Coupler Conversion (Part 2)

A few days ago I received the replacement pilot for my 0-6-0, so I set to work installing the Micro-Trains magnetic couplers. After a few days of practice, I am now able to assemble and install one coupler after about three or four tries. Each attempt takes a couple of minutes, but it beats spending two or three hours trying to figure out how to hold the things together. I’m now able to assemble and install them with my bare hands.

Anyhow, they work! They are a bit fidgety, which is to be expected. Also, the rear coupler sits about half a coupler too high, so I will likely need to insert a shim to bring it down a bit.

One of the biggest issues is how easily they uncouple when they are above the magnet. This was especially problematic because the turnouts, which are close to the magnets, caused the engine to jerk and shimmy a little. This allowed the cars to catch up ever so slightly, just enough for the couplers over the magnet to gain slack and pull apart.

The rear coupler’s a bit too high, but it works for now.

The front coupler, attached to the replacement pilot.

This afternoon I spent a few minutes sanding down the plastic insulators and wheel guides on the turnouts to make them a bit more level with the track. This reduced the engine’s stutter, and the couplers are holding better. Still, they often uncouple when stopped over the magnets. This may have to do with the weight of the cars. I had put some bolts in the boxcars to bring the weight to an even ounce, but I think they might be a bit too heavy. After the engine stops, their inertia keeps them moving forward, so there’s no need to back up the engine to cause the couplers to disengage. My next step will be to fidget with the weight of the cars to find the ‘Goldilocks’ zone.

Here’s a video of the couplers in action.

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