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Hey guys, I'm considering adding a small HO inglenook or whatever style switching layout to the train room - the Marx O and Lionel stuff I have isn't really great for switching stuff, I don't have any O27 uncoupling tracks.



My question is - for a single locomotive switching scenario with a half dozen cars or less, what is the best way to go about control of couplers, switches and throttle? How do the HO couplers activate and disengage? I'm thinking the wiring is going to be pretty simple as there are no reversing loops.

TIA

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I would recommend a cheap DC power pack/controller. I would recommend manual switches, and use Caboose Industries ground throws to switch the points. As for couplers, I would recommend Kadee couplers and a wooden skewer inserted from the top to uncouple them (I don't recommend the under-the-track magnets because they take a bit of work to set up the couplers for proper, reliable operation).

99.99% of HO uses Kadee couplers or clones.

The best way to describe how HO couplers work is with the Kadee Handout.  These couplers uses a magnet (or an electro-magnet) either between the ties or under the ties.  As mentioned, a skewer or small blade screwdriver can also be used for manual uncoupling.

I think MTH offered the only HO electro-coupler mounted on the locomotives.

Rusty

Last edited by Rusty Traque

Warning: Once you use Kadee couplers (or clones), you will find O scale couplers disappointing.  DCC is overkill for a switching puzzle.  I would avoid old cheap toy HO transformers as they are generally too touchy for switching.  Try to find one built in the last 20 years.  MRC makes good DC transformers.  New ones can be had for $40.

Brendan

@Brendan posted:

Warning: Once you use Kadee couplers (or clones), you will find O scale couplers disappointing.  DCC is overkill for a switching puzzle.  I would avoid old cheap toy HO transformers as they are generally too touchy for switching.  Try to find one built in the last 20 years.  MRC makes good DC transformers.  New ones can be had for $40.

Brendan

Thanks for the reply Brendan. I found a reasonably priced NIB MRC Tech 2 transformer and a gently used Great Northern Atlas RS3 w/ Kadee's at the not-so-local train store, just have to wait for shipping now. As for the couplers, I'm used to everything from Marx autocouplers from 1936 to the tab and slot and pickle fork couplers. I'm already disappointed 😅  Lobster claws aren't that bad.

@BenLMaggi posted:

I would recommend a cheap DC power pack/controller. I would recommend manual switches, and use Caboose Industries ground throws to switch the points. As for couplers, I would recommend Kadee couplers and a wooden skewer inserted from the top to uncouple them (I don't recommend the under-the-track magnets because they take a bit of work to set up the couplers for proper, reliable operation).

Ben- Thanks for the reply - the Caboose Industries ground throws are advertised as $50cad per each, I think I'll just wire up the snap motors if using Atlas Code 80 track. I'll have to slip into a hobby shop somewhere to find some.

Last edited by SteamWolf

I don't understand your last response. I can purchase a caboose industries ground throw for $4 each in American money. If they are $50 each (Canadian) you are getting ripped off. That being said, anything simple (even a wire bent up... look online for simple mechanical methods) will work. Or, use a slide switch connected to the track switch by some wire.

Good luck!

@BenLMaggi posted:

I don't understand your last response. I can purchase a caboose industries ground throw for $4 each in American money. If they are $50 each (Canadian) you are getting ripped off. That being said, anything simple (even a wire bent up... look online for simple mechanical methods) will work. Or, use a slide switch connected to the track switch by some wire.

Good luck!

I just checked another website and I may have been mistaken or it may have been for a 10 pack or something. Maybe I'll do that with the ground throws. Neat stuff.

Tom,

What kind of track are you using?

When I had my N and HO Scale Inglenook Sidings, I used Kato Unitrack with the built in magnet uncoupler.  Otherwise just use Atlas, Peco, etc and place an aftermarket magnet on the parts of the 3 forks in the track that you want the cars to uncouple.  The way it works is that you slow the consist down once the 2 coupled cars that you want to separate the load at is over the magnet.  With the consist stationary, slowly pull the consist out of the siding (back in the direction that you came from) and the magnet will open the couplers and separate the cars.  You then have the locomotive pull the rest of the consist away and off you go.  No buttons to push or lever to pull like in O gauge.

Regards...

Last edited by Amfleet25124

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