NEM box the downside.

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Bufferstop
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NEM box the downside.

Postby Bufferstop » Wed May 16, 2018 11:51 am

Compare these Mainline wagons from 1980with today's offering from Hornby.
The gap between buffers on the 1980 stuff is a bit over length, the sort of thing we put up with for having tight radius curves. By comparison the present day models from the major manufacturers have a ridiculously long gap. The difference, the wonderful NEM mounting box. Come on messrs B, D and H who's likely to fit Rocco couplings to UK stock, KDs perhaps but they come in such a plethora of lengths we don't need a mounting point that sticks out so far! If you are going to make them look right for anyone, do it for the UK purchaser.
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allan
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Re: NEM box the downside.

Postby allan » Wed May 16, 2018 12:33 pm

As I've made very clear in another thread, the NEM coupler box works perfectly when properly applied. The NEM coupler box is just one component of the NEM coupler mechanism. It's the cheapest part, and, on its own, is a waste of plastic. NEM couplers allow wagons to couple buffer to buffer on straight track, with one side pulling apart on tight curves.

Bachmann, in particular, are well aware of this, as their Liliput range is fitted with complete NEM couplers, and has been for many years - if it was not, they would not sell (and Bachmann knows it).

So why doesn't Bachmann add complete NEM couplers to it's 00 scale rage? My suspicion is that 00 scale models are seen as very price sensitive, so that the extra cost could be seen as a disincentive to purchase.

The real question is why the NEM coupler box, without the rest of the package, was introduced to 00 scale models in the first place.

Bigmet
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Re: NEM box the downside.

Postby Bigmet » Wed May 16, 2018 12:56 pm

Bufferstop wrote:...The gap between buffers on the 1980 stuff is a bit over length, the sort of thing we put up with for having tight radius curves. By comparison the present day models from the major manufacturers have a ridiculously long gap...

Here's my solution, that I have applied to the - koff - 600 or so Bachmann SWB wagons that dominate my operation.
Release the pockets from the model, pull out coupler.
Using a pair of old snips take about 2mm off the pocket front, matching amount off the coupler tails. (I can do this by eye now.) The intent is to have the front of the buffer bar in the same plane as the peak of the buffer faces.
Reassemble.

The wagons now buffer up on straight track, and give a full loose coupled effect by pulling out to 2mm spacing between bufferheads. (That's conditional on using the Bachmann product, shorter than Hornby's. I haven't tried with others.) Lovely!

This will work down to 24" radius free from buffer locking when propelling. If a smaller radius is required then they cannot be cut down quite so short, and cannot quite buffer up in straight track as a result.

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Re: NEM box the downside.

Postby mahoganydog » Wed May 16, 2018 1:16 pm

Hi all,

Hornby's standard NEM couplings are awful (same with Oxford's). I've changed all of mine over to Bachmann's 36-061 which are shorter in the body and coupling hook length.

Jim
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Mountain
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Re: NEM box the downside.

Postby Mountain » Wed May 16, 2018 2:55 pm

Also, I found those mainline couplings (Apart from when the spring stock the hook) to be the ideal size as they were not too small that one had to have flex in the coupling and not too big that the coupling is too visible. The only thing I'd change was to go without the spring so the design used a more conventional hook. The other advantage to this in between size was that it behaved itself more if coupled to large or small couplings if required then if one tries to couple a large to a small coupling type.
The way the couplings fixed to the vehicles was ideal. One central screw and two outer protrusions. The couplings were firm when fixed in place and had no undesired flex.

The model railway industry had come on in leaps and bounds in 00 gauge in recent years but gone totally backwards with their couplings when it comes to reliability. What good is it to have a coupling that is smaller so it is more hidden, but does not do its job on the occasional uneven track? While we could say we should have better track, we can equally say the couplings should be redesigned to cope with uneven track in the first place.

And then we come to coupling spacing between vehicles. Mainlines spacing was designed to work with first radius curves in mind. It was also designed to be as tight as possible within these confines. It wasn't just Mainline. Back in those days, even though Hornby were using wide couplings, on some vehicles like the Mk2 coaches they were just as close coupling as many of today's coaches and they still negotiated first radius curves. Yes the body shape did help somewhat, but as one has compromise in ones models in the first place via the couplings used and even the narrow gauge used in 00, it only takes a slight extension to the corridor connections to improve the overall look without the need for the problematic close coupling mechanism almost universally adapted today.

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Bufferstop
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Re: NEM box the downside.

Postby Bufferstop » Wed May 16, 2018 6:28 pm

@Bigmet, very similar to my solution to the gap. On some models the whole darned thing can be moved inboard by a couple of millimetres if it doesn't foul the axle.
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D605Eagle
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Re: NEM box the downside.

Postby D605Eagle » Thu May 17, 2018 11:36 am

Likewise. All mine have been cut down in the same fashion.

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Bufferstop
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Re: NEM box the downside.

Postby Bufferstop » Thu May 17, 2018 12:40 pm

Then of course there's the introduction of "coupler droop", an ailment almost unknown in pre NEM days :roll:
but the continental manufacturers can do it right -------
20180517_131341.jpg

A nasty case of "Spanish Droop" courtesy of Electrotren.
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allan
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Re: NEM box the downside.

Postby allan » Thu May 17, 2018 3:32 pm

The Continental manufacturers don't try to fit a coupler that is an inch and a half - sorry - make that 38mm - long! Often, the coupler box has a supporting lug that clips into a v-shaped cutout in the underframe allowing the coupler mechanism to swing, but not sag.

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Bufferstop
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Re: NEM box the downside.

Postby Bufferstop » Thu May 17, 2018 4:09 pm

This was fitted with a very compressed version of the wedge shaped block with a hole through it that fitted over a peg. They centring action is provided by two springy bits of plastic, or in the case of the right hand coupler one, the other was hanging by a thread of plastic. Vertical adjustment was possible but only downwards, which was not much help. As the entire fitting can usually be pulled out perhaps our 38mm long coupling should include a mounting block, most are interchangeable.
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Mountain
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Re: NEM box the downside.

Postby Mountain » Thu May 17, 2018 4:21 pm

I think that one of the issues with both 00 and N gauges is that the manufacturers make excellent models (Let's face it. They are brilliant!) but they have too many inbuilt compromises. Dont get me wrong, some compromise is needed. I would rather have compromise built in for models to negotiate first radius curves then have a perfect model, but I do find it weird, when I mention this that I sometimes get told they are perfect scale models and are not designed for sharp corners. Why do I find this weird? Because in 00 gauge we have the wrong gauge for the scale and we have couplings that look nothing like the prototype!
For me, I dont mind a bit of compromise as it is all about the general look of the items and the space one has available for them to fit. Our track plans are a compromise of the real thing. Our curves have to be a compromise unless we are only interested in modelling a very short section of straight line. Even shorter points on the prototype would be the size of the longest points Peco make if one scales them down from prototype dimensions.
My argument in general is not that we dont compromise. It is more that the compromise works reliably and effectively. This is the main reason why I'm not that happy with the up and down flex with today's tension lock couplings because this flex causes reliability issues which cause runaway trains, and also many derailments which do not take place if one runs older models which were not made in the same way. (If the older models did come off the rails at the same specific locations as the new ones do then fair enough. It has nothing to do with the couplings. I know its not the wheels as one can put new wheels on older models and they run just as well, if not better).
My thoughts on the subject of couplings are along the lines of "Why not redesign the couplings to make them look more prototypical while one is about correcting the current issues?"

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Re: NEM box the downside.

Postby Dad-1 » Thu May 17, 2018 5:36 pm

Making so many of my wagons from kits now I tend to align
the end of each pocket with the inner edge of the bufferbeam.

I also try to use 100% Bachmann narrow tension lock couplings
but beware they have 2 different lengths. I've not bothered to
measure what the difference is, but it needs to be taken into
account if you're getting critically close to the limit.

Geoff T.
Remember ... I know nothing about railways.
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=32187 and Another on viewtopic.php?f=22&t=28436&start=60&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

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Bufferstop
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Re: NEM box the downside.

Postby Bufferstop » Thu May 17, 2018 9:04 pm

I keep both lengths of Bachmann couplings, sometimes it's easier to mount it that bit further back, or you get a model with much longer buffer shanks. You should see the mounting for the Ratio diamond frame bogies mounted inboard of the balcony steps.
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allan
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Re: NEM box the downside.

Postby allan » Fri May 18, 2018 3:59 am

I have a Symoba gauge for fitting NEM coupler boxes: it sets the face of the coupler box 7mm back from the buffer or diaphragm faces, and the bottom of the coupler box 6mm above the rail heads. Fleischmann and Roco Couplers lock in when the buffer faces are about 1mm apart. Under tension they pull out to around 2mm between the buffer faces.

There are many (incompatible) NEM couplers, and, in my opinion, the Roco couplers are not the best: Fleischman Profi couplers are much more durable. Kadees work well, and allow for magnetic uncoupling. Automatic three link chains remain a dream!

Bigmet
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Re: NEM box the downside.

Postby Bigmet » Fri May 18, 2018 10:25 am

allan wrote:...The real question is why the NEM coupler box, without the rest of the package, was introduced to 00 scale models in the first place.

Which takes us back to your earlier and very pertinent question.

Pretty much all of the technique used to produce UK RTR OO model railway product derives from HO, and it is usually just lifted, lock, stock and barrel! When production went to China a large tranche of the previous forty years of HO model advance was deployed into RTR OO, which had until then largely been stuck at the 1950s level. (The OO set track is the marker, a redundant design acquired from Roco and launched in the UK circa 1970 as the new bestest thing!)

Along with can motor multistage loco drives and DCC decoder sockets, both long available in HO, Bachmann simply picked up the coupler pocket and the associated close coupling mechanism, and put it in their product. Initially they went for a significantly off-NEM-specified position (an early claim was that it wouldn't fit easily on many UK vehicles, but that was simply a cover story for insuficient design effort to implement correctly) and they have shuffled toward conformance since. But not in respect of suitable couplers, the miniature tension lock is still standard. They did include a clip in 'dummy hose' connector with the coaches, better than nothing and could be reformed for really close connection, but not an autocoupler.

(What they have also done is put their HO Kadee clone correctly mounted in the wagon bufferbeams of some contemporary wagon models. Off Kadee standard height it may be, but these are the best wagons in OO, period, as a result. The only items you will find in OO with an effective autocoupler that looks like that of the prototype. Now that's a worthwhile deviation IMO as these things usually run in block trains and the appearance enhancement is significant.)

Hornby's dip into this murky pool was to put the close coupling mechanism on the first of their superior coaches, (the K type Pullman cars and very good they are too as models) but with no coupler pocket, the tension lock just screwed on! Because the tension lock is incompatible operationally with this mechanism owners quickly found they derailed in operation, and there was no simple way to fit an alternative. (Hornby eventually for a short period issued replacement yokes with a moulded on NEM pocket to fix that. Similar pieces are avallable from Keen, which had been providing a kit close coupler system in the UK well before it was launched in RTR.)

The benefit of Hornby starting a little later with the NEM pocket, is that they have generally got it correctly positioned, and provided a clone of Roco's coupler to use with it. But laugh a minute time, instead of using the shaft length of the Roco which works perfectly, they lengthened it so the appearance is not nearly as good as it could be. Why one wonders?

I will take all this despite the muddle, for the net benefit. It is far, far easier to change couplers which are simple clip fits, and it readily accepts simple modification to 'off-standard' for folk who want to improve on the RTR offering.

And to answer the question, the answer is that since a coupler and a mounting are required, then for manufacturing assembly purposes this is probably as cheap as it gets. Clip in is a time saver over screw or rivet on, every time, and that's a huge drive in manufacturing, reduced assembly time is reduced production cost. (Those who have never been in manufacturing will have to take my word for it.Thousands of small efficiency 'nibbles' of this sort are what make consumer goods economically possible.)


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