Aristocraft's GP40 Review and Thoughts 10 Years In.

DragonFyreGT Sep 1, 2020

  1. DragonFyreGT

    DragonFyreGT TrainBoard Member

    Yes Aristocraft is long gone. And yes I've owned at least my lone surviving GP40 for a decade now. Originally I had all 4 of RLD Hobbies custom run BN units and now only one survives, BN3017. But I've had 10 years of experience with units to give my thoughts on them and wether or not you should seek them out in the wild. Lets get the obvious one out of the way. Unless you are buying the BN Custom Runs in the wild, be warned your trucks will beprone to failure as they were not ventilated and the RLD BN ones were the first to do that. Which is a good point to kick off with, these trucks on the BN units are bullet proof. Still running and not showing any issue or signs of age.

    Next I want to talk about the graphics. Like a lot of G-Scale manufacturers it's crisp, correctly done per roadname and nothing to mar it from being unattractive. They also have good pull weight though I would recommend using at least a second locomotive if you plan on passing 50 cars.. Than there's the modern DCC ready system inside. Onboard Speaker (we'll get to that in a minute) and the handrails aren't as thick or chunky as they used to be.. I have no idea if the lighting is LED or not, I'm going to say no, because it looks like an incandescent bulb, but i could be wrong. Interior detail is also nice as you can see real throttle and brake levers in the consoles. Chairs that are proper scale. I could gush about this including hiding the switches under the dynamic/non dynamic brake hatch. Which for me is a negative and I'll get to that as well. Overall a soslid runner and the star of my Ash Valley Railroad as the lead diseal.

    But there are things I can nitpick and I am about to do so. I will nitpick the trucks issue because of the non BN units. But also I want to talk about the crazy way the couplers were set up. Trying to remove them requires removing a wire attached to a screw and a coupler and than lifting up and over the mounting post making it very hard and requireing a lot of patience and gentleness. Next is the spaeker. Currently I run a Zimo MX695 with a matching Zimo speaker. The factory speakeri s just attrocious. I've had cell phones form the mid 2000s with better audio than this one. It was a corner cut and I recommend a full replacement if you do intend to ad sound. The speaker lives under the rear exhaust fans which are provne to popping out of place and making it hard to fix. Also there's no clear way to remove thecab so if you had to run wires from say a rotary beacon and my god I'm about to do this, you're a bit SOL as I Can't find anything online regardingi t.. Than there's the switch panel. This is a personal nitpick as I run a winterization hatch which isg oing to lay over onto the switch panel cover which is your smoke unit and dynimc brakes. I keep everything preset so that I can glue the hatch down and leave it down. Photos of all this will be postedi n the workbench thread.

    But those nitpicks asie it comes out overall as a decent locomtoive and it shows the era where Aristocraft attempted to ... not suck as my older 90s caboose is having some quality issues (The coupler arm on the truck fell off so now we're body mounting kadees.). Do I recommend seeking one out in the wild even if it's a non BN with the proper truck upgrades? Yes. But be aware there are a lotof things you have to do to pamper it to get it to run how you want and do what you want it to do. Mine's been running for 10 years no issues and is only now getting some upgrades to additional detailing. I hope this was semi informative, there's a lot better ersources out on the net regarding this thing, go google it but I say you won't be disappointed with this unit. Just one last note, Minimum SIX FOOT radius to pull cars.

    Kurt Moose and BoxcabE50 like this.
  2. Keith

    Keith TrainBoard Supporter

    Have both Rio Grande units.
    Air wire and QSI sound added.
    Only issue have, is with the QSI board going
    into thermal shutdown mode, when locomotives overheat!
    Have a couple of small fans to help with that.

    and the other issue, is trying to find replacement handrails, for
    a couple that broke, when they got caught and twisted one section
    completely off the locomotive!

    Ran fine, with 40 foot cars on a 4 foot Radius/8 foot Diameter curve!
    Now, once I feel a bit better, I gotta send a QSI board in. Has a short.

    Overall, a decent locomotive.
  3. Greg Elmassian

    Greg Elmassian TrainBoard Member

    A small correction, the first runs of the GP40 had counterfeit motors, and Aristo supplied free replacements. Robby's custom runs, at least the last one, apparently had the correct motors. So if you replace the motors in the older trucks you will be fine, standard Mabuchi double ended motors.

    Here's an in-depth study of the issue, many of the motors actually smoked!

    On the QSI issue Keith, are you running just one loco from the decoder? Is it the original QSI magnum or the Titan? The original magnum had a polyswitch breaker on it that should be bypassed, and that may solve your issue.

    This picture is of the Magnum, and you can see the orange polyswitch is lying down

  4. Keith

    Keith TrainBoard Supporter

    Single decoder per locomotive. Only have the 2 Rio Grande units.
    The other runs fine. Both have the following:
    Quantum Aristo G Scale Plug n Play and Magnum "G/O" Sound and Power

    After contacting QSI, and waiting a while for a reply, it was suggested that
    I send the board back. It goes out Thursday. Other personal issues have
    kept me from sending back earlier!

    Tried aa Crest Electronics receiver in the locomotive, to see if that was the culprit.
    It was not, as locomotive ran fine. Only shutdown issues I’ve had, are when running
    in extreme heat, or partially in direct sun. Then units will go into thermal shutdown, unti
    cooled down. Have a couple of small fans to install, to help with interior cooling.

    Haven’t had issues with the trucks, to speak of. Poor running, but only because I needed to
    clean my track, and locomotive wheels. Once that was done, ran like a champ!

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