What is special about a Blue Box Athern engine

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by pappy700, May 28, 2006.

  1. pappy700

    pappy700 New Member

    I have been looking for a good GP style engine capable of DCC. I have been told that there is a problem with the Blue Box engines. What is the problem?
  2. Catt

    Catt Guest

    The only problem I can think of is the electrical pick up system.It's a rather easy fix though by hard wiring the motor to the frame and trucks.

    If you use the decoder specifically made for the blue box units you will jst about automatically solve the problem during the install.I would also suggest that you do a wheel upgrade .The cast and machined wheels that are standard on the BB locos get dirty real quick.
  3. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Welcome to The Gauge:wave:

    Blue Boxes actually adapt to DCC very well. The original sintered iron wheelsets don't pick up current as well as nickle-silver and so some folks change them out to NWSL wheelsets made specifically for retrofitting on Athearn locos. I change out every other one so that I have the traction of the sintered iron and the conductivity of the nickle-silver.

    The only problem they may have been refering to is the first and second generation motors of the early 60s thru the early 80s. These motors have a larger amp draw and so tend to fry decoders. The newer 3rd generation motors are skew wound and have a much better, much lower amp draw. 3rd generation motors can be swapped with 2nd generation motors quite easily and are available regularly on Ebay. 1st generation Globe motors are not so easily changed over but are not easy to come by either.

    A-Line and other manufacturers offer remotor kits but those can get pricey and defeat the purpose that Athearns were designed for---a low cost, good running, easy to maintain loco to introduce many to the hobby.

    When buying one just look up thru the frame from underneath. If it has brass flywheels, it would be the newer motor. Looking at the power trucks and seeing brass or bronze bearings and plastic sideframes is another way to tell.
  4. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    In the upper left of the picture you'll see a first generation Atheran/Globe motor in a Hustler. The one to the right has been remotored with an A-Line kit and wheelsets replaced with NWSL dropins. The motor on the bottom left is a second generation motor and the lower right shows a third generation mounted in an SW1500 that I'm about to install DCC into. On this one I've replaced the wheelsets with JayBee scale 40" replacement nickle-silver wheels all the way around.

    Attached Files:

  5. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    :wave: welcome to the gauge :wave: think your question has been well covered.

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