Athearn Genesis GP38-2, Frisco!

Discussion in 'New Products' started by meteor910, Jun 26, 2013.

  1. r c h

    r c h Ft Worth - Tulsa Engineer

    After looking over mine several times, I'm pretty impressed with the model. I like to think I do a better job detailing models than this, but I can't build, paint and decal a better model for the price.

    The one thing that I didn't care for on the model is the sanding lines. For one thing, I'm guessing mine had two of the wrong parts attached to the frame between the fuel tank and the rear truck, since they bent outward even with the side sill instead of inward toward the rail. No matter, I just clipped them off. If they aren't attached to the trucks, they just don't look right so I got rid of them.

    I still have to add a decoder and solve the gyralight problem. Otherwise, I'm pretty happy with it.
  2. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Thanks to Rick McClellan, attached are pictures of the Genesis GP38-2 internals and color comparisons with Genesis GP15-1 (123) Atlas GP38AC (638), Atlas U30b (848), and Atlas B30-7.

    There is no hole behind the Gyralight lens. It will need to be drilled. When I get mine, I will document the process of adding a bulb to the Gryralight.

    Attached Files:

    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  3. bob_wintle

    bob_wintle Member Supporter

    Not sure if anyone else has noticed this but leaving an Atlas engines in an area where sunlight or under close proximity to one of these new Flourescent lights can and will fade the paint color. I have specificall noticed this on some of my GP38's.
  4. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Frisco orange and white 2nd generation: Those are of the devil. Get thee behind me Satan. :D

    Bob W:

    Surely you jest. Are you saying that our Federally-mandated florescent lights are flawed????? I'm trying to use incandescent as long as they are still available.
  5. FriscoFriend

    FriscoFriend Member Supporter

    In an earlier post on this thread I asked that when someone opened their Tsunami equipped GP38-2 to look for numbers that might be etched in the board. After enlarging one of Keith’s pictures of Rick’s locomotives, I was able to verify what I was trying to determine which if the installed Tsunami was the specific one for the Frisco unit.
    Going into more detail, the Tsunami’s supplied to Athearn are specifically programmed (or built) to their specifications and not the regular after-market ones we can buy. There are several differences that I can identify, three of them being horn selection (Athearn offers fewer), lighting features, and lack of manual notching. By looking at the Operator’s Manual supplied with the locomotives I noticed five different stock number choices for the decoder or sound board. They involved the different lighting options (F5and F6). The stock number for the Frisco version which was equipped with PRIME Stratolite Beacon/Pyle Gyralight was 90670-45. By blowing up Keith’s picture I was able to see the number 607-45 printed on the white removable programmable chip on the board. This hopefully means that the correct decoder was installed at the factory and all that needs to be done is wire the bulb to the two available posts on the side of the decoder. The other two wires next to them go to the roof Stratolite Beacon.
    Going back to my statement about the lack of manual notching not being programmed into the decoder, going to page 21 of the enclosed manual will provide you with detailed instructions on how to achieve this feature by a process of Function remapping through changing CV values. It also address’s CV116 specifically which sets up how the diesel exhaust sound responds to commands from the throttle. It sets up auto notching or manual notching, automatic diesel startup, and dynamic brake setup. To set up these options the manual recommends referring to the Diesel User’s Guide available at These changes can of course also be accomplished using DecoderPro.
    Finally, there has been some discussion of why these locomotives come equipped with these specially programmed decoders instead of stock after-market ones and whether or not they can be programmed by the user back to after-market status? I feel that the answer to the second part of the question is probably NO since I determined they come with a pre-programmed chip by the numbers on the top of it. This of course begs the question that if merely changing out the programmable chip with an after-market one would accomplish this could only be answered by SoundTraxx. As far as why they are specially programmed, price may be a factor or it may involve programming the locomotiveto run better out of the box on non-DCC layouts.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 18, 2014
  6. FriscoFriend

    FriscoFriend Member Supporter

    After further thought about the above bportions of my previous post, I may stand corrected on one issue. Evidently Athearn worked with SoundTraxx to have them program the lighting functions (F5 & F6) to work prototypically right out of the box for specific railroads vs. the end user having to program them. For instance, one of the other 5 stock numbers was 90607-41 which was programmed for Dual Pyle Gyralight (SP). Yet another was 90670-43 which was programmed for alternating ditch lights. This means that the decoder may be able to be programmed to numerous function (light) options. Only trying this out on model with features other than the ones pre-programmed would answer that question.
  7. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Bob, I believe as you, that the primary reason for having the locomotive-specific sound decoders is to set the defaults in the decoder to reflect the behavior of a specific railroad's locomotive. That way if a customer does a factory default reset, what they get is the behavior set of that specific locomotive as opposed to the standard generic defaults of the Soundtraxx stock decoders. During my inspection I ascertained that there are no differences in the actual chips installed on the board compared to the generic other than the software written into them at the factory after installation; besides there would be no economy to using unique chips due to the cost involved. An example is the CNW unit, the bell is unique to those unit; it is a gong-type bell that was mounted on the nose. The bell sound is not changeable via customer programming on the any of the decoders, so CNW modelers would want that specific decoder.
  8. Ayerox

    Ayerox Member Supporter

    noticed a horn change from # 419 to 683. (all forward facing on 683)
  9. Ayerox

    Ayerox Member Supporter

    Keith has a proven method of solving the Athearn stall on Genesis as well as their rtr units. The remarkable thing to me is why Athearn hasn't addressed the issue. My Atlas and Proto units move over the same switches and track without hesitation or stalling.
    Thanks Keith for all the help.
  10. FriscoFriend

    FriscoFriend Member Supporter

    Although neither Keith or I can find a difference in construction, my two GP38-2's, unlike my GP15-1's ran flawlessly through my turnouts without stalling. What opinions do the rest of you have after running them?
  11. Rick McClellan

    Rick McClellan 2009 Engineer of the Year

    Amazing photos! Where did that Toyoda pencil come from?
  12. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    I picked up my four Geeps from Spring Creek Model Trains today. I have already popped the Gyralight jewel lens out of #419 using an Xacto knife and used a #55 bit to drill the hole for a Miniatronics 1.2mm 1.5v 15ma bulb using my Tamiya Electric Handy Drill. Super Z RC56 (or Pacer Formula 560) glue will secure it on the inside of the nose.

    Incidentally, I replaced the OEM speaker with one of my Sweet Sound "sugar cube" speakers that I sell. The difference in sound quality speaks for itself.

    The wires need to be routed into the cab and exit against the top of the hood where the headlight and Stratolight wires exit.

    I rewired the decoder, soldering all connections and to match the rest of my locomotive fleet, Function 5 output powers the Stratolight and Function 6 powers the Gyralight. If you do this, then set CV33 to 49, CV34 to 18,CV 51 to 8, CV52 to 3 and CV57 to 19. That way the headlights will be directional and dimmable, the Stratolight comes on with the headlights, and the Gyralight with come on with the front headlight and go out in reverse.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 30, 2014
    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  13. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    I updated my last post with pictures and explanation.
  14. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member Supporter

    Nice! You're giving us a glimps into your magic shop. You are a true craftsman in electronics.
  15. RogerRT

    RogerRT Staff Member Staff Member Supporter

    Tom, how did you change the numbers under the cab window? Did you paint over the numbers or is there some tool like an eraser to remove them?


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