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Problems with BLI P5a electric locomotive

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Problems with BLI P5a electric locomotive
Posted by Old.Professor on Sunday, June 09, 2019 11:13 AM

I received my BLI P5a electric boxcab and tried running it around my layout. I'm not happy. I think that there are flaw in the engine. I don’t know if these are design flaws or manufacturing. I’m trying to determine if I should return the locomotive. There are three sets of problems; in decreasing importance they are:

     1)    There is a major problem with the P5a running through one specific reversing section block boundary.  

     2)    The engine stalls with wheels spinning at multiple points on the layout when pulling a string of cars.

     3)    Headlights do not indicate direction of travel when the locomotive is stopped.

I use two Digitrax DCS 100s to power my layout. One of the DCS 100s provides polarity reversing. There are three reversing track sections connected to that DCS 100. I don't have any AR-1s or other reversing electronics.
The engine won't go through one reversing point smoothly. Only that one. All others block boundaries are OK. Every locomotive that I own (except the P5a) runs through that location without problem. I verified that with a Bachmann GG-1 (that being another electric locomotive).
I tested at slow speed, approaching the reversing block boundary from both directions. Of course there were no problems when no polarity reversal was required. When a polarity reversal was required, the P5a exhibited multiple behaviors: (1) the P5a stopped, made some sounds, and continued. (2) The P5a stopped and did not continue. There were no sounds from the P5a or the short-circuit detection. I had to re-acquire the P5a in order to get it to respond to the throttle. (3) The P5a stopped and the short-circuit detection sounded continuously until I physically moved the locomotive.
This P5a is much less satisfactory than the Bachmann GG-1, which cost one-third the price. I liked the GG-1 so much that I bought a second one.
I checked the wheel configurations and electrical pickup of these two locomotives. Looking at the locomotive upside down, let L = pickup from left wheel, R = pickup from right wheel, and B = pickup from both wheels. The P5a has a 4-6-4 configuration and the pickup is LL-BBB-RR. The GG-1 has a 4-6-6-4 configuration with pickup LL-BBB-BBB-RR.
I made some observations concerning other problems. When the P5a is stopped, the headlights do not indicate which direction it will move. Specifically, when speed = 0, the left headlight is lit, independent of the direction set by the throttle. When speed > 0 and the engine moves left, the headlight gets brighter. When direction is reversed while speed = 0, there is no change in headlights. When speed > 0, the right headlight come on bright and the left headlight goes off. Perhaps this behavior can be changed with CV settings, but I didn't see how.
I think that the wheel slipping occurs when there are vertical curves or unevenness in the plane of the track. The P5a six drive wheels are mounted in a rigid frame. There is no provision for vertical movement. When the track goes out of a horizontal plane, at least two wheels loose contact with the rails. In contrast, on the Bachmann GG-1 each set of six drive wheels can rock up and down and the individual axles have a little vertical play. I don't think that Bulldog Snot would help traction and it might decrease electrical pickup.
Your thoughts?
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Posted by maxman on Sunday, June 09, 2019 12:54 PM

Old.Professor
I think that the wheel slipping occurs when there are vertical curves or unevenness in the plane of the track.

I don't see how this would be a locomotive problem.

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Posted by Old.Professor on Sunday, June 09, 2019 2:01 PM

I have over 15 road locomotives that can easily pull seven freight cars around my layout. The P5a can not. I can't think of a clearer locomotive problem.

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Posted by tstage on Sunday, June 09, 2019 2:18 PM

OP,

I would shoot a detailed email to the BLI repair department - just like you've described it here - and see what they suggest.  There may be a shorting issue with the locomotive and may recommend you shipping the P5a back to them in Ormand Beach.  If so, figure 4-6 weeks turnaround time on a repair.

Tom

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, June 09, 2019 3:16 PM

I am not sure if any of this is BLI's issue.

.

1) If it does not do it on ALL reversing sections, I would think you have a problem with that reversing section.

2) This really sounds like a trackwork problem.

3) Could be fixed with decoder setting... maybe? I am not a DCC guy.

.

Anyway, send a note to BLI and see what they say as Tom suggested. BLI has always been very quick to reply to me, but they never tell me what I want to hear. I am not even a customer of theirs, but they still answer me quickly.

.

The P5 is a beast of an engine with an unusual wheel arrangement. I think it is about the equivilent of a large 4-8-4 Northern. The three drive axles are spaced out quite a bit and are rigid in the frame.

.

This will require very good track to be reliable.

.

-Kevin

.

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Posted by selector on Sunday, June 09, 2019 3:18 PM

Old.Professor

I have over 15 road locomotives that can easily pull seven freight cars around my layout. The P5a can not. I can't think of a clearer locomotive problem.

 

You got fooled too, huh? Wink

I don't have an extensive history in the hobby, but I do have at least 22 different locomotives from five or six different manufacturers.  Almost without exception, every time I get a new locomotive I find a location in my rail system that I have to modify in order to get that one locomotive to run reliably there.  Usually it's a rail height disparity problem, and this sounds very convincingly to me that therein lies your troubles with the electric motor. Oddly, not once in my modest history of having to do this has it meant that now one, two, or more of my previously acquired locomotives no longer works in that location.  It's only ever a one-way progression in my experience.  I think you're about to learn this for yourself. Big Smile

There are two things you can do to help to see if you're really dealing with a design/assembly problem with the running gear:

a. Place the locomotive on a shiny glass/mirror(-like) surface, maybe a dining room table or arborite/marble countertop, and get some light under it from the back side.  Look for all driver wheels sitting flush to the surface.

b. Invert and cradle the locomotive, minding details and the pantographs, and start at the front truck.  Does it have good vertical movement and horizontal movement when you put pressure on the truck to force the spring to compress? It is possible it doesn't lift enough to place the drivers squarely and evenly on the rails behind it.  Do the same with the driving axles.  They have to have some play up and down.   Then, the other truck.

One other possibility just came to me: trip pins on the couplers.  Don't ask me why I routinely remove them flush to the coupler with an older rail nipper, but usually only on my locomotives' front coupler. 

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Posted by Old.Professor on Sunday, June 09, 2019 3:46 PM

I did some more testing. I have three reversing sections with eight block boundries. The P5a has problems crossing four of those block boundries. I don't dispute that the problem could be trackwork, but I'm not inclined to spend hours trying to find and fix problems that don't affect my other locomotives.

The dealer I purchased the P5a from has either a 10 day or 30 day return policy (there are different numbers of days in his literature). I think I'll just return the locomotive and pay the restocking fee rather than take on the track work frustration.

I will let BLI know about the problems. They may find the information useful. Thank you all for taking the time and trouble to read about this problem and offer your suggestions.

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Posted by Jones1945 on Sunday, June 09, 2019 4:17 PM

Before you send the loco back, I would like to suggest you to try running the engine on every track in your layout at low or moderate speed continuously for at least 30 mins, the longer the time the better the result. It is hard to explain but it always works for my new engines. Hope this helps!

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, June 10, 2019 7:23 PM

Old.Professor
I have three reversing sections with eight block boundaries. The P5a has problems crossing four of those block boundaries.

Guys, doesn't this rule out almost any possibility of level or cross-level problem with either the locomotive or its suspension arrangements?  Unless he has some common mode thing with the way he's constructed the insulating section that is physically lifting something improperly ... which I tend to doubt.

The near immediate thing I'd try, if you're not afraid to touch the wiring, is to disconnect any power pickup from one truck and see where the locomotive stops with the 'dead' truck leading.  If it goes up to the drivers now, you know something.  Repeat with the other one, reconnecting the first.

I'm assuming this can't be any issue with the way the engine trucks are insulated, either in the wheelsets or in the frame.  You could check this with a good multimeter (that reads very low resistances precisely, not just shows continuity).  I'm also assuming all the pickups are patent, checked from the wheelrim of each wheel on the locomotive to a reference ground of some appropriate placement.  All of you who know decoders and multimeter test amperage chime in on ways he should conduct testing safely to keep all the delicate magic smoke untrammeled.

 

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Posted by Old.Professor on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 2:03 PM

BLI tech support recommended that I return the P5a. My trouble report and their response follow. 

......

Subject: Re: Technical Support Contact Form Submitted

To: Marshall Abrams <abrams_railroad@comcast.net>

From: Tech Support <techsupport@broadway-limited.com>

Date: Tue, 11 Jun 2019 11:05:59 -0400

Hello Marshall,

I'm sorry to say that based on what you are describing I would have to recommend returning it for a 

refund.

There might be some minor manufacturing defect that contributes to the problem you are describing -

but sometimes one particular design with one particular layout just does not work.

If you wanted to troubleshoot and try to work on it, I would recommend placing the model on a 

smooth, flat surface such as a glass table, and then slide the corner of a piece of paper under each 

wheel.

You should feel resistance on the paper as it slides under them. If the paper glides freely under one or 

more of the wheel flanges then that would indicate that there is a balance issue with the model (which 

could cause electrical pickup issues and reduce pulling power).

If you decide to do the paper test, let us know the results and we'll go from there - otherwise please 

contact your point-of-purchase for a refund.

Thank you.

-------------------

Your message: I received my P5a electric boxcab on Friday, June 7. After extensive testing I'm not 

happy. I think that there are flaws in the engine. I don’t know if these are design flaws or 

manufacturing. I’m trying to determine if I should return the locomotive for a refund.

I started a thread on the MR Forum. One responder suggested that I seek your advice. There are two 

sets of problems; in decreasing importance they are:

(1) There is a major problem with the P5a running through several reversing section block 

boundaries.

(2) The engine stalls with wheels spinning at multiple points on the layout when pulling a string of 

cars.

I use two Digitrax DCS 100s to power my layout. One of the DCS 100s provides polarity reversing. 

There are three reversing track sections connected to that DCS 100. These reversing sections have 

eight block boundary gaps. I don't have any AR-1s or other reversing electronics.

The engine won't go through three of the reversing boundaries smoothly. The others five block 

boundaries are OK. Every locomotive that I own (except the P5a) runs through all boundaries without 

problem.

I tested at slow speed, approaching each reversing block boundary from both directions and with the 

P5a pointing in both directions. Of course there were no problems when no polarity reversal was 

required. When a polarity reversal was required, the P5a exhibited multiple behaviors:

(a) the P5a stopped, made some sounds, and continued.

(b) The P5a stopped and did not continue. There were no sounds from the P5a or the short-circuit 

detection. I had to re-acquire the P5a in order to get it to respond to the throttle.

(c) The P5a stopped and the short-circuit detection sounded continuously until I physically moved the 

locomotive.

For comparison, I repeated the tests with a Bachmann GG-1. The GG-1 had no problems.

Someone suggested that there were problems with the track work at the reversing boundaries where 

the P5a malfunctioned. That may be true. But I am not going to engage in frustrating work at three 

reversing boundaries in order to get the P5a to behave. That’s not my idea of fun.

The second problem is engine stalling with wheels spinning. I think that the wheel slipping occurs 

when there are vertical curves or unevenness in the plane of the track. The P5a six drive wheels are 

mounted in a rigid frame. There is no provision for vertical movement. When the track goes out of a 

horizontal plane, at least two wheels loose contact with the rails. I have over 15 other locomotives 

that I use to pull seven car trains. If the P5a can’t pull seven cars over my layout, it’s of no use 

to me. Someone suggested that I use Bullfrog Snot to increase traction. I don’t think that the 

Bullfrog Snot would help in this case of the drive wheel being lifted off the track. Nor do I think that a 

brand-new locomotive should require that kind of corrective manipulation.

In contrast, on the Bachmann GG-1 each set of six drive wheels can rock up and down and the 

individual axles have a little vertical play. Your thoughts?

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 2:19 PM

What brand of turnouts are you using for your reversing sections?

I have a problem with one reverse section where it sometimes shorts out and then recovers when an engine enters that track, but only once unless I power off all my track, and after that everything is fine.  I could have a wiring error, or I could have a problem with how the trip currents are set.  I've never gotten around to it.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by ghostrydr on Wednesday, June 12, 2019 6:18 PM

I received the two P5a's I purchased this week, both arrived defective. with the throttle set to loco address 3, i pressed F9 to initiate the start-up sequence. The start up sequence played, but I noticed that both front & rear headlights also came on. The headlights would not turn off with F0, and the bell and horn also didn't respond when F1 & F2 were pressed. I then advanced the throttle, and neither would move in forward or reverse. Both models were exactly the same. I called BLI support today and explained the issues - they had no answers. Both models are on their way back to the on-line dealer for a refund, I won't be ordering replacements.

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Posted by dehusman on Wednesday, June 12, 2019 6:55 PM

A P5 is the equivalent of a 4-6-4 and is not a very big motor.  I wonder if the pilot trucks are oversprung and "lifting" the drivers off the track.

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

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Posted by ghostrydr on Wednesday, June 12, 2019 7:40 PM

on the two I received,both the front & rear trucks floated freely with no downward pressure. In speaking to the on-line dealer I purchased the two I had from, they told me that 4 of the 6 P5a's they'd sold had or were being returned. The other two were still on the shelf for in-store pick-up. the on-line dealer told me that one of the P5a's that had already been returned was due to it being a poor puller.

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Posted by Old.Professor on Wednesday, June 12, 2019 9:32 PM

My layout is about 20 years old. It uses code 100 Atlas flex track and Atlas turnouts. 99% of the turnouts are #4. Frogs are not powered.

Many of the reversing block boundries are not associated with turnouts, but may be located on curved track. Some were made by cutting track with a Dremel Tool.

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Posted by gmpullman on Thursday, June 13, 2019 5:20 AM

I have a pair of the P5a motors. I tested them right out of the box on address 3 and they both hesitated at certain turnouts (Shinohara code 83, #8 and #10s) my frogs are powered but it may be possible that there are dead spots at some of the double slips.

I did have trouble setting the engine number address using Decoder Pro with one of the locos. Tonight I spent a little more time, doing a factory reset then clicking "Write all sheets" to reload the custom settings and everything wrote just fine. I have both locos running with the same address, presently.

I happened to have an eighty-three car freight on the layout. Mostly forty-footers, a few fiftys and a handful of sisty-footers.

I coupled up both engines and although there was a little wheel-slip while getting up to speed, the double-headed P5as got the train up to track speed and continued to run pretty well. There is a slight wobble on one of the engines. I'll have to turn it over and take a better look.

I continued to run them and they seemed to run better with each lap. I believe there is a coating of blackening agent on the wheels that has to work off in order to get better contact and traction.

I have a 1.5% grade and the pair only made it up that with roughly half the train. I gave a little five-finger boost at this point and the motors dug-in and continued up the grade once most of the 83 car train was back on the level.

I do believe Broadway should have done a better job of equalization with the axles. At a minimum they should have made the center axle sprung and allowed it to rise and fall with the rail contours. I have a 60° crossing that the engines pound over and you can tell that the thing is like a brick hitting those frogs.

Still, I'm glad to have them. The real ones weren't known for being all that good at acceleration and speed, that's why the PRR went with the GG1 in passenger service over the P5a. In freight service you frequently saw them in groups of three.

 PRR_under-wire_2k by Edmund, on Flickr

 PRR_under-wire4_2k by Edmund, on Flickr

[edit] I happen to like the fact that both headlights remain lit when idle, then the appropriate one goes bright when moving in that direction. I have not messed with the lighting CVs but I'm almost certain there is a way to have manual control.

Regards, Ed

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Posted by Paul3 on Thursday, June 13, 2019 3:12 PM

Old.Professor,
Wait, you're using twoDCS100's?  How are you doing that?  And for pete's sake, why?  My club's layout is currently over 3000 sq. ft. and we only use one.  I sure hope you have one DCS100 set as a booster-only (and I don't even know if that's possible with a DCS100), otherwise you have two command stations fighting each other.

Secondly, back in 1998 when my club went DCC, we ran some experiments.  We found that using a DCS100 to power autoreversing track caused slight hiccups with the track power.  The headlights would flicker and the engines might pause a smidge when crossing the gap.  Our solution was not to use a DCS100 for autoreversing.

And you have one DCS100 autoreversing three different blocks?  Wait...what?  Why would you do that?  Good grief, go buy a PM42 already.  That will handle up to 4 auto-reversing sections.

Anyways, back to my club's test stand.  We also found that the reversing gaps had to be exactly opposite each other, and that sometimes locos with pilot wheels would have trouble with setting off the short that causes the reverser to operate because both wheels are not electrically connected to the rest of the engine.  This problem was found when using a DCS100 as an autoreverser.  We have never had that problem with other autoreversers like the PM42.

As for the headlight direction at 0% speed, that's been the case with BLI since day one. 

And if your 4-6-4 electric cannot navigate your track work, then you need to fix your track.  Unless the pilot and trailing trucks have no vertical play, which would cause the engine to "bridge" and hang the drivers up off the rails; that would be BLI's fault.  But, if the pilot/trailing trucks do have plenty of vertical play, that means your track needs to be changed from a roller coaster to something more realistic.  There's no way properly laid track should cause 2 of 3 rigid axles to lift off the rails.

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Posted by Old.Professor on Thursday, June 13, 2019 9:50 PM

Reply by Paul3 Thu, 13 Jun 2019 15:12:44 -0500

>Old.Professor,
>Wait, you're using twoDCS100's?  How are you doing that?  And for pete's sake, why? 

Paul3, thanks for taking the time and trouble to write. You are correct; I made an error. I have a DCS100 and a DB150.

>Secondly, back in 1998 when my club went DCC, we ran some experiments.  We found that using a DCS100 to power autoreversing track caused slight hiccups with the track power.  The headlights would flicker and the engines might pause a smidge when crossing the gap.  Our solution was not to use a DCS100 for autoreversing.

My experience is the same. A few years ago, when my original DB 100+ died, I replaced it with a DB150. I'm using the DB 150 for autoreversing. The DCS 100 does not autoreverse.
>
>And you have one DCS100 autoreversing three different blocks?  Wait...what?  Why would you do that? 

There were no auxiliary autoreversers available in 1998 when I built my layout. It's working fine with more than 15 other locomotives. I see no reason to change.

>Good grief, go buy a PM42 already.  That will handle up to 4 auto-reversing sections.
>
>Anyways, back to my club's test stand.  We also found that the reversing gaps had to be exactly opposite each other, and that sometimes locos with pilot wheels would have trouble with setting off the short that causes the reverser to operate because both wheels are not electrically connected to the rest of the engine.  This problem was found when using a DCS100 as an autoreverser.  We have never had that problem with other autoreversers like the PM42.

I understand what you're saying. I'm glad for you that your club has found a solution that works satisfactorily.
>
>As for the headlight direction at 0% speed, that's been the case with BLI since day one. 

In my opinion, that's a design error. I don't buy "it's a feature, not a bug." Since I wasn't familiar with that characteristic, I guess I don't have any BLI locomotives.
>
>And if your 4-6-4 electric cannot navigate your track work, then you need to fix your track. 

No, I don't have to fix my track. Since all my other locomotives work without problem, I will hold to my position that the P5a is defective in design or manufacture and am returning it. That solves the problem with me having to do extensive unpleasant track work in hard to access areas. My previous experience has been that I break more than I fix. I'm too old to do that again. That's not my idea of "model railroading is fun."

>Unless the pilot and trailing trucks have no vertical play, which would cause the engine to "bridge" and hang the drivers up off the rails; that would be BLI's fault.  But, if the pilot/trailing trucks do have plenty of vertical play, that means your track needs to be changed from a roller coaster to something more realistic. 

I don't have a roller coaster. I have a perfectly fine layout that was constructed with vertical curves implemented by cookie-cutter construction. You really shouldn't jump to conclusions and judgements.

>There's no way properly laid track should cause 6 rigid axles to lift off the rails.

I observed that the middle driver wheels were spinning. Other people have posted that they returned their P5a because of poor tractive power. Maybe BLI should have sprung the middle drivers. Maybe they should have installed traction tires. Maybe they should have implemented all-wheel pickup on the pilot/trailing trucks. These are all solutions that other manufacturers have implemented successfully.

No one else has mentioned it, so I'll provide another possibility to the gap-crossing problem. Maybe the problem is in the decoder. The symptoms of variable response (the engine behaving differently when having a problem) suggests a race condition in the decoder. Sometimes it "thinks" it received an instruction to play a sound. Sometimes it "thinks" it received a signal to stop. Sometimes it loses communication with the command station and has to be re-acquired. Maybe BLI and Paragon will investigate these possibilities.

 

 

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Posted by Paul3 on Friday, June 14, 2019 4:37 PM

Old.Professor,
The fact is that a PM42 is better at autoreversing than a DB150, can handle 4 blocks (either in autoreverse or circuit breaker mode) and it's $100 less than a booster.  It's also been around since at least 2002, and the PM4 predates that.

And yes, if you have a loco with a 20' rigid wheelbase (as the P-5 does) and the center driver comes off the rail, then your track is at fault.  Your vertical curves are just too sharp.  I hope you don't want to run 2-10-0's, 2-10-2's or even some 4-8-2's or 4-8-4's as several of these types have a 20' rigid wheelbase or greater.

Springing drivers doesn't do much for HO model trains.  The springs are there for electrical contact, not suspension.  For example, I have an NJ/Custom Brass 4-6-2 with sprung drivers, but the center driver stuck down lower by a few thousandths than the #1 or #3 drivers on the right side (the pick-up side).  Whenever I went over a dead frog Atlas #6 switch (the #505 and #506), that center driver would hit that slightly higher frog and lift the entire engine up, breaking contact with the #1 and #3 drivers from the rail and causing the engine to stop.  If sprung drivers really were there for suspension, that wouldn't have happened; the lower center driver would have compressed the spring allowing the other drivers to stay on the rail.  That didn't happen.  Instead, I shimmed the center driver up with a piece of brass, leveling the drivers.  After that, I never had that problem again.

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Posted by gmpullman on Friday, June 14, 2019 4:59 PM

Old.Professor
I observed that the middle driver wheels were spinning.

All six drivers (or three axles) are geared together. I don't see how the middle driver could slip without the others slipping, too.

Cheers, Ed

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Posted by oldline1 on Saturday, June 15, 2019 9:33 AM

I don't have anything made by BLI but for years I have followed posts about their newly issued products and been amazed at how many issues they seem to have with running and electrical problems.

 

Am I imagining this or do they have some serious design/manufacturing defects?

I never seem to hear all these issues about Atlas, Athearn, Roco or Rapido stuff.

Recently the Rapido Royal Hudson seems to have some overheating issue but that's all I've heard about them.

What is the problem that BLI has making something reliable and of quality?

oldline1

 

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Posted by gmpullman on Saturday, June 15, 2019 2:42 PM

oldline1
What is the problem that BLI has making something reliable and of quality?

No one really knows what the exact failure rate of Broadway products is except, perhaps, Broadway Limited.

I'm guessing that one of the reasons there is a "percieved" high failure rate is that often, the only time you hear about a particular locomotive is when there is some kind of issue the owner is having and they come here seeking help. Most posters aren't going to begin a thread saying, "I just ran so-and-so locomotive and everything was fine" nothing to report here.

Broadway Limited has been in business for eighteen years — they must be doing something right. Additionally, in that eighteen years the sheer volume of the locomotives and rolling stock produced has to be some bretty big numbers. 

Reflecting my own experiences, I have a roster of just over sixty BLI locomotives. Out of those I have had two steam locomotives with cracked driver gears, One with a bad chuff sensor reed switch, one which burned out a smoke generating unit even though it was switched off and, recently, two Paragon 3 decoders that had "scrambled" their brains.

So about a 10% "failure" rate. In all the above cases BLI took care of making repairs or sending parts, even for the two cracked gear locomotives which were years out of warranty. My only cost was postage for the two locomotives that actually had to be returned for repair.

Broadway, in my opinion, has taken some initiative in manufacturing some unique locomotives that probably required some specialized design criteria, such as the Baldwin Centipede. Most of my BLI locomotives are over ten years old and are still running strong, even my very first NYC hudson, BLI item No. 001.

Personally, I'm thankful for BLI and their business model. Sure they have had some QC issues. Perhaps some resulting from design problems but I believe in an industry where the relative volume is low and much of the production is hand-built there is going to be a greater chance of a defect creeping into the mix.

 

 ¢  ¢  Regards, Ed

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, June 15, 2019 4:21 PM

gmpullman
Most posters aren't going to begin a thread saying, "I just ran so-and-so locomotive and everything was fine" nothing to report here.

.

I just received a "New Old Stock" Atlas/Roco S1 switcher from an ebay seller.

.

I just ran the locomotive and everything was fine, so there is nothing to report here.

.

-Kevin

.

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: Huntsville, AR
  • 1,036 posts
Posted by oldline1 on Saturday, June 15, 2019 9:37 PM

gmpullman
Most posters aren't going to begin a thread saying, "I just ran so-and-so locomotive and everything was fine" nothing to report here.

I'm not sure that's accurate as I've seen a lot of posts where folks buy something and want to brag about the item and promote it.

.

gmpullman
Perhaps some resulting from design problems but I believe in an industry where the relative volume is low and much of the production is hand-built there is going to be a greater chance of a defect creeping into the mix.

I would think the opposite would be true that in a smaller hand-built industry the chance of higher quality control would be greater.

oldline1

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • 24 posts
Posted by buoyboy on Monday, June 24, 2019 6:25 PM

Considering that the locomotive is diecast and weigs as much as a brick, the pulling power is quite poor. The one that I just got has trouble pulling 8 cars on level track. The leading and trailing trucks appear to be oversprung. Time to get out the Bullfrog Snot.

  • Member since
    June, 2005
  • 4,025 posts
Posted by Darth Santa Fe on Monday, June 24, 2019 7:26 PM

dehusman

A P5 is the equivalent of a 4-6-4 and is not a very big motor.  I wonder if the pilot trucks are oversprung and "lifting" the drivers off the track.

 

That's the problem I had with my BLI Dreyfuss 4-6-4.  The trucks were so heavily sprung that the drive wheels could barely touch the track.  Reducing the spring tension helped a LOT.

_________________________________________________________________

  • Member since
    September, 2002
  • 157 posts
Posted by KemacPrr on Monday, June 24, 2019 11:49 PM

My three P5A's arrived last week. I set the long address to the road number and tested them. They are picky with electrical pickup. The wheels need to be cleaned of whatever they end up with in manufacturing. The three I have easily pulled a 70 car ore trains of Stewart/Bowser jennies up a 1% grade. I did have to repair one Atlas code 83 turnout on a crossover which was not passing power on all rails. Once that was done no issues. Mine ran fine through my one reversing section coming out of my Harrisburg staging and between different boosters. I use NCE and they advance consisted with no problems so I am happy with mine. I hope they do the modifieds in the near future . ---  Ken 

  • Member since
    August, 2009
  • 3 posts
Posted by ghostrydr on Wednesday, June 26, 2019 7:49 PM

I ordered and received a 3rd BLI P5a, and it acted the same as the first two. I couldn't believe that three BLI's would fail in a row, and that I had to be missing something;d simple. So I re-addressed the throttle to 3 with the loco on the track - and everything worked as normal. So even though I could place an Atlas, Athearn or Rapido on the track and they'd run with the throttle already addressed to 3, the BLI wouldn't respond until I addressed the throttle to 3 with it sitting on the track. we live, we learn. So I called the on-line vendor I'd returned the first two units to and told them, so that they didn't waste time diagnosing them. They said that they'd not run into that issue before either, and that they really appreciated the heads-up. I'm happy to report that the P5a looks and runs great, and is a fairly decent puller. 

  • Member since
    February, 2005
  • From: Vancouver Island, BC
  • 21,796 posts
Posted by selector on Thursday, June 27, 2019 2:39 AM

Somehow you or your system are/is failing to set CV29 to a value that enables the long address, or you're not removing power from the tracks before acquiring the new address..?  Is that possible?  If it operates on Add 03, there's nothing wrong with it.  It's not enabling the new address, and I believe it's a misconfiguration of CV29.

I suppose another possibility is that all Paragon decoders for this issue are defective.

  • Member since
    July, 2019
  • 1 posts
Posted by long Branch 58 on Monday, July 29, 2019 8:02 PM

I have had the Pickup issues with my P5a, cleaned wheels, cleaned track. Still the locomotive would stop and start on it's own schedule. Today I closely checked both front and rear truck pickps and found a severed wire to the contacts.  The was only enough slack in the wire to attach to the truck with the spring fully compressed. which is why it seperated when the spring expanded. I added a small section of flexible wire with shrink tubing and re solderd the wire to the contact. One run areound the layout and it shorted in my hidden loop. at this point I was ready to send it back to BLI (broadway boomerang). I some how gained my patience back and closely checked the front and rear truck contacts which were really loose. Then it dawned on me (400w lightbulb in the head) when I removed the locomotive from the box two little derlin plates fell out. I thought at the time that they were for shipping security only. Thank god I held on to those plates! I took them out of the box,each plate had two locking tabs and four alinement holes. I snapped them in place over the truck contacts and ran the locomotive. To my surprise it ran like a Jewel no stopping or hesitation. Look for those two little plates! I have no traction issues with the engine. My ruling grade is 1.5%. I hope this helps someone.

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