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I see for sale new cars and locos with the 2 different style couplers, one referred to as 'knuckle',

and the other black plastic type which I do not know the name of, but very common. Which is 'better'?

Are they easy to swap out or difficult? Are there other factors to know about when attempting to switch

types of couplers? The magnetic uncouplers, are they intended only for the 'knuckle' type of couplers?

In N scale do the uncouplers work well?
 

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"those other type"....:rolleyes::D:D:D
Really, spacomp, the Micro-Trains (MTL) knuckle couplers seem to be greatly preferred for realism. They say the Rapidos are quite reliable, tho...
 

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The question should not be "Which one should I pick?"

You should not have to pick.

The question should be "Why do we as N-scalers tolerate manufacturers using three different coupler designs, none of which is compatible with the other two."

We should pick one and boycott the others until they all use the same coupler.

Or at least make them all compatible with each other. I have Kato and Microtrains couplers that aren't even the same height.

Is there no governing body that will set and enforce a standard?
 

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The question should not be "Which one should I pick?"

You should not have to pick.

The question should be "Why do we as N-scalers tolerate manufacturers using three different coupler designs, none of which is compatible with the other two."

We should pick one and boycott the others until they all use the same coupler.

Or at least make them all compatible with each other. I have Kato and Microtrains couplers that aren't even the same height.

Is there no governing body that will set and enforce a standard?
There IS a standard, it's from NMRA. Problem is, the manufacturers aren't following it, and we the customers, as you said, aren't demanding it.
 

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The question should not be "Which one should I pick?"

You should not have to pick.

The question should be "Why do we as N-scalers tolerate manufacturers using three different coupler designs, none of which is compatible with the other two."

We should pick one and boycott the others until they all use the same coupler.

Or at least make them all compatible with each other. I have Kato and Microtrains couplers that aren't even the same height.

Is there no governing body that will set and enforce a standard?

Try dealing with around five different coupler types. Whenever I order rolling stock or locomotives I always order my preferred coupler type too.
 

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I see for sale new cars and locos with the 2 different style couplers, one referred to as 'knuckle',

and the other black plastic type which I do not know the name of, but very common. Which is 'better'?

Are they easy to swap out or difficult? Are there other factors to know about when attempting to switch

types of couplers? The magnetic uncouplers, are they intended only for the 'knuckle' type of couplers?

In N scale do the uncouplers work well?
spacomp;

The two couplers shown in Old Hobo's photo are a Rapido coupler on the left, and what appears to be a non-operating (dummy) knuckle coupler on the right.
Rapido couplers are largely going extinct. I would be surprised if the cars you saw them on were actually new. Rapido couplers were once common, and a standard used by many brands, in the early days of N-scale, but they are getting a lot less common every day. You will still see them on older equipment, but operating magnetic knuckle couplers are on virtually all new locos and cars.
While there are several brands of magnetic knuckle couplers, the original, and the best, magnetic knuckle couplers, are made by Micro-Trains. The others are cheap imitations made when the Micro-Trains patents ran out. Micro-Trains is the defacto standard among experienced N-scale modelers.

"Are they easy to swap out, or difficult?.............Yes! 😄

It depends on what type of locomotive, or car, you are replacing the couplers on.
Since many N-scale cars have their couplers mounted on the truck assemblies under the car, the easy way to convert those cars to Micro-Trains couplers is to replace the original trucks with Micro-Trains trucks with their excellent couplers already attached.

However, virtually all new locomotives, and some new cars, come with their couplers mounted to the body of the loco or car, not to the trucks. It is important to use one system or the other, not a mixture of truck-mounted and body-mounted. See the file "A lot about couplers" for details.

Micro-Trains sells a specific conversion kit designed to fit nearly every N-scale loco made. They also sell loose couplers either assembled, or as kits, that can be body-mounted to cars. They also sell special tools to make this job easier. The photo below shows one tool, not sold by Micro-Trains, that also makes installing couplers easier. My locomotive cradle is made from scrap lumber and a piece of felt.

"The magnetic uncouplers, are they intended only for the knuckle type couplers?".......Yes.
Rapido couplers had their own type of uncoupling ramp, which was mechanical, not magnetic. (See the file for it's severe limitation.)

"In N-scale, do the uncouplers work well?" ................ Yes, as well as they work in any other scale.
Magnetic uncoupling requires properly installed magnets, and properly adjusted trip pins on all the couplers. Some modelers prefer to forgo magnetic uncoupling altogether, and instead uncouple their Micro-Trains couplers manually, with a small screwdriver or stick, twisted between the knuckles of the couplers. Both systems work well in any scale.

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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