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Sure to be embarrassing...

Coming from 'The Dark Side' (HO/N/G) I'm familiar with NMRA dimensional standards for such mundanity as coupler height above the rails...top, bottom, centerline...whatever.

I'm befuddled to find no such dimensional definition in the O3R realm.   I thought it would SURELY be in Greenberg's repairs bible.  No such luck among the several editions gathering dust on my shelf.

I know, I know...you just check it against another car/engine...right?   But what if that 'standard' is...wrong?  I mean, we all have experienced the variations; some are rather sturdy in their vertical attitude.  Others?...rather floppy, limp, droopy, etc., etc.. 

So what did the various designers use as the de facto standard, if not published somewhere??

Just thought I'd ask.

OK.  Embarrass me.  I'm ready!

KD

Last edited by dkdkrd
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@Magicland posted:

Perhaps you should check the NMRA standards. It lists O scale coupler height as 0.813" / 20.64mm (top of rail to knuckle center), with tolerances of 0.047 / 1.19.

https://www.nmra.org/sites/def.../pdf/s-2_2010.09.pdf

Well, I did check the standards.  My computer screen sez that "O" scale is 0.688" ± 0.031".

But, as others have reported, and as I have experienced for years and years, the O3R coupler alignments across car styles, generations, materials, manufacturers, etc., etc.,blah, blah, are all over the map within, perhaps, ± 1/8"....or more?

So, if Kadee's O scale coupler gauge is relevant to O3R and O2R, you'd think someone...even, or especially Kadee...would've offered a "Lobster Claw" version of that gauge.  Yes?  No?  I mean, the O3R market is a tad larger than the O2R market...IMHO, of course.

Or is it that we (O3R's) don't care?  After all, they're "just toys"...per the majority of NMRA-ophiles I've dealt with through 60+ years.  I mean, most of the reviews of O3R product I've read don't even mention, at least, gross or problematic deviation from this seemingly important standard.  It reminds me of the dialogue in a production problem meeting  at the company I worked 31+ years.  The plant manager argued to the engineers that "An engineering drawing is but a suggestion of how a part is to be made!"  (It happened...and he became the poster-employee for the Peter Principle  months thereafter.)

OK, I'll give it a rest...the horse is dead.  It is what it is.

0.688" ± 0.031"  (wink, wink)

Amen.

...and thanks to all who responded.

KD

Last edited by dkdkrd

Funny you mention this as we just had a problem at our Sunday train show   A member was running Lionel SD-40s that had a considerably higher coupler than the Lionel hopper cars that he was pulling   The couplers were riding up and splitting the train every 50 feet  These were all from the same manufacturer not a mismatch across.  In the past I had Golden gate depot cars tat were considerably lower than some Atlas engines I had.  All of them were brand new and out of the box .   The williams 55 ton hoppers are considerably higher than their MTH and Atlas counterparts    So I really dont think there is a standard for 3 rail coupler heights   They are all over the place 

@bluelinec4 posted:

Funny you mention this as we just had a problem at our Sunday train show   A member was running Lionel SD-40s that had a considerably higher coupler than the Lionel hopper cars that he was pulling   The couplers were riding up and splitting the train every 50 feet  These were all from the same manufacturer not a mismatch across.  In the past I had Golden gate depot cars tat were considerably lower than some Atlas engines I had.  All of them were brand new and out of the box .   The williams 55 ton hoppers are considerably higher than their MTH and Atlas counterparts    So I really dont think there is a standard for 3 rail coupler heights   They are all over the place

There IS a standard, it obviously isn't followed. Blame those who can't be bothered producing products that match the standard, it isn't new.

@dkdkrd posted:

Well, I did check the standards.  My computer screen sez that "O" scale is 0.688" ± 0.031".

But, as others have reported, and as I have experienced for years and years, the O3R coupler alignments across car styles, generations, materials, manufacturers, etc., etc.,blah, blah, are all over the map within, perhaps, ± 1/8"....or more?

So, if Kadee's O scale coupler gauge is relevant to O3R and O2R, you'd think someone...even, or especially Kadee...would've offered a "Lobster Claw" version of that gauge.  Yes?  No?  I mean, the O3R market is a tad larger than the O2R market...IMHO, of course.



Why would Kadee, who, in theory, want you to purchase THEIR products, produce a height gauge for someone else's products? Note that the standard is from the top of rail to CENTER of the knuckle, so it "should" be applicable no matter what type of coupler is used, Kadee or lobster claw.

@dkdkrd posted:

I'm befuddled to find no such dimensional definition in the O3R realm. 

Should not be befuddled; should quickly realize that the various designers either made it up as they went and/or copied each other.

As noted, standards for scale 2 rail exist; 3 rail isn't.

I mean, we all have experienced the variations; some are rather sturdy in their vertical attitude.  Others?...rather floppy, limp, droopy, etc., etc..

Little blue pill....

There once was a movement to have mechanical standards for 3 rail equipment but it kind of fizzled out. This was maybe around 15-18 years ago (I think). There was no interest in it I guess because most toy train enthusiasts, who make up the bulk of O gauge, don’t care. Which explains why the manufacturers are all over the place. They know most enthusiasts aren’t going to complain. I started out in 3 rail and not only did I have one coupler that wasn’t the same height I had another coupler (from K Line) that wouldn’t even close against another manufacturer’s coupler. That was very frustrating.

Other than bending the coupler like someone said how would you adjust the height of a coupler that is permanently fixed to a truck? I have never seen any of the 3 rail Lionel type couplers that have some sort of a height adjustment.

Last edited by Hudson J1e
@bluelinec4 posted:

So where can I find that standard listed   

I guess here⇓...

Yahoo sayeth...

"What does the phrase “blowin’ in the wind” mean? The phrase “blowin’ in the wind” means a matter that is to be thought about and discussed, but not resolved."

.

Yep.  We're there.

.

.

.

...Which, I guess, is not to be confused with 'breaking wind'.

.

.

Or is it?

.

.

.

After all, another famous "Martin" is purported to have said..."If I break wind in Wittenburg, they smell it in Rome!"

There, I embarrassed myself!

KD

(Heck, I've taken enough flak on this topic just because of my initials!)

Last edited by dkdkrd
@D500 posted:

No standards for 3RO, actually. The "standards" were, and still largely are, essentially Whatever Lionel Does and/or Did.

Roughly analogous to my Good Old Days as a mainframe programmer: Whatever IBM Does.

Then Hitachi and he rest did likewise. It did work well.

There really isnt any left besides IBM and Hitachi.  Lasted 32 years with IBM and they did set the standard

It is not a standard until you can measure it.   I took a little time today and...

coupler gauge

This gauge shows the .688 coupler center height against a coupler with non-adjustable height on a  Lionel flat car.   I now have a master to adjust with.   It will help to align many postwar cars and most all passenger cars.   That just leaves figuring out a fix the handful of cars that have a lot of vertical movement in the coupler position.

See the 3d printing section for details.

Last edited by VHubbard
@VHubbard posted:

It is not a standard until you can measure it.   I took a little time today and...

This gauge shows the .688 coupler center height against a coupler with non-adjustable height on a  Lionel flat car.   I now have a master to adjust with.

It's a standard whether you can measure it or not. And anyone with a measuring device of any kind CAN measure it. That doesn't take away from the clever contraption you've created (though I wonder how you're going to adjust a non-adjustable coupler height car). What we SHOULD be pushing for is tighter adherence to the NMRA standards by manufacturers, instead of having to fix THEIR screw-ups! That's one of the problems with this hobby, is people's willingness to accept sub-standard products and modify them themselves, rather than demanding accuracy in the first place.

Last edited by Magicland
@VHubbard posted:

It is not a standard until you can measure it.   I took a little time today and...

This gauge shows the .688 coupler center height against a coupler with non-adjustable height on a  Lionel flat car.   I now have a master to adjust with.   It will help to align many postwar cars and most all passenger cars.   That just leaves figuring out a fix the handful of cars that have a lot of vertical movement in the coupler position.

See the 3d printing section for details.

I really like your coupler height gauge!

@Magicland posted:

That's one of the problems with this hobby, is people's willingness to accept sub-standard products and modify them themselves, rather than demanding accuracy in the first place.

@Magicland,

Yes.  It our fault.  It's all our fault.

Unfortunately most of us in this hobby are tinkerers, follow this hobby to relax among other things, and so don't get stressed over these 'little' issues.

We just fix them.

You're demanding more than our manufacturers can, or are inclined to, presently deliver.   You can try to organize us to generate a more united message back to them demanding change, but history, captured on this forum and in other ways, seems to indicate that this has a low chance for success.

Nevertheless tell us specifically what you want us hobbyists to do about it.  Just how do we demand accuracy?  You may find that we'd love to help.

Mike

Last edited by Mellow Hudson Mike

@Magicland,



You're demanding more than our manufacturers can, or are inclined to, presently deliver.   You can try to organize us to generate a more united message back to them demanding change, but history, captured on this forum and in other ways, seems to indicate that this has a low chance for success.

Nevertheless tell us specifically what you want us hobbyists to do about it.  Just how do we demand accuracy?  You may find that we'd love to help.

Mike

More than our manufactures are inclined to deliver, perhaps. It's certainly not more than they CAN deliver. All products are spec'ed, designed, and approved prior to production. Verifying that things such as weight, coupler height, etc. match long-standing industry (NMRA) standards would take them all of what, 5 minutes?

However, I'm afraid you're probably right about being able to present a united front demanding change. For one, the hobby is fragmented. Does the "collector" care that all their coupler heights match if they're never going to actually run them in a train? Are the desires of those closer to the "toy" segment of the hobby aligned with those closer to the "3 rail scale" end? And since relatively few new toolings actually show up these days, what are the odds of any change becoming widespread?

Perhaps if an organization such as the NMRA came up with some fairly easily met "NMRA certification guidelines" for products to sport an "NMRA certified" badge on the packaging, the relatively few remaining O manufacturers could be goaded into adopting them, at least for certain portions of their product lines.

Then again, we're talking manufacturers which have at times capriciously turned a blind eye to issues with their own products. How many expensive JLC GG1s are out there, unusable because of rotting frames, which could most likely be easily reproduced, but they'd rather just have us purchase new engines instead?

@romiller49 posted:

NMRA does not fit the 3rail Ogauge market. We are lucky to have scale sizes but let’s not forget that large couplers, oversized wheel flanges, pick up rollers and control systems appear to be set buy each manufacturer. It will never change.

And yet, the NMRA has standards for all those 3 rail o gauge things. We are the ones who let the producers of our trains get away with all the malarkey.

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