Bachmann tension lock couplings

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muggins
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Bachmann tension lock couplings

Postby muggins » Sun Oct 25, 2020 3:16 pm

I'm slowly getting round to sorting out some kind of coupling standardisation (or as good as), aiming to eventually have all Bachmann narrow tension-locks. It's finally dawned on me that the Hornby small tension locks have longer hooks than the Bachmann ones (why, for crying out loud?), and also that the "prong" on them which fits into the NEM pocket is somewhat thicker than the Bachmann ones.

Question is, though, can I actually buy Bachmann small tension locks without the pockets, which latter I don't really need in most cases?

Dad-1
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Re: Bachmann tension lock couplings

Postby Dad-1 » Sun Oct 25, 2020 3:52 pm

First, No you can't buy the couplings less the NEM pocket. They come plugged together 10 to a
packet. I'll get the codes later if you want, not in my memory.

At the moment the Bachmann couplings are in short supply, I think I may have taken the last big
dealer stocks before the end of last year. Bachmann say they are on order with China, but can't say
when they'll arrive.

There are also two lengths of hook section, so beware, they come long & short, not much difference,
but for closer coupling I tend to use the short on normal short WB wagons. The longer allow me to
attach the dovetail mountings slightly further back, which is better where there is a longer overhang.

As to the NEM pockets, I need some rather urgently because although I do have some Bachmann plug in
hooks left from where I've used Kadees I have no pockets. This has stopped my kit building, there are at
least 4 wagons here finished but for couplings.

As to any standard, there is none, just approximations ! Hornby have longer hooks, that also have a deeper
return under the hook. Their pockets/couplings fit also differ. Dapol have their own mounting ideas and
even Oxford Rail have their own length of NEM plug in tails.

I believe that Bachmann is the best way to take your couplings, but currently it's a drag because of the
shortage. I'm today working on updating three Lima wagons and can't finish the job because of no couplings.

Geoff T.
Remember ... I know nothing about railways.
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muggins
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Re: Bachmann tension lock couplings

Postby muggins » Sun Oct 25, 2020 5:26 pm

Thanks Geoff. The longer I'm in this game, the easier it's getting to see why folks go to Kadees!

Bigmet
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Re: Bachmann tension lock couplings

Postby Bigmet » Sun Oct 25, 2020 5:42 pm

muggins wrote:...Question is, though, can I actually buy Bachmann small tension locks without the pockets, which latter I don't really need in most cases?

Trust me on this, a supply of pockets is very useful, for a start the hinge can fail, and some manufacturer's pockets do not closely conform to standard. But if you want rid I will send an SAE, and you can post them to me if you like...

mahoganydog
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Re: Bachmann tension lock couplings

Postby mahoganydog » Sun Oct 25, 2020 8:34 pm

You want 36-061 which are the shortest they do. Most Hornby models are straight NEM couplings (I've never seen cranked ones) and are an easy swap but beware, some of the newer gen coaches can lock buffers when fitted with the short Bachmann couplers even on 4th radius. If you want cranked couplings these are 36-027 which are the same length as the straight ones I have mentioned.

Be careful with Oxford Rail because some of their models use a non-standard pocket length so only their couplings (seem identical loop length to Hornby) can be fitted.
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muggins
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Re: Bachmann tension lock couplings

Postby muggins » Mon Oct 26, 2020 6:38 am

Thank you gentlemen.

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pete12345
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Re: Bachmann tension lock couplings

Postby pete12345 » Fri Oct 30, 2020 8:07 am

Dad-1 wrote:As to any standard, there is none, just approximations ! Hornby have longer hooks, that also have a deeper
return under the hook. Their pockets/couplings fit also differ. Dapol have their own mounting ideas and
even Oxford Rail have their own length of NEM plug in tails.


This has always been a problem with NEM362 in the UK and manufacturers still don't seem to get it. There is a standard (it's called NEM362) and while the coupler itself is up to the manufacturer, the pocket dimensions and vertical and horizontal position are defined, precisely so couplings are interchangeable. Whereas UK manufacturers persist in putting it wherever they want which negates its purpose entirely. Bachmann always used to be the worst offender but I think they've improved a bit.

Tension-lock couplings themselves are another issue as everyone seems to use a not-quite compatible variation of the same basic design. Try getting an older Triang/Lima type, Mainline/Dapol type and the current narrow type to play nicely together! No wonder people tend to swap them for 3-links.
Once an engine attached to a train, was afraid of a few drops of rain...

Dad-1
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Re: Bachmann tension lock couplings

Postby Dad-1 » Fri Oct 30, 2020 9:35 am

3 Links Pete ?,

You must be joking !!
3 links on 'O' gauge is just about manageable, but certainly not in '00'
Perhaps, just perhaps, on a layout where you can leave stock in place indefinitely, but I've seen others struggle & have run
3 links and it's even more unreliable than mixing say Mainline wide couplings with sprung hooks alongside narrow tension
lock. My experience is that trying to convert as much as possible to Bachmann couplings gives the best overall option.

Kadees take even more setting-up than the effort of converting to the Bachmann tension-lock and are expensive. Yes you
can run Kadees on blocks of wagons where the block keeps standard couplings, Kadees kept to the end wagons. I've always
used a magnetic shunters pole working on a sliver (1/4 of a No.56 staple) of steel superglued along the top of the Bachmann
brass hooks. Using this method every link between every wagon can be parted anywhere you want. Of course there is the
problem of being in arms reach, and I suppose having a steady hand !

I might later add a link to a video I did of a shunting session using the magnetic shunters pole.

Geoff T.
Remember ... I know nothing about railways.
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Bufferstop
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Re: Bachmann tension lock couplings

Postby Bufferstop » Fri Oct 30, 2020 10:52 am

It's worth saying that the one quarter of a no.56 staple leaves the perfect L shaped piece to glue to the dropper for the BK magnetic uncoupling method. Waste not...... The extra bit of weight it gives to the hook helps gravity bring them back down. that reminds me, I must order some neo rod magnets to put uncouplers in my new sidings.
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Dad-1
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Location: Dorset - A mile from West Bay.

Re: Bachmann tension lock couplings

Postby Dad-1 » Fri Oct 30, 2020 11:01 am

The video I mentioned earlier.

https://youtu.be/TaWdlHCzfMI

Perhaps the odd hesitation, perhaps it's time to do another.

Geoff T.
Remember ... I know nothing about railways.
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Bigmet
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Re: Bachmann tension lock couplings

Postby Bigmet » Fri Oct 30, 2020 11:05 am

pete12345 wrote:... Bachmann always used to be the worst offender but I think they've improved a bit...

Or even the first offender, as they introduced it to UK OO product! On their first tranche of Blue Riband introductions majoring on overheight and too far inboard, with compensating adjustments on their couplers, which were stepped down and on a longer mount as required to compensate. A few other errors specific to particular products were thrown into the mix. The BR Std 4MT 2-6-4T was a particular mess. Quite when they began to properly conform to NEM362 on newly tooled introductions I am not sure, but think this change had begun by 2004: however there was no rapid change to existing tooling with incorrectly positioned pockets, and whether there has been complete correction on all that legacy tooling product when it gets a production run I don't know.

(Credit where due, the functional coupler head fit pocket dimensions of Bachmann's product have been stable, and they are sold as spares.)

Hornby started well when they moved to using the NEM coupler pocket, and to the best of my knowledge have conformed throughout, but I have only purchased or seen a minority of their product. Was it Hornby's 'doing it right' that influenced Bachmann to change? Heljan, Dapol, Rapido, Oxford, really haven't bought or seen enough of their product to make properly comparable judgements to the volume of Bachmann and Hornby purchased.

pete12345 wrote:This has always been a problem with NEM362 in the UK and manufacturers still don't seem to get it. There is a standard (it's called NEM362) and while the coupler itself is up to the manufacturer, the pocket dimensions and vertical and horizontal position are defined, precisely so couplings are interchangeable. Whereas UK manufacturers persist in putting it wherever they want which negates its purpose entirely...

Not confined to UK OO manufacturers. It happens in HO too, and some HO coupler heads can be got with a height adjustable slide. And Heljan - solidly an HO manufacturer in origins - are in my very limited experience of their OO product about the worst for position conformance, and ice the cake with pocket dimensions wrong to the extent of incompatible with conforming dimension coupler head fittings.

But again not all bad news, it is usually possible to rearrange components and arrive at correct positioning for the coupler pocket. Or if you are a complete hooligan such as myself, to hack about both coupler pocket and coupler head fittings of all maker's products in order to position the coupler optimally for my larger radius than set track layout. As far as I am concerned it's just a useful fitting, which makes it easy to place the three types of RTR couplers I use exactly where I want them. I'll accept the downside of position errors, in exchange for that convenience...

muggins
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Re: Bachmann tension lock couplings

Postby muggins » Fri Oct 30, 2020 1:05 pm

Well this is all jolly interesting, and the postie's just delivered my two packs of couplings viz. one each 36-030 and 36-061, these being with and without pocket respectively.

What's the verdict on that mod, the name of which I can never remember, which involves more staple fun, but this time by way of a horizontal dangler attached to the dropper (if that's the word), such that when a wagon so equipped passes over a magnet, the staple is attracted, so causing the hook to lift? I can't help wondering why, if it's as wonderful as its proponents make out, you don't seem to see it on many layouts ...

Bigmet
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Re: Bachmann tension lock couplings

Postby Bigmet » Fri Oct 30, 2020 1:46 pm

Brian Kirby or 'BK' mod. Heartily commended: cheap and reliable; bonus for those who also use Kadee, their track magnets will also operate the BK modified Bachmann miniature tension lock.

muggins wrote: ...I can't help wondering why, if it's as wonderful as its proponents make out, you don't seem to see it on many layouts ...

Possibly because it is very unobtrusive? About 7mm of a small iron staple soldered to the bottom of the dropper and blackened, really has to be looked for to be detected.

More likely in my opinion: because most RTR owners are disinclined to modify their purchases. (Coming from a background of building practically everything for myself, RTR is just a kit that happens to have been assembled to me.) And it will only work with Bachmann miniature tension locks, restrictive for those who will not standardise on one make of coupler.

muggins
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Re: Bachmann tension lock couplings

Postby muggins » Fri Oct 30, 2020 2:02 pm

Cheers Bigmet. Hmmmm ... maybe it's time for a few experiments. Whenever I've thought about it before, I've never got past realising that, for me at least, it'd need electro-magnets rather than permanent ones. Making those would probably be cheaper than buying them (if indeed such things are readily available), but I fear the working-out of the details would be beyond me.

I guess the ideal would be to use just enough wire round a suitable core (a nail perhaps) to result in a sufficiently-strong magnetic field at something like 5mm distance when 12Vdc is applied, without the thing drawing enough current to shorten the life of an ordinary cheapo push-to-make switch. And it's an awful long time since I did 'O' level physics.

Anybody got any suggestions for a starting point?

Bigmet
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Re: Bachmann tension lock couplings

Postby Bigmet » Fri Oct 30, 2020 2:09 pm

Use AC. The electromagnet windings than act as a choke to limit current. Mine are actuated by a strip of phosphor bronze nailed on the baseboard frame, pushed into contact with a brass drawing pin. Never yet had to make an electromagnet for this purpose, salvaged them from tweeters and solenoids various. (I am cheap, oh yes...)


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