Proto vs Athearn

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by racer25j, Jan 29, 2007.

  1. metalfrog

    metalfrog New Member

    regardless of which brand and i have both, they are all great runner's IMO and have very good detail.have had no problem's with any of my RTR athearn's.LL proto's does have an issue with some cracked gear's but this is an easy my case walther's sent me new replacement gear's in four day's at no charge.i got the two gp 30's for $39 each which is a pretty good bargain.terry......
  2. Hey, I had done some research on Atlas, Athearn and Life-lik what I found was:
    Life-lik was recently obtained by Walther's. Life-lik had some issues but from all I have heard Walther's is attempting to improve the customer service. As for the Proto 2000, Athearn and Atlas:
    - Athearn and Proto drives are very close in design and apparently standup very well. I have both and have not had a problem.
    - Atlas drives are also very good and it seems function equally as well from my limited experience.

    Hope that helps!
  3. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    First both are equal and shares the same basic drive design...
    The MAIN thing to remember is to have a well rounded roster you will need locomotives from Athearn.Atlas and Walther's P2K. These 3 companies has the largest locomotive styles selection.
  4. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Virtually all of the better brands of locomotives, Lifelike P2k, Kato, Atlas, Bachmann Spectrum, have copied the Athearn drive. The difference is in the gearing, design of the u-joints, electrical connections, and quality of the motors thye use.
  5. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    I need more P2k. I personally think P2k Is better. my p2k SD7 looke real nice compared to my genesis SD75, and the SD7 has even hit the concrete a few times! in terms or running, there is no difference.

    atlas is alright to. I don't think i have any recent atlas, except for my B40-8. its up their. Kato isn't as good as people have originally stated. alot of people recomended kato in the past, but i have 2 Katos and they aren't as good in my opinion as the athearns, atlases, and p2ks.
  6. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    In terms of detail, I think the new Athearn and the Proto 2000 and Atlas are pretty close... it's a bit of a draw, but they're slightly better than the Spectrum diesels. I find the details pretty coarse on the Spectrums. I think the Genesis has a nicer level of detail than the rest.

    As far as mechanisms go, I'll take a Kato every time. They run like a Swiss watch. While the Athearn and Proto drives are smoother than the old Athearn used to be, they're still tight, and draw a fair bit. The Atlas locos are a Chinese knockoff of the Kato drive, and I find it preferable to the Athearn/Proto drive.
  7. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    i don't know, neither of my katos sound that good. they make some noise.
  8. IAIS 604

    IAIS 604 Member

    My Katos (two IMRL SD40s) run as smooth as silk.
  9. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    perhaps mine need some sort of servicing. I'll make a video or something so you can hear them running. it doesn't sound right. they sound closer to some of my Spectrum eqipment. I find my atlas and p2k are more silent.
  10. racer25j

    racer25j Member

    The Athearn runs pretty smooth. I think I'll pick up a couple more basic models. Sounds like they are all equal and it all comes down to personal choice. Thanks for all of the responses.

  11. jbaakko

    jbaakko Active Member

    Need to add to this, I just got a 20+ year old early run Atlas SD35, and it runs better then my two BRAND NEW Athearn RTR F59PHI's.
  12. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    Those old Atlas locos were great. The drives were made by Roco in Austria... smooooootttthhh! :)

    A good chunk of the old Model Power FA2's were also Roco drives. They had fine flanges (close to RP25), a HUGE can motor with flywheels, and a smooth quiet gear train.
  13. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    Ok, just having test-run a bunch of locos on my buddy's layout, my original assessment still stands - the Kato drive is the best. When I can crank up the throttle, get the loco cruising along and then kill the power, the loco coasts at least 1 loco length before coming to a stop. The middle-aged Atlas locos (late '80s, early '90s) run like this, because they're on Kato drives.

    For smoothness, the new Atlas drives are much quieter and smoother than the new Athearn or Proto 2000 drives. They ain't no Kato though, and when you cut the power, they slam to a stop, just like the Athearn and Proto.
  14. Kanawha

    Kanawha Member

    Of course, in my experience, when you cut the power you wanted the train to stop quickly. The Proto units are much better pullers than anything in the Genesis series. Also, the detail level on the Proto's are better.
  15. J. Steffen

    J. Steffen Member


    I Started this thread when all I had was a couple of bachmanns. Now I have three Athearns; one Genesis and two standard. The standards I like but am not totally impressed with. They make some really funny noises every once in a while; like a squeal. Not a mechanical noise but more like an electrical, and they're not as graceful as the Genesis. Maybe thats just the break in.
  16. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    Yes, but do you want things to come to a screeching halt, or a smooth stop?

    I think that's a little hard to gauge accurately, since Proto doesn't have any units that are really similar to those in the Genesis line. When you've got a Proto SD70 to compare to the Genesis one, then we'll see. Otherwise, a Proto E-unit is going to out pull anything in the Genesis line simply because it's chassis is a metal brick. The new Proto SW's are very disappointing, since they cheapened up the drive, making the unit too light for serious switching, and has traction tires on the trucks.

    As for detail, I think that's a matter of opinion... I find that the diesels are pretty much on a par with each other. The steam, on the other hand, is another story. I find the Proto steamers to have much better detail than the Genesis ones.
  17. leejax01

    leejax01 New Member

    Every Athearn Genesis that I have(GP45-2,SD70MAC,F3 A&B,and a few more) they develop a slight "worm drive" sound. I tried greasing the gears, but it is still there. I rather that than the high revving sound of the Kato's and Atlas's. The Athearn Genesis does not creep as well as the Proto as I suspect the gearing as they have the highest top speed of all the locos that I have. Detailing(hand rails especially) is more fragile on the Genesis than the Protos. The Genesis does not do wipers and the Proto do. In the sound department, I would say thay are about equal, but the Athearn is louder and at a distance can be heard more clearly. I would give the overall nod to the Proto, but I still prefer the Genesis over them as they do modern locos and I prefer the way that they pull. My Protos don't pull as well. I would actually recommend the Atlas's because even their Silver Series have the legendary drivetrain and excellent detailing.
  18. toptrain1

    toptrain1 Member

    Concerning diesels Atlas is better that either one. Athern still hasn't made a reliable steam engine.
  19. leejax01

    leejax01 New Member

    What do you think of the Athearn Genesis steam engines like the Big Boy and the Challenger? My Big Boy runs great.
  20. zachary

    zachary Member

    hey jejax how do the athern genesis sd70mac run and are you using dcc with it was it hard to put in the decoder thanks zacharyf

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