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Discussion Starter #1
I tend to call these locations uncoupling ramps because the old horn-hook uncouplers looked like ramps.

Anyhow, I started experimenting with the strong rare earth magnets readily available nowadays. I read several threads on how to implement this and my variation included 8 metric dimension magnets. Eight of the 10mmx5mmx3mm magnets spaced to fit tightly between the rails. Polarity is important.

Installed in existing trackwork by cutting three ties out and "dremeling" down to make a square pit in the homasote.

Works as good as the Kadee under track magnet.
My next implementation will be a retractable (downward) version under the ties.
 

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The part I don't understand is do they uncouple any time a car passes over it, or do you have a control to activate it on demand?
 

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@Fire21 -- I don't have any hands-on experience with this yet, but from what reading I've done on the subject it is similar to the horn-hook uncouplers in that you need a momentary hesitation in the train to provide some slack in the couplers before they detach from each other. In this case the magnet provides the force to pull the couplers in opposite directions and once there is slack they'll come apart. I believe this arrangement is normally avoided on a mainline because you can also get slack between the cars from slowing down or if your loco hesitates while going through a turnout.

The way I've seen this done in the past is by using a stack of 3x3x3mm magnets, which are approximately the same width as the tie. Cut out three ties and replace them with magnets, then paint over them and they blend in with the other ties. The main difference between this method and what is presented above is the orientation of the magnet. I guess it works in either direction?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The principle is simple, Kadee magnets have a North and South pole at the top, the face we see looking down at the uncoupler.

Now a steel rod or pin in the vicinity of the magnetic field will align N-S. Since the coupler pin has only one way to move (it's attached to the coupler pivot, it rotates to fit the field.

Both pins rotate clockwise, and since the couplers are mirror images, they move apart.

So any combination of magnets that produce the field will work adequately. I uses the word adequately because as Shdwdrgn pointed out, the operation is not without some minor issues. Which is why I am building a retractable version. I could buy/build the electromagnet version but it takes more work and a larger hole in the roadbed.
 

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all that's needed is a couple between the ties, smaller round ones placed vertically ...
and yes, if there is slack, they will uncouple, but that is not normally the case ..
once placed they are virtually undetectable, and a hairpin needle with a yellow glass cylinder is placed next to that spot ..

these have been in place for over six years now ..
DSCF1278.JPG
 

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A square of sheet metal UNDER the magnets will
increase their 'power'.

Under track magnets should ONLY be used on
spur or yard tracks. If in a 'main line' you will
get undesired uncouplng when train is pulled
over an under track magnet.

The proper procedure for auto uncoupling is to
back the car over the magnet. You should then
see the wires swing thus uncoupling. You can also
push the car on back if you do that when the couplers
are 'misaligned'.

If you want to uncouple on
a 'main line' use the Kadee electromagnet uncoupler.
It uncouples only when you push a button.

You should also make yourself a 'HOG' (Hand Of God)
probe to uncouple cars where there is no magnet.
Use a small wood or plastic stick filed to a thin flat
point. This is inserted in the coupler knuckles with
a flick, thus opening.

Don
 

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if magnets are mounted under the ties, in an opening in the benchwork, couldn't they be mechanically lowered and raised as needed?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
if magnets are mounted under the ties, in an opening in the benchwork, couldn't they be mechanically lowered and raised as needed?
Yes, my next evolution and it will include the steel underneath as DonR mentioned. The wood rectangle will be the plunger operated with a bell crank or cam with handle in fascia.


WIP
 

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Looking forward to viewing the retractible uncoupling ramp

Hi

I will look forward to photos of the retractible uncoupling ramp when you finish building it.

I use a metal plate under the track and place the round rare earth magnets outside the rails on either side.

Works very well and cars do not uncouple as they are being pulled across the magnets unless I stop a train directly over the magnets.

Interestingly enough, I hired a metal shop to cut up 1/8inch metal into plates with the correct dimensions.

Rickie
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Rough work completed, tested with track installed over uncoupler and couple of cars and loco pushed by hand.
Clear plastic glued to road bed to keep ballast out of the mechanism.

I designed a couple of different mechanisms then decided to Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS).
Wooden plug with metal plate and magnets crazy glued to top.
Wooden guides with lots of clearance to prevent binding from climate changes.
One piece actuating arm with no pivots or linkage to jam up.

 

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Like Don, I use a metal base directly underneath the track that is slightly wider than the track.

I place two rare earth magnets on the outside of the rails but quite close to them (because I have nipped the ends of the ties off)

If the magnetic power is too strong I move the magnets slightly farther from the rails (only slightly, each time till I'm satisfied)

I use them on the mainline as well, with no issues as long as I don't stop the train with the couplers sitting beside the magnets.

Rickie
 

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After reading my previous post I realize that I meant to say the "I place TWO rare earth magnets on EACH side of the track, outside the rails. Sorry
 
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