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Re: Micro Trains couplers

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  • BJKRONEN@xxx.xxx
    ... Very, very good. Reliable. All 21 Marklin locos I have are now converted to MT s. All my rolling stock (MT and Marklin) are also MT equipped (my
    Message 1 of 16 , Nov 4, 1999
      Anders, Ole, and Jeff:

      > 1) How good does Micro Trains couplers work?

      Very, very good. Reliable. All 21 Marklin locos I have are now converted to
      MT's. All my rolling stock (MT and Marklin) are also MT equipped (my
      appologies to Marklin collectors, especially for the ones I've stripped and
      repainted).

      I guess I just too dumb, blind or something, cause I could never get the
      Marklin uncoupler to work reliably. So I just converted everything to MT.
      Worked out great.

      > Good enough to have a permanent
      > decoupler magnet under one track in an end station and run over it with the
      > train and the loco decoupels from the train and goes on a turntable and
      > comes back turned, passes the train on another track and couples in on the
      > train in the other end?

      Yes. You need to understand how they work, though. Take a look at this MT
      page which has a number of excellent pictures:

      http://www.micro-trains.com/latest.htm

      Yes, I know the pictures at the top of the page are of USA trucks. The USA
      trucks are only loosely similar to your boggies. Ignore that, and look at
      the assembled coupler. These are N scale pictures, but the Z scale versions
      are identical. Except someone left them in a clothes dryer too long, and
      they shrank down to z scale size.

      Note the curved steel rod that hangs out the bottom of the "knuckle coupler"
      (That's the USA name for the coupler). With a little imagination, you can
      see a "thumb" and "four fingers" make up the coupler. When coupled, the two
      sets of "fingers" hold on to each other very well. They cannot uncouple
      easily, because the two "thumbs" keep the "fingers" from moving apart. Just
      like human hands would. Wonder where they got the idea for "knuckle
      couplers" from, 100 plus years ago <smile>.

      However, when the two couplers move over a section of track which has a
      magnetic North pole under one rail, and a magnetic South pole under the other
      rail, a strong repelling force is developed between the two steel rods. They
      move away from each other, and when they do, they pull the "thumbs" away from
      the "fingers". If there is any slack in the couplers (looseness), the
      fingers will also pull away from each other and uncoupling results. The most
      reliable method is to stop the train over the magnet, back up 1cm, and then
      move forward. Poof !! they are uncoupled 100% of the time.

      Please note that if you run a train over the magnet at a constant speed, the
      "thumbs" will separate, but the fingers will continue to hold on to each
      other, and uncoupling WILL NOT happen. Its supposed to do that. If it
      didn't, you would loose the train as it pulls out of the station on its way
      to the mainline. Not what you want to happen.

      Now go all the way to the bottom of the page, and you can see an exploded
      view of all the parts that make up the "thumb" and "fingers". Notice how the
      coupler parts fit over a "pin" in the middle of a "box".

      That's odd. Marklin coupler pockets are also constructed like a "box" with a
      "pin" in the middle.

      > 2) Any experience with converting M�rklin cars and locos to Micro Trains
      > couplers? Hard?

      You got it. All that is involved in changing out the couplers is to pretend
      you are replacing a broken Marklin coupler with replacement Marklin coupler.
      Except you substitute the MT coupler for the Marklin replacement part.
      That's it. Obviously, good eyesight is required for coupler replacement, no
      matter the brand.

      Each Marklin loco or car has some way to get to the coupler pocket (screw,
      snap cover, etc) to allow replacement of a damaged coupler. The instructions
      that come with MT 901 and 902 couplers has several typical pictures to help
      you figure it out.

      What's the difference? 901 couplers have "medium" length (0.185 inch/0.47cm)
      arms and 902 have "short" (0.143 inch/0.363cm) arms. Depends on how far
      apart you think cars/locos ought to be. The "short" looks more like the real
      thing, but if you have 5 inch/12.5cm curves, you might want to use the
      "medium".

      One bag of either, converts two cars (four couplers).

      IMPORTANT POINT. Both Marklin and MT will only uncouple/couple on STRAIGHT
      track, never on curves. Don't covert everything then be disappointed because
      you are trying to do coupling/uncoupling on curves. Marklin would not let
      you do that, since their electro-mechanical coupler only came mounted in a
      piece of straight track (for a reason). MT forces you to do that, if you buy
      their "between-the-rails" magnets.

      As I changed mine out, I put the old Marlin spring and coupler in an envelope
      with a description of the car/loco, so if I ever sell it, I can put the parts
      back if the buyer wants Marklin couplers again.

      My resale is doubtful. Who wants a 8807 repainted as a T&NO (black with
      silver smokebox) loco, with an oil tender behind it decaled Southern Pacific
      anyway? Sure looks like the picture of the real one, though.

      > What to think of? Disadvanteges? My idea was to only convert
      > the loco and the end cars to reduce work.

      Lots of folks in both N and Z only convert the "ends" of trains and the
      locos. Saves both money and time. Folks who want to drop off a boxcar out
      of the middle of a train on a siding generally convert all cars.

      If you are planning to use MT couplers, you really, really need to get the MT
      920 alignment tool. Cheap, under $10us. Jeff talked about mis-aligned
      couplers. He's dead right. But the MT tool makes it easy to spot problems
      and fix them.

      Its also a track and wheel gauge. Great for finding and fixing those trouble
      spots on your layout where cars seem to always go flying off the track, or
      fix a car that just don't like your layout, period (out of gauge wheel set).

      The only MT disadvantage is unexpected uncoupling when you run over the
      magnet. If you train is "jerking" back and forth behind a "studdering" loco,
      obviously some cars will have slack in the couplers (as the train expands and
      contracts). When any slack coupler runs over the magnet, uncoupling will
      result.

      To prevent this embarrasement (especially in front of crowds) I use
      electromagnets on mainline tracks. No power, no magnetic field, no
      accidental uncoupling, no matter how bad the loco studders, or how unsteady
      my hand may be on the speed control knob.

      On sidings, I use permanent magnets, since almost any "action" there involves
      dropping off, or picking up, a car from the siding anyway.

      In the case of your station, consider if you have both stopped passenger
      trains, and "through" service on the same track. Do you have a steady
      throttle hand? Do you loco's sometimes run erratic? Then pick the better
      solution.

      Under-the-roadbed electromagnets run around $5 and under-the-roadbed
      permanent magnets cost around 35 cents. Yup. I found a "deal" on them. No,
      I don't sell them, or make a profit from their sale. Let me know if you are
      interested. MT also sells them too, at a higher price.

      By the way, Z-Track Magazine published a nice piece on a "conversion" car,
      which has Marklin on one end, and MT on the other. That allows friends to
      stop by with the "other" coupler and still run behind your loco/train, or
      vice-versa.

      Perhaps Rob might share how to get that back-issue with us ???

      > Thanks for the help and best regards from the autumn in Stockholm (yes it's
      > a gray, gray day...)!

      Blue skys. Warm, but not too hot. We need rain, badly. In Houston.

      Bill Kronenberger
    • M. Gottschalch
      Ole, The MT couplers look like the US couplers, so if you are modeling a US system then they will fit right in, But if you model European rail then they will
      Message 2 of 16 , Nov 5, 1999
        Ole,

        The MT couplers look like the US couplers, so if you are modeling a US
        system then they will fit right in, But if you model European rail then
        they will not look right. Of course they are a little bit smaller then
        the M couplers, but not enough to go to the extra cost of replacing all
        your couplers.

        Manfred
      • BJKRONEN@aol.com
        ... Excellent point. You put a great point-of-view balance into this discussion. Bill Kronenberger Houston
        Message 3 of 16 , Nov 5, 1999
          Manfred:

          > The MT couplers look like the US couplers, so if you are modeling a US
          > system then they will fit right in, But if you model European rail then
          > they will not look right. Of course they are a little bit smaller then
          > the M couplers, but not enough to go to the extra cost of replacing all
          > your couplers.

          Excellent point. You put a great point-of-view balance into this discussion.

          Bill Kronenberger
          Houston
        • Jeffrey MacHan
          Hi all, One more reason not to convert to MT s: I have found that the original Märklin couplers bring passenger cars closer together than MTs. I tried the
          Message 4 of 16 , Nov 5, 1999
            Hi all,

            One more reason not to convert to MT's:

            I have found that the original M�rklin couplers bring passenger cars closer
            together than MTs. I tried the conversions on a couple of cars and then
            finally only kept them on one end of the baggage car to uncouple from the
            motive power and on the end of the saloon-observation car to allow switching
            and to maintain the illusion that all cars had MTs.

            I also found that MTs between coaches tended to uncouple occasionally on
            curves probably due to the longer carbodies and the truck lengths.

            However I have them on all my locomotives (which are of course US
            prototype).

            Jeffrey MacHan

            >Manfred:
            >
            > > The MT couplers look like the US couplers, so if you are modeling a US
            > > system then they will fit right in, But if you model European rail then
            > > they will not look right. Of course they are a little bit smaller then
            > > the M couplers, but not enough to go to the extra cost of replacing all
            > > your couplers.
            >
            >Excellent point. You put a great point-of-view balance into this
            >discussion.
            >
            >Bill Kronenberger
            >Houston
            >
            >------------------------------------------------------------------------
            >Small iZ Beautiful!
            >
            ><< text3.html >>
          • Ole.Rosted@xxxxxxx.xxxxxxxxxxxxxx)
            ... Thank you for warning me ! But I m only interested in the couplers function - not how they look! I guess I m not a real Z er; how my trains look, how my
            Message 5 of 16 , Nov 5, 1999
              On Fri, 05 Nov 1999 06:42:28 -0500, you wrote:

              >From: "M. Gottschalch" <megott@...>
              >
              >Ole,
              >
              >The MT couplers look like the US couplers, so if you are modeling a US
              >system then they will fit right in, But if you model European rail then
              >they will not look right.

              Thank you for warning me !

              But I'm only interested in the couplers' function - not how they look!
              I guess I'm not a "real" Z'er; how my trains look, how my scenery
              looks is relatively unimportanrt to me. - I let my 8800 pull my ep. V
              pullman cars around and I am happy about it (especially if the 8800
              makes it through my turnouts :-( )

              When I get finished with track-laying I *will* use my 40 buildings, 2
              stations, 2 coal&water stations, 20 lampposts, 5 signals,
              roadcrossings, figures, bridges, tunnels - you name it. These items
              are from the collection I bought from a former Z-er.

              So actually I'm not "modeling" anything right now. Smooth running is
              my religion :)

              I took contact today with a swedish MT dealer www.sundbergs.h.se
              He tells me that he has the MT couplers and some f4 diesels (whatever
              that might be? - sounds american?) in Z.

              I'll give the couplers a try - when I get my new turnouts!

              It is true, that I - when taking my 8800 apart for cleaning - swore
              NEVER to remove the bottom plate again (the gears and cog wheels are
              no problem - the scrapers are).

              On the other hand there is a lot of things I didn't dare to do with
              my trains 6 months ago. Since then I have grown more fatalistic
              (trainwise) and I venture into any challenge (relying heavily on the
              [z_scale] members to pull me ashore:-)

              regards Ole Rosted, Denmark
            • M. Gottschalch
              Hi Ole, I m like you, I don t care how they look or what era, but if I like them I will run them. New eraV freight cars on the 8800, in particular the big
              Message 6 of 16 , Nov 5, 1999
                Hi Ole,

                I'm like you, I don't care how they look or what era, but if I like them
                I will run them. New eraV freight cars on the 8800, in particular the
                big transformer car. I wonder if a real lok that small would be able to
                pull that big a car.

                I might also use the couplers, but I would rather use the money to buy
                other items that I need, such as signals, coal and water stations, road
                crossings, people, and so on. Sounds like a familiar list, now where did
                I see that before?? :-))

                F4 diesels are American. I like old steam and electric loks, so I will
                not be getting any of the F4s. The only diesel that I would like to get
                is the one from about 1924, that used a diesel engine froma Uboat to
                drive an air compressor, and the air ran the steam cylinders to drive
                the wheels. This one I have only seen in HO, so I may have to try
                building one myself, I doubt that Markin will be producing one in Z any
                time soon.

                Manfred
              • Dieter_Mac_Nolte@xxxxxxxx.xxxxx.x.xxxxx)
                Howdy, dear Bill, with pleasue I read you praising the MTL couplers. Also I was impressed by the nice appearance of these couplers and ordered some. However
                Message 7 of 16 , Nov 6, 1999
                  Howdy, dear Bill,

                  with pleasue I read you praising the MTL couplers.
                  Also I was impressed by the nice appearance of these couplers and ordered some.

                  However when I received them, I was puzzled. The coupler assembly instructions
                  stated that under the pressure of a long train the couplers may be forced to
                  slip up or down against each other (and uncouple!). MTL recommends to make
                  angled cuts of 'no more than 4 degrees' towards the center of the knuckle hook.

                  Bill, having read this, I do have two questions:

                  Do you have experienced unintended uncouplings with MTL couplings (away
                  from magnets of course) with long trains? How many cars were involved
                  (MTL cars and/or Maerklin cars, the latter may be heavier)?

                  Do you have ever tried to make the "less than 4 degrees cut"? This must
                  be a very, very delicate and difficult task in scale Z!!!!
                  I am scared to make the cut and to miss the 4 degree limit :-<!

                  Nevertheless, since I am hooked on the US American railroad scene, I most
                  probable have to do this work. What is more beautiful than a very long line of
                  cars behind 3 or 4 locos?? Well, I would prefer to see GP 38 or SD 40 locos in
                  front instead of the F7s, but this is day dreaming. RLW is gone and I do have
                  only one GP 38 purchased. Are there rumours, that this loco may re-appear??

                  Dear Bill, I wish you a happy weekend, even without the 'Houston Oilers' (where
                  they have gone?) My favoured team, the Dallas Cowboay are also not doing well
                  now. Is it still rodeo time?

                  Howdy

                  Dieter

                  BJKRONEN@... schrieb:
                  > From: BJKRONEN@...
                  >
                  > Anders, Ole, and Jeff:
                  >
                  > > 1) How good does Micro Trains couplers work?
                  >
                  > Very, very good. Reliable. All 21 Marklin locos I have are now converted to
                  > MT's. All my rolling stock (MT and Marklin) are also MT equipped (my
                  > appologies to Marklin collectors, especially for the ones I've stripped and
                  > repainted).
                  >
                  > I guess I just too dumb, blind or something, cause I could never get the
                  > Marklin uncoupler to work reliably. So I just converted everything to MT.
                  > Worked out great.
                  >
                  > > Good enough to have a permanent
                  > > decoupler magnet under one track in an end station and run over it with the
                  > > train and the loco decoupels from the train and goes on a turntable and
                  > > comes back turned, passes the train on another track and couples in on the
                  > > train in the other end?
                  >
                  > Yes. You need to understand how they work, though. Take a look at this MT
                  > page which has a number of excellent pictures:
                  >
                  > http://www.micro-trains.com/latest.htm
                  >
                  > Yes, I know the pictures at the top of the page are of USA trucks. The USA
                  > trucks are only loosely similar to your boggies. Ignore that, and look at
                  > the assembled coupler. These are N scale pictures, but the Z scale versions
                  > are identical. Except someone left them in a clothes dryer too long, and
                  > they shrank down to z scale size.
                  >
                  > Note the curved steel rod that hangs out the bottom of the "knuckle coupler"
                  > (That's the USA name for the coupler). With a little imagination, you can
                  > see a "thumb" and "four fingers" make up the coupler. When coupled, the two
                  > sets of "fingers" hold on to each other very well. They cannot uncouple
                  > easily, because the two "thumbs" keep the "fingers" from moving apart. Just
                  > like human hands would. Wonder where they got the idea for "knuckle
                  > couplers" from, 100 plus years ago <smile>.
                  >
                  > However, when the two couplers move over a section of track which has a
                  > magnetic North pole under one rail, and a magnetic South pole under the other
                  > rail, a strong repelling force is developed between the two steel rods. They
                  > move away from each other, and when they do, they pull the "thumbs" away from
                  > the "fingers". If there is any slack in the couplers (looseness), the
                  > fingers will also pull away from each other and uncoupling results. The most
                  > reliable method is to stop the train over the magnet, back up 1cm, and then
                  > move forward. Poof !! they are uncoupled 100% of the time.
                  >
                  > Please note that if you run a train over the magnet at a constant speed, the
                  > "thumbs" will separate, but the fingers will continue to hold on to each
                  > other, and uncoupling WILL NOT happen. Its supposed to do that. If it
                  > didn't, you would loose the train as it pulls out of the station on its way
                  > to the mainline. Not what you want to happen.
                  >
                  > Now go all the way to the bottom of the page, and you can see an exploded
                  > view of all the parts that make up the "thumb" and "fingers". Notice how the
                  > coupler parts fit over a "pin" in the middle of a "box".
                  >
                  > That's odd. Marklin coupler pockets are also constructed like a "box" with a
                  > "pin" in the middle.
                  >
                  > > 2) Any experience with converting M�rklin cars and locos to Micro Trains
                  > > couplers? Hard?
                  >
                  > You got it. All that is involved in changing out the couplers is to pretend
                  > you are replacing a broken Marklin coupler with replacement Marklin coupler.
                  > Except you substitute the MT coupler for the Marklin replacement part.
                  > That's it. Obviously, good eyesight is required for coupler replacement, no
                  > matter the brand.
                  >
                  > Each Marklin loco or car has some way to get to the coupler pocket (screw,
                  > snap cover, etc) to allow replacement of a damaged coupler. The instructions
                  > that come with MT 901 and 902 couplers has several typical pictures to help
                  > you figure it out.
                  >
                  > What's the difference? 901 couplers have "medium" length (0.185 inch/0.47cm)
                  > arms and 902 have "short" (0.143 inch/0.363cm) arms. Depends on how far
                  > apart you think cars/locos ought to be. The "short" looks more like the real
                  > thing, but if you have 5 inch/12.5cm curves, you might want to use the
                  > "medium".
                  >
                  > One bag of either, converts two cars (four couplers).
                  >
                  > IMPORTANT POINT. Both Marklin and MT will only uncouple/couple on STRAIGHT
                  > track, never on curves. Don't covert everything then be disappointed because
                  > you are trying to do coupling/uncoupling on curves. Marklin would not let
                  > you do that, since their electro-mechanical coupler only came mounted in a
                  > piece of straight track (for a reason). MT forces you to do that, if you buy
                  > their "between-the-rails" magnets.
                  >
                  > As I changed mine out, I put the old Marlin spring and coupler in an envelope
                  > with a description of the car/loco, so if I ever sell it, I can put the parts
                  > back if the buyer wants Marklin couplers again.
                  >
                  > My resale is doubtful. Who wants a 8807 repainted as a T&NO (black with
                  > silver smokebox) loco, with an oil tender behind it decaled Southern Pacific
                  > anyway? Sure looks like the picture of the real one, though.
                  >
                  > > What to think of? Disadvanteges? My idea was to only convert
                  > > the loco and the end cars to reduce work.
                  >
                  > Lots of folks in both N and Z only convert the "ends" of trains and the
                  > locos. Saves both money and time. Folks who want to drop off a boxcar out
                  > of the middle of a train on a siding generally convert all cars.
                  >
                  > If you are planning to use MT couplers, you really, really need to get the MT
                  > 920 alignment tool. Cheap, under $10us. Jeff talked about mis-aligned
                  > couplers. He's dead right. But the MT tool makes it easy to spot problems
                  > and fix them.
                  >
                  > Its also a track and wheel gauge. Great for finding and fixing those trouble
                  > spots on your layout where cars seem to always go flying off the track, or
                  > fix a car that just don't like your layout, period (out of gauge wheel set).
                  >
                  > The only MT disadvantage is unexpected uncoupling when you run over the
                  > magnet. If you train is "jerking" back and forth behind a "studdering" loco,
                  > obviously some cars will have slack in the couplers (as the train expands and
                  > contracts). When any slack coupler runs over the magnet, uncoupling will
                  > result.
                  >
                  > To prevent this embarrasement (especially in front of crowds) I use
                  > electromagnets on mainline tracks. No power, no magnetic field, no
                  > accidental uncoupling, no matter how bad the loco studders, or how unsteady
                  > my hand may be on the speed control knob.
                  >
                  > On sidings, I use permanent magnets, since almost any "action" there involves
                  > dropping off, or picking up, a car from the siding anyway.
                  >
                  > In the case of your station, consider if you have both stopped passenger
                  > trains, and "through" service on the same track. Do you have a steady
                  > throttle hand? Do you loco's sometimes run erratic? Then pick the better
                  > solution.
                  >
                  > Under-the-roadbed electromagnets run around $5 and under-the-roadbed
                  > permanent magnets cost around 35 cents. Yup. I found a "deal" on them. No,
                  > I don't sell them, or make a profit from their sale. Let me know if you are
                  > interested. MT also sells them too, at a higher price.
                  >
                  > By the way, Z-Track Magazine published a nice piece on a "conversion" car,
                  > which has Marklin on one end, and MT on the other. That allows friends to
                  > stop by with the "other" coupler and still run behind your loco/train, or
                  > vice-versa.
                  >
                  > Perhaps Rob might share how to get that back-issue with us ???
                  >
                  > > Thanks for the help and best regards from the autumn in Stockholm (yes it's
                  > > a gray, gray day...)!
                  >
                  > Blue skys. Warm, but not too hot. We need rain, badly. In Houston.
                  >
                  > Bill Kronenberger
                  >
                  > > Small iZ Beautiful!
                  >

                  Dieter W. Nolte
                  E-Mail Dieter_Mac_Nolte@...
                • BJKRONEN@xxx.xxx
                  ... Great ! ... Yes. Those instructions come in both the Z and N scale packages. I have never done that to any of the 100 plus cars I own and run with MT s on
                  Message 8 of 16 , Nov 6, 1999
                    Dieter:

                    > with pleasue I read you praising the MTL couplers.
                    > Also I was impressed by the nice appearance of these couplers and ordered
                    > some.

                    Great !

                    > However when I received them, I was puzzled. The coupler assembly
                    > instructions stated that under the pressure of a long train the couplers
                    > may be forced to slip up or down against each other (and uncouple!). MTL
                    > recommends to make angled cuts of 'no more than 4 degrees' towards the
                    > center of the knuckle hook.

                    Yes. Those instructions come in both the Z and N scale packages.

                    I have never done that to any of the 100 plus cars I own and run with MT's on
                    them. But then, I've never done it to any of my N scale cars either. I have
                    a lot more of those.

                    It is much more important for layouts which have "rough" trackwork, and where
                    couplers are truck mounted and the trucks pitch up and down going over hills
                    and valleys in the track.

                    If I may use my non-scientific words of "fingers" and "thumb" again, you will
                    notice the "fingers" are a smoothe verticle surface. When a truck/boggie
                    hits a "bump" in your track, it will tilt upward, which will make the coupler
                    move upward too. The "fingers" of the coupler will easily slide up on the
                    "fingers" of the coupler in front of it. If the verticle mis-alignment
                    between the two sets of "fingers" becomes extreme, obvioiusly they will loose
                    their grip on each other (vertically), and uncoupling will result.

                    But so can a Marklin coupler, given similar circumstances. It takes a bit
                    more to shake a Marklin coupler loose, if it is of the type that is attached
                    around the truck/boogie "mounting pin" rather than mounted to the
                    truck/boogie itself.

                    The obvious cure, is to fix the trackwork. Run your finger over it. If you
                    can feel a bump, so will the wheels, and so will the coupler. Get a track
                    gauge. Best tool you'll ever buy.

                    If you can't fix the track, consider body mounting the couplers. The carbody
                    does not move up and down as much when the truck underneath pitches up and
                    down over a "bump". I think its a lot easier to fix the track, myself.

                    The idea of the 4 degree cut, is to cause a coupler which is moving upwards
                    not to slip off as easily. Because of the "incline" it sees between the two
                    sets of modified "fingers", it will be "pulled back down" by the other car's
                    "fingers" even though the truck it is mounted on is tilting upward.

                    > Bill, having read this, I do have two questions:

                    > Do you have experienced unintended uncouplings with MTL couplings (away
                    > from magnets of course) with long trains? How many cars were involved
                    > (MTL cars and/or Maerklin cars, the latter may be heavier)?

                    AFTER we learned the value of good track work (a painful lesson # 1) and
                    reworked the modules until all the "bumps" were worked out, we have excellent
                    performance. Before we "learned", both Marklin and MT couplers gave us a
                    fit. Equally.

                    One fellow forgot to cover the track with tape, while he was doing scenery.
                    Oh my. What a mess to clean out between the rails later. All those little
                    "pieces" of "stuff" that landed down in there played heck with the wheel
                    flanges (lifted the cars right off the track tops). (painful lesson # 2).
                    Hours and hours of a bright light, coke bottle glasses and a dental tool to
                    dig it all out.

                    We routinely run 50 car trains on the layout at shows. Why 50? One of the
                    modules has 2.5 percent grades on a curve (that's another lesson). That's
                    about all a pair of Marklin F7s can handle, with a little extra weight added
                    to the locos.

                    I don't perceive a big weight difference in MT/Marlin cars. We run a mix of
                    Marklin and MT cars. The MT couplers are not modified. There are a number
                    of turnouts on the mainline, but no Marklin "crossovers" or "double slip
                    switches."

                    As long as the trains are running at any steady speed
                    As long as the trains are accelerating smoothly
                    As long as the trains are slowing down smoothy

                    We can go for hours and hours without a problem.

                    However, if someone gets crazy on the thottle and abruptly slows down the
                    train (all the cars compress together) and then turns the throttle rapidly up
                    (train abruptly stretches back out) there is a risk of one of the couplers
                    letting go from the sudden "jerk" in the train. Not every time, but it can
                    happen.

                    We just change operators instead of making all those 4 degree cuts when that
                    happens <grin>.

                    It can also happen if the loco is in bad running shape, and jerks along
                    rather than running smoothly. We set both the loco AND the owner off to the
                    side until its fixed.

                    Guess what, it happens with real US trains too (slack, then high tension).
                    The Engineer generally gets 3 days off without pay for pulling that stunt.
                    Or worse. It litterly tears the "fingers" right off one of the "knuckle
                    couplers" and the train separates into two parts. It sets off the emergency
                    brakes on both parts of the train, and serious derailments and damaged track
                    often occur.

                    > Do you have ever tried to make the "less than 4 degrees cut"? This must
                    > be a very, very delicate and difficult task in scale Z!!!!
                    > I am scared to make the cut and to miss the 4 degree limit :-<!

                    I promise to try my hand at that modification, the next time it snows in
                    Houston. That's about once in every 25 to 30 years.

                    > Nevertheless, since I am hooked on the US American railroad scene <snip>
                    > only one GP 38 purchased. Are there rumours, that this loco may re-appear??

                    GP 38? You lucky fellow. There is a rumor I won the lottery too.

                    > Dear Bill, I wish you a happy weekend, even without the 'Houston Oilers' (
                    > where they have gone?)

                    Nashville, Tennesse and they are called the Titans now. But we are working
                    on a new team for Houston.

                    > My favoured team, the Dallas Cowboay are also not doing
                    > well now. Is it still rodeo time?

                    Gee !! I feel like this is a conversation with a fellow down the street,
                    instead of someone in Germany.

                    February is Rodeo time. Come on over, we'll have a wild horse for you to
                    ride. Or a wild bull. But bring your own beer, the stuff over here is just
                    colored water compared to yours.

                    Bill Kronenberger
                    Houston
                  • Ole.Rosted@xxxxxxx.xxxxxxxxxxxxxx)
                    ... I think it is GREAT that you - without hesitation - take your time to - in a meticulous way - to explain to us newbies how to do things and thereby profit
                    Message 9 of 16 , Nov 7, 1999
                      On Sat, 6 Nov 1999 22:06:06 EST, you wrote:

                      >From: BJKRONEN@...
                      >
                      >Dieter:
                      >
                      >> with pleasue I read you praising the MTL couplers.
                      >> Also I was impressed by the nice appearance of these couplers and ordered
                      >> some.
                      >
                      >Great !

                      I think it is GREAT that you - without hesitation - take your time to
                      - in a meticulous way - to explain to us newbies how to do things and
                      thereby profit from your immense experience with small trains (N and
                      Z).

                      I'm printing all of your contributions and keep them in a binder
                      labelled: "Houston - I've got a problem here" :-)

                      The same can be said about Glenn and Sandy Stiska. They too, are
                      allways ready to come to the rescue with good and detailed advice!
                      BTW: We havent seen much of them lately - or is it just me sitting
                      here at the end of a - as it seems - not very reliable server-chain?

                      regards Ole Rosted, Denmark
                    • BJKRONEN@xxx.xxx
                      ... Only about 10% of the world s hobbiests know anything about Z scale. I think it is the obligation of the first 10% to bring the next 10% on board.
                      Message 10 of 16 , Nov 7, 1999
                        Ole:

                        > I think it is GREAT that you - without hesitation - take your time to
                        > - in a meticulous way - to explain to us newbies how to do things and
                        > thereby profit from your immense experience with small trains (N and
                        > Z).

                        Only about 10% of the world's hobbiests know anything about Z scale. I think
                        it is the obligation of the first 10% to bring the next 10% on board.
                        Besides, its fun taking about all our mistakes, *now*. At the time they
                        occured, we were crying. Its only now that we can laugh at ourselves.

                        > I'm printing all of your contributions and keep them in a binder
                        > labelled: "Houston - I've got a problem here" :-)

                        <smile> Gosh. Now you have 10% of me blushing again.

                        > The same can be said about Glenn and Sandy Stiska. They too, are
                        > allways ready to come to the rescue with good and detailed advice!

                        Ah Ha. Now you are taking about the 90% folks in life. Yup. I found them
                        too. I have three phone numbers (90% folks) marked on the wall above the
                        telephone, for the times when the 90% of me that is still dumber than a rock
                        needs help.

                        > BTW: We havent seen much of them lately - or is it just me sitting
                        > here at the end of a - as it seems - not very reliable server-chain?

                        Not to worry. The 90% folks tend to respond off-list. I'd like to encourage
                        them to respond on-list more often. How else will I ever get to the 11%
                        knowledge level.

                        Bill Kronenberger
                        Houston
                      • Dieter_Mac_Nolte@xxxxxxxx.xxxxx.x.xxxxx)
                        Dear Jeffrey, I agree with Bill, you made a very good remark. I feel, we may have to look at the dimensions of the cars from Maerklin and the cars from MTL. I
                        Message 11 of 16 , Nov 7, 1999
                          Dear Jeffrey,

                          I agree with Bill, you made a very good remark.

                          I feel, we may have to look at the dimensions of the cars from Maerklin and the
                          cars from MTL.

                          I think, the distance between the outermost axle and the end of the car of a
                          Maerklin car is longer than the relevant distance at a MTL car. So, the distance
                          between cars using Maerklin cars with Maerklin couplings and using MTL cars with
                          MTL couplings is about the same. They do fit the relevant system.
                          If you mix you may get problems. i.e. uncoupling in curves.




                          Jeffrey MacHan schrieb:
                          > From: "Jeffrey MacHan" <jmac_han@...>
                          >
                          > Hi all,
                          >
                          > One more reason not to convert to MT's:
                          >
                          > I have found that the original M�rklin couplers bring passenger cars closer
                          > together than MTs. I tried the conversions on a couple of cars and then
                          > finally only kept them on one end of the baggage car to uncouple from the
                          > motive power and on the end of the saloon-observation car to allow switching
                          > and to maintain the illusion that all cars had MTs.
                          >
                          > I also found that MTs between coaches tended to uncouple occasionally on
                          > curves probably due to the longer carbodies and the truck lengths.
                          >
                          > However I have them on all my locomotives (which are of course US
                          > prototype).
                          >
                          > Jeffrey MacHan
                          >
                          > >Manfred:
                          > >
                          > > > The MT couplers look like the US couplers, so if you are modeling a US
                          > > > system then they will fit right in, But if you model European rail then
                          > > > they will not look right. Of course they are a little bit smaller then
                          > > > the M couplers, but not enough to go to the extra cost of replacing all
                          > > > your couplers.
                          > >
                          > >Excellent point. You put a great point-of-view balance into this
                          > >discussion.
                          > >
                          > >Bill Kronenberger
                          > >Houston
                          > >
                          > >------------------------------------------------------------------------
                          > >Small iZ Beautiful!
                          > >
                          > ><< text3.html >>
                          >
                          > > Small iZ Beautiful!
                          >

                          Dieter W. Nolte
                          E-Mail Dieter_Mac_Nolte@...
                        • Dieter_Mac_Nolte@xxxxxxxx.xxxxx.x.xxxxx)
                          Howdy Bill, your answers are hitting right the bulls eye! Thank you. Now I know how to deal with this problem. If black ice counts as snow, you may have to
                          Message 12 of 16 , Nov 7, 1999
                            Howdy Bill,

                            your answers are hitting right the bulls eye! Thank you.

                            Now I know how to deal with this problem.

                            If 'black ice' counts as snow, you may have to do the 4 degree cut soon!

                            Well, I do like to go back to Houston (or Dallas). But, please no wild bull for
                            me. I do not like to endanger the clowns!!
                            And we do have even honey roasted baby back spare rips, gumbo and faijitas here
                            in Germany. But (thanks heaven) no root beer, my worst experience in USA!
                            And I shook hands with Tom Landry! My son pushed me to do so.

                            The punishment of engineers having parted a train, I am able to understand.
                            There is a nice computer program on the market, showing the difficult task of an
                            engineer. How often I have derailed or parted an US-American train at the PC!
                            Years I most probably had to do a retraining to get back my licence.

                            Greetings and Howdy

                            Dieter











                            BJKRONEN@... schrieb:
                            > From: BJKRONEN@...
                            >
                            > Dieter:
                            >
                            > > with pleasue I read you praising the MTL couplers.
                            > > Also I was impressed by the nice appearance of these couplers and ordered
                            > > some.
                            >
                            > Great !
                            >
                            > > However when I received them, I was puzzled. The coupler assembly
                            > > instructions stated that under the pressure of a long train the couplers
                            > > may be forced to slip up or down against each other (and uncouple!). MTL
                            > > recommends to make angled cuts of 'no more than 4 degrees' towards the
                            > > center of the knuckle hook.
                            >
                            > Yes. Those instructions come in both the Z and N scale packages.
                            >
                            > I have never done that to any of the 100 plus cars I own and run with MT's on
                            > them. But then, I've never done it to any of my N scale cars either. I have
                            > a lot more of those.
                            >
                            > It is much more important for layouts which have "rough" trackwork, and where
                            > couplers are truck mounted and the trucks pitch up and down going over hills
                            > and valleys in the track.
                            >
                            > If I may use my non-scientific words of "fingers" and "thumb" again, you will
                            > notice the "fingers" are a smoothe verticle surface. When a truck/boggie
                            > hits a "bump" in your track, it will tilt upward, which will make the coupler
                            > move upward too. The "fingers" of the coupler will easily slide up on the
                            > "fingers" of the coupler in front of it. If the verticle mis-alignment
                            > between the two sets of "fingers" becomes extreme, obvioiusly they will loose
                            > their grip on each other (vertically), and uncoupling will result.
                            >
                            > But so can a Marklin coupler, given similar circumstances. It takes a bit
                            > more to shake a Marklin coupler loose, if it is of the type that is attached
                            > around the truck/boogie "mounting pin" rather than mounted to the
                            > truck/boogie itself.
                            >
                            > The obvious cure, is to fix the trackwork. Run your finger over it. If you
                            > can feel a bump, so will the wheels, and so will the coupler. Get a track
                            > gauge. Best tool you'll ever buy.
                            >
                            > If you can't fix the track, consider body mounting the couplers. The carbody
                            > does not move up and down as much when the truck underneath pitches up and
                            > down over a "bump". I think its a lot easier to fix the track, myself.
                            >
                            > The idea of the 4 degree cut, is to cause a coupler which is moving upwards
                            > not to slip off as easily. Because of the "incline" it sees between the two
                            > sets of modified "fingers", it will be "pulled back down" by the other car's
                            > "fingers" even though the truck it is mounted on is tilting upward.
                            >
                            > > Bill, having read this, I do have two questions:
                            >
                            > > Do you have experienced unintended uncouplings with MTL couplings (away
                            > > from magnets of course) with long trains? How many cars were involved
                            > > (MTL cars and/or Maerklin cars, the latter may be heavier)?
                            >
                            > AFTER we learned the value of good track work (a painful lesson # 1) and
                            > reworked the modules until all the "bumps" were worked out, we have excellent
                            > performance. Before we "learned", both Marklin and MT couplers gave us a
                            > fit. Equally.
                            >
                            > One fellow forgot to cover the track with tape, while he was doing scenery.
                            > Oh my. What a mess to clean out between the rails later. All those little
                            > "pieces" of "stuff" that landed down in there played heck with the wheel
                            > flanges (lifted the cars right off the track tops). (painful lesson # 2).
                            > Hours and hours of a bright light, coke bottle glasses and a dental tool to
                            > dig it all out.
                            >
                            > We routinely run 50 car trains on the layout at shows. Why 50? One of the
                            > modules has 2.5 percent grades on a curve (that's another lesson). That's
                            > about all a pair of Marklin F7s can handle, with a little extra weight added
                            > to the locos.
                            >
                            > I don't perceive a big weight difference in MT/Marlin cars. We run a mix of
                            > Marklin and MT cars. The MT couplers are not modified. There are a number
                            > of turnouts on the mainline, but no Marklin "crossovers" or "double slip
                            > switches."
                            >
                            > As long as the trains are running at any steady speed
                            > As long as the trains are accelerating smoothly
                            > As long as the trains are slowing down smoothy
                            >
                            > We can go for hours and hours without a problem.
                            >
                            > However, if someone gets crazy on the thottle and abruptly slows down the
                            > train (all the cars compress together) and then turns the throttle rapidly up
                            > (train abruptly stretches back out) there is a risk of one of the couplers
                            > letting go from the sudden "jerk" in the train. Not every time, but it can
                            > happen.
                            >
                            > We just change operators instead of making all those 4 degree cuts when that
                            > happens <grin>.
                            >
                            > It can also happen if the loco is in bad running shape, and jerks along
                            > rather than running smoothly. We set both the loco AND the owner off to the
                            > side until its fixed.
                            >
                            > Guess what, it happens with real US trains too (slack, then high tension).
                            > The Engineer generally gets 3 days off without pay for pulling that stunt.
                            > Or worse. It litterly tears the "fingers" right off one of the "knuckle
                            > couplers" and the train separates into two parts. It sets off the emergency
                            > brakes on both parts of the train, and serious derailments and damaged track
                            > often occur.
                            >
                            > > Do you have ever tried to make the "less than 4 degrees cut"? This must
                            > > be a very, very delicate and difficult task in scale Z!!!!
                            > > I am scared to make the cut and to miss the 4 degree limit :-<!
                            >
                            > I promise to try my hand at that modification, the next time it snows in
                            > Houston. That's about once in every 25 to 30 years.
                            >
                            > > Nevertheless, since I am hooked on the US American railroad scene <snip>
                            > > only one GP 38 purchased. Are there rumours, that this loco may re-appear??
                            >
                            > GP 38? You lucky fellow. There is a rumor I won the lottery too.
                            >
                            > > Dear Bill, I wish you a happy weekend, even without the 'Houston Oilers' (
                            > > where they have gone?)
                            >
                            > Nashville, Tennesse and they are called the Titans now. But we are working
                            > on a new team for Houston.
                            >
                            > > My favoured team, the Dallas Cowboay are also not doing
                            > > well now. Is it still rodeo time?
                            >
                            > Gee !! I feel like this is a conversation with a fellow down the street,
                            > instead of someone in Germany.
                            >
                            > February is Rodeo time. Come on over, we'll have a wild horse for you to
                            > ride. Or a wild bull. But bring your own beer, the stuff over here is just
                            > colored water compared to yours.
                            >
                            > Bill Kronenberger
                            > Houston
                            >
                            > > Small iZ Beautiful!
                            >

                            Dieter W. Nolte
                            E-Mail Dieter_Mac_Nolte@...
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