through converting my Bachmann oil wagons. These were easy to convert, just a straight plug'n'play swap out of the TLCs and plug in no 18 Kadee into the NEM pocket that was at the correct height. I have found Bachmann and Dapol wagons the most reliable as regards correct height NEM pockets which is essential if uncoupling is to work reliably. I didn't have to bend any trip pins. The Dapol wagon NEM pockets can droop a little and may need screw tightening to remove sloppy play.  I have found coaches from all manufacturers the worst offenders  as regards incorrectly positioned NEM pockets, or no NEM pockets at all.  All MM coaches required tweaking or minor surgery of some kind to fit kadee couplings at the correct height for automatic uncoupling and interoperability with other kadee fitted stock. Easy to do and worth the hassle.  Hopefully within another few months all of my layout stock will have been converted to kadee couplings which will allow me to mix and marshall any combination of wagons from any vendor.

IMG_7948.jpg

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That's a great resource Noel. Where do you normally order your Kadee stuff from?

I was looking at DCC Concepts rather than going through Kadee themselves. Also would the delayed uncoupler between the rail fit on code 75 track as c100 is highlighted.

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, scahalane said:

That's a great resource Noel. Where do you normally order your Kadee stuff from?

I was looking at DCC Concepts rather than going through Kadee themselves. Also would the delayed uncoupler between the rail fit on code 75 track as c100 is highlighted.

Cheers. Source? - who ever has the lowest prices at the time. The last few orders were from Hatton's and gaugemaster in the UK. Hattons tend to only have the NEM kadees, but gaugemaster have all the other stuff inc draft gearbox whisker couplings for converting older non NEM stock, magnets etc.

Fitting Between the rails magnets on code 75 track? I am just about to find out as I am laying code 75 track at the moment. I may have to recess the magnet slightly into the sleepers. Will report back in due course.

Edited by Noel
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For Kaydee's I use Caister Loco, Pete is usually competative and is local, to me!!

For magnets I have just bought from  Magnet Expert who are in Tuxford  Notts  a pack of 10; 50x19x5mm Ferrite magnts with a pull of 1.5kg for £4.64+ Vat and a pack of 2mm dia x 1mm thick Neodymium Magnets 0.11kg pull ,pack of 50 for £4.12 plus vat total invoice £10.51.

  Really helpful people and have a huge website and range. www.First4Magnets.com. No connection just a happy customer.

        Mick

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Usually buy all my Kadees from DCKits. They're no cheaper than other retailers but they're fast and always seem to have sufficient stock.

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Thanks so much Noel for this valuable information, brilliant stuff

 

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