Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 21

Thread: Anybody else having problems with BLI Paragon 4 engines?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    36
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 19 Times in 5 Posts
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Exclamation Anybody else having problems with BLI Paragon 4 engines?

    So far I'm two for two in problems with Broadway Limited Paragon 4 steamers. Ones a heavy pacific, the other's a heavy mikado. Ran them on the test track to break them in and make sure they work, and after an hour and a half (for one) and 45 minutes (for the other) they both developed a full short circuit. First one confirmed transformer heating up and sound of breaker tripping, confirmed no current? on the track, same problem with a different transformer, second one confirmed no current and left it at that. I'm running them on straight DC for now (need to buy a DCC system soon), test track is a loop of KATO unitrack with two feeders, (and two rerailers), stopped completely in the middle of one section of curve (15" radius), track has been completely replaced recently (don't know if it was before after the first engine failed, old one only had one feeders), power is... A MRC Tech II Railpower 1400, apparently, AKA "the power pack dad bought back in the 70's.) (In good condition.) After the engine failed other locomotives were tried on it, they worked, one had DCC, it worked, then the first engine was tried again and still had a short circuit. No turnouts in the test loop. The Paragon 3 engines I tested ran fine for several hours. Both locomotives were bought online first hand (one from Hogtrainz, the other from modelrailstuff), both new and unopened, no ebay or Amazon. Both were left to run unattended for breaking in, but within earshot.
    Is it just the case that the new BLI production runs with Paragon 4 all? have faulty decoders, or is there something in my test track that somehow ruins Paragon 4 engines?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    NH, USA
    Posts
    443
    Thanks
    1,054
    Thanked 2,706 Times in 353 Posts
    Mentioned
    11 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    I haven't seen that problem, but I did just today send back for exchange a Broadway Limited Paragon 4 diesel switcher that clearly had something bad going on with the decoder. When received and I put it on the programming track it would read a different value every time it read back from the same CV and whatever values I entered it would read back something different. Even the manufacturer ID and version would come back with different values each time read. And it wouldn't respond at all on the mainline.

    Thankfully, Train World was very prompt in authorizing the return. But I recently got an A/B pair that were BLI Paragon 4 and so far they run fine.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Northern New England Scenic Model Railroad - N Scale early fall in NH in the mid-1950s.
    https://nnescenicmodelrr.com/index.php

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2022
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    83
    Thanks
    54
    Thanked 140 Times in 49 Posts
    Mentioned
    7 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    I haven't had any problems with the two BLI Paragon 4 steam locos I have. I have a heavy Mikado and heavy Pacific. I am running them strictly DCC though. I am also using a Digitrax DCS 210+ booster/command station with a Digitrax DT602D throttle.
    Now I did have some issues with the BLI P4 NW2 switcher I recently bought. It made a grinding noice when I ran it. Train World was very prompt to authorize a return for store credit, no questions asked.

    That was twice that I had to return defective merchandise to Train Word, the first being a Lionel HO train set. I asked for store credit both times and they were very curious and quick to handle things.
    Just an old gandy dancer.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    36
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 19 Times in 5 Posts
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    I just looked at it, and discovered that my very old power pack goes up to 14 volts, not 12. The mikado, since it's top end speed is very realistic, was left to run with the throttle pretty high for a medium speed, and could easily have been feeding more than 12 volts. Is that my problem? Is N scale's accepted voltage 0-12, or 0-14 volts? (Honestly not sure.) If it's the former, than I've found the problem, although every other duel mode DCC engine I've ever tested had no issues. A Paragon 4 thing?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2022
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    83
    Thanks
    54
    Thanked 140 Times in 49 Posts
    Mentioned
    7 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Running it at 14 volts over a long period of time could cause issues.

    I have an older MRC Tech II Loco-Motion 1500 DC transformer and it puts out almost 20 volts at full power. So Yes definitely check your Tech II Railpower 1400 to see what the voltage output is at different throttle settings.

    I have also found that some of the older transformers that use to come with Bachmann N scale sets were actually for HO train sets. Again they will put out more voltage at full throttle.

    Remember that as voltage increases, so does the amperage output, especially if the resistive load stays the same. Basic Ohms Law in effect.
    Just an old gandy dancer.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    1,830
    Thanks
    4,703
    Thanked 3,768 Times in 1,174 Posts
    Mentioned
    121 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BraselC5048 View Post
    I just looked at it, and discovered that my very old power pack goes up to 14 volts, not 12. The mikado, since it's top end speed is very realistic, was left to run with the throttle pretty high for a medium speed, and could easily have been feeding more than 12 volts. Is that my problem? Is N scale's accepted voltage 0-12, or 0-14 volts? (Honestly not sure.) If it's the former, than I've found the problem, although every other duel mode DCC engine I've ever tested had no issues. A Paragon 4 thing?
    That would make them not DCC conforming. The DCC standard requires conforming decoders to withstand up to 22V peak voltage, which would be about 15.5V effective voltage if the Power Pack puts out half sine waves.

    16V is also what the Paragon 4 H0 and the Paragon 3 N manuals say: http://www.broadway-limited2.com/sup...3.12.2021).pdf (I couldn't find any Paragon 4 N scale manuals).

    Not saying that's impossible. I know there have been decoders that only accepted 18V peak voltage in the past, and to be fair, most DCC systems these days are limited to 15V or less.

    But do measure your Power Pack output voltage with and without load. It might be on the high side, since it's probably not regulated, and if the power pack is old enough, it might even be designed for nominal mains voltage of 110V or 115V instead of today's 120V (plus tolerance).

    Heiko

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    36
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 19 Times in 5 Posts
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Heiko View Post
    That would make them not DCC conforming. The DCC standard requires conforming decoders to withstand up to 22V peak voltage, which would be about 15.5V effective voltage if the Power Pack puts out half sine waves.

    16V is also what the Paragon 4 H0 and the Paragon 3 N manuals say: http://www.broadway-limited2.com/sup...3.12.2021).pdf (I couldn't find any Paragon 4 N scale manuals).

    Not saying that's impossible. I know there have been decoders that only accepted 18V peak voltage in the past, and to be fair, most DCC systems these days are limited to 15V or less.

    But do measure your Power Pack output voltage with and without load. It might be on the high side, since it's probably not regulated, and if the power pack is old enough, it might even be designed for nominal mains voltage of 110V or 115V instead of today's 120V (plus tolerance).

    Heiko
    Designed for 120V input. We took a multimeter to the track, and although we're not 100% sure how to use it, at full power under load it's about 18 volts. That would also explain the buzzing sound when the second engine ran... Yep new power pack time. Also - do I get to send it back for repairs? Or should I buy new ones?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Bozeman,MT
    Posts
    1,127
    Blog Entries
    1
    Thanks
    6
    Thanked 761 Times in 380 Posts
    Mentioned
    26 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    I never saw anything in the manual about limiting voltage, but I did see an "after the fact" memo. I haven't had any issues in that regard but I'm not sure what the output on the club layout is. My only issue has been after a long period of running (on DC) the sound seems to heat things up and the decoder will start to act up. Letting it cool down restores function, and on DCC I always turn the sound down anyway so no problems there. I would send your locos in...........BLI is pretty good about fixing stuff under warranty, and worst case scenario they charge you, but that's still probably cheaper than replacing the loco unless you got a screaming deal on them.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Galati, Romania,
    Posts
    776
    Blog Entries
    1
    Thanks
    1,022
    Thanked 2,365 Times in 562 Posts
    Mentioned
    57 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    You do not have to throw it, just use a voltage regulator to adjust the power. Is cheap.
    I LIKE TO WORK WITH BIG SHIP ENGINES BUT I SPEND MY FREE TIME AROUND N SCALE TRAIN MODELS.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    FL
    Posts
    477
    Thanks
    1,558
    Thanked 1,055 Times in 270 Posts
    Mentioned
    44 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    @BraselC5048

    Multimeter use for model railroad 101;

    http://www.trainelectronics.com/Mete...shop/index.htm

    Good luck

  11. The Following User Says Thank You to donzi For This Useful Post:

    sid

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Austin, MN USA
    Posts
    708
    Thanks
    692
    Thanked 651 Times in 335 Posts
    Mentioned
    10 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Use the controlled DC of the pack and just turn it up until you get 12 volts.

    Doug
    Atlas First Generation Motive Power and Treble-O-Lectric. Click on the link:
    www.irwinsjournal.com/a1g/a1glocos/

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Location
    South Mississippi, USA
    Posts
    899
    Blog Entries
    1
    Thanks
    6,379
    Thanked 2,454 Times in 550 Posts
    Mentioned
    68 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    I have Two BLI SD40-2’s with paragon 4 and they are working flawlessly. Received them last year.
    Cheers!
    Clayton

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Henderson, NV
    Posts
    405
    Thanks
    5,716
    Thanked 1,323 Times in 274 Posts
    Mentioned
    11 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    I have found it all comes down to faulty decoders. Had the same thing happen with two Paragon 3 steam locos although my run time was even shorter than yours. They started to stutter and then failed with a full short circuit. Note this was running them on DCC. They went back to BLI for repairs more than once and BLI noted bad boards and replaced them. Replacement boards also did the same thing. Some of which I paid for the repair. At this point every BLI loco I have has had a decoder board fail. That is two diesels and three steamers. All my BLI locos are Paragon 3. One steamer is in a failed state as the decoder died AGAIN! I did also buy a Paragon 4 switcher and it had major problems out of the box. I sent it back for full refund and will never buy BLI again. At this point I am strongly considering selling all my BLI locos to at least recover a little money. Paragon decoders are garbage.

    If you can send them back for full refund or if you want to try your luck a replacement. The only real solution is replacing the Paragon decoders with another brand. You shouldn't have to do this for a new product.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Budsin, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,551
    Blog Entries
    2
    Thanks
    1,006
    Thanked 3,622 Times in 1,095 Posts
    Mentioned
    93 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)

    Default

    It's funny how one person has issues with something and another will swear by it. I have two BLI steamers and two F3's. All run flawlessly.

    But I can't get a Kato steam engine to hold together and stay running for the life of me.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Galati, Romania,
    Posts
    776
    Blog Entries
    1
    Thanks
    1,022
    Thanked 2,365 Times in 562 Posts
    Mentioned
    57 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    It is not funny at all, both person buy the chinese crap with same amount of money and want to enjoy the little thing in the same way. Problem is with the crap decoder paragon 1.2.3.4 parts used on garage where they build. Like this, my AC600 die in seconds without running one cm. I'd like they have will to build new models, but QC is not there at all. If we look in the past BLI have all kind of funny isue from decoder to drive train parts falling on the track, missing parts or painting. In a market where the parts became more and more expensive at source, they will try to save money to survive. When AC6000 decoder die, i was lucky. I came back on Miami to work, send the decoder back to BLI for a replacement with 8$. If i have to send it back from Romania, better to throw on garbage and buy a loksound new. More cheap and fast than UPS or DHL.
    I LIKE TO WORK WITH BIG SHIP ENGINES BUT I SPEND MY FREE TIME AROUND N SCALE TRAIN MODELS.

  17. The Following User Says Thank You to gamitzu For This Useful Post:


  18. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Montgomery,MN,USA
    Posts
    368
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 325 Times in 168 Posts
    Mentioned
    6 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    All my BLI engines are now gone...nothing but trouble with the decoders also...

  19. The Following User Says Thank You to nicki6 For This Useful Post:


  20. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Bozeman,MT
    Posts
    1,127
    Blog Entries
    1
    Thanks
    6
    Thanked 761 Times in 380 Posts
    Mentioned
    26 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    It IS interesting that one person has issues and another has great luck.........but it happens. Just like the results here, I have at least a dozen BLI locos and I've only had one issue which was fixed by BLI and it's been fine since, but a friend has had every single BLI he's bought fail. But in fairness I've had 3 Katos (out of 6) , 4 Atlas locos (out of 10), and 1 Fox Valley (out of 2) have issues as well. It comes down to the fact that we want more and more features, which results in more things to go wrong.

    And although I don't know how the model train world is set up, my guess is that all the manufacturers are buying their parts from the same sources. I was the shop manager for a large university, and I constantly hearing "don't buy this or that, it's junk", but if you looked at the spec sheets, all the manufacturers were using parts from one or two outside manufacturers......So how can one be great and one be junk, when they're built from the same parts.

  21. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to MRLdave For This Useful Post:


  22. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Montgomery,MN,USA
    Posts
    368
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 325 Times in 168 Posts
    Mentioned
    6 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Everything was great but their decoders suck..

  23. The Following User Says Thank You to nicki6 For This Useful Post:


  24. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Glendive, Montana
    Posts
    2,226
    Thanks
    11,656
    Thanked 7,019 Times in 1,640 Posts
    Mentioned
    91 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    So far my new BLI Pacific is working good. Burt it only has a few hours on it.

    The Paragon 3 T1 I have now has a Loksound decoder and a new motor as both of those fried.

    I guess it is a crap shoot. I have had good luck with my Bachman Spectrum steam, and others have not.

    Makes a fella ponder some.
    Northern Pacific and Black Hills RR in N, of course!!
    Aian, CEO, COO, Engineer, Gopher and everything else!

  25. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Bozeman,MT
    Posts
    1,127
    Blog Entries
    1
    Thanks
    6
    Thanked 761 Times in 380 Posts
    Mentioned
    26 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    I have 2 pacifics......one is set up for DC at club events, one for DCC at home. Both have been great, although a couple of setups ago I tried to run DCC with the club unit and it wouldn't work. But I brought it home and it ran fine on DCC at home........???????? The club unit has a lot of hours on it, the home one not too many, since I still haven't finished (actually started) wiring it. Feeders are in, but no buss line, so no running trains yet. All but one of my BLIs have sound, and as mentioned already, the amp for the sound seems to heat the decoders up if run for a long time (1 hr plus at factory set DC volume) and the decoders will act up till they cool down.......I was originally warned about this issue for Kato locos, so it isn't just BLI , but they definitely suffer from it.

  26. The Following User Says Thank You to MRLdave For This Useful Post:


Similar Threads

  1. Paragon 4 Decoder Issue
    By edfhinton in forum DCC
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 23rd Jun 2022, 08:21 PM
  2. BLIís paragon 4 SD40-2ís
    By MoPac in forum Diesel
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 21st Nov 2021, 11:38 PM
  3. Strange Paragon 3 sound
    By spruslayer in forum DCC
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 2nd Sep 2021, 11:01 AM
  4. Paragon decoder
    By TVRR in forum DCC
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 21st Aug 2021, 10:56 AM
  5. PR 1b Paragon 2 mystery button
    By TVRR in forum Steam
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 21st Dec 2020, 06:30 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
  •