Date   
Re: [SergentEng] Re: What's going on in the Group?

Christopher Zurek
 

I've been working on some Santa Fe and BN SD40-2s. Of course the Santa Fe ones will get Type E, and the BN will get Type F.

My Sergent Users Facebook group has been very quiet also.

Chris Z.

On 10/12/2015 10:07 PM, Nathan Rich thaddeusthudpucker@... [SergentEng] wrote:
 
Sorry about that, cat on the keyboard...

Haven't seen a whole lot out of people in the group... What's been going on in the Group recently?

I put some E's together yesterday and that made me think of you all... You never really forget how to put these together, I didn't even lose any ball after 10 or so couplers. I need another bulk pack and passenger couplers for my new train show acquisitions! Finally get rid of these bedeviled Kadee's that I can't quite seem to get rid of. The two previous bulk packs were for another buddy who did everything on his layout.

Nathan Rich

On Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 8:02 PM, Nathan Rich <thaddeusthudpucker@...> wrote:
Haven't seen a whole lot out of people in the group... What


Re: [SergentEng] Re: What's going on in the Group?

Dale Kritzky
 

I had a small operating session with 2 other guys, one had tried my couplers and was blown away backin the summer, the other guy had never heard of Sergents, so I gave him the job with more switching he was also blown away by the realism and how easy they work, but still nobody wants to convert from kadee. Dale
Sent from my NOOK

"'Christopher A. Zurek' zurekc@q.com [SergentEng]" <SergentEng@...> wrote:

 

I've been working on some Santa Fe and BN SD40-2s. Of course the Santa Fe ones will get Type E, and the BN will get Type F.

My Sergent Users Facebook group has been very quiet also.

Chris Z.

On 10/12/2015 10:07 PM, Nathan Rich thaddeusthudpucker@... [SergentEng] wrote:
 
Sorry about that, cat on the keyboard...

Haven't seen a whole lot out of people in the group... What's been going on in the Group recently?

I put some E's together yesterday and that made me think of you all... You never really forget how to put these together, I didn't even lose any ball after 10 or so couplers. I need another bulk pack and passenger couplers for my new train show acquisitions! Finally get rid of these bedeviled Kadee's that I can't quite seem to get rid of. The two previous bulk packs were for another buddy who did everything on his layout.

Nathan Rich

On Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 8:02 PM, Nathan Rich <thaddeusthudpucker@...> wrote:
Haven't seen a whole lot out of people in the group... What


Re: What's going on in the Group?

Nathan Rich
 

I'd bet that it's a combination of sunk cost in Kadee's and/or not wanting to assemble couplers... But I still don't understand superdetailing a locomotive then sticking a #5 on there. I'm glad Pelle Søeborg has made the switch, because maybe now they'll get more exposure.

How many years before Sergent's become the de facto standard that Kadee should no longer be?

Nathan

On Tuesday, October 13, 2015, Dale Kritzky dalekritzky@... [SergentEng] <SergentEng@...> wrote:
 

I had a small operating session with 2 other guys, one had tried my couplers and was blown away backin the summer, the other guy had never heard of Sergents, so I gave him the job with more switching he was also blown away by the realism and how easy they work, but still nobody wants to convert from kadee. Dale
Sent from my NOOK

"'Christopher A. Zurek' zurekc@q.com [SergentEng]" <SergentEng@...> wrote:

 

I've been working on some Santa Fe and BN SD40-2s. Of course the Santa Fe ones will get Type E, and the BN will get Type F.

My Sergent Users Facebook group has been very quiet also.

Chris Z.

On 10/12/2015 10:07 PM, Nathan Rich thaddeusthudpucker@... [SergentEng] wrote:
 
Sorry about that, cat on the keyboard...

Haven't seen a whole lot out of people in the group... What's been going on in the Group recently?

I put some E's together yesterday and that made me think of you all... You never really forget how to put these together, I didn't even lose any ball after 10 or so couplers. I need another bulk pack and passenger couplers for my new train show acquisitions! Finally get rid of these bedeviled Kadee's that I can't quite seem to get rid of. The two previous bulk packs were for another buddy who did everything on his layout.

Nathan Rich

On Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 8:02 PM, Nathan Rich <thaddeusthudpucker@...> wrote:
Haven't seen a whole lot out of people in the group... What


Re: [SergentEng] Re: What's going on in the Group?

Drew McCann <hiroechan@...>
 



On Tue, Oct 13, 2015 at 11:07 AM, Nathan Rich wrote:

How many years before Sergent's become the de facto standard that Kadee should no longer be?


Until such time as Sergent can 1) keep up with the supply demands of such a market, 2) get local hobby shops to stock their products, and 3) price them competitively with Kadees, it's not going to happen. The K5 coupler is as ubiquitous as it is because they meet the first two criteria.  How many sales opportunities are lost, simply because of lack of product placement? I never see them in shops, or at hobby shows. Can't buy what isn't there.

I love the Sergent line; but I recognize that it's a niche product, and unlikely to become anything more than that as long as these barriers continue to exist.

--Drew

Re: [SergentEng] Re: What's going on in the Group?

Shawn Hogan <shawn.hogan41@...>
 

You might add to that: when more than one or niche manufacturers decide to supply their RTR or kit models with Sergents. Or at least offer them as an option when ordering.
But I think the biggest hindrance is the lack of exposure in hobby shops and publicly displayed layouts.
Shawn Hogan



On Tuesday, October 13, 2015 11:19 AM, "Drew McCann hiroechan@... [SergentEng]" wrote:


 


On Tue, Oct 13, 2015 at 11:07 AM, Nathan Rich wrote:

How many years before Sergent's become the de facto standard that Kadee should no longer be?


Until such time as Sergent can 1) keep up with the supply demands of such a market, 2) get local hobby shops to stock their products, and 3) price them competitively with Kadees, it's not going to happen. The K5 coupler is as ubiquitous as it is because they meet the first two criteria.  How many sales opportunities are lost, simply because of lack of product placement? I never see them in shops, or at hobby shows. Can't buy what isn't there.

I love the Sergent line; but I recognize that it's a niche product, and unlikely to become anything more than that as long as these barriers continue to exist.

--Drew


Re: [SergentEng] Re: What's going on in the Group?

Jeff Young
 

I’ll be converting my HOn3 locos and cars to Sharons once they arrive (and I figure out how to assemble them).

You’ve only got to back up a single-car train once and watch the Kadee slinky action to know there’s got to be a better way….

Cheers,
Jeff.

Re: [SergentEng] Re: What's going on in the Group?

Alan Hummel
 

To All,
Not that I mind at all,but I think if Sergent offered some type of centering device,these couplers would gain more attention,just my opinion. I have no problem with no centering spring,would I like to take less time centering,yes,but even when using Kadee's you still have to be aware around a turnout or any type of curve,where the coupling point ends. By that,I meant if your Kadee couplers will "pass" each other,or if they're still enough in a straight line to couple without a 5 fingure assist.
Al Hummel



On Tuesday, October 13, 2015 8:25 AM, "Dale Kritzky dalekritzky@... [SergentEng]" wrote:


 
I had a small operating session with 2 other guys, one had tried my couplers and was blown away backin the summer, the other guy had never heard of Sergents, so I gave him the job with more switching he was also blown away by the realism and how easy they work, but still nobody wants to convert from kadee. Dale
Sent from my NOOK

"'Christopher A. Zurek' zurekc@q.com [SergentEng]" wrote:

 
I've been working on some Santa Fe and BN SD40-2s. Of course the Santa Fe ones will get Type E, and the BN will get Type F.

My Sergent Users Facebook group has been very quiet also.

Chris Z.

On 10/12/2015 10:07 PM, Nathan Rich thaddeusthudpucker@... [SergentEng] wrote:
 
Sorry about that, cat on the keyboard...

Haven't seen a whole lot out of people in the group... What's been going on in the Group recently?

I put some E's together yesterday and that made me think of you all... You never really forget how to put these together, I didn't even lose any ball after 10 or so couplers. I need another bulk pack and passenger couplers for my new train show acquisitions! Finally get rid of these bedeviled Kadee's that I can't quite seem to get rid of. The two previous bulk packs were for another buddy who did everything on his layout.

Nathan Rich

On Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 8:02 PM, Nathan Rich <thaddeusthudpucker@...> wrote:
Haven't seen a whole lot out of people in the group... What




Re: [SergentEng] Re: What's going on in the Group?

Mike Van Hove
 

I installed well over 200 Sergent Couplers on my HO Standard Gage Colorado Midland freight, Passenger Cars, and engines.

I did all the break in procedures, and they all worked just fine.  I was as tickled as a kid with a new toy.

That was last summer (2014).

My layout sat unused for most of the winter, and when I tried to operate again this spring, none (nearly every one) would operate.

In many cases, the ball was stuck up in the open position.  The couplers wouldn’t latch closed.  I tried tapping, used a very strong magnet, but nothing would make the ball move.  The ones that didn’t have the ball stuck, were locked in the closed position.

Again, nothing would make them open up.

On close examination, I find that the couplers all have gray, coating, sort of like the crud that the old Zamac cars would get, after several years.

I think there must be something that is causing them to corrode, but I have no clue what it is.

I do have several machine tools.  (Delta Unisaw, Drill Press, Jointer, etc).

No corrosion problem on any of these.

I have 2 two tool chests from the days when I was a machinist.  No corrosion problem.

This layout is in a 20 X 30 building, in the back yard.

While I do have a woodstove for heat, while I’m out there working, I make no attempt to keep it going when I’m not out there.

Here in Mid Missouri, the temperatures can get down to below freezing, even into the low teens, but the recording thermometer in the shop never shows the low inside to be below 38 to 40 degrees.

The building is very well insulated, and I think that’s why it doesn’t get too cold inside.

I have tried removing the couplers, and putting into an Ultrasonic Cleaner, as was suggested by someone on this group.  No dice.

I have physicly pried some open, with a small screwdriver.  That does seem to get them open, and after much flexing, they seem to work okay.  Of course, that still doesn’t address the stuck ball syndrome.  That sounds like a medical problem, doesn’t it?

At any rate, I don’t want to spend MANY HOURS, freeing up all these couplers, only to have them all bound up again, next spring.

Has anyone out there had a simular problem?

I sure would like to hear what you did about it.

When these couplers work, they are the greatest thing since sliced bread.  I would really like to put them on the HOn3 layout I’m just starting.

Thanks for listening to my long winded tale.

Mike Van Hove

On Oct 13, 2015, at 10:07 AM, Nathan Rich thaddeusthudpucker@... [SergentEng] <SergentEng@...> wrote:

I'd bet that it's a combination of sunk cost in Kadee's and/or not wanting to assemble couplers... But I still don't understand superdetailing a locomotive then sticking a #5 on there. I'm glad Pelle Søeborg has made the switch, because maybe now they'll get more exposure.


How many years before Sergent's become the de facto standard that Kadee should no longer be?

Nathan

On Tuesday, October 13, 2015, Dale Kritzky dalekritzky@... [SergentEng] <SergentEng@...> wrote:
 

I had a small operating session with 2 other guys, one had tried my couplers and was blown away backin the summer, the other guy had never heard of Sergents, so I gave him the job with more switching he was also blown away by the realism and how easy they work, but still nobody wants to convert from kadee. Dale
Sent from my NOOK

"'Christopher A. Zurek' zurekc@q.com [SergentEng]" <SergentEng@...> wrote:

 

I've been working on some Santa Fe and BN SD40-2s. Of course the Santa Fe ones will get Type E, and the BN will get Type F.

My Sergent Users Facebook group has been very quiet also.

Chris Z.

On 10/12/2015 10:07 PM, Nathan Rich thaddeusthudpucker@... [SergentEng] wrote:
 
Sorry about that, cat on the keyboard...

Haven't seen a whole lot out of people in the group... What's been going on in the Group recently?

I put some E's together yesterday and that made me think of you all... You never really forget how to put these together, I didn't even lose any ball after 10 or so couplers. I need another bulk pack and passenger couplers for my new train show acquisitions! Finally get rid of these bedeviled Kadee's that I can't quite seem to get rid of. The two previous bulk packs were for another buddy who did everything on his layout.

Nathan Rich

On Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 8:02 PM, Nathan Rich <thaddeusthudpucker@...> wrote:
Haven't seen a whole lot out of people in the group... What






Re: [SergentEng] What's going on in the Group?

Alden G. McBee
 

It’s odd, but modelers are so used to looking at Kadees that most aren’t bothered by the appearance.  One of the guys in my modeling  group commented when I first showed him the Sergents, “I realize those are exact scale, but I’m so used to seeing Kadees that the Sergents look odd.”  Of the 15 or so in my modeling group, I’m the only one that uses 
Sergents.  They are beautiful and work great.  I for one could never go back to Kadees.  Sergents are to Kadees as Kadees are to horn-hook couplers.
—Alden McBee, Wheeling, WV

On Oct 13, 2015, at 1:03 PM, Shawn Hogan shawn.hogan41@... [SergentEng] <SergentEng@...> wrote:


You might add to that: when more than one or niche manufacturers decide to supply their RTR or kit models with Sergents. Or at least offer them as an option when ordering.
But I think the biggest hindrance is the lack of exposure in hobby shops and publicly displayed layouts.
Shawn Hogan



On Tuesday, October 13, 2015 11:19 AM, "Drew McCann hiroechan@... [SergentEng]" <SergentEng@...> wrote:


 


On Tue, Oct 13, 2015 at 11:07 AM, Nathan Rich wrote:

How many years before Sergent's become the de facto standard that Kadee should no longer be?


Until such time as Sergent can 1) keep up with the supply demands of such a market, 2) get local hobby shops to stock their products, and 3) price them competitively with Kadees, it's not going to happen. The K5 coupler is as ubiquitous as it is because they meet the first two criteria.  How many sales opportunities are lost, simply because of lack of product placement? I never see them in shops, or at hobby shows. Can't buy what isn't there.

I love the Sergent line; but I recognize that it's a niche product, and unlikely to become anything more than that as long as these barriers continue to exist.

--Drew




Re: [SergentEng] Re: What's going on in the Group?

Spen Kellogg
 

On 10/13/2015 2:39 PM, Alan Hummel ahummel72@... [SergentEng] wrote:
 
To All,
Not that I mind at all,but I think if Sergent offered some type of centering device,these couplers would gain more attention,just my opinion. I have no problem with no centering spring,would I like to take less time centering,yes,but even when using Kadee's you still have to be aware around a turnout or any type of curve,where the coupling point ends. By that,I meant if your Kadee couplers will "pass" each other,or if they're still enough in a straight line to couple without a 5 fingure assist.

Al,

It's true that Kadees won't couple on curves, up to a point. The Colorado Model Railroad Museum (Oregon, California, and Eastern) has 43" radius curves and Kadees do couple on those. Both yards (Klamath Falls and Lakeview) are built around teardrops with the mains as the tightest curves at 43" and there is no problem coupling in the yards.

Spen Kellogg

Re: [SergentEng] What's going on in the Group?

Christopher Zurek
 

I placed my first order for Sergent couplers about four years ago.

Sometimes even now I think they look strange...not the coupler by itself, but a scale coupler in the ridiculously over side pocket on most HO scale models. On some models (like the Walthers Thrall gondola) I replaced everything with the Sergent couplers in the scale with pockets.

Chris Z.

On 10/13/2015 6:19 PM, 'Alden G. McBee' agm@... [SergentEng] wrote:
 

It’s odd, but modelers are so used to looking at Kadees that most aren’t bothered by the appearance.  One of the guys in my modeling  group commented when I first showed him the Sergents, “I realize those are exact scale, but I’m so used to seeing Kadees that the Sergents look odd.”  Of the 15 or so in my modeling group, I’m the only one that uses 

Sergents.  They are beautiful and work great.  I for one could never go back to Kadees.  Sergents are to Kadees as Kadees are to horn-hook couplers.
—Alden McBee, Wheeling, WV


Re: [SergentEng] Re: What's going on in the Group?

Jeff Young
 

Hi Mike,

There were several threads on here about coupler corrosion.  I didn’t have any at the time, so I didn’t really keep abreast of developments, but here’s a link to the latest update from Sergent: 

Re: [SergentEng] What's going on in the Group?

Alan Hummel
 

To All,
I think it all comes down to "trade offs."
Sergent's are Prototypical,especially when it comes to the shelf couplers whether it be the E coupler,F or H couplers. Then you do have to line up the Sergent's more.
No disrespect to Kadee,but I'm an all Sergent customer. I know people that work for Kadee, that use Sergent's in certain locations such as on their loco's.
Frank Sergent made the comment that he never wanted to be as large as Kadee,he wanted instead to keep his company smaller in magnitude and family owned.

Thanks again Frank,for listening to your customer's wants and for making sure they became available.

Al Hummel

3/4 MCB for EBT?

Nathan Kline
 

Thinking of using Sergent Engineering couplers for all of my EBT equipment. This consists of Hallmark Models Mikados, the M-1, and parlor/business car #20 as well as Blackstone hoppers, F&C kits, and a Peach Creek Shops Brass Caboose. Which Sergent couplers are closest to the 3/4 MCB coupler used by the EBT that will work/fit in the equipment listed?

Nathan Kline

Re: [SergentEng] 3/4 MCB for EBT?

John Niemeyer <jniemeyer@...>
 

Nathan

I'm not an expert on the MCB couplers. I do have some size comparisons with Kadee 714 vs. Sergent EN87 and Micro Trail Lines 1029 (N scale) vs Sergent RNB87 (Sharon) couplers.

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/SergentEng/photos/photostream/lightbox/1189192534?orderBy=mtime&sortOrder=desc&photoFilter=ALL#zax/1189192534

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/SergentEng/photos/photostream/lightbox/883904003?orderBy=mtime&sortOrder=desc&photoFilter=ALL#zax/883904003

John



Thinking of using Sergent Engineering couplers for all of my EBT equipment. This consists of Hallmark Models Mikados, the M-1, and parlor/business car #20 as well as Blackstone hoppers, F&C kits, and a Peach Creek Shops Brass Caboose. Which Sergent couplers are closest to the 3/4 MCB coupler used by the EBT that will work/fit in the equipment listed?

Nathan Kline

Re: [SergentEng] Digest Number 216

Talmadge C 'TC' Carr
 

Never mind. You said Blackstone Hoppers, that would be H0.
You can use the Sharon coupler. Fill in the side ribs and file to shape would be your best bet.

Talmadge C 'TC' Carr
Sn42 and Hn42 somewhere in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest
@dapenguin

On Oct 23, 2015, at 06:25 , Talmadge C 'TC' Carr <@dapenguin> wrote:

Nathan;
What scale are you doing the EBT in??
TCC:}

Re: [SergentEng] 3/4 MCB for EBT?

Nathan Kline
 

Wow, that EN87 really dwarfs that Sharon. Thanks for the pics!

Nathan

Limited Time Availability

Alan Hummel
 

I just checked the Sergent Webpage,& on assembled couplers of all styles,there is either "Limited Time Availability" or "Limited Availablity," posted in the stock column.


I don't think I've ever seen that post before-are the assembled couplers being fazed out in favor of non-assembled kits?

Alan Hummel

Re: Limited Time Availability, and other random thoughts

Frank Sergent
 

Hi Alan and group,

It is true as Alan has surmised that assembled couplers are being phased out. Once current stock of the assembled couplers is gone, they will only come back under special circumstances. Availability of kits has not changed and likely won't for a long long time. 

Please don't assume this says something about the health of the business, because business is good. It says more about different directions that I would like to take the company in the future. 

Assembled versions were offered initially as part of a plan to attract new customers. The goal of the plan was to become the standard coupler in the HO scale world. Then I would quit my day job, buy an island somewhere, and retire. It didn't turn out that way exactly. At nearly the same time we started offering assembled couplers, we launched an advertising campaign, and we started approaching retail shops to get product on their shelves. We even came up with some really nice packaging that any retailer would be proud to display. Unfortunately, there were very few shops that agreed to take on this new product and I respect their decision not to do that. However in the meantime, the online business really took off. So, the effort to get Sergent couplers in the "mainstream" of the hobby sort of died, but that was OK because I was still selling all the couplers I could make, and could sell them directly at full retail price instead of selling to dealers and half retail. That wasn't the way I planned it, but it is kind of nice to get to know your customers directly and the fact that I was getting a fair price for my labor kept me content.

The problem with how this "plan" worked out is that I still can't quit my day job, buy an island, and retire. In fact, if I could buy an island, I couldn't enjoy it because I'd be too busy assembling couplers. For the last ten years or so, business has been slowly growing through almost entirely online sales. We are stuck in a place where business is good, but not so good that I can sit back and pay someone else to do the hard work. I came to this realization probably five years ago, but have continued to offer the assembled couplers because I hate to admit defeat. I am more than happy to continue selling kits, but after personally assembling nearly 30,000 couplers, I've decided I have better things to do. Sorry.

Assembled couplers have historically sold pretty well verses kits. Still, the vast majority of the couplers sold are as kits. This is no doubt mostly because of the price difference and the fact that it doesn't take a nuclear physicist to assemble them. (Care to guess what my daytime job is?) Maybe some young entrepreneur out there can fill the need for assembled Sergent couplers. If you think about it, you can buy bulk couplers from me at $0.58 each, spend about two minutes each assembling them, and then turn around and sell them for $1.75 each. That's about $35 per hour. If you can assemble them in one minute, that's $70 per hour. Not bad for a part time work - if you aren't looking to quit your day job, buy an island, and retire. It takes me about 45 seconds to assemble one, but I've built 30,000 of these things and I'm pretty sure I've done it while I was actually asleep!

Bottom line is that I'm really sorry for folks that really prefer the assembled version, but I can't justify continuing to dedicate a significant portion of my time assembling the couplers in hopes of explosive business growth that is simply not going to happen. Thank you for understanding.

Cheers!
Frank

 


Re: Limited Time Availability, and other random thoughts

Cliff
 

Defeat? Nonsense. You're far from it and your efforts are applauded: 30k is a lot of assembled couplers. Sometimes, you got to give up the high ground you fought tooth-n-nail for, as it offers no more strategic value and adjust the mission.

To the less mechanically-inclined, if you can't assemble them, find someone who can for you. It's worth it.