Archive for May 3rd, 2008

DG couplings

DG couplings

Mechanical and Electrical things don’t usually work for me. When I was in school I could follow my technology teachers instructions (when he gave them) to the letter, and work alongside other students doing exactly the same thing, only to find that whereas everyone else had a working transistor radio, I had a water level detection circuit. And that was on a good day. When an article says that a job is “quick and easy” I know it probably won’t be: somehow I’ll manage to warp the laws of physics and bodge it up.

When I came to couplings, I installed them in hope rather than expectation of the things working. I was slightly encouraged that other people had found them reasonably simple to install using the method described by Steve Bennett, which thankfully removed the need to solder anything, but on the other hand, I’d just had to make a complete rebuild of the sector plate to make it fit on the layout, and I was using a permanent magnet instead of the recommended electromagnets, because I had 10mm space and the electro magnet is about 60mm plus wires.

So you can imagine my surprise when running the train over the magnet, the little loop on the coupling sprung up and down, allowing me to leave my desired wagon in a siding and pull away. (said wagon promptly rolled backwards, but that’s another story). We had a couple of problems on that awkward bit of lumpy track, and one or two of the loops are still a bit sticky, but overall they have been remarkably successful, especially after some weight (old roofing lead) was stuck into the under frames of the wagons.

The magnet slides back and forth on a strip of plastic card, which is marked to show when it is under each track. On the picture above you can see it sticking out of the side of the sector plate. I carefully adapted the sector plate to allow for this, installed the magnet on the side I’d be operating the model on, and the realised that this is where the jack plugs that provide the power plug into the box. This is not the best bit of design I came up with -it makes uncoupling a very fiddly operation- but on the other hand it does the job it is supposed to, which makes this the first model railway I’ve owned with hands-off coupling, so on balance I’m happy.

Besides if everything worked, I’d be thinking I’d bent the laws of physics again…

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