Model Train Forum banner

1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
453 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I see posts on eBay about athearn blue box locos being either super geared or super powered. Sorry for my ignorance but what is the difference? I know that my super power f7 has a big weight in it but do they use a different motor and lower the gearing on the super geared locos?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,286 Posts
I think the name changed or is misused for the versions with the large weight. They are geared low, but run about the same speed as as Athearn Blue Box SW7(SW1500).

I just noticed my SW7(SW1500) original box has PWR stamped on the end.
Pictures of F7 boxes haVe SUPER PWR stamped on the end.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
694 Posts
IIRC, ones called Super Geared were the first geared locos Athearn made after the Hi F band drives. They weren’t super by any stretch of the imagination. Underpowered and the earliest versions lacked flywheels.
Super Powered were indeed the ones with the huge weights. They pulled and ran fine.
I have several different Super Powered models and I like them. They are much better runners and more dependable than the old Life Like/ Bachmann/Tyco toy-like trains of the same era; but some folks have a lot of fun with those old ones. To each his own.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,683 Posts
The terms POWER, POWERFUL, MOST POWER, et al, seem
a bit over hype for HO locos. I have never seen an
HO loco STALL because it didn't have the 'power' to
pull a train up a hill. The train stopped, not because
the motor wasn't up to it, but rather, the wheels were
slipping. The more 'juice' you gave it, the faster the
wheels spun. The 'cure' for that is MORE LOCO WEIGHT,
not a more powerful motor or gearing.

Don
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,597 Posts
The heavier weight tended to decrease wheel slippage, giving the impression of more power.....

Besides, "super power" sounds like the loco is vastly improved over what came before, even though the vast improvement was simply a very low cost extra weight.....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,286 Posts
I think Jscullans hit a nerve with his post.
I started looking for history at the Athearn site and was dismayed to find no mention of Super Power.

I think it was around 1973 when Athearn changed to flywheel drive and also put flywheels and larger weights.

I dug through my basement looking for old Model Railroad magazines.
Did they go to a Boy Scout newspaper collection?
Bird cage floor paper?
Fish wrappers?

Next train show, I'll be the guy with a wheelbarrow looking for magazines.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
453 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
The reason I came up with this question was at the train show this past weekend I saw a couple of blue boxes that were labeled “super geared” and “super powered” the super geared locos appeared to be older for sure so that is probably correct that they were shortly after the band drive locos. I would buy that
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
694 Posts
Next train show, I'll be the guy with a wheelbarrow looking for magazines.
Now why would you even bother.......all volumes are available digitally now.....
Personally, I think the actual magazine is a lot better than the digital version. No, on a practical standpoint it doesn’t make sense but I just enjoy flipping through pages and enjoying the real experience.

Same thing with Kindles and other e-readers. I’d never buy one. I still go the library and borrow books every week.

Check yard sales, Dennis. A few years ago I found a big box of all kinds of model RR and train magazines for 5 bucks. It was fun going through those. Yes, most of them eventually hit the recycle bin, but I kept a few old Model Railroaders and all the Classic Trains.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
829 Posts
The reason I came up with this question was at the train show this past weekend I saw a couple of blue boxes that were labeled “super geared” and “super powered” the super geared locos appeared to be older for sure so that is probably correct that they were shortly after the band drive locos. I would buy that
AFAIK, what's been said here is correct, Super Geared refers to geared locos that were formerly Hi-F (band drive) and Super Powered is heavier weights and flywheels. I'm pretty sure "Super Geared" is not much different from what cam later and that you'll find locos with the "Super Powered" features without that moniker.

When it comes to Blue Box Locos, I like all versions of the AWD models as long as they're in roads that I like. However, I'll pay a bit more for ones that are clearly heavier, with flywheels, and even a smidge more if they have the later brass flywheels.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
453 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
I have one blue box that doesn’t have brass flywheels on it otherwise all of them have the brass ones. If they don’t originally come with them I buy a nasty looking loco from the train show for $10-$15 and snag the motor and keep the rest for parts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
829 Posts
One additional point. I think that all original condition Super Power locos with fly wheels will have the older steel flywheels.

Anyone know when brass flywheels became the norm on Athearn Locos?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
519 Posts
The transition of Athearn drives had several steps. Originally they used a rubber band drive on their diesels. Steam from that era used the same motor, but did not use rubber bands. These had very poor low speed characteristics and would run as high as 140 smph. These models were either F7’s, GP7/9, hustlers or RDC units. The next step was to employ a geared truck. Using the same motor as the HiF units. These were only used on the F7’s & the GP7/9’s. They had problems and did not last long. The next step was the outside frame trucks with metal side frames. This was done with the implication of the jet motor, round black. These were used on all new models at the time including the F7’s & GP7/9’s. As time went on, they added steel flywheels to these units, so you can see the same model both ways.
These also had poor slow speed performance and ran at very high max speeds.
Once again there were problems with the trucks. So the trucks were changed to the inside frame configuration. This allowed to use plastic side frames that could be tailored for the model. About this time they introduced the gold rectangular motor with machined brass fly wheels. Additionally, the F & GP7/9 units were produced with additional weights. These were the ones called super powered. They came with either motor and flywheel combination. The new motor had much better speed characteristics. Really good for the time. That was the revolution during the early yellow box and the blue box eras. The super geared and super powered were both sales hype based on the technology of the day. They do not make much sense with today’s technology.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
453 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
That’s good information to have. I got one of the rdc that has metal side frames and it runs pretty good and low speed but I also put a motor in it that has brass flywheels.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
138 Posts
I haven't any of the super geared nor super power models. I do however still have a half dozen Hi-f versions that I revamped a bit. Surgical rubber tubing is also a friendly item for connecting the extended drive shafts to the motor. It wonderful for eliminating the well known 'jerk' when stopping Them. Unintended plus I think. I'll sell them off someday. Lol.
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top