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Thank you Jack,

Yes, the Kadee "G" types, particularly the newer 900 series, look and are big for 1/29 scale.
I had considered the smaller #1 Kadees that on the other hand look a bit too small (I think intended for for 1/32 scale), but I chose the bigger ones as a compromise for operational performance with long, heavy trains on my outdoor layout with its loops and grades.

What type of trains do you operate, and have you had any performance problems using #1 Kadees with them?
 

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For the DCC users out there, I used a standard Kadee coupler and a servo and tied this to my Zimo decoder. I use my Zimo remote to control both the front and rear couplers and I even programmed in the 'waltz'. Zimo lets the decoder take over the uncoupling action by activating the uncoupler and backing up the engine and then pulling forward uncoupled automagically!!
Zimo large scale decoders have 4 servo connections and can control smoke fans and heaters also.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
Ted -

If I had to guess, I'd expect that the larger G scale Kadees would be a better choice if I ran "long, heavy trains", etc. I think the longest train I've run is the six intermodal cars I have with five or six gons and boxcars. They're all on metal wheels, most carrying 1 lb. of BBs for better stability. All of my rolling stock is run of the mill A/C or USAT. Motive power is one each, S-4, GP-40, SD-45 and SD70. The pair of RDCs retain their original A/C couplers.

If I've had any problems at all with the #1s, it's been poor mountings (me) rather than the couplers themselves. As you'd guess, their smaller size makes them more susceptible to slipping up and out of each other if the track isn't properly graded. I had trouble the past couple of years with finding the right gravel locally. I didn't have enough time to repeatedly re-grade the trouble spots. But even then, the 1s did a good job, considering.

I think that, if you could wave a magic wand over your entire railroad empire and instantly turn your Gs into 1s (now that would be one seriously magic wand), you would have maybe a few minor issues. (I have to admit to being a big fan of the entire Kadee line. It's all very high quality stuff.) Whether the 1s are sturdy enough to pull a hundred cars - ?????

JackM
 

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Discussion Starter #24
Dan -

I don't know if the "waltz" is enough to make me run out and replace my NCE with a Zimo system ( pretty impressive though it might be), I think the waltz would be interesting in a test to see how level the track has to be in order for the Kadees to uncouple satisfactorily.

Do you have any idea how precise the leveling has to be for them to waltz properly? I've found that the Kadee remote control couplers are pretty fussy hoe flat the track is. It becomes difficult to uncouple if the back end cars want to pull downhill very much.

JackM
 

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the waltz is in the decoder i think
body mount couplers is all Ted does so as long cars traverse our non-prototype grade transitions the #1 couplers will be a lot more problematic
 

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Discussion Starter #27
Update - an improved mounting method

Time to update this project -


Having finally gotten my SD-45 running like it's supposed to, after two years of not being able to get it around my layout once under its own power (we won't discuss that here – it took a lot of chat here on MLS and finally resolved itself), I went back to installing a Kadee 11221 remote control coupler (#1 scale) onto the rear. The front (short hood) auto-cplr was done last year and works just fine, although I think it could use a bit of a “chain adjustment”.


The SD-45 is an Aristo-Craft product (collective “sigh”), so it came with the A/C coupler mounted on that “tower” which does seem to be pretty sturdy. This time I had a new tool in my toolbox. I had already shortened the column by removing the top, smaller part. This puts the 11221 box at about the right height to slip straight out the opening in the snow plow.


Now, the bad news, although you probably already know what it is. The 11221 box is way too long to mount with less than half an inch sticking out. We have no choice in the matter, short of removing the first axle (motor, wheels, etc.). The best we can do is slide the 11221 into the plow up to the two screw sleeves that I usually refer to as the “ears” of the coupler box. In this position, the rear of the box barely misses the flanges of the first axle.


First caveat – I don't know for sure if this position allows the truck allows sufficient room for the “brake” to avoid hitting the edge of the coupler box. Or even if the flange can miss striking the box depending on the vertical attitude of the truck. My experience so far: I mounted a 11221 on the front of the SD-45 and had no problems on my own layout (other than the non-related power problem mentioned in the first sentence). Thus, I am presuming the rear will be the same. Your mileage may vary. My minimum diameter is 16 ft., or at least that's what I tell my friends.


2349800.jpg

Back to my new tool: I ran across JB Weld SteelStik a few weeks ago at the local Hobby & Craft store. Never knew this stuff existed. I was thinking about some way to get rid of the plastic strips thing discussed at the beginning of this thread as a mount for the 11221 box. Something like an epoxy, only not a liquid because I want to build a tower around that A/C tower. As I was thinking this, the skies opened up, bringing me SteelStik, an epoxy putty. It comes in a long gray roll. Slice off a hunk, knead it with your fingers for a minute or two until the two gray materials become one color. With this fairly firm putty, I formed a “box” around the A/C coupler tower, about as wide as the Kadee box. The more difficult dimension was the area forward and back.




I've gotten ahead of myself. You'll have to remove the end pieces of the engine's body – plow, stairs, railings, etc. But keep them handy because you'll need to constantly recheck your work to be sure nothing prevents these pieces from being reattached correctly.




SteelStik sets in five minutes, cures in an hour – after which it can be drilled, filed, machined, etc. Not having any modeling clay to practice with, I went ahead and formed the SteelStik into a glob around the tower and attempted to flatten it out horizontally while frequently checking to make sure my glob wouldn't inter.....well it did. When I went back the next day and tried to put the body piece back I could see that the epoxy/putty was bulging out and needed some trimming. The cutting wheel in my Dremel was fairly quick in slicing off what needed to go. After a couple thin slices I got everything to fit back the way it should. I also had to sand a bit off the top to get it so the box would be level forward-backward and side-to-side. The Dremel cutting wheel did this job well, too. I tried a sanding drum first, but that clogged up in no time. (The cutting wheel is about 1-1/2 in. diameter and costs a few bucks each. Not those little $3-a-dozen discs that send nasty chunks flying thru space.)


A few days later I was in a local hardware store (not a home center, a real hardware store) and noticed two other brands of what appears to be the same thing as SteelStik, in much larger tubes. I had another use for this stuff since working on the SD-45: fixing a broken drapery rod hanger bracket. I definitely like this stuff.


Dscn2348800.jpg

Now that we have a podium for the box to rest on, we need a semi-permanent way to mount it. As was done at the other end of the SD-45, I cut a thin piece of aluminum the shape of the box (with ears). This piece is attached to the putty-encircled mounting tower. Because the aluminum piece is pretty thin, I was lucky to find a very small flathead wood screw that has a fairly shallow cone-shaped head. After drilling the mounting hole (I'll leave you to your own methods to find the point to drill – you don't want to know mine, but a blindfold is required). With any luck, the ears of your aluminum bracket will abut the front of the engine, preventing any movement. Next find the thru-hole in the 11221 box. Drill a hole thru the appropriate spot in the aluminum plate; the Kadee box will be held in place with a machine screw here. If you prefer, you could use the ears to secure the box to the plate.


Yes, I skipped a few things that are absolutely crucial, but hopefully you will read this whole thing before starting out on this journey. Ignore the white paper on the aluminum piece. It's a scrounged piece of tin (aluminum, tin, what's the difference?) and I'll be painting over it anyway.




You can't slip the 11221 box thru the hole, can you? You need to do some cosmetic surgery to your precious locomotive. Widen the hole on both edges to allow the servo crank, etc. to pass thru. Remove a small bit then test to see if it will fit thru. With the wire on one side and the chain and crank on the other, try to widen the hole evenly. You'll also want to make sure the chain can pull thru smoothly. Maybe there's a way to fit the 11221 without major surgery to the ends, but I can't see any. I guess we have to make a choice: rivet-counting correctness, or not having to twiddle a little stick to get two pieces of rolling stock to go their separate ways.

I'll leave you on your own as far as the bodywork you need to do to makes things fit. I don't seem to be able to measure things to a closer tolerance than half a thumbwidth. I can only point you in the right direction, presuming the right direction is really the right direction. And when it's all done you can probably paint the box, add a strip of plastic to cover any gaps you find embarrassing. (Nobody will notice – they'll be too much in awe of the magic uncoupling. “Try this in HO!!”)



You may notice that the I'm still using the (1)902 coupler, as discussed at the beginning of this thread. It ends up (for me, at least) just a shade high compared to the Kadee gauge. If that proves to be a problem it won't be toooo big a deal to pull it all apart and insert a shim on top of the box.


Feel free to ask questions and/or point out errors, blatant or otherwise.


A brief discussion about chains will be forthcoming.
 

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Discussion Starter #28
Anyone know why I can't edit? I hit the edit button on the bottom right and it gives me an empty, totally white, window like this Quick Reply window. If I do anything except close it out, it loses my entire posting.

Ask me how I know it loses my entire posting.

JackM
 

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Yes.. given good track work .. the KD #1 coupler could pull a 100 car train..

I have tested to destruct both styles with help from KDR..also here on MLS.
The #1 broke at about 33-34 pounds of direct in line pull..
The larger G breaks at about 51 pounds...

This is stronger than anyone will ever be able to pull cars with.
Other testing I've done resulted in seeing averages of 3 #'s to pull 50 car trains at the couplers

Once I'm running here in AZ... I will be re-running all the tests I have ever run on model trains..looking for consistent numbers and any changes in results..

More in the future!!

Dirk
 

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Discussion Starter #32
Kadee remote couplers - CHAINS

- A Look at the Chains -​


Before I get to fixing broken chains and stuff like that, let's look at how the 11221 operates. Basically, the nanoservo causes the “crank” to rotate about 90 degrees, pulling then releasing the chain, which is attached to the coupler.


When mounted, the crank arm should be at about the four o'clock position as you face it from the side of the engine. Obviously you want to be certain the chain can move easily with no place to snag. The chain is attached to an arm on the coupler that can be adjusted simply by loosening the very small screw that tightens the clamp. I've never removed that screw, if only because I doubt Lowe's or Home Depot will have a replacement for it. Loosen it just a bit, then, with a very small flat blade screwdriver, spread the clamp just enough to let you wiggle it to about a 90 degrees angle from the coupler.


From what I've seen, the Kadee folks seem to want the chain to first pull open the coupler “hook” before it begins to pull the entire coupler to the side. From my experience, however, that seems to be quite a trick to pull off. It may be that some graphite powder could be “poofed” toward that area to expedite that movement. Or not. (I dislike graphite powder because it always seems I get it everywhere but where I want it. But I use it because sometimes it's the exact right stuff to use.)


It should be noted that there are two additional elements between crank and coupler: two very tiny wires which connect the chain to the crank on one end and the coupler on the other. It's pretty obvious the chain is too small to be hooked directly to the crank or the coupler, so that must be the main purpose. But I can't help thinking this wire is a bit springy and possibly it helps soften the “yank” if the crank attempts to pull the chain further that the coupler will allow. Something of a shock absorber.


So we come to the repair portion of today's session. I suggest you arm yourself with two things you may or may not have in your toolbox:

  • chain of a comparable size
  • wire you can hardly see

Another trip to the local Hobby & Craft store. Note that I didn't say “train store”. It's possible, of course, but you need a place that sells doll houses, If you model 1:24, you're probably familiar with them. But we of the 1:29 bent go there most unwillingly.


A good h&c store should have chain in various sizes. Mine had a sort of blackend-bronze chain that matches the Kadee's very well. It seems to hold up as well as Kadee's, as well. The nice lady will cut you as much as you need. Get a foot or two, you might need it some day(s).


I got wire there on the same trip. This was on a peg board with various sizes. The card says “dark annealed Steel Wire”, 28 gauge x 50 ft (.41 mm x 15.2 m) for $7.99. That should be a lifetime supply for me. I've used this wire for the springy end pieces, although it's not really very springy. Haven't lost any yet.





You might be wondering why you'd need chain when you have wire to tie together the two pieces of existing chain.




(Notice I took these two photos thru my benchlight's magnifier? All these years, I never thought of it.)




In the above shot, I need to tighten up the two sides of wire, then cut them off and crimp further. Actually, the difficult part is stringing the rear half of the wire thru the snowplow so you can hold it long enough to slip the wire thru it. Use the wire like a fishhook to pull the wire thru. Be gentle. Like it's a dollhouse.

Oh yeah, why do you need chain? Remember those springy end pieces? You might be able to avoid this if you don't have trees dropping things, or breezes blowing junk onto your track, but I have lots of stuff, all year long. I've had a couple of the chains just disappear. I suspect a twig or leaf got between the chain and some body part, or a wheel, and the chain just got yanked out of both springy wires at once. Or the chain broke in the middle and only half is left. Or, unbeknownst to you, the servo crank got rotated and went into yank mode. Get out your skinniest long-nose pliers, or tweezers, and lots of patience.




Questions are welcome, of course.


JackM

Now I must remount the 11221 on my S4. It got a ton o' use last summer.
 
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