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Publication numberUS3659725 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 2, 1972
Filing dateAug 20, 1970
Priority dateAug 20, 1970
Publication numberUS 3659725 A, US 3659725A, US-A-3659725, US3659725 A, US3659725A
InventorsPassalacqua Peter J
Original AssigneePassalacqua Peter J
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Electromagnetic uncoupler for model trains
US 3659725 A
Abstract
An uncoupler lever is pivotally attached to the truck of a model railroad car, with one end so attached to the resiliently mounted coupler bar of the car that upon movement of the opposite end of the lever, as by an electromagnet, the coupler bar will be deflected to an uncoupled position.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Umted States Patent 1151 3, Passalacqua 1 1 May 2, 1972 [5 ELECTROMAGNETIC UNCOUPLER References Cited FOR MODEL TRAINS UNITED STATES PATENTS [72] In ent r! Peter J- flssalflcqua, 2808 E. Lewis Drive, 1,897,362 2/1933 Daniels ..213/75 TC Flagstaff, Ariz. 86001 1,989,804 2/1935 Hoffer et al.... ..213/212 v 2,738,079 3/1956 Ferris .213/75 TC [221 Hedi 1970 2,920,770 1/1960 Bonanno .21 3 212 1 l. N 65,408 [2 1 App 0 Primary Examiner-Drayton E. Hoffman Arl0rneyHerbert L. Martin [52] U.S. Cl. ..2l3/75TC, 46/217,213/2ll,

213/75 D 57 ABSTRACT [51] Int. Cl ..B6lg 5/00 An uncoupler lever is pivotally attached to the truck f a [58] Field of Search ..213/75 R, 75 TC, 75 D. 21 1, model railroad car, with one end so attached to the resiliently mounted coupler bar of the car that upon movement of the opposite end of the lever, as by an electromagnet, the coupler bar will be deflected to an uncoupled position.

5 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures 1 guuuuuumwwwtsw /5 Patented May 2, 1972 ELECTROMAGNETIC UNCOUPLER FOR MODEL TRAINS This invention relates to uncouplers for model trains and more particularly to an adapter attachment whereby a conventional manually actuated uncoupler of the type presently used on N-Gauge model railroads may be easily converted to remote control operation.

In the hobby of model railroading the trend has continually been toward smaller and smaller equipment with increased emphasis on realistic appearance. Thus sizes have progressively decreased from the old Standard Gauge to the O-Gauge, the I-IO-Gauge, and recently to the very small N-Gauge models. As sizes decreased, however, problems pertaining to operative components, such as automatic couplers for example, have increased. Coupler designs which were eminently suitable for larger scale models became inpracticable for use on the very small N-Gauge models where, because of the smaller dimensions, the necessary degree of precision for satisfactory operation was not obtainable with those designs. The semi-automatic couplers used on present N-Gauge models, namely couplers that automatically couple on impact but which must be manually uncoupled, perform their semi-automatic functions well. Efforts to render these small structures fully automatic, however, have not been without serious difficulty. Illustrated in the accompanying drawing is one form of coupler in present use which has been found to be nicely adapted for conversion to full automatic operation when equipped with the automatic uncoupler construction of the present invention. It is this automatic coupler attachment that is being claimed as applicant's invention.

A primary object of the invention is therefore to provide an uncoupler mechanism especially constructed to be quickly and easily attached to a conventional manually operated coupler assembly whereby to perform the decoupling function by remote control.

A further object is to provide an uncoupler mechanism of sufficiently small dimensions to be adaptable for use on the N- Gauge model cars, yet of such simple and rugged design as to enable it to withstand rough treatment.

A still further object is to provide an uncoupler level of such simple and rugged design that the automatic decoupling function may be reliably obtained with a minimum of mechanical parts, and which level may be readily readjusted to operative condition if bent, and yet easily and economically replaced if damaged beyond readjustiment.

Other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing wherein:

FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of two cars in coupling posi tion, but with the coupler bar of one car raised to its unlocked position, together with a partial sectional view of the uncoupler mechanism of the opposite car taken on line 1-1 of FIG. 2, a portion of the track under this sectional view also being cut away to show the opposite rail;

FIG. 2 is a bottom view of the truck at the right side of FIG.

FIG. 3 is an enlarged view of the coupler bar; and

FIG. 4 is a view of the uncoupler lever for actuation of the coupler bar.

In FIG. I the model car body 1 is mounted on wheel and axle assembly 2 (FIG. 2) which is in turn pivotally attached to the car body by a pivot pin 3 press-fitted into frame portion 4 of the car body. In its present conventional form, this truck assembly also carries the coupler mechanism including the spring housing 5 which is mounted on frame strut 6 and the coupler bar 7 shown in greater detail in FIG. 3. Coupler bar 7 is provided with an outwardly directed knife-edged hook portion 8 and a stop flange 9 at the opposite end to limit the outward movement of coupler bar 7 under the action of spring 10. It will be apparent that the coupler bar will thus be yieldably maintained in its horizontal position by the force of spring 10 urging the flange 9 into tight engagement with the end wall of spring housing 5. Rotation of this coupler bar out of its normal mating position is prevented by engagement of the flat side of flange 9 with the flat wall of the spring housing. Since the coupler head may be deflected either upwardly or downwardly, it will be apparent that two cars may be automatically coupled together by a mere bumping" action whereby the knife-edged portions 8 of the mating heads slide by each other and snap back into a hooked position upon return of the coupler bars to their normal positions. In the present conventional structure the uncoupling action is performed by manually unhooking the coupler bars, as by raising one of the mating heads to the position shown in FIG. I, for example.

In order to render this coupler fully automatic under remote control, an uncoupler lever 12 of generally L-shaped configuration is mounted on each of the trucks as shown in FIG. I. As illustrated in FIG. 4 the shorter leg of this lever has a bifurcated end formed by notch or slot 13. Approximately midway of the longer leg a generally frustum-shaped offset is formed in the metal strip to provide suitable clearance for movement. Through this offset portion an aperture 14 is provided to receive pivot pin 3 for positioning lever 12 on the truck. When thus mounted on the truck, the bifurcated end straddles the shank portion of the coupler bar so that upon downward movement of the free end of the lever, the coupler bar will be lifted into its uncoupled position as shown at the left in FIG. 1. Lever 12 is made of magnetic material such as soft iron whereby the uncoupling actuation may be accomplished by means of an electromagnet 15 acting on the free or armature end of the lever. Suitable circuit and control means for the electromagnet may be provided in a manner well known in the art. In order to render the actuating lever more sensitive to relatively weak magnetic fields, the offset portion of lever 12 is provided with a reverse bend forming a transversely extending fulcrum intersecting the axis of the aperture 14, which fulcrum bears against the head of pivot pin 3.

It will be noted that only one of the two mating coupler bars need be deflected by its uncoupling lever in order to efiect a complete uncoupling action. This affords the advantage that in the event the operator energizes magnet 15 too late to actuate the first uncoupler lever passing over the magnet, an uncoupling of the same two cars will still be effected through the action of the other uncoupler lever when it passes over the magnet an instant later. Also, since the armature ends of the uncoupler levers extend in opposite directions from a coupler assembly, it is impossible to actuate both of any two mating coupler bars at the same time.

In operation, when uncoupling action is desired, either of the trucks may be moved adjacent the electromagnet 15 whereby upon energization of said magnet the corresponding lever will be actuated to lift its coupler bar to the uncoupled position. The distance between the bifurcated end of lever 12 and the fulcrum edge of flange 9 is so chosen that the outer end of the coupler bar may be easily moved to a completely uncoupled position without the mating coupler bar being moved from its normal horizontal position. Since the coupler bar is mounted on the truck assembly and the uncoupler lever is pivotally mounted on the pin 3 which pivotally attaches the truck to the car body, it will be apparent that the uncoupler assembly follows the turning movement of the truck, thereby maintaining the coupler bars in functional alignment whether the trucks happen to be on a straight or curved section of the track.

In practice it is found that this mechanism enables an uncoupling operation to be performed even while the train is moving with the couplers under the usual tension or compression, thereby eliminating the necessity of bringing the train to a complete stop at a critical position in order to effect uncoupling. Thus the magnet may be energized just prior to the arrival of one of the trucks to effect uncoupling while the train is in motion. This enables the operator to make the famous flying switch type of operation which has long been the most fascinating type of switching operation practiced in real railroading. At all times when the uncoupler lever is not in close proximity to an energized magnet the ooupler bars will be in their normal position ready for automatic recoupling by a slight bumping action. The depth of slot 13 is such as to maintain the functional connection between the coupler bar and lever 12 even when the former is raised to its maximum height during such recoupling. The lever 12, being supported approximately midway of its ends, is thereby substantially balanced so as not to exert any force on the coupler bar that might interfere with its movement or efiect unwanted movement thereof.

it will thus be seen that the present invention enables the easy and economic conversion of a manually operated coupler to a fully automatic coupler under remote control. By virtue of its simple yet rugged construction the lever will easily withstand the rough treatment to which mechanisms of this kind are subjected by small children for example. If bent by such rough usage it may be easily restored to its operative shape. If, however, it should become damaged beyond restora tion it may be quickly and easily replaced at very low cost.

What is claimed is:

1. In a truck and coupler assembly for model railroad cars in which the assembly comprises a framework for maintaining wheel and axle structure in alignment, means for pivotally attaching the truck assembly to a model car body, coupling means for coupling two cars together comprising an integral coupler bar mounted on said truck assembly, resilient means yieldably maintaining said coupler bar in a normal coupled position relative to a mating coupler bar of an adjacent car whereby said coupler bar may be vertically deflected to an uncoupled position relative to its mating coupler bar; the improvement comprising means for vertically deflecting said coupler bar to its uncoupled position including an uncoupler lever pivotally mounted intermediate its ends on said framework by the means pivotally attaching the truck assembly to the car body, thereby constraining said lever to follow said truck assembly in its pivotal movement, one end of said lever extending into operative engagement with said coupler bar, and the other end of said lever being free for movement by a magnetic field, whereby movement of the free end of said lever will deflect said coupler bar to its uncoupled posit1on.

2. In a truck and coupler assembly for model railroad cars in which the assembly comprises a framework for maintaining wheel and axle structure in alignment, means for pivotally attaching the truck assembly to a model car body, coupling means for coupling two cars together comprising a coupler bar mounted on said truck assembly, resilient means yieldably maintaining said coupler bar in a normal coupled position relative to a mating coupler bar of an adjacent car whereby said coupler bar may be deflected to an uncoupled position; the improvement comprising means for deflecting said coupler bar to its uncoupled position including an uncoupler lever attached intermediate its ends to said framework, one end of said lever extending into operative engagement with said coupler bar, and the other end of said lever being free for movement by force applying means, whereby movement of the free end of said lever will deflect said coupler bar to its uncoupled position, said uncoupler lever being pivotally mounted on said framework by the means pivotally attaching the truck as sembly to the car body thereby constraining said lever to follow said truck assembly in its pivotal movement.

3. The structure of claim 1 wherein the operative engagement between the uncoupler lever and the coupler bar consists of a bifurcated end of the uncoupler lever which straddles the coupler bar.

4. In a truck and coupler assembly for model railroad cars in which the assembly comprises a framework for maintaining wheel and axle structure in alignment, means for pivotally attaching the truck assembly to a model car body, coupler means for coupling two cars together comprising a coupler bar mounted on said truck assembly, resilient means yieldably maintaining said coupler bar in a normal coupled position relative to a mating coupler bar of an adjacent car whereby said coupler bar may bedeflected to an uncoupled position; the improvement comprising means for deflecting said coupler bar to its uncoupled position including an uncoupler lever attached intermediate its ends to said framework, one end of said lever extending into operative engagement with said coupler bar, and the other end of said lever being free for movement by force applying means, whereby movement of the free end of said lever will deflect said coupler bar to its uncoupled position, said uncoupler lever being a generally L-shaped metallic strip when the shorter leg thereof bifurcated for engagement with a coupler bar and with an aperture intermediate the ends of the longer leg to receive the means for pivotally attaching the truck assembly to a car body.

5. The structure of claim 4 wherein a shallow V-shaped bend is formed in the longer leg of the metallic strip to form a transversely extending fulcrum intersecting the axis of said aperture.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1897362 *Jun 17, 1931Feb 14, 1933George Daniels WilliamToy train draft coupling
US1989804 *Feb 10, 1930Feb 5, 1935Hoffer Le Roy HToy car coupler
US2738079 *Jul 17, 1952Mar 13, 1956Walter Ferris JohnCoupling device for model railway cars
US2920770 *Sep 19, 1955Jan 12, 1960Lionel CorpCouplers for toy railroad vehicles
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3840127 *Apr 2, 1973Oct 8, 1974Edwards CModel railway coupler systems adapted for magnetic uncoupling
US3942648 *May 9, 1975Mar 9, 1976Edwards Clarence KModel railway system providing uncoupling and delayed recoupling
US5423439 *Feb 2, 1994Jun 13, 1995Ernst Paul Lehmann PatentwerkRemote-controlled uncoupling for electric toy and model trains
US5678789 *Dec 5, 1995Oct 21, 1997Pipich; Robert B.Model railroad car position indicator
US5826736 *Apr 2, 1997Oct 27, 1998Lionel LlcCoupler arm assembly with distinct uncoupling devices
US6095351 *Apr 30, 1998Aug 1, 2000Roessler; ElfriedeCoupling device for model railway
US6390314 *Dec 4, 2000May 21, 2002Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.Automatic trolley clamp lock
US6883758Sep 12, 2002Apr 26, 2005Albert C. RuocchioReed relay for remote magnetic operation of model trains
US6994224Jan 8, 2004Feb 7, 2006Barger J PerryModel railroad coupler
US7775385Nov 2, 2007Aug 17, 2010Dudley Curtis LRemote-controlled model railway vehicle coupling device
US8708173 *Jan 12, 2011Apr 29, 2014Nec CorporationMoving body separating device
US20050167386 *Jan 8, 2004Aug 4, 2005Barger J. P.Model railroad coupler
US20090114614 *Nov 2, 2007May 7, 2009Dudley Curtis LRemote-Controlled Model Railway Vehicle Coupling Device
US20110179615 *Jan 12, 2011Jul 28, 2011Hiroaki IshiiMoving body separating device
Classifications
U.S. Classification213/75.0TC, 213/75.00D, 213/211
International ClassificationB61G7/00, B61G7/04
Cooperative ClassificationB61G7/04
European ClassificationB61G7/04