Bachmann Spectrum vs. Kato & Atlas

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by alphanumeric, Jun 6, 2004.

  1. alphanumeric

    alphanumeric Member

    Bachmann Spectrum vs. Kato & Atlas (new pics)

    well I spotted a nice Bachmann spectrum engine on Ebay for a pretty cheap price.. about half the cost of a Kato unit.. I was just wondering if anyone has had experiance with both engines? I am building my first N scale layout.. and was planning on going with atlas and kato but if the high end life likes is decent
  2. hemiadda2d

    hemiadda2d Member

    Here's a GREAT resource for doing your homework on buying N scale engines:
    All you do is select brass or non-brass (plastic)
    Select Steam or diesel
    Select whether or not you are looking for shells only
    Select traction, if you are looking for streetcars, trolleys, etc.

    Then sort by:
    Model Year
    Prototype Year
    Importer/Vendor Exporter/Manufacturer
    Locomotive Model

    All listed engines are graded in a school-type system, A-F, A being best. More info on the site!
  3. pfroment

    pfroment New Member

    my humble opinion

    I have all three. both the atlas kato loco pull great, pu;; great and sound great.. i have 5 bachmann diesel locos, 3 of the conrail dash 8 40-c and the new run 2 csx dash 8 40 cw. the newer are much nicer looking than the older dash 8's and they run slower at med throlle range. the older dash 8' run good, they are a little noisey, but at the same time so are real dash 8's. i paid between 20 to 30 for each of them. and i am happy with them. they are good pullers as well. Bachmann has an excellent service dept :thumb: . if you drop one of the new loco (i have), just pick up the pieces and mail it off. withing 10 days i had a brandy new in my hands at no cost. needs parts, call them and they mail them for free. give one a try, you can't go wrong.
    Paul f
  4. alphanumeric

    alphanumeric Member

    wow thank you for your guys input.. I went to the local hobby store and looked at the red and silver spectrum vs the atlas of the same color.. BUT the hobby store had the damn spectrum priced at 100$$$$$ and the atlas and kato were at around 75$ or so.. on ebay I see them going for buy it now at 40$ BUT the one I just won was only 20$$ :thumb:

    it is a CSX road name.. here is the link.. I am not sure if its an older or newer unit.. I also bought some atlas CSX

    Bachmann GE Dash 8-40C CSX Spectrum

    I also picked both of these up for 70$$
    Atlas CSX Gp-30's
  5. rcwatkins

    rcwatkins Member

    If ya got it for 20 bucks, then you probably have the older one. ;)
  6. caboosejumper

    caboosejumper New Member

    I didn't care for the one's I got but I'm kinda like the kato's my self with the atlas in second.
  7. hemiadda2d

    hemiadda2d Member

    I have, out of 27 engines, 13 Katos. For a reason. Smooth, great pullers, quiet!
    I also have an Intermountain tunnel motor. Very quiet, smooth, great slow-speed control. If I had decoders in my LL GP20's, I bet I could MU the 2 together without problems.
    The Atlas engines are smooth, quiet. Some, like my SD50 and SD60's have the older, high-speed motor, tho.....
  8. pfroment

    pfroment New Member

    Let me know how you like the Bachmann, i have two of these exact units. there are M/T conversions for this loco as well.
    Paul f
  9. alphanumeric

    alphanumeric Member

    ahh yes.. I will most def have to convert the couples as soon as I get the unit..

    I dont know if I mentioned that I compaired the Atlas red\silver Santa Fe unit VS. the Bachmann unit of the same paint color.. they were REALLY close in details.. I would choose an atlas over bachmann but.. for a fraction of the cost! you cant go wrong...

    the details I noticed that were different between the two.. was the tone in paint... teh bachmann was more of a dull color, while the atlas was more of a shiney generic color.. but the atlas still looked better =)

    so far I have ordered

    2 P42 KATO genisis with 8 cars
    2 atlas GP30's in CSX
    1 atlas DASH 8 2 axle red\silver SF
    2 athearn F59PHI in Metrolink
    along with the spectrum one mentioned in here..

    soon enough I will take some detailed pics to compaire all =)
  10. pfroment

    pfroment New Member

    I too have 2 of the p 42 kato -- fantastic units. i pull 8 superliners, 4 mat handling cars and 6 concor heavy weights. they pull great. :D :thumb:
  11. alphanumeric

    alphanumeric Member

    do you have any pictures of them on your layout? I would love to see how they look on the track!

    I went with the newest phase P42 like the acela .. it does not match :( but in my area, thats how I normally see them.. what phase are your P42's? if you cant provide pix
  12. pfroment

    pfroment New Member

    I do not have a digital camera yet, hope to get one soon. i have a some what large layout consisting of a 5 x 16 main table and a 10x10x8 "J" attached to it. i also have a 2% graded nolix going down to a future lower deck which will double my track footage. my p 42 consist of a phase iv and the new "blue" sceme. pulling a long passanger train does look neat. :D
  13. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    I have 22 N scale locomotives..All Atlas....Did I say I like Atlas locos? :wave: :D
    As far as Bachmann I have heard pros and cons about their locomotives..As for me I see good in all brands. :thumb:
  14. b28_82

    b28_82 Member

    I have 2 Bachman Spectrum C40-8s One a CSX standard cab and another was an LMS wide cab. I got lucky with them and both were on sale at the hobby shop for $25. also have 3 Kato SD45s, 1 Kato C30-7, and an Atlas GP40-2 which is the only one that has a decoder in it yet. I havent been able to test out any of the Katos to their fullest potential. I have tested the CSX dash 8 and the Atlas. Definately different gear ratios but both run fine independently. I've seen the Athearn run out of the box at the hobby shop and it is unmistakably an Athearn.
  15. alphanumeric

    alphanumeric Member

    well my Spectrum CSX dash 8-40cw came in the mail today.. perfect timing. because their were 2 other CSX spectrums on ebay ending within 20min of my package ariving. and I didnt want to buy the 2 other spectrums w\o seeing my first one yet..

    anyways.. detail is SO SO.. I wont know untill I get my KATO P42's and 4 Santa Fe dash 9's.. but anyways.. im happy with the detail compaired to the F59PHI athearn.. for the money (about 20bux each engine) its hella worth it!!!!

    it could use some changes like the hood hand rails, new couplers, snow plow and cable and minor details.

    I ran it on my test track and it was Really slow! it moved at pretty low speeds too. anyways here are the pictures.. it looks a lil bend on the walkway, because the screw is to tight

    In my bachmann spectrum book.. it shows that their Dash8-40C-CWs are DCC ready. on another Ebay listing, I saw the same Dash8-40cw in Santa fe, that says "IS NOT DCC READY" I took apart my unit and it hardly has any space.. do you guys think these units are DCC compatable? I know DCC ready is not a factor.. all you do is splite\hotwire the DCC decoder to a non DCC ready engine and it should work just fine, right?

    The other 2 specturms will make a total of a cool 3 engine CSX team, 2 8-40CW and 1 8-40C.

    any comments or critisism welcome.. I am still a learning N scale newbie :eek:

  16. alphanumeric

    alphanumeric Member

    pfroment vbmenu_register("postmenu_103072", true);

    pfroment.. that one question was mainly directed to you, since you own these units as well... are they DCC decoder possible? I noticed under the shell is hardly any room, enless you remove the circuit board.

    another note, I like the directional lighting.
  17. pfroment

    pfroment New Member

  18. pfroment

    pfroment New Member

    I did some more research and when Bachmann say's dcc ready, they are not talking about a drop in decoder like kato and atlas, but rather they supply solder pot to which you can solder a decoder. hope this is a help
    Paul f
  19. alphanumeric

    alphanumeric Member

    ahh yes that helps alot.. just as long as it fits..and I can hotwire a decoder into the chassis\shell it will be all good...

    I am guessing.. ALL engines are basically DCC compatable.. by simply shuving a Decoder into the engine (if it fits!) and soldering the wires..

    and DCC READY means its just simple plug and play..

    after looking at pictures... I noticed the main difference between the OLD and NEW.. some of the hood hand rails are better, snow plow with all the cables.. thats pretty much about it.. and I am sure you can buy those parts for cheap.. either bachmann or from another manufacture.

    so basically... these bachmann units.. make out to be pretty good "Project engines" which is right up my alley.. I just wish you could assemble them yourself =)

    and to your answer.. ya I plan to run all DCC! hopefully prices go down soon, like I have been told... I do not even have a layout yet tho hehe.. I am having a really hard time figuring out what I want to do.
  20. pfroment

    pfroment New Member

    Trying to figure out which track plan can drive you craziiii.. one thing i will do from now on (learned by trial and error) is use foam board (at least 1.5 in thick) and tack my road bed and track down with either/or track nails/ short common pins. i then run the track for a while and if i want to make changes it is easy, just remove the pins.
    Paul f

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