What are their advantages? Two main advantages for Megamag brakes: they require no power source, hence the reliability is at a maximum, and there is no contact between the moving parts and the fixed ones, hence practically no maintenance and almost unlimited lifetime. Other advantages that may be more or less important in various situations are the absence of noise, the very soft action, and, last but not least, they may be competitive in price with respect to other braking technologies.
What are their disadvantages? Just one comes to mind: some added weight to the ride cars, though this may widely vary according to the setup. Another point to be considered is that the cars are not held in place when braked: separate means, like friction wheels, will be considered in the setup when required.
What are they made of? In a typical setup, a magnet assembly is bolted under the cars and a number of conductor assemblies are bolted onto the track. A magnet assembly is a group of powerful permanent magnets (four, eight or more blocks, 4 lbs each). A conductor assembly is a steel beam carrying a conductor sheet (copper, copper alloy or aluminum).
How do they work? When the magnet assembly passes over the conductor at a small distance (typically 3/8'' to 5/8''), eddy currents are generated in the conductor that cause the braking action. This occurs in an otherwise unnoticeable way: no noise, no heat, no sparks, no bumps, only a very smooth deceleration. Also, the braking action is unaffected by ice, water, oil and normal environmental conditions.
Can they stop a train? Megamag brakes can be sized to conduct a train of virtually any mass to a very low speed. On a horizontal track the train will stop, whilst on an inclined one it will continue to move at a constant low speed.
How are they big? In rough figures, a car weighing 2000 lbs at a speed of 30 ft/sec will require a magnet assembly weighing 90 lbs and a total length of 30 ft of conductor assemblies to be stopped. Shorter stop distances are feasible, but normally the stop distance is determined by the maximum allowed deceleration.
How are they turned on and adjusted? In the normal setup Megamag brakes are always on and there are no means for varying the braking action (apart from the initial setup at installation). Although we can supply adjustable brakes, Megamag brakes perform the best in their basic fixed setup, as in that way they are unrivalled in reliability.
How are they maintained? Megamag brakes require no maintenance and their life is virtually unlimited. Only the painting of carbon steel parts may occasionally require some repair, just as the rest of the ride.
How much do they cost? Every Megamag brake is calculated for the assigned train energy (mass and speed) and for the required performance. The cost will vary according to the amount of magnet assemblies and conductor assemblies. Generally the cost of a Megamag brake can be competitive with that of traditional brakes, especially when a new ride is designed with them in mind. Also other cost savings should be accounted for: a compressed air system may be no more necessary, no control system is required, and the cost of maintenance over the ride life is close to zero.