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Re: [CBQ] P2K and Athearn GP7s

To: CBQ@xxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: [CBQ] P2K and Athearn GP7s
From: "William Hirt" <whirt@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 2 Nov 2020 19:49:58 -0600

The Athearn Genesis model for GP7 250 has a steam generator. I have all 3 numbers and there are small detail/paint differences between the 3 (just like the earlier Chinese Red versions they did). I would suspect this is due to the photos they worked off of.

The Protos are much heavier, so I suspect they are better pullers.

I've corresponded privately with Eric Mumper and Lenny Ohrnell of this list on what I found.

The main issue on the Geneiss units is the Tsunami 2 decoder settings. The good thing is that it is a full blown Tsunami 2, not a stripped down OEM version. The bad thing is Athearn claims in the instructions that the decoder settings fit your locomotive. That is not the case.

The Mars light was lit on both ends no matter what direction you selected. I found each unit had function FX5 which is assigned to F5 was using a Western-Cullen rotary beacon as the light type. I changed it to Mars and that fixed it.

The assigned horn was wrong. The programmed setting was a Leslie R3M. Two are Leslie A200 and one (Q 250) is a Leslie A125/A200 combo.

The Prime Mover sound setting was inconsistent. One Q unit had a dual 567, and two of the Q units had 567 - no transition. I changed them all to just a plain 567.

The differences mean you need to read in the entire decoder definition into a program like Decoder Pro to see what the actual current settings are on the factory unit.

I also bought a Wabash unit. It had it's own set of weird sound settings (like a 567 Turbo for the Prime Mover). Two of the units run smooth and two jackrabbit. I'll need to speed curve all of them.

I've attached a photo of a new Genesis unit with the recent Proto. I've attached a image of Athearn Genesis unit 250. The Genesis is on the left and the Proto is on the right. I also plan to run them separately so I don't really see any issues after fixing these sound/speed curve issues. They are both very nice sets of locomotives. As Eric wrote me, they are way better than the old Athearn "GP9" Chinese Red unit with the grey cab!

Bill Hirt

On 11/2/2020 5:16 PM, Nelson Moyer wrote:

I received two P2K GP7s a few weeks ago and two Athearn GP7s today (all DCC with sound), so I compared them to check out the differences. Theoretically, there shouldn’t be any differences, but read on. I was pleased with the P2K version, which came complete with steam generator, overnight heater, horns in the right places, proper Mars light and headlights, and very nice tooling. The gray looked just right to my eye. The Athearn gray was too dark, there is no steam generator, the short hood horn is mounted in the middle, which will have to be moved when I install steam generators. The long hood horn on 241 was mounted on the top of the long hood, while the long hood horn on 218 was mounted on the left side of the long hood behind the overnight heater, as they should be according to the photos I have. Athearn tooling doesn’t measure up to P2K. Hindsight says that I should have bought the two P2K DC road numbers and installed my own decoders instead of buying the Athearn models. I haven’t run these models, just programmed the long addresses, so I can’t comment about the mechanisms. Both versions are nice model unless you put them side by side, so I won’t run mixed consists with these GP7s, mainly due to the gray mismatch.


Nelson Moyer

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Attachment: Athearn and Proto GP7s Comparison.jpg
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Attachment: Athearn CB&Q 250 with steam generator.jpg
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