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Yeah, I had read about them awhile back but also I like the electrocouplers on locomotives and was wondering if anyone had done something like that.

Many years ago, MTH attempted to develop a "Scale electro-coupler" that pretty well looked just like a Kadee couple, and coupled perfectly with the Kadee various series numbers. The problems with putting such an electrically operated "Scale" coupler into production was the power needed to operate it.

Atlas also briefly offered a "Scale electro-coupler" for operation with Lionel TMCC models, but it required such force to close & latch the coupler knuckle, that it was worse than the large "lobster claws".

Since Kadee couplers work so well anyway, modelers that have up-graded all their equipment to the various Kadee series are of the opinion that any large "blintzy looking" electrically operated "Scale" coupler is not needed, thus their really isn't much of a market for such a thing.

@Hot Water posted:

Since Kadee couplers work so well anyway, modelers that have up-graded all their equipment to the various Kadee series are of the opinion that any large "blintzy looking" electrically operated "Scale" coupler is not needed, thus their really isn't much of a market for such a thing.

Really?  No one ask me.  Would love to convert all my engines to electro operated scale coupler.  If someone can come up with a design that works well.

Last edited by superwarp1

Yeah, I had read about them awhile back but also I like the electrocouplers on locomotives and was wondering if anyone had done something like that.

Two former forum members, both local to me, have done this. One runs three rail and located the coil from a claw coupler inside the car then used music wire from the slug in the coil to the Kadee. He posted his work here but as it was well over ten years ago I doubt you can find it

Another On3 modeler actually wound his own coils using very fine wire like 32 AWG and activated the coupler with DCC decoders. One of the many advantages of DCC is the ability to program custom decoders into your handheld.

So it can and has been done.

Pete

@Hot Water posted:


Since Kadee couplers work so well anyway, modelers that have up-graded all their equipment to the various Kadee series are of the opinion that any large "blintzy looking" electrically operated "Scale" coupler is not needed, thus their really isn't much of a market for such a thing.

I'm not likely to switch from 3-rail to 2-rail since I've just invested quite a bit of money in Ross track and switches, but if there were remote control scale couplers (for locomotives) - I would probably convert my fleet.  That said - I don't like the look of the little tail that hangs off of the Kadee couplers that allow for magnetic uncoupling - though it does allow one to couple/uncouple rolling stock. 

Is it even possible to convert to Kadee's without switching to 2-rail trucks though?  The Weaver style trucks can have the coupler shank removed, but I don't think MTH or Lionel couplers work that way - at least not all of them do.

@rplst8 posted:

I'm not likely to switch from 3-rail to 2-rail since I've just invested quite a bit of money in Ross track and switches, but if there were remote control scale couplers (for locomotives) - I would probably convert my fleet.  That said - I don't like the look of the little tail that hangs off of the Kadee couplers that allow for magnetic uncoupling

If you don't like them, simply cut them off. I never installed any of the Kadee magnets on our layout, so I never needed those for "magnetic uncoupling". However, they sort of look like brake pipe air hoses between cars.

- though it does allow one to couple/uncouple rolling stock.

If you install the magnets, yes.

Is it even possible to convert to Kadee's without switching to 2-rail trucks though?

Yes of course it is! Our whole layout was 3-Rail, with all locomotives and rolling stock up-graded to body mounted Kadee couplers. I even modified all the Atlas turnouts so that we could run 2-Rail Scale freight cars, without derailment issues through turnouts.

The Weaver style trucks can have the coupler shank removed, but I don't think MTH or Lionel couplers work that way - at least not all of them do.

Not a problem to simply cut away/remove all that "big coupler" stuff from MTH, Lionel, or Atlas trucks.

I've been working on a design.  I loathe those large lobster claws on engines in particular.  So unsightly and it ruins the look of the pilot.  Right now the design is leaning heavily toward RF signals to trigger the decoupling mechanism but it would seem feasible to use the PS3 applied voltage to trigger the uncoupling mechanism.  My main reason for favoring RF is that my test harness is in a passenger car.

I at one time really wanted the electric Kadee on my locomotives, however after operating my layout for a few years now, I really don't need the locomotive remote coupler (the in track magnets work very well ) Because most of my switching and car spotting is done with a small cut of cars, so only the car next to the locomotive would I use it. The delayed function of Kadee's works just fine.  

@rplst8 posted:

I'm not likely to switch from 3-rail to 2-rail since I've just invested quite a bit of money in Ross track and switches, but if there were remote control scale couplers (for locomotives) - I would probably convert my fleet.  That said - I don't like the look of the little tail that hangs off of the Kadee couplers that allow for magnetic uncoupling - though it does allow one to couple/uncouple rolling stock.

Is it even possible to convert to Kadee's without switching to 2-rail trucks though?  The Weaver style trucks can have the coupler shank removed, but I don't think MTH or Lionel couplers work that way - at least not all of them do.

It all depends on minimum curves, especially in the yard.  Kadees love having really wide curves.  As for the trucks, my experience is only with Lionel and K-Line and you would have to use a rotary saw to cut off the shanks unfortunately

Last edited by Justin Acuna

It all depends on minimum curves, especially in the yard.  Kadees love having really wide curves.

Not necessarily. The minimum curve, into the yard, on our layout, was 072. I've also read that some 3-Rail 3RS modelers have tighter curves, and still use body mounted Kadee couplers. Since I was modeling in the late 1940s thru mid 1950s "steam era", my longest freight car was a few 50 footers, while all the passenger cars were scale 21".

As for the trucks, my experience is only with Lionel and K-Line and you would have to use a rotary saw to cut off the shanks unfortunately

Since they are die cast, I never used a "rotary saw", but simply broke the unneeded parts off the truck with good sets of pliers.

Yeah, maybe the remote control isn't that big of a deal.  I hate having a feature I paid for not work though.  Maybe I'll have to work on rolling my own.

What would be really cool is if you could make a system that just used like a 12-bit code over RF, and address any coupler on the layout. Each car could have a little radio board with a button battery (since it's just receiving) and wires to the fore and aft couplers.  Using 12-bits allows for 4096 individual couplers, or 2048 cars and would be easy enough to set with a three digit hex code.  Then at different places on the layout you'd just have a 4x4 hex keypad and you just enter the code and bam, it opens.

A slightly more human friendly way to do it would be to just use a regular 0-9 keypad.  first two digits would be the train number 0-8 and next three would be for the car number then front or rear.  That would allow for 9 trains of 128 cars each.  You actually wouldn't even need to have every car with the remote couplers.  Just the first and last in a "section" depending on the consist.

RE: grinding/snapping off the lobster claws - I would had to ruin all my trucks that way.  I think it would kill resale value, and really needlessly destroy a somewhat pricey item.

@rplst8 posted:

Yeah, maybe the remote control isn't that big of a deal.  I hate having a feature I paid for not work though.  Maybe I'll have to work on rolling my own.

What would be really cool is if you could make a system that just used like a 12-bit code over RF, and address any coupler on the layout. Each car could have a little radio board with a button battery (since it's just receiving) and wires to the fore and aft couplers.  Using 12-bits allows for 4096 individual couplers, or 2048 cars and would be easy enough to set with a three digit hex code.  Then at different places on the layout you'd just have a 4x4 hex keypad and you just enter the code and bam, it opens.

A slightly more human friendly way to do it would be to just use a regular 0-9 keypad.  first two digits would be the train number 0-8 and next three would be for the car number then front or rear.  That would allow for 9 trains of 128 cars each.  You actually wouldn't even need to have every car with the remote couplers.  Just the first and last in a "section" depending on the consist.

Just my opinion but, I was much more in to model railroading than remote control computer crap. I believe you are WAY over-thinking the Kadee coupler issue.

RE: grinding/snapping off the lobster claws - I would had to ruin all my trucks that way.

Well, breaking off the "claw stuff" does NOT damage/ruin the trucks.

I think it would kill resale value, and really needlessly destroy a somewhat pricey item.

Well, I sure had no trouble selling off ALL my 3RS locomotives and rolling stock through Stout Auctions! More than one buyer was more than pleased to purchase cars that had already been up-graded to body mount Kadee couplers. Since everything was also prototypically weathered, some buyers even changed the Hi-Rail trucks to 2-Rail Scale trucks, since the car was already equipped with Kadee couplers.

Also, in my opinion if one goes into the hobby of model railroading constantly worrying about "resale value", then you are in the WRONG HOBBY. Always remember that model trains are NOT an investment!

@rplst8 (FYI: I had originally quoted your post but it mysteriously disappeared.)

You're limiting what you can do with the RF receivers if you just use them for couplers.  I'd never dream of using a battery when you can get 12V regulators that will accept AC or DC in the O gauge range.  If you really do want to go the RF route, look at RFM69HCW.  The prefab boards are becoming increasingly more difficult to find and get.

I would try starting with the existing lobster claws instead of removing them.  If you're really interested in rolling your own afterward, IM me and I can give you some additional ideas.

Anthony

Last edited by A. Wells

I'm with Gary (superwarp 1).

Even with delayed uncoupling, I would like to have a Kadee electro-coupler.  Kadee's current remote uncoupling system (targeted to G-scale) is vast overkill for what I want or can afford.  I basically want just the functionality of the existing oversized couplers in a Kadee coupler - in other words, something that just needs electrical current from an existing DCS or TMCC/Legacy board in the locomotive.  Delayed uncoupling along with electro-couplers on the locomotive would provide maximum flexibility and be the ideal system.

@PGentieu posted:

I'm with Gary (superwarp 1).

Even with delayed uncoupling, I would like to have a Kadee electro-coupler.  Kadee's current remote uncoupling system (targeted to G-scale) is vast overkill for what I want or can afford.  I basically want just the functionality of the existing oversized couplers in a Kadee coupler - in other words, something that just needs electrical current from an existing DCS or TMCC/Legacy board in the locomotive.  Delayed uncoupling along with electro-couplers on the locomotive would provide maximum flexibility and be the ideal system.

This is the only thing that makes me not want to take the jump and convert to scale couplers...They look great, but I like the flexibility of being able to uncouple anytime, anywhere. 

@Hot Water posted:

Many years ago, MTH attempted to develop a "Scale electro-coupler" that pretty well looked just like a Kadee couple, and coupled perfectly with the Kadee various series numbers.



I saw this coupler demonstrated at the MTH booth at a train show many years ago.  It was demonstrated with a MTH HO engine using the DCS system.  It worked very well.  I thought that MTH had a winner.

Maybe MTH decided that there wasn't enough demand for this feature especially since it was designed to use with DCS instead of DCC.  I believe that this was before PS-3 was released but I am not certain.  

NH Joe

This is the only thing that makes me not want to take the jump and convert to scale couplers...They look great, but I like the flexibility of being able to uncouple anytime, anywhere.

But,,,,,,,,,what about the huge gap between cars, having to bash them together in order for them to couple & latch, and then there is the problem of the "claws" coming uncoupled on longer trains? No such "issues" with Kadee couplers.

@Hot Water posted:

But,,,,,,,,,what about the huge gap between cars, having to bash them together in order for them to couple & latch, and then there is the problem of the "claws" coming uncoupled on longer trains? No such "issues" with Kadee couplers.

Solved with Lionel Kinematic couplers. No bashng required. These 21" cars navigate 042 without drama. Try that with kadees and cars this closely coupled.

image

Pete

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Last edited by Norton
@Hot Water posted:
Also, in my opinion if one goes into the hobby of model railroading constantly worrying about "resale value", then you are in the WRONG HOBBY. Always remember that model trains are NOT an investment!

It's not about investing.  Sometimes I buy a model, run it for awhile and sell it.  I usually get close to what I paid for it, not exactly.  But if I have to explain to someone - oh these have been modified and they won't work with the rest of your Lionel equipment I'm not likely to get as much.  If I could return the car to it's original state, that would be the best solution.

Interestingly I was reading about the issues that folks are having with the newer Lionel couplers that came out a few years ago.  It sounds like while it doesn't work as well with other 3-rail couplers, (and themselves!) the truck it's mounted on lets you remove the coupler shank so you can mount Kadees.  Kudos to that Lionel!.  It's a shame the claw is misshapen and it doesn't work well in it's stock form though.  What a mess!

I feel like there is a market for trucks that:

1) Have no - or a removable lobster claw
2) allow swapping hi-rail and scale wheels
3) made of metal
4) have a low bolster that allow for ride height adjustment with shims for Weaver, MTH, Lionel, and Atlas.

If the price were right, I would probably buy 500 of them.

You don't have to cut off claws on Lionel cars.  Unscrew the truck from the body, take out any other truck/coupler related screw, slightly bend one tab with a plyers and you can work loose the claw and take it right out.  I have done it about 100 times.  No cutting necessary.

Next, unfortunately on the newer Lionel Passenger cars they screwed up their Kinematic couplers.  They uncouple all the time and had to covert all to kadees anyway.

- Crank

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