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Atlas Yellow box- running quality?

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Atlas Yellow box- running quality?
Posted by Harrison on Monday, February 04, 2019 10:01 AM

How is the drive and motor quality of Atlas yellow box locos? Are they Kato? 

Thanks,

Harrison

Homeschooler living In upstate NY a.k.a Northern NY.

Modeling the D&H in 1978.

Route of the famous "Montreal Limited"

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Posted by mbinsewi on Monday, February 04, 2019 10:09 AM

Harrison
Are they Kato?

Only the locos made in Japan have the Kato drive.  The locos made in Austria have a Roco drive, and I'm not sure about the few that were made in Mexico, I think they had the Roco drive as well.

Look on the bottom of the loco, on the truck covers, it will say Japan, Austria, and if it looks like what was there before has been "scratched" out, it's from Mexico.

I'll tell ya though, I have some from Austria, and they run great.  Smooth and quiet, and are good for DCC conversions.

Mike.

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Monday, February 04, 2019 11:43 AM

I used to have a few yellow box Atlas and the GP7's and RS3 had a KATO drive.  The GP40's had a ROCO drive, not as good as KATO but pretty good.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, February 04, 2019 12:58 PM

I have an Atlas S2 swicther with Roco drive that is 95% of the way to Kato as far as smooth and quiet running is concerned. I am happy with it.

.

I cannot speak for the long term durability of this unit. I have not run it very much, in fact the body is in the paint shop right now.

.

-Kevin

.

Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

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Posted by Wolf359 on Monday, February 04, 2019 1:05 PM

I have an old yellow box EMD SD24 that I bought at a local hobby shop about 2 years ago, and I'm very happy with it. Mine was made in Austria, so it has the Roco drive. It's not as quiet as the more recent Atlas locos, but it's easy to service, reliable, and it has good pulling power. I changed the old horn hooks for Kadees, and it's a good locomotive. In my opinion, you can't go wrong with an Atlas yellow box.

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Posted by Heartland Division CB&Q on Monday, February 04, 2019 2:53 PM

I’m still operating five Atlas “yellow box” locomotives . 

Two RS3’s (Kato)

One GP7 (Kato)

Two FP7’s (Roco) 

All are smooth running and durable. 

GARRY

HEARTLAND DIVISION, CB&Q RR

EVERYWHERE LOST; WE HUSTLE OUR CABOOSE FOR YOU

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, February 04, 2019 3:11 PM

 I have a Roco drive S2, it runs very well, super quiet. I have a whole raft of Kato drive RS3s (and always looking for more - undec) and they all run great as well. I wouldn;t be too worried about which is, they are both great runners. The S2 needs stripped and painted, one of a couple of gems in a mostly B'oC I got cheap. It's a Lehigh Valley unit. Out of the whole box, I got the S2, another powered unit I can re-use, 2 that are worth selling on eBay, a couple of cars I can use, a Tech IV power pack, and the rest is pretty much truly junk. However, the S2 and the tech IV power pack are easily worth more than what I paid for this box, so was worth it - the other powered unit is an Athearn BB EMD switcher that has been repowered with a can motor.

                                             --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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Posted by Lone Wolf and Santa Fe on Monday, February 04, 2019 5:04 PM

    I have two GP40s made in Austria. I love them. I have had them for several years. One I received around 1978 when it was brand new. The other one I boought as new old stock in the 1990s.
    I think they perform better than Athearn blue box kits. They run great at low speeds. They run about the same as my Walthers trainline locomotives which I have also had for a pretty long time now and I like very much. The original locomotive from the 70s far outlasted two Tyco F7 locomotives which I bought about a year before.
    Their main drawback is the coupler mountings. They have a pin which simply goes through the middle of an old fashion horn hook coupler. On one of my locomotives I replaced it with a Kadee #39 as recommended my Kadee. This required cutting a larger hole in the locomotive for the coupler pocket to fit into. I did this in the early 1990s before anyone started making 'whisker couplers'. On the second locomotive which I converted to Kadee couplers more recently I simply replaced the horn hook coupler with a Kadee #148 whisker coupler.

Modeling a fictional version of California set in the 1990s Lone Wolf and Santa Fe Railroad
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, February 04, 2019 5:17 PM

Heartland Division CB&Q
Two FP7’s (Roco) All are smooth running and durable.

.

Glad to hear that the FP7 is a good runner too. I plan to add one of these pretty soon.

.

-Kevin

.

Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

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Posted by garya on Monday, February 04, 2019 5:19 PM

mbinsewi

 

 
Harrison
Are they Kato?

 

Only the locos made in Japan have the Kato drive.  The locos made in Austria have a Roco drive, and I'm not sure about the few that were made in Mexico, I think they had the Roco drive as well.

Look on the bottom of the loco, on the truck covers, it will say Japan, Austria, and if it looks like what was there before has been "scratched" out, it's from Mexico.

I'll tell ya though, I have some from Austria, and they run great.  Smooth and quiet, and are good for DCC conversions.

Mike.

 

Not sure if all the Roco drives are good for DCC conversion.  I have an FP7, and it took some doing.  I also have Walthers switchers made by Roco, and they were the same way--tough to convert.

The Roco drive is very good, though.  I have a Atlas made in China that has a copy of the Roco drive, and it's kind of a dog, though.

Gary

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Posted by mbinsewi on Monday, February 04, 2019 5:26 PM

Thanks for the info.  I didn't have any problems with two Atlas,  Roco GP 40's.  I did a stall test, looked good, and installed the deocoders.

I have a couple more I want to do.

Mike.

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, February 04, 2019 5:52 PM

 What was tough about the Roco drive FP7? The pictures on the TCS web site show it to be fairly straightforward.

                                     --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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Posted by garya on Monday, February 04, 2019 7:05 PM

rrinker

 What was tough about the Roco drive FP7? The pictures on the TCS web site show it to be fairly straightforward.

                                     --Randy

Maybe not tough, but took some doing.  Mine was an old style model.  Either there were different "old style" versions, or the instructions are incorrect.  The frame was grounded to the motor brush on mine, so I had to insulate with kapton tape and replace the motor mount screw with a plastic one.  I didn't have a plastic 2mm screw, so I tapped it for a 2-56 plastic screw.

I essentially followed the instructions for the H10-44, also built by Roco.

Gary

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Posted by Darth Santa Fe on Tuesday, February 05, 2019 9:43 PM

I've found the original Roco drives to be very good runners.  The 6-axle diesels are a little noisy, but the 4-axle drives were some of the quietest in their day.  Actually, I remember reading an old issue of MRR where the author was improving the performance of Athearn diesels by using the Roco made Atlas trucks!

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Posted by E-L man tom on Wednesday, February 06, 2019 6:24 PM

SeeYou190

I have an Atlas S2 swicther with Roco drive that is 95% of the way to Kato as far as smooth and quiet running is concerned. I am happy with it.

.

I cannot speak for the long term durability of this unit. I have not run it very much, in fact the body is in the paint shop right now.

.

-Kevin

.

 

I too have a yellow box Atlas S2 as well as some others (probably upwards of a dozen). I believe they're all with Kato drives. They run very well and quiet, as mentioned above. As far as I'm concerned, you can't go wrong with Atlas yellow box locos.

Tom Modeling the free-lanced Toledo Erie Central switching layout.
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Posted by BRAKIE on Wednesday, February 06, 2019 7:36 PM

I have four Atlas/Kato GP7,two RS-3s and 2 RS-11s and all run as smooth as silk as is expected from a Kato drive..

My four Atlas/Roco S4 is just as smooth.

I highly recommend them.

 

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

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Posted by PC101 on Wednesday, February 06, 2019 8:45 PM

My first locos. (late '70s), but not really my very first (1968) were Athearn BB, it's what I could afford at $21.50. Then one day while in the LHS, the owner had an Atlas yellow box running on his layout, but twice the price of Athearn BB. It ran smooth as silk, slow speed and super quite. I need one. Well, I had to save for alot longer to get my first Atlas DC made in Japan Kato drive loco. at $47.00. I look for low cost Atlas YB's at train shows, but the prices some are asking, are up close to $100.00. I do believe the Atlas YB have molded on grab irons. As you know, you can't just stop at one. I do believe I have never bought a Athearn BB loco since.

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Posted by MagMan1 on Thursday, February 07, 2019 9:38 PM

harrison i run 8 gp7s 1rs11 2f3s all yellow box have had no problems with any of them been running some for 7+ years maint is required on a regular basis if you run them alot  good luck and enjoy

60s thru mid 70s Southern Railway,P&N in HO

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Posted by AntonioFP45 on Thursday, February 07, 2019 10:09 PM

I have a 1970's Roco powered Atlas FP-7 in the SCL scheme. Smooth runner with good pulling power.

For prototype modelers one detail that may stand out is that the windshield openings are "undersized", height-wise. Almost like the "eyes are squinting", as a friend of mine once stated. It's ironic since back in those days, HO F-units from a variety of manufacturers, typically came with "oversized" windshields.

"I like my Pullman Standards & Budds in Stainless Steel flavors, thank you!"

 


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Posted by Southgate on Friday, February 08, 2019 3:18 AM

Back in the late '70, I got the bright idea of taking a Roco GP-40 drive flat can motor apart to see how they're constructed. 1: Five pole armature.  2: Long carbon brushes for long life.  3: Not made to take apart to see how they're constructed. Never ran the same.

  The OTHER GP-40 I had back then and didn't mess with still runs. And they were used when I got them. Dan

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Posted by ricktrains4824 on Sunday, February 10, 2019 8:23 PM

I have one (it was a GP-40 that was for a whole $24, This year!) that, while the motor is isolate from the frame, I was surprised that it works at all, as the right side motor wiring prong was snapped in half, and just dangling there. (Hence the reason it was $24, it had a gremlin that they couldn't figure out.) 

It really looks like they used acid core solder on it. (The prong was almost disintegrated, the only thing really left was the solder.) 

There is enough left that it is very easily salvageable, but will be a bit more involved of a DCC conversion than I had thought.

I had checked the specs online, so knew it was a very easy to convert loco, so I snapped it up, as the intermittent gremlin was probably a connection issue, and, while I was hoping it was a loose wire, or dirty pickups, it is indeed a connection issue. Just a bigger one than I thought.

With a jumper wire, it does run very well, if just a bit noisy, but seems very smooth.

I would not hesitate on one if the price was right. (And $24 was very right!)

Ricky W.

HO scale Proto-freelancer.

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Posted by mbinsewi on Sunday, February 10, 2019 9:18 PM

No word from the OP. I think his question has been asnswered.

In another thread, he talks about trying to find locomotives that would fit the 80's and 90's for under $60.

Atlas yellow box locos would certainly fit the bill.

Mike.

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