Results 1 to 17 of 17

Thread: JMRI and BLI locomotives?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Tulsa, Ok
    Posts
    101
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 100 Times in 33 Posts
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default JMRI and BLI locomotives?

    I am running JMRI Decoder Pro on my laptop with a SPROG III as the interface/command station for programing decoders. I have no problem programing a Digitrax decoder, TCS, or just about any other brand; yet when I try to just read the CV's on a BLI Locomotive I can't do it. I can't even change the address.

    I recently against my better judgement bought a BLI Heavy Mikado. Went to test run it (address 03) and all it would do was start, run a foot or two, stop, wait anywhere between 5-60 seconds and repeat the whole process all over again; yet when I ran it on DC it ran fine, no problems. Called BLI before I ever did anything else with it to see what their recommendation was. "Reset the Decoder." So I put it on my test track, and I can't even read the CV's. Want to change the address from 03 to a 4 digit address, forget about it. I put one of my IM sound SD-40-2's on the test track and everything is read fine.

    This is far from the first time I have had problems trying to read CV's or reprogram a BLI engine. Even though I have only one BLI Locomotive, I have tried, mostly unsuccessfully, to program numerous BLI locomotives in the past for friends and fellow club members.

    I am at the point of being out of patience with any BLI product. I bought this Mikado after checking for reviews from numerous different sources and could find little bad about them. Yet when I get one it turns out it is nothing but one frustration after another. Are the BLI Decoders just pure junk or are they so off NMRA standards that JMRI can't read or write anything on them? I am ready to box this Mikado back up and send it back for a refund; and never buy another BLI Product ever again.

  2. The Following User Says Thank You to Dragoon 45 For This Useful Post:


  3. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Tri-Cities, WA
    Posts
    1,256
    Blog Entries
    5
    Thanks
    245
    Thanked 1,909 Times in 588 Posts
    Mentioned
    21 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dragoon 45 View Post
    Are the BLI Decoders just pure junk or are they so off NMRA standards that JMRI can't read or write anything on them?
    Do you have the most up to date version of JMRI? Maybe that decoder isn't in the database for the JMRI version you are running to be able to read/program/communicate with it. It's free to check your version and do an update, so I'd start there.
    Bronman - "Trains and Legos... you can't have too many of them."

    My Layout Build Thread - The Spokane & Eastern Washington
    - Featuring motive power by Burlington Northern, Union Pacific, Canadian Pacific, Montana Rail Link and Amtrak in Spokane and Eastern Washington in the mid-1990's.
    _________________________________________________
    "That's what she said!" - Michael Scott, The Office

    "That's just dumb, D-U-M, dumb." - Me.

  4. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Bronman For This Useful Post:


  5. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Chester.SC
    Posts
    312
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 222 Times in 132 Posts
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    I agree with updating JMRI but you can also update decoder definition files: mri.org/xml/decoders/ . I have a light and heavy BLI Mike that i program with decoder pro without any problems.
    My system is a digitrax dcc 100 with a loco-buffer usb.

    Doug

  6. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    24
    Thanks
    63
    Thanked 17 Times in 11 Posts
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Oh boy, I just received both the light and heavy Mikados, add that to the few other BLI steamers I own and I am now concerned. I've been planning to go the JMRI route too just for the ease of programming, hopefully. (I'm a dinosaur when it comes to computer stuff)

    I hope hear more on this soon and also hope it's an easy fix. Hate to think I wasted money or even worse find out I need to replace decoders if that's even a possibility. The ones I do own and run work well with my NCE stuff, I hope it's all compatible.

  7. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio
    Posts
    605
    Thanks
    16
    Thanked 419 Times in 249 Posts
    Mentioned
    16 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)

    Default

    I think a lot depends on which DCC system you have . I have a PowerCab and the NCE interface for JMRI and never had any problems . It seems that a lot of people have problems with some systems , and IIRC Sprog seems to be mentioned frequently .....Mike

  8. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Tulsa, Ok
    Posts
    101
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 100 Times in 33 Posts
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mikec6201 View Post
    I think a lot depends on which DCC system you have . I have a PowerCab and the NCE interface for JMRI and never had any problems . It seems that a lot of people have problems with some systems , and IIRC Sprog seems to be mentioned frequently .....Mike
    I don't have problems with any other brand of decoder, just BLI. So I find it hard to believe that the problem is the SPROG.

  9. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Columbus,OH, USA
    Posts
    3,264
    Thanks
    80
    Thanked 1,585 Times in 917 Posts
    Mentioned
    46 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Two questions:

    First, what programming mode are you using? You really should be using direct mode, but if that doesn’t work, try paged mode.

    Second, what are the specs for the power supply do you have connected to your SPROG? To small of a power supply can lead to unexpected results.

    Paul
    For decoder installation and JMRI services, please visit http://www.bentraildigital.com
    For n-scale intermodal information, please visit http://nscaleintermodal.com

  10. The Following User Says Thank You to pbender For This Useful Post:


  11. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Saginaw,TX USA
    Posts
    150
    Thanks
    25
    Thanked 103 Times in 70 Posts
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dragoon 45 View Post
    I don't have problems with any other brand of decoder, just BLI. So I find it hard to believe that the problem is the SPROG.
    I got a SPROG because I had problems reliably programming my BLI M1a/b's with the Paragon 2 decoders. I had been using JMRI, laptop and a PR3 programmer/USB interface. This worked for NCE, Digitrax, TCS, Lenz and ESU decoders reliably but the BLI decoders I could barely get a full read much less make changes. I even upped the voltage on the PR3 to 18VDC and it worked better, but only about 80%. Switched to a SPROG III (only because the shop was out of SPROG 2's and I didn't want to wait) and the P/S that came with it (16VDC think) and it's worked well. So I agree with Paul and check your P/S voltage The SPROG should work. And it's not a JMRI problem.
    John H. Reinhardt
    PRRT&HS #8909
    C&O HS #11530
    N-Trak #7566

  12. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to reinhardtjh For This Useful Post:


  13. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Tulsa, Ok
    Posts
    101
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 100 Times in 33 Posts
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    I finally got it to accept a program with a lot of help from a friend. Programing track using a Digitrax System, programing on the main, my friends SPROG II, or his ESU Locsound programmer; none of them would work; every system said the same thing "decoder/engine not found". None of these systems even saw the locomotive let alone let you try to reset the decoder. Finally my friend found an entry on another forum which said to go to blast mode programing on the main and change CV 217 to 50. After that CV was changed, you could program the locomotive on any system you wanted. But there was no mention of this anywhere on BLI's website, in their manual for the decoder, or anywhere else readily available to a new owner of one of their locomotives to find. According to the manual CV 217 has something to do with a smoke unit which as far as I know no N scale locomotive is equipped with.

    So after 3 days of calling BLI, trying numerous different systems, and hours of searching on the internet, this locomotive finally has its address changed and is actually running again. But after all the wasted effort I went through to try to program this, I have decided I will never buy another BLI locomotive ever again. There is no excuse for what I had to do to get this locomotive to accept just a simple address change. All of the conversations with BLI ended with them wanting me to ship the locomotive back to them so they could fix it. And then wait 10-12 weeks to get it back. I don't know if the issue is quality control with its products or piss poor technical support, but either way BLI does an extremely poor job. I bought this engine against my better judgement because I wanted to build an ATSF Troop Train circa late 1944 to match the pictures I have found of a troop train. But I will know from this point on no matter how well a model looks or what prototype it is, never buy another BLI engine again, and I will advise anyone who asks not to buy one either. The frustration you go through and the steps you have to take just to program a new address into one is beyond ridiculous. I have never had anywhere close to the amount of problems with another brand engine or decoder as what I went through with this BLI Mikado.

  14. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Dragoon 45 For This Useful Post:


  15. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Tulsa, Ok
    Posts
    101
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 100 Times in 33 Posts
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Paul read my general reply above. The problem was entirely in the setting of one CV Value on the decoder, but it took over three days to find that answer. (Thanks Sam)

    Quote Originally Posted by pbender View Post
    Two questions:

    First, what programming mode are you using? You really should be using direct mode, but if that doesn’t work, try paged mode.

    Second, what are the specs for the power supply do you have connected to your SPROG? To small of a power supply can lead to unexpected results.

    Paul

  16. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    3,133
    Blog Entries
    1
    Thanks
    10,367
    Thanked 4,597 Times in 1,853 Posts
    Mentioned
    93 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dragoon 45 View Post
    All of the conversations with BLI ended with them wanting me to ship the locomotive back to them so they could fix it. And then wait 10-12 weeks to get it back. I don't know if the issue is quality control with its products or piss poor technical support, but either way BLI does an extremely poor job.
    I'm amazed that BLI's tech support didn't already have this issue pegged as a known problem.

    Exactly just how were they going to fix this when they apparently didn't even know the solution? Hey BLI, if you're selling a proprietary decoder with your proprietary locomotive, shouldn't tech support know the dadgum decoder inside and out?
    Paul Schmidt

  17. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Tulsa, Ok
    Posts
    101
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 100 Times in 33 Posts
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Not once did the BLI tech support suggest changing that CV value to me, but looking back at the post my friend found; the original poster statedlower down in his post that BLI recommended to him to change the value of that CV. So to me that makes it even worse, at least one of their employees knew what the fix was and did not tell anyone else. So I am now more prone to assume their tech support is beyond piss poor.

    I was really hoping BLI got it right on this locomotive, but at least from what I have been through, they didn't. And that to me is the most disappointing thing. I had hopes BLI might some time in the future produce ATSF specific steam. But now, ever if they did produce it, I will not buy it. No matter what the prototype is, the price, or how good it looks; it is not worth buying when weighed against how much frustration a modeler will go through just to get the model to run.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Schmidt View Post
    I'm amazed that BLI's tech support didn't already have this issue pegged as a known problem.

    Exactly just how were they going to fix this when they apparently didn't even know the solution? Hey BLI, if you're selling a proprietary decoder with your proprietary locomotive, shouldn't tech support know the dadgum decoder inside and out?

  18. The Following User Says Thank You to Dragoon 45 For This Useful Post:


  19. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Oklahoma, USA
    Posts
    413
    Thanks
    374
    Thanked 922 Times in 250 Posts
    Mentioned
    16 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Once we got cv217 set to 50, we could read and set cv’s with my sprog ii. So I don’t think power on the sprog iii was the problem. As noted, cv217 per BLI’s manual has something to do with smoke units; not the foggiest why it’d allow the sprog to suddenly be able to read (and write) cv values. We didn’t try a Digitrax programming track - my layout isn’t set up to do that - and once the sprog started working there was no need to try things the hard way by single cv programming via ESU lokprogrammer.

    For reference, the post that mentioned the cv217 value was over at the rail wire.

    At any rate, glad we got it functioning yesterday.

    Sam

  20. The Following User Says Thank You to samusi01 For This Useful Post:


  21. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    3,133
    Blog Entries
    1
    Thanks
    10,367
    Thanked 4,597 Times in 1,853 Posts
    Mentioned
    93 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    I went to the BLI site looking for a technical update bulletin or something that would point to the CV 217 = 50 solution when using Decoder Pro.

    Nothing's there yet. ...
    Paul Schmidt

  22. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Oklahoma, USA
    Posts
    413
    Thanks
    374
    Thanked 922 Times in 250 Posts
    Mentioned
    16 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    The link to the TRW post: https://www.therailwire.net/forum/in...8898#msg628898

    Found it mixed in with all sorts of other discussions regarding BLI's latest steamer. There's also a later post that expresses puzzlement as to why that information can't be found in any of BLI's manuals. There are a few other shortcomings of their decoders - in my eyes at least - including the lights that one can't change from directional only and the various noises included.

    Call me snobbish, but I'll not have any of my locomotives emitting farm radio chatter - or indeed any other radio chatter - as it moves along the tracks.

  23. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to samusi01 For This Useful Post:


  24. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    3,133
    Blog Entries
    1
    Thanks
    10,367
    Thanked 4,597 Times in 1,853 Posts
    Mentioned
    93 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by samusi01 View Post
    Call me snobbish, but I'll not have any of my locomotives emitting farm radio chatter - or indeed any other radio chatter - as it moves along the tracks.
    Paul Schmidt

  25. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Tulsa, Ok
    Posts
    101
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 100 Times in 33 Posts
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Sam, I had tried the Digitrax Programing track at the shop and could not program it there. That is why I mentioned it. But anyway again Thanks for all the help.

    Quote Originally Posted by samusi01 View Post
    Once we got cv217 set to 50, we could read and set cv’s with my sprog ii. So I don’t think power on the sprog iii was the problem. As noted, cv217 per BLI’s manual has something to do with smoke units; not the foggiest why it’d allow the sprog to suddenly be able to read (and write) cv values. We didn’t try a Digitrax programming track - my layout isn’t set up to do that - and once the sprog started working there was no need to try things the hard way by single cv programming via ESU lokprogrammer.

    For reference, the post that mentioned the cv217 value was over at the rail wire.

    At any rate, glad we got it functioning yesterday.

    Sam

Similar Threads

  1. Jmri 4.12
    By samusi01 in forum DCC
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 15th Jul 2018, 08:55 AM
  2. Jmri 4.10
    By samusi01 in forum DCC
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 21st Dec 2017, 06:29 AM
  3. Jmri 4.8
    By samusi01 in forum DCC
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 28th Jul 2017, 12:54 AM
  4. Replies: 62
    Last Post: 6th Jan 2017, 10:51 AM
  5. Jmri + mrc!
    By kalbert in forum DCC
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 4th Jul 2014, 08:32 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •