Kadee 5 vs Sergent EC64

My coupler investigations continue…

Here are a couple of quick photos to compare the Kadee #5 HO coupler to the Sergent EC64 S scale coupler (actually, one I built years ago from the original production, because all of my current EC64 couplers are mounted on equipment). In both photos, the Kadee is on the left:

 photo Kadee5-SergentEC64-01_zps3f59f451.jpg

 photo Kadee5-SergentEC64-02_zpsdaf6fbde.jpg

As the photos show, the couplers are very close in size. The EC64 is obviously more prototypical in appearance – that is, after all, one of the selling points of the Sergent line. But if we assume the Sergent EC64 is scale sized, then it’s clear the Kadee #5 is much closer to S scale than is the Kadee 808.

The Kadee #5 is not as tall as a Sergent EC64, either. But if I’m willing to overlook the giant spring on the side of the coupler (and I am), I can live with the discrepancy in height – especially if it means trouble-free operation. (As for that spring, I’ll tone it down with some Neo-Lube.)

I have also compared the coupler boxes for an HO Kadee #5 (Kadee #232) to the couplers boxes for an S scale Kadee #808. While I did not take pictures, I know that the boxes have differences which prevent 808s from being put into a Kadee 5 box, and vice versa.

However, in two key factors they appear to be identical.

– The distance from front face of the box to the post appears to be the same.

– The spacing of the mounting holes appears to be the same.

I will have to confirm this by mounting a #232 box to an S scale car. But in theory, I should be able to use Kadee #232 boxes (and the couplers in the 5, 20 and 40 ranges) on S scale equipment without having to modify my existing mounting procedures. That should save a whole lot of time and aggravation should I decide to change over the fleet to the Kadee #5.

Stay tuned for more on this in future posts.

(On a housekeeping note, if you’ve been following these posts using the Category link, I’ve changed the category’s name to simply “Couplers“. The link remains the same.)

13 thoughts on “Kadee 5 vs Sergent EC64

  1. How different are the #5 and #808? When you put them on an operating layout, will the difference be significant enough to matter overall? I found in HO that when I switched from Sergent to Accu-Mate Proto, I really didn’t really notice the difference. Even though the Sergent is smaller and much more prototypical, the differences get lost in the bigger picture of an operating railroad. I wonder if the same might be true of the #5 and #808.

    • Good question!

      I used the 808s before I started experimenting with the Sergent couplers. They’re definitely larger – have a look at the caboose photos in the previous post on this topic.

      The size issue really does show up in photographs – and i take a lot of photos of the layout. It is one reason I wanted to try the Sergents.

      I know the Kadee 5 is bullet-proof for operation – it’s the hobby standard against which all knuckle couplers are compared and I’ve had excellent experiences with them on many HO layouts over the years. So I’ll do some testing in S and see how it goes…


  2. Interesting timing of the post. I purchased some HO Sergent couplers to give them a try. I love how they look, but it was a real “bear” to construct them for me. Eyesight is getting poor and I am not as steady as I was a few years ago. I got better at putting them together with some parctice and mounted a few pair. I found, however, that they were preffy finicky and finally decided to bag the idea. Nothing against Sergent as I think for younger fellows it may be a great thing, but the KDs are much easier.

    I have been looking at Accumate as a replacement for the KDs eventually, as I have heard some good things about them and like the close coupling of the HO rolling stock.

    Skip Luke

  3. I should add that I’m not breaking new ground with the Kadee 5 – others in S have been using it for years. It’s just a new direction for me.

  4. Try the original Accumate they are beefier than the KD #5. Available in bulk on their website. They have been recommended for On30.

  5. I am in On3 and when I did a comparison several years ago between the Sergent S scale EC64 and Kadee # 803 On3 they were similarly sized as I recall. I believe the Kadee S scale #808 and On3 #803/807 share the same box but I don’t know what the differences are in the actual coupler sizes? More food for thought…


    • Theyre the same coupler, Rod – and as my earlier photos show, the S scale Kadee is significantly larger than the EC64. Good thought, though…

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