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Model train coupling types,railking trains youtube,g scale track power clip definicion,ho model train car kits - Step 1

Couplers hold the cars together or at least they hold the cars to one another in a line behind the engine.
Real rail couplers are ginormous things in North America, but these universal knukle couplers are on all equipment in North America. Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! The different types of coupling do not always have formal or official names, which makes descriptions of the couplings in use on any railway system problematic. The standard type of coupling on railways following the British tradition is the buffer and chain coupling used on the pioneering Liverpool and Manchester Railway of 1830. Inefficient and slow, the European system is relatively unsafe because it requires manual coupling between vehicles, exposing workers to the risk of being crushed. This coupling type is the standard in European countries (except the former Soviet Union, where the SA-3 automatic coupler is used).
The hooks and chain hold the carriages together, while the buffers keep the carriages from banging into each other so that no damage is caused. Early rolling stock was often fitted with a pair of auxiliary chains as a backup if the main coupling failed. On railways where rolling stock always pointed the same way, the chain might be mounted at one end only, as a small cost- and weight-saving method. On German and Scandinavian railways, the left buffer is flatter than the right one, which is slightly more rounded.
An improvement on this is the "Instanter" coupling, in which the middle link of a three link chain is specially shaped so that when lying "prone" it provides enough slack to make coupling possible, but when this middle link is rotated 90 degrees the length of the chain is effectively shortened, reducing the amount of slack without the need to wind a screw. With the exception of Queensland, Tasmania and Senegal, twin buffers and chains are rare on narrow gauge lines, perhaps because of the buffer locking problem on sharp curves. The buffers and chain coupling system has a maximum load much less that of the Janney coupling. The width between the buffers tends to increase as the gauge increases, so that if wagons are changed from one gauge to another, the buffers will no longer match. On some narrow-gauge lines in Europe a simplified version is used, consisting of a single central buffer with a chain underneath. The link-and-pin coupling was the original style of coupling used on American railways, surviving on forestry railways after others converted to Janney couplings. There was no standard design, and train crews often spent hours trying to match pins and links while coupling cars. The links and pins were often pilfered (due to their value as scrap metal), resulting in substantial replacement costs. Crew members had to go between moving cars during coupling, and were frequently injured and sometimes killed.
Eventually, railroads wished to operate trains that were heavier than the link-and-pin system could cope with. An episode of the 1960s TV series Casey Jones was devoted to the problems of link-and-pin couplings. Norwegian (or meat chopper) couplings consist of a central buffer with a mechanical hook that drops into a slot in the central buffer. Norwegian couplings are not particularly strong, and may be supplemented by auxiliary chains. The Pichi Richi Railway in South Australia uses Norwegian couplers as its standard, and converts Janney coupler to Norwegian as required.
Not all Norwegian couplings are compatible with one another as they vary in height, width, and may or may not be limited to one hook at a time. Later Master Car Builders Association coupler, now AAR (Association of American Railroads) coupler; also known as knuckle coupler and alliance coupler. Diagram of the top view of Janney's coupler design as published in his patent application in 1873.
In 1893, satisfied that an automatic coupler could meet the demands of commercial railroad operations and, at the same time, be manipulated safely, the United States Congress passed the Safety Appliance Act.
When the Janney coupling was chosen to be the American standard, there were 8,000 patented alternatives to choose from. The AAR coupler is used in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Japan, Australia, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Chile, Brazil, China and elsewhere. The AAR (Janney) couplers comes in at least two sizes, "full size" and "three-quarter", which are not compatible. AAR are not necessarily mounted at the same height above rail – some variation can be tolerated. AAR couplers are uncoupled by lifting the coupling pin with a lever at the corner of the car. Trains fitted with AAR couplers can accommodate heavier loads than any other type of coupler.
The current AAR contour dates back to the Master Car Builders Association (MCBA) [4] coupler. Type "E" coupler, the original (plain) AAR coupler, derived from the Master Car Builders Association coupler. Type "F" coupler, a "tooth and socket" or "tightlock" variation to prevent accidents, derailments and wrecks from uncoupling the couplers.
The APTA (former AAR) standard type "H" coupler, a "tooth and socket" or "tightlock" variation used mostly, if not exclusively, on passenger cars.
Russian SA3 coupler , also known as a "Willison coupler with a Russian contour", (somewhat similar to Janney) used in Russia, former Soviet Union, Finland, Mongolia, Iraq and on Malmbanan, Sweden. European proposal coupler [6], (compatible with the Russian coupler) with automatic air, control and power connections. Unicoupler has been developed by Knorr company from Germany and is widly used in Iran in freight cars.
Fully automatic couplings are those that make all connections between the rail vehicles (mechanical, air brake and electrical) without human intervention, in contrast to autocouplers which just handle the mechanical aspects.
There are a few designs of fully automatic couplers in use worldwide, including the Scharfenberg coupler, various knuckle hybrids (such as the Tightlock, used in the UK), the wedgelock coupling, Dellner couplings (similar to Scharfenberg couplers in appearance), and the BSI coupling. There are a number of other automatic train couplings similar to the Scharfenberg coupler, but not necessarily compatible with it.
The Scharfenberg coupler (German: Scharfenbergkupplung or Schaku) is probably the most commonly used type of fully automatic coupling. Small air cylinders, acting on the rotating heads of the coupler, ensure the Schaku coupler engagement, making it unnecessary to use shock to get a good coupling. Due to the rush to dieselise and electrify, the United Kingdom ended up with a variety of incompatible couplings and electrical connections.
Coupling adapter for use between AAR locomotives and commuter rail multiple units at New York's Pennsylvania Station. If a wagon with one coupling system needs to be coupled to wagons with another coupling type there are two solutions.
Only some kinds of couplings coexist on the end of a wagon at the same time, because amongst other reasons they need to be at the same height. A coupling adaptor or compromise coupler might couple to an AAR coupling on a wagon, and present, for example, a meatchopper coupler to the next wagon. It is possible to mount both buffers and chain and knuckle couplers on the same car, provided that one can swing out of the way. Locomotives and some freight cars of the Indian Railways are fitted with a 'transition coupler' that incorporates a screw coupling within a knuckle coupler: the knuckle coupler remains in position and does not swing away when not in use. Automatic couplers like the Janney are safer in a collision because they help prevent the carriages telescoping. In New South Wales, sets of carriages were permanently coupled with a fixed bar, since the carriages were disconnected only at the workshops.
Articulated sets of carriages or wagons share the intermediate bogies, and have no need for couplings in the intermediate positions. From time to time, a railway decides that it needs to upgrade its coupling system from one that is proving unsatisfactory, to another that meets future requirements. Japan converted its British-derived buffer and chain couplings to the American Janney coupling over a period of a few days in the early 1920s, after considerable preparation. Australia, with its break of gauge, has always had different couplers on different systems, and has generally adopted gradual conversion.
The European network has traditionally been formed of many independent national railway networks with buffer and chain used near universally to allow the interchange of rolling stock.
Meanwhile, drawgear of new rolling stock is being built at a height suitable for conversion. Once Congress passed the Safety Appliance Act mandating conversion from the link and pin coupler to the Janney coupler, railroads in the United States had only a few years to implement the change. Railways in Central and South America are fragmented by gauge, geography, and financial and technical heritage.
Russia and Central Asia used buffer and chain couplings, albeit with possibly wider centres for the buffers, until conversion to automatic SA3 couplers. While the Middle East is mostly standard gauge, three different couplings appear to be in use (not counting Sharfenberg couplings on EMU trains).
South of the Sahara, Janney (AAR) and chopper couplings (not necessarily of compatible types) appear to account for most couplings. Electronically controlled pneumatic brakes (ECP) need a method of connecting electrically adjacent wagons, both for power and for command signals, and this can be done by plugs and sockets, or by very short range radio signals. For many years, the "X2F" or "Horn-Hook" coupler was quite common in HO scale, as it could be produced as a single piece of moulded plastic. The chief competitor of both these couplers, more popular among serious modellers, was the Magne-Matic, a magnetically-released knuckle coupler developed by Keith and Dale Edwards, and manufactured by Kadee, a company they started. Recently, an exact-scale HO model of the AAR coupler has been designed and manufactured by Frank Sergent, of Sergent Engineering. In British 00 scale developed by Tri-ang (similar to H0 scale) models the 'tension lock' coupler is standard. The Murulla rail accident of 1926 involved the breakage of a "drawhook" leading to a runaway and then a collision.
In a nutshell in that location are two basic types of northward ordered series couplers Rapido and Knuckle model train couplers n scale.
A coupling for connecting model cars of a model train includes an integrated resilient contact supported by a first coupling member disposed against a mating electrical connector of a second coupling member. THis graphic to the left illustrates the working of these couplers click it for a bigger view.
The design of the coupler is standard, and is almost as important as the railway gauge, since flexibility and convenience are maximised if all rolling stock can be coupled together. However, there is no need for the worker to go between vehicles while they are moving, which is an improvement over the link-and-pin types. This provides better contact between the buffers than would be the case if both buffers were slightly rounded.
This used three-link chain couplings with no means of drawing the wagons together: since such trains were not fitted with an automatic through-train braking system there were no pipes to connect between the vehicles.
Also, on sharp reverse curves, the buffers can get buffer-locked by slipping over – and onto the back of – an adjacent buffer. This occurs because the buffers are originally extensions of the frames, which are spaced according to the gauge. While simple in principle, the link-and-pin coupling suffered from a lack of standardisation regarding size and height of the links. During coupling, a railworker had to stand between the cars as they came together and guide the link into the coupler pocket.
The slot in the "buffer beam" where the coupler protrudes appears to be about the same for both types of couplers. The only significant disadvantage of using the AAR (Janney) design is that sometimes the drawheads need to be manually aligned. Lighter weight railways, especially those of narrow gauge or with no need for interrunning sometimes use smaller (three-quarter- or half-size) versions of the AAR coupling. This pin is locked when the coupler is under tension, so the usual uncoupling steps are to compress the coupling with a locomotive, lift and hold up the pin, then pull the cars apart. Thus the heaviest coal trains in New Zealand have AAR couplings even though the remainder of the fleet has the meatchopper kind. The "tooth" on a loose coupler could puncture any tank car or other car carrying hazardous materials.
The majority of trains fitted with these types of couplers are multiple units, especially those used in mass transit operations. Older US transit operators continue to use these non-Janney electro-pneumatic coupler designs and have used them for decades.
In picture #1 both trains are ready to be coupled, picture #2 shows the trains joined mechanically, picture #3 shows the trains coupled mechanically and electrically. Designed in 1903 by Karl Scharfenberg in Konigsberg, Germany (today Kaliningrad, Russia), it has gradually spread from transit trains to regular passenger service trains, although outside Europe its use is generally restricted to mass transit systems.
For example, in the Australian state of Victoria, engines had the AAR coupler, with buffers, and the chain mounted on a lug cast into the AAR coupler. If a pair of match wagons is used, a rake of wagons using coupling A can be inserted into a train otherwise using coupling B.
Alternatively, either a lug to hold the chain is cast in the body of the coupler or a chain is mounted on top of the coupler. The screw coupling is mounted on a lug within the knuckle coupler.[10] Most Indian freight cars use the knuckle coupler alone, without buffers, whereas passenger coaches almost exclusively use screw couplers and buffers.
When coupling to Finnish equipment, a short chain with a block that fits in the central coupler is placed on the Russian side, backing up and compressing the buffers so that the chain can be laid on the hook.
They have retractable buffers and a central Buckeye automatic knuckle coupler that lowers to reveal a hook for a screw-type chain coupling. British Rail therefore decided to adopt a Janney variant for its passenger carriages, with the coupler able to swing out of the way for coupling to engines with the traditional buffer and chain system.


This can be done gradually, which can create lots of problems with transitional incompatibilities, or overnight, which requires a lot of planning. Today, most (if not all) EMUs including high-speed Shinkansen trains, and some DMUs use the Shaku-Thomlinson type coupling system, while locomotive-hauled trains use the Janney coupling and Tightlock coupling system. The European Union Technical Specifications for Interoperability (TSIs) for high-speed passenger rolling stock mandate the use of Scharfenberg Type 10-compatible couplings.
The European system links to the former Soviet Russian-gauge network, where SA3 automatic couplers are used.
The proposed European freight coupling is compatible with the SA3 coupler but adds integrated air and electrical connections. The railroads in North America, except for mass transit, form one unitary system, and uniformity of couplers is important for smooth interchange of rolling stock. While some systems have adopted the American Janney coupler, others retain the British buffer and hook (buffer and chain) coupler (see above). Early model trains were coupled using various hook-and-loop arrangements, which were frequently asymmetrical, requiring all cars to be pointing in the same direction.
Similarly, for many years, a "lift-hook" coupler known as the Rapido and developed by Arnold, a German manufacturer of N-scale model trains, was commonly used in that scale. While they closely resemble miniature Janney couplers, they are somewhat different mechanically, with the knuckle pivoting from the center of the coupler head, rather than from the side.
Kato N 800053 Budd Prewar Passenger Truck Silver wolfram kayoed Coupler ane Truck Kato N 800103 ACF Passenger Truck lightlessness west to the full automatic metacarpophalangeal joint Coupler.
The first and second coupling members are configured to bear mechanical tension and compression, while permitting vertical movement of one coupling relative to the other. The connector of claim 1, further comprising a first electrical conductor connected to the first electrical contact and extending to the distal portion of the first coupling member. The connector of claim 1, wherein the first electrical contact comprises a substantially rigid end disposed against the resilient electrical contact when the proximal portion of the second coupling member is engaged with the proximal portion of the first coupling member. The connector of claim 1, wherein the proximal portion of the second coupling member and the proximal portion of the first coupling member are configured to permit vertical movement of the first coupling member relative to the second coupling member when engaged together.
The connector of claim 1, wherein the resilient electrical contract comprises at least one vertically-oriented finger extending from a surface of the second coupling member.
The connector of claim 1, wherein the resilient electrical contact comprises a plurality of vertically-oriented fingers extending from a surface of the second coupling member. The connector of claim 1, wherein the resilient electrical contact comprises a piece of metallic sheet material. The connector of claim 1, further comprising a first model car and a second model car coupled together by the first and second coupling members, whereby the first model car is in electrical communication with the second model car. The model train assembly of claim 1, further comprising a wireless transmitter associated with one of the first or second model train cars, the transmitter disposed to communicate with a wireless receiver associated with another of the first or second model train cars only when the proximal portion of the second coupling member is engaged with the proximal portion of the first coupling member. The connector of claim 2, wherein the first electrical conductor is substantially surrounded by at least one layer of insulating material. The connector of claim 2, further comprising a second electrical conductor connected to the resilient electrical contact and extending to the distal portion of the second coupling member. The connector of claim 11, wherein the second electrical conductor is substantially surrounded by at least one layer of insulating material.
The connector of claim 4, wherein the resilient electrical contact and the first electrical contact are configured to maintain an electrical connection during the permitted vertical movement. The connector of claim 13, wherein the resilient electrical contact is configured to remain resiliently biased against the first electrical contact while sliding vertically during the permitted vertical movement. The connector of claim 5, wherein the at least one finger is curved in a substantially vertical plane to define an intermediate portion for contacting the first electrical contact between a base of the at least one finger and an end of the at least one finger. The connector of claim 2, wherein the second electrical conductor and the resilient electrical contact comprise an integrated piece of metallic sheet material. The connector of claim 16, wherein the integrated piece of metallic sheet material is shaped to conform to the second coupling member. The connector of claim 10, wherein the first electrical conductor and the first electrical contact comprise an integrated piece of metallic sheet material.
The connector of claim 10, wherein the first electrical conductor comprises a mechanical draw bar.
Field of the InventionThe present invention relates to electric powered models, for example, model trains, and more particularly to a coupling for mechanically and electrically coupling two or more model cars together.2. I think that for 90 percent of N scalers, converting to body-mounts wouldn’t be worth the ­effort and expense. There have been many ways of coupling, though now-a-days there are only a few in common use. The vehicles are coupled by hand using a hook and links with a turnbuckle-like device that draws the vehicles together. First he turns a releasing screw (an aid with two opposite windings, and it does not uncouple the train itself) to the loose position, and then he can hang the chain on the hook. The couplings in the train were kept taut by the last vehicle of the train being a heavily ballasted guards van with its brakes set slightly on. It also has the advantage that it can be operated entirely from the side of the wagons using a shunter's pole and is therefore safer when shunting work is under way. Although careful track design makes this occurrence rare, an accident at a Swiss station in the 1980s was caused by buffer-locked wagons.[citation needed] Buffer-lock could be caused on the very sharp turnouts by the older, rounded buffers. Once the cars were joined, the employee inserted a pin into a hole a few inches from the end of the tube to hold the link in place.
White suggests that the railroads considered this to be more important than the safety issue at the time (see reference below).
The Miller Platform (and hook coupler) was used for several decades before being replaced by the Janney coupler.
On railway lines where rolling stock always points the same way, the mechanical hook may be provided only on one end of each wagon. Variations on the AAR type "F" coupler have been devised to provide extra protection, in case of derailments and train wrecks, to cars routinely carrying sensitive or hazardous loads. Rail equipment manufacturers such as Bombardier offer the Schaku coupler as an option on their mass transit systems and their passenger cars and locomotives. Commonwealth Railways started with Janney couplings on its standard gauge Trans-Australian line, and some railways, like the former Victorian Railways and the Queensland Railways, used dual couplers. The Type 10 includes "horns" to aid coupling on curves and include a function to provide standardised automatic air-brake connections; the coupling horn is often visible poking out at the front of the nose of high-speed trains. Some research has been undertaken to chose an automatic freight coupler compatible with the Soviet one, but owing to widescale replacement cost, no action has been taken to implement the conversion, except for some trial installations. Some wagons were equipped with SA-3 couplers in the 1930s (they could be coupled with chain coupling), but all cars received automatic couplers in 1957. In the larger scales, working scale or near-scale models of Janney couplers were quite common, but proved impractical in HO and smaller scales. A steel pin, designed to resemble an air brake hose, allows the couplers to be released magnetically; the design of the coupler head prevents this from happening unless the train is stopped or reversed with a mated pair of couplers directly over an uncoupling magnet. Uncoupling is achieved by holding a magnetic wand over the coupler pair to draw the balls out of the locking pockets.
While it works well, it is often seen as ugly and obtrusive (although smaller designs are available, these are not always fully compatible with other models) and many British modellers prefer to retrofit either Kadee types or working hook and chain couplings. Befuddle Valley Models N 3610 100 36 broad Wheels with.540 Axle 100 axles Intermountain N 60051 Metal Wheels 36 dozen Kato N 926530 dirt ball Bearing. The resilient contact and mating contact are configured to maintain an electrical connection during relative vertical movement of the coupling members. Description of Related ArtIt is known to provide an electric powered model vehicle, such as a model train, that comprises a plurality of cars coupled together by mechanical couplings. Most starter train sets come with what are called horn hook couplers, they don't look real but they are easy and we shall not be talking about them much more. After hanging the chain on the towing hook the releasing screw must be turned to the tight position. The other benefit compared with automatic couplers is that its lesser slack causes smaller forces on curves; there is a lower probability of a broken coupler in a curve than with automatic couplers.
The height of the buffers is usually lower on narrow gauge railways, corresponding to the generally lower height of the rolling stock. This procedure was exceptionally dangerous and many brakemen lost fingers or entire hands when they did not get their hands out of the way of the coupler pockets; many more were killed as a result of being crushed between cars or dragged under cars that were coupled too quickly. It is also known as a "buckeye coupler", notably in the United Kingdom, where some rolling stock (mostly for passenger trains) is fitted with it. That percentage fell as the railroads began to replace link and pin couplers with automatic couplers. These variations of type "F" couplers, generally involving "shelves", remain fully compatible with standard AAR couplers, but tend to keep derailments and collisions from uncoupling the cars (thereby preventing the "tooth" of the couplers from piercing the ends of the cars). In North America all the trains of the Montreal Metro are equipped with it, as are new light rail systems in Denver, Baltimore and New Jersey.
No chain is provided on dual-coupled vehicles, since the chain on the other vehicle can be used where knuckle couplers are not present.
In many heavy-haul applications, such as for coal and iron ore, either US AAR-type couplers or Soviet SA-3 couplers are used.
Once the Kadee patents ran out, a number of other manufacturers began to manufacture similar (and compatible) couplers. Coupler Conversions hundred and one One of the near basic things that you English hawthorn I’m axerophthol 49 years sure-enough model railroad partisan returning to N plate for the.
Using the coupling, separate cars of a model train may be placed in electrical communication with one another without requiring a separate electrical connector.
Such mechanical couplings may be designed to readily couple and decouple different cars or locomotives of a train assembly.
Vehicles have buffers, one at each corner on the ends, which are pulled together and compressed by the coupling device. When the coupler is uncoupled, it must be hung on the idle hook to prevent damage to itself or the brake pipes.
Brakemen were issued with heavy clubs that could be used to hold the link in position, but many brakemen would not use the club, and risk injury. Janney was a dry goods clerk and former Confederate Army officer from Alexandria, Virginia, who used his lunch hours to whittle from wood an alternative to the link and pin coupler.
By 1902, only two years after the SAA's effective date, coupling accidents constituted only 4% of all employee accidents. Some rail companies have them placed on the sides while others have them placed above the mechanical portion of the Schaku coupler.
It is also used on light rail vehicles in Portland, Minneapolis, the Vancouver Skytrain, and the Scarborough RT in Toronto. Inter-stock coupling was with the automatic coupler (with the buffers retracted), while connection to the locomotive was with the buffer-and-chain system with a screw coupler. Conversion is made harder to justify because the existing buffer and chain coupling is almost universal.
Installation Micro Trains 1111 001 30 0007 couplers into vitamin A N Scale map collection EV Most people like. A model train hobbyist may thus readily construct a variety of different trains using various interchangeable model locomotives and cars.Locomotives and cars often contain various controllers, accessories, and engines that should be maintained in an electrically connected state for proper operation.
Coupler-related accidents dropped from nearly 11,000 in 1892 to just over 2,000 in 1902, even though the number of railroad employees steadily increased during that decade.
The main disadvantage to the Scharfenberg coupler is its low maximum tonnage, which makes it highly unsuitable for freight operations.
It also equips all the dedicated rolling stock used for the shuttle services in the Channel Tunnel.
Today in England, all loco-hauled passenger trains adopted this dual coupling system for a faster shunting operation.
Accordingly, it is also known to couple electrical signals between different cars of a model train assembly, for example between a locomotive and a tender, using wires from each car terminating in complementary connectors.Notwithstanding their advantages, existing mechanical and electrical coupling arrangements are subject to certain limitations. In contrast, Janney couplers encourage comparatively violent encounters in order to engage the coupling fully. For instance, existing arrangements require separate mechanical and electrical connections to couple a pair of train cars together. The earliest buffers were fixed extensions of the wagon frames, but later spring buffers were introduced. That is, separate “hardwire” connections are used to electrically connect the circuit(s) of the train cars so that signals such as power, ground and other similar electric pulses may be transmitted between cars. Such connections may be tedious to make, and may undesirably delay the process of coupling and decoupling cars of a train assembly.
More convenient electrical connectors, however, may appear out-of-place or not to scale with other elements of a model train. For example, a plug-and-socket connector as used on actual train cars may be difficult to scale to a model size while providing adequate strength, manipulability and functionality.In addition, the characteristics of model train couplings have heretofore prevented maintaining a reliable electrical connection, except via a hardwired connection. Relative movement between coupling pieces may disrupt electrical contact connections between the couplings as the train moves around a model track.
For example, adjacent cars of a model train may move vertically with respect to one another as a train moves across a track, due to changes or unevenness in track elevation. To prevent undesired downward or upward forces through the coupling, many model train couplings are designed to permit relative vertical movement without decoupling. Likewise, many couplings are designed to permit a degree of slack in horizontal movement, that is, to permit relative horizontal movement within a limited range. Using a coupling according to the invention, a hobbyist may avoid a need for extra hardwire connections to transmit signals, such as power, ground or other electrical signals between two or more electric model train cars, and more conveniently and reliably establish such connections.In an embodiment of the invention, a resilient conductive contact supported by a coupling member on a first train car (such as a locomotive or a tender) makes contact with an electrical contact of a coupling for an adjacent train car, thereby completing an electrical connection between the cars. Mechanical coupling members establish a mechanical connection between the cars, while the integrated contacts maintain the electrical connection as the train moves around the track. Conductive elements of the coupling may serve as both electrical conductors and mechanical components.In one embodiment, a locomotive obtains an electrical connection to ground through this coupling to an adjacent train car, which in turn connects to ground using its rolling wheel contacts with a track rail. This arrangement may improve electrical reliability during operation, especially for locomotives configured for minimal connections to the ground track rail, for example, a locomotive having rubberized wheels for improved traction.


In the alternative, or in addition, the flexible connector may include an aperture to allow IR communication between the locomotive and the train car. The coupling may be used in AC or DC powered systems.Accordingly, an integrated coupling incorporating a resilient electrical contact with mechanical coupling elements is disclosed. The integrated coupling includes a first and a second coupling member associated with a first and a second model train car, respectively. The integrated coupling further comprises a resilient electrical contact supported by the first coupling member and disposed to make an electrical connection to an electrical contact of the second coupling member when the coupling members are engaged together. The resilient electrical contact is configured to maintain an electrical connection during relative vertical and horizontal movement of the first and second coupling members.The coupling as described herein allows two-way communication between two or more train cars without the need of secondary physical connectors, wires, or other devices to couple the cars together. A coupling according to the invention may be used for a number of purposes, such as, for example, between two intelligent cars allowing communication or control of physical devices such as, for example, lights, sound and movement. For example, a locomotive may receive a signal to trigger the lights or sounds associated with the train cars.
Conversely, power or ground from a trailing car or cars may be provided to a locomotive, to enhance the reliability and stability of the locomotive's power supply. One of ordinary skill may develop a number of other applications for this inventive coupler.A more complete understanding of the model train coupling with an integrated electrical contact will be afforded to those skilled in the art, as well as a realization of additional advantages and objects thereof, by a consideration of the following detailed description of the preferred embodiment. Reference will be made to the appended sheets of drawings which will first be described briefly.BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGSFIG. 11 is a flow diagram showing exemplary steps of a method of operating an electric train in accordance with the present invention.DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTThe present invention provides a coupling for connecting model cars together with an integrated flexible contact. In the detailed description that follows, like reference numerals are used to denote like elements appearing in one or more of the figures.FIG. Coupling 100 provides an electrical and mechanical connection between a first model train car, such as a locomotive car 110, and a second model train car, such as a tender car 112. It should be noted that while coupling 100 may be used to couple a locomotive and tender together, it is not limited to this configuration. Coupling 100 may be used to couple any number of various cars together, for example, model locomotives, tenders, freight cars, passenger cars, cabooses, and so forth. 1A further shows a first coupling member 102 associated with locomotive 110, and a second coupling member 104 associated with tender car 112. 1A may be of the drawbar type, and may comprise any suitable structural material, for example, various metals or metal alloys, or plastic materials.First coupling member 102 includes a horizontal portion 103a having a top and a bottom side, and a vertical portion 103b having an inner and an outer side. Vertical portion 103b may be located at a distal end of horizontal portion 103a, and may be configured to be perpendicular therewith so as to form a generally J-shaped drawbar in a portion proximal to coupling member 104. In an exemplary embodiment, first coupling member 102 further includes an electrically conductive material 118 disposed on the upper and the outer sides of portions 103a and 103b, respectively. Material 118 may comprise a first electrical conductor 119a connected to an electrical contact 119b and extending to a distal portion of the first coupling member for connecting to a circuit 124 of car 110.
Material 118 may comprise a layer of sheet material, or may comprise conductive wires, rods, traces, in portion 119a, for connecting contact 119b to circuit 124.
In an embodiment of the invention, material 118 comprises a sheet of metallic material contoured to conform to coupling member 102.
Optionally, material 118 and coupling member 102 may be integrated as a single piece serving both as a mechanical drawbar and an electrical contact and connector.First coupling member 102 may further include an electrically insulating material 120 disposed between conductive layer 118 and the upper and outer sides of coupling member 102, as shown. If drawbars 102 and 104 are made of a non-conductive material, or if the coupling 100 is used for a connection to ground, insulating layer 120 may not be necessary. Electrically conductive material 118 and electrically insulating material 120 may comprise conventional materials as known in the art. For example, material 118 may comprise copper or its alloys and material 120 may comprise an organic polymer material or any suitable electrical insulator.Second coupling member 104 may comprise a horizontal portion 116a having a top and a bottom side, and an aperture 116b on an end portion proximal to coupling member 102 (more clearly shown in FIG. Portion 103b and aperture 116b may be configured in a complementary manner in both size and shape so that proximal portion 103b may be disposed in aperture 116b, as shown in FIG.
Other shapes for engaging proximal portions of the respective coupling members may also be suitable.
In general, a proximal portion of coupling member 102 should engage with member 104 so as to permit a degree of relative vertical movement between the coupling members, to reduce stress on the coupling from changes or unevenness in track elevation as the model train moves around the track.
The coupling members may also engage so as to permit a small amount of horizontal free play between them.In an exemplary embodiment, second coupling member 104 further includes an electrically conductive material 122 supported by coupling member 104.
Conductive material 122 comprises a generally elongated portion 123a connected to an extending resilient contact 123b. Portion 123a may comprise an electrical conductor connected to resilient electrical contact 123b and extending to a distal portion of the second coupling member 104 for connecting to a circuit 126 of car 112. Second coupling member 104 may still further include a layer of electrically insulating material 124 disposed between conductive material 122 and the bottom side of second coupling member 104, as shown.Resilient contact 123b may comprise a cylindrical segment shape in a cantilevered configuration, as shown. This configuration should facilitate insertion and removal of J-bar 103b with respect to aperture 116b, and should also maintain contact with electrical contact 119b during relative vertical or horizontal motion of coupling pieces 102, 104. More particularly, the resilient electrical contact 123b may be configured to remain resiliently biased against the electrical contact 119b while sliding vertically during the permitted vertical movement.
Contact 123b may comprise at least one finger curved in a substantially vertical plane to define an intermediate portion for contacting the adjoining contact 119b between a base of the finger and its distal end, as shown. Advantageously, the curved shape of contact 123b may reduce stress concentration in material 122 from contact forces. Many other configurations and shapes may also be suitable for resilient contact 123b, for example, cantilever, two-point supported, or three-point supported mounts, and various different shapes such as straight, serpentine, helical, spiral, disk, and so forth.Flexible resilient contact 123b of conductive layer 122 may project into aperture 116b and be biased against contact 119b such that electrical contact is made at any suitable point 125 between the layers of electrically conducting material 118 and 122. Contact 119b may be substantially rigid (non-resilient), or may comprise a resilient member or portion. 1A and 1C, first coupling member 102, and portion 103b in particular, may be provided with a second through aperture 128 therein for use in an alternative embodiment.
Aperture 128 may be configured to allow transmission of infrared (IR) signals from a wireless transmitter (not shown) associated with car 110 to a wireless receiver (not shown) associated with car 112.
Other methods of wireless communication may also be suitable, for example, using a visible light frequency or microwave frequency.With reference to FIGS. 2–4, a coupling 200 similar to coupling 100 described above may be configured so that conductive materials 118 and 122 each comprise a plurality of separate parallel conductive elements. In the illustrated embodiment, first coupling member 102 supports four conducting elements 218a, 218b, 218c, and 218d configured as vertically-oriented fingers. Second coupling element 104 includes a corresponding four conducting elements 222a, 222b, 222c, and 222d configured as contact pads elongated in a vertical direction.
When first and second coupling members 102 and 104 are engaged, conductive portions 218a, 218b, 218c, and 218d engage portions 222a, 222b, 222c, and 222d, respectively. 5–6 show an alternative coupling 300 that is similar to coupling 100 described above in most respects, but differs in a few particulars as described below. Coupling 300 illustrates that conductive material 118 may also be disposed within the structure of first coupling member 102, instead of on the surface of coupling member 102 as shown for coupling 100. Portion 103a of first coupling member 102 may comprise a pair (or any other desired number) of structural members 302a, 302b adjacent to conductive material 118.
Layers of insulating material (not shown) may be disposed between structural members 302a, 302b and conductive material 118, if desired. Structural members 302a, 302b and conductive material 118 may be attached using any suitable method, such as fasteners 319. Portion 103a of coupling member 102 may comprise a metallic material or any other suitable material, for example, plastic. Portion 103b may be configured with conductive material 118 exposed towards opposing resilient contact 123b of coupling member 104.Coupling member 104 may likewise comprise a conductor 122 with a resilient portion 123b proximal to contact 103b, and a connecting portion 123b for completing a connection to a circuit in an adjoining car. Portions 304a, 304b may comprise separate pieces joined by a fastener 333 or any other suitable method, or may comprise parts of a single piece. 5, conductor 122 may comprise separate resilient fingers 335a, 335b, each configured as described above for coupling 100. In an embodiment of the invention, resilient fingers 335a, 335b may comprise appendages of a common conductor 122. In this embodiment, two or more resilient fingers provide the advantage of redundancy in making an electrical connection to contact 103b. In the alternative, each finger may be connected to a separate conductor and may be used to connect separate circuits in the manner described above for coupler 200.Blocks 337, 338 may comprise essentially decorative or optional structural components that are not of particular significance to the invention described herein. Other details of coupling 300 may be as described elsewhere herein, or may be adapted as desired by one of ordinary skill.FIGS. Coupling 400 is of an interlocking C-shape type, and embodies the same principles as the first and second embodiments, namely, of couplings 100 and 200. Coupling 400 may comprise C-shaped first and second coupling members 402 and 404 interlocked in an engaged position. First coupling member 402 may comprise a first electrically conducting material 418 disposed on a portion of the surface of first coupling member 402. Coupling member 402 may also comprise a first layer of insulating material 420 disposed between the surface of coupling member 402 and conductive material 418. Similarly, coupling member 404 comprises a second layer of conductive material 422 disposed on a portion of the surface of coupling member 404. Coupling member 404 may also include a second layer of insulating material 424 disposed between the surface of coupling member 404 and conductive layer 422.Conductors 418 and 422 are depicted in a horizontal orientation in the region between coupling members 402, 404. In the alternative, the conductors may be oriented vertically in this region, as in couplings 100 and 200 described above, or in some orientation intermediate between horizontal and vertical. Yet another alternative may provide contact elements between the coupling members that are circularly symmetrical in their plane of operation, and thus, present the same geometry regardless of orientation. Whatever the orientation of the contacts, at least one contact of either member 402 or 404 should comprise a resilient contact that is configured to be biased against an opposing contact on the opposite coupling member, when the couplings members are engaged. Contacts may be connected to circuits in adjoining cars in a manner similar to that described above for coupling 100.As shown in FIGS.
8 and 10, first and second coupling members 402 and 404 may be disengaged by vertical displacement. When coupling members 402 and 404 are disengaged, their corresponding train cars are neither mechanically nor electrically coupled together. 7 and 9, when coupling members 402 and 404 are interlocked so as to be engaged with each other, adjacent cars may be both mechanically and electrically connected without the necessity of additional wiring or other coupling mechanisms.Conductors 418 and 422 of coupling 400 may also be configured with a plurality of electrically conducting elements. A four-conducting element configuration is shown, but any other number of conductors may also be suitable.
Conductive elements 419a through 419b are in engagement with a corresponding plurality of conductive portions 423a through 423b when first and second coupling portions 402 and 404 are engaged.
This arrangement may be used to connect any number of individual electric circuits between coupled train cars. In each of the foregoing embodiments, each of the plurality of conductive elements in first and second layers of conductive material 418 and 422 may be separated from each other to provide distinct electrical circuits. In addition, intervening portions of electrically insulating material may be disposed in between electrical elements.Accordingly, with respect to FIGS.
A first conductive material may be supported by the first coupling member, and a second conductive material may be associated with the second coupling member.
In the alternative, either or both coupling members may comprise a corresponding one of the first and second conductive materials. When the first and second coupling members are placed in engagement, the first and second conductive materials also engage via a resilient contact disposed at mating engagement portions of the coupling members, thereby creating both a mechanical and electrical connection between the first and second train cars with a single coupling mechanism.With respect to FIG.
Step 502 comprises connecting to a source of power, ground, control signals, or data signals. For example, wheels of a first car may maintain a rolling connection to a rail of a model train track supplying power, ground, or DC offset control signals. For further example, a wireless receiver in a first car may receive control or data signals transmitted by a control unit, such as by using a near-field transmission radiated from the model track or a short-range transmission broadcast from a base station or control unit.
The second car should comprise a circuit for receiving the power, ground, control, or data signal from the first car. The second car should further comprise an integrated coupling having a coupling mechanism and one or more contacts complementary to the coupling mechanism and one or more contacts of the first car.
Than is, with such couplers, mechanically coupling the cars maybe accomplished in the same way as prior art mechanical couplers.
The first and second cars may thus be coupled without a need for additional steps to establish an electrical connection between them.
Once coupled, power, ground, control or data signals may be communicated between the first and second cars via one or more resilient contacts of the integrated coupling.At step 506, any number of additional cars may be connected to the first or second car to form a longer train.
Power, ground, control or data signals may thus be provided between any desired number of connected cars.At step 508, the train may be operated on the model track. Circuits in one or more connected cars may be powered or controlled via power or signals passing through the inventive couplings. For example, a single receiver in a locomotive or tender unit may be used to receive control signals that are then distributed to the entire train via the couplings. In the alternative, or in addition, wheels of an adjacent car (such as a tender) may be used to provide or enhance rolling connections to the rails for power, ground, or control signals provided to a locomotive or other car.
For example, when a freight car has moved into position at a model freight terminal or loading accessory, a sensor, such as a switch, may be triggered in the freight car.
A signal from the sensor may be communicated through one or more cars and inventive couplings to the locomotive, which upon receiving the signal may automatically stop the train in position.
Similarly, the locomotive may automatically start or reverse the train in response to signals received from trailing cars. One of ordinary skill may devise other applications for inter-car communication, power distribution, or ground connections.When operation of the train is completed, any desired number of cars may be decoupled at step 510. It should also be appreciated that various modifications, adaptations, and alternative embodiments thereof may be made within the scope and spirit of the present invention.




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