Tool for coupler alignment


George Hofmann
 

If coupling on straight track Sergent couplers will mate without intervention most of the time, especially if self centering. However, if there is a kink in the track or if one car is on a curve and the other on a straight section They need help. I think the original concept was that the operator would adjust one or both coupler's position to enable the mate. That activity drove me crazy. I had to come up with a solution and I think I found a simple one.

I glued a flat piece of 1mm styrene to the side of my Sergent magnetic coupler wand. If I hold the wand vertically and push the paddle against the side of both couplers just before they touch then they become aligned and mate perfectly. I can do it at arm's length. Life is good again.. Take a look at the photos. In the last picture the wand is not held vertically because it was difficult to take the picture but you get the idea.

Now it's true that I have modified my couplers to self center as I have described in other posts. But I believe that this tool will work with the friction-based shanks as well, perhaps with a little more finesse. It's also true that a more elaborate tool could be designed that would act like a funnel to guide the couplers together. 

Note that the paddle is glued onto the wand in such a way that if it is placed parallel with the rails, then the pin on the end of the wand will be in just the right place to enable opening the knuckle. It is sometimes hard to see the pin so this helps.

As I have built the prototype the paddle hinders the view of the knuckle pin if operating on the left coupler rather than the right. It would be better if the paddle were glued to the other end of the wand. For testing the concept the paddle could be attached to some other kind of wand like a skewer or something.

Give it a try and see what you think.

George
Edgewood, WA









Jamison Amis
 

George,

I can see the merits of this system when mating couplers with identical profiles as viewed from above, but how well does this work for pairing dissimilar ones, like an E/SBE/SE to an F/SF/H?  Due to differences in distance from the sides of the couplers to their centerlines in such pairings, I'd imagine there'd still be some fiddling required to line everything up?

I also note in your pictures you have a bit more space between your cars than I normally run with, and no air hose details adjacent to your couplers that I can make out (at least in the example photos shared).  How does this tool mod fare with closer-proximity coupler mounting and air hose detail being present?

Take care.



Jamison Amis


On Mon, Nov 29, 2021, 12:41 AM George Hofmann <george.hofmann@...> wrote:
If coupling on straight track Sergent couplers will mate without intervention most of the time, especially if self centering. However, if there is a kink in the track or if one car is on a curve and the other on a straight section They need help. I think the original concept was that the operator would adjust one or both coupler's position to enable the mate. That activity drove me crazy. I had to come up with a solution and I think I found a simple one.

I glued a flat piece of 1mm styrene to the side of my Sergent magnetic coupler wand. If I hold the wand vertically and push the paddle against the side of both couplers just before they touch then they become aligned and mate perfectly. I can do it at arm's length. Life is good again.. Take a look at the photos. In the last picture the wand is not held vertically because it was difficult to take the picture but you get the idea.

Now it's true that I have modified my couplers to self center as I have described in other posts. But I believe that this tool will work with the friction-based shanks as well, perhaps with a little more finesse. It's also true that a more elaborate tool could be designed that would act like a funnel to guide the couplers together. 

Note that the paddle is glued onto the wand in such a way that if it is placed parallel with the rails, then the pin on the end of the wand will be in just the right place to enable opening the knuckle. It is sometimes hard to see the pin so this helps.

As I have built the prototype the paddle hinders the view of the knuckle pin if operating on the left coupler rather than the right. It would be better if the paddle were glued to the other end of the wand. For testing the concept the paddle could be attached to some other kind of wand like a skewer or something.

Give it a try and see what you think.

George
Edgewood, WA









Andy Reichert
 

AFAIR, Sergents were intended to be used on near scale radii trackage. They are not universal in that they will operate faultlessly down to  18" radius and #5 switches.

Andy



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John Degnan <scaler164@...>
 

In all my years of using Sergent couplers, I have never heard that before... so I have serious doubts about the validity of it.


John D


-------- Original message --------
From: Andy Reichert <andy_r@...>
Date: 11/29/21 10:55 AM (GMT-05:00)
To: SergentEngineering@groups.io
Subject: Re: [Sergent Engineering] Tool for coupler alignment

AFAIR, Sergents were intended to be used on near scale radii trackage.
They are not universal in that they will operate faultlessly down to 
18" radius and #5 switches.

Andy



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https://www.avg.com







 

Andy
Why won’t they go around <18” curves & #5 switches? Has anyone tested that? 

Andy Andy Jackson
Santa Fe Springs CA


Nick Campbell
 

They will go around tight trackage...and steep inclines/declines to elevatiion changes. As far as I've experienced the issues, when they occur, have more to do with the coupler pocket and how much it restricts coupler swing.


On Mon, Nov 29, 2021 at 3:00 PM, Andy Jackson
<lajrmdlr@...> wrote:
Andy
Why won’t they go around <18” curves & #5 switches? Has anyone tested that? 

Andy Andy Jackson
Santa Fe Springs CA


Andy Reichert
 

I'm talking about limited coupler swing.  Long Cars, overly tight reverse curves and prototypical coupler swing don't mix.

Andy

On 11/29/2021 9:55 AM, John Degnan wrote:
In all my years of using Sergent couplers, I have never heard that before... so I have serious doubts about the validity of it.


John D


-------- Original message --------
From: Andy Reichert <andy_r@...>
Date: 11/29/21 10:55 AM (GMT-05:00)
To: SergentEngineering@groups.io
Subject: Re: [Sergent Engineering] Tool for coupler alignment

AFAIR, Sergents were intended to be used on near scale radii trackage.
They are not universal in that they will operate faultlessly down to
18" radius and #5 switches.

Andy



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https://www.avg.com







Todd Sullivan
 

I think Andy is correct.  Modelers who design layouts with small radii reverse curves and short transitions jn between are a problem for most model cars and locos.  I use Kadee semi-scale couplers (No. 58s, etc), and I often have to align drawheads by hand to get a good joint.  BTW, that is not unprototypical, as I have watched many switch crews do the same thing when couplers were not aligned.

Todd Sullivan


Dale Buxton <dbtuathaddana@...>
 

Tim Warris, the owner and creator of “Fast Tracks” created a model to scale of the Bronx Teminal in HO scale. It has curves at least half of 18” radius curves. We’re talking trolley car type curves! And he uses Sergent Couplers on that layout. This is one layout where self centering couplers would be a detriment and not advantage.

Something a lot of people forget or don’t know. There are several degrees of left and right swing that an automatic coupler can attain right at the coupler knuckle faces while coupled. This is before the couplers shank is even pulled off of the center line.

Dale Buxton

On Mon, Nov 29, 2021 at 13:00 Andy Jackson <lajrmdlr@...> wrote:
Andy
Why won’t they go around <18” curves & #5 switches? Has anyone tested that? 

Andy Andy Jackson
Santa Fe Springs CA


 

Then don't run cars like that in those conditions. OR just use longer coupler shanks.
Andy Jackson

On Mon, Nov 29, 2021, 2:38 PM Andy Reichert <andy_r@...> wrote:
I'm talking about limited coupler swing.  Long Cars, overly tight
reverse curves and prototypical coupler swing don't mix.

Andy

On 11/29/2021 9:55 AM, John Degnan wrote:
> In all my years of using Sergent couplers, I have never heard that
> before... so I have serious doubts about the validity of it.
>
>
> John D
>
>
> -------- Original message --------
> From: Andy Reichert <andy_r@...>
> Date: 11/29/21 10:55 AM (GMT-05:00)
> To: SergentEngineering@groups.io
> Subject: Re: [Sergent Engineering] Tool for coupler alignment
>
> AFAIR, Sergents were intended to be used on near scale radii trackage.
> They are not universal in that they will operate faultlessly down to
> 18" radius and #5 switches.
>
> Andy
>
>
>
> --
> This email has been checked for viruses by AVG.
> https://www.avg.com
>
>
>
>
>
>
>








George Hofmann
 

On Mon, Nov 29, 2021 at 04:56 AM, Jamison Amis wrote:
 
I can see the merits of this system when mating couplers with identical profiles as viewed from above, but how well does this work for pairing dissimilar ones, like an E/SBE/SE to an F/SF/H?  Due to differences in distance from the sides of the couplers to their centerlines in such pairings, I'd imagine there'd still be some fiddling required to line everything up?
 
I also note in your pictures you have a bit more space between your cars than I normally run with, and no air hose details adjacent to your couplers that I can make out (at least in the example photos shared).  How does this tool mod fare with closer-proximity coupler mounting and air hose detail being present?

 

I think you are probably correct about the dissimilar profiles being an issue. I have regular E and lower shelf E couplers only (and I haven't built the lower shelf ones yet). I think the paddle would work when mating any combination of those but probably not so well with the others you mentioned.
The paddle does work with more closely coupled cars. The paddle can in fact be narrower than the prototype in the picture.  I also cut angles off of it so that it looks like an arrow pointed up. This was to avoid snagging it on brake wheels, etc.
For truth in advertising I will say that it sucks when using with non self centering couplers. But I'm sold on self centering. True there are conditions where it is a hindrance but I can live with that.

George