Author Topic: BLI PA-1 LokSound Transplant  (Read 1326 times)

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jdcolombo

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BLI PA-1 LokSound Transplant
« on: March 19, 2016, 12:57:45 PM »
+2
Hi everyone.

OK, here's how I did the ESU LokSound transplant in my BLI PA-1's (video of the results is posted in this thread: https://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=38618.0).

When you remove the shell (remove the front coupler, then spread the sides of the shell and tug lightly on one of the trucks to pull the chassis free from the shell - don't pull too hard), you'll see the following:



You can see the round speaker in its molded enclosure in the back; the Paragon sound board takes up the entire middle.

First step is to remove the decoder board.  It is held in place by two small screws at the front of the board.  Remove those, lift the board up, and disconnect the plugs (there are two of them) to remove the board.  Here's a photo of the chassis with the board removed:



You will also need to cut the various wires from the micro plugs and remove the plastic cab detail part that is held on with a small screw.

Next, remove the speaker enclosure.  It is attached to the chassis with two screws, one at the front and one at the rear.  Once the enclosure is removed, pry up the top back plastic "lid" that seals the enclosure from the speaker (it is lightly glued; I found that a small screwdriver slipped between the speaker and lid easily pried it up).  Then remove the speaker (you'll need to clip the wires).  When you are done, you will have an empty enclosure, lid and speaker.  Discard the lid and speaker; you will re-use the enclosure.



A Knowles Donau (or other manufacturer's) 11x15mm speaker will just fit inside the enclosure.  You will need to sand down the inside of the enclosure sides just a bit to get the Donau to fit.  I drilled two tiny holes in the front of the enclosure for the speaker wires to exit the enclosure.  The speaker itself should be flush with the top of the enclosure, and I used some thick CA to glue it to the sides of the enclosure even though it is a very tight fit.  Here's a photo of the Donau in the enclosure with the speaker wires threaded out the front side:



Next, I sealed off the top of the enclosure with 1/32" sheet lead.  Remember to have the lead (or styrene if you prefer that) overlap the edge of the speaker to get a complete airtight seal.



Next, I glued some 6mm-wide strips of .040 styrene across the frame to protect the front and rear flywheels from getting hit by wires from the installation.  Then I reinstalled the speaker enclosure.



I used a dab of gel CA to attach the ESU LokSound to the top of the motor housing and the front styrene strip.  The wires for the LokSound face forward.  I also prepped the wiring for the headlight and Mars light LED's.  Each of these LED's has a black and a gray wire.  The black wire is the positive connection (blue wire from the decoder); I stripped about 1/8" of insulation from each of these, twisted them together, and soldered the twist.  They will get soldered to the blue wire from the decoder).  The gray wire is the negative connection (white wire for the headlight; yellow wire for the Mars light).  I used a 1/8-watt 2200-ohm dropping resistor on each gray wire, and insulated the joint with heat-shrink tubing.  You can see the orientation of the decoder and the two dropping resistors at the front of the chassis in the following photo:



Now just wire everything up.  The trucks are hard-wired, gray on the fireman's side; black on the engineer's side.  Wire the gray truck wires together with the black wire from the decoder, and the black truck wires to the red wire.  Insulate the joint with heat-shrink tubing.  There are also black and gray wires from the motor (BLI used a lot of black and gray wire for its wiring!).  The orange decoder wire goes to the black motor lead; the gray decoder wire goes to the gray decoder lead.  I also wired up three 16v 220uf tantalum chip caps as a keep alive.  Remember that the positive of the caps goes to the decoder blue wire; in this install, I used an extra piece of orange wire to do the positive cap connection; the negative side of the cap is wired to a pad on the back side of the LokSound at the edge of the board directly opposite the blue wire pad.  I used a piece of green wire for this, and if you zoom in on the following photo, you should be able to just barely see a green wire soldered to a pad between one of the brown speaker wires and the orange motor wire:



That's it.  Test the installation, re-install the plastic cab detail and shell, and you are done.

John C.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2019, 08:14:16 PM by jdcolombo »

SP-Wolf

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Re: BLI PA-1 LokSound Transplant
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2017, 07:47:00 PM »
0
@jdcolombo

Hi John,

I just completed this transplant -- thank you, for the great tutorial. What a difference this makes.

Question -- for the yellow wire -- what CV and value is used to have this work moving forward - ?
My mars light comes on when going in reverse (As the yellow wire is for the reverse light) -- I can't figure it out using JMRI Decoder Pro.
I have an older ESU programmer and can't get it to work.

Thanks,
Wolf

jdcolombo

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Re: BLI PA-1 LokSound Transplant
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2017, 08:41:23 AM »
0
@jdcolombo

Hi John,

I just completed this transplant -- thank you, for the great tutorial. What a difference this makes.

Question -- for the yellow wire -- what CV and value is used to have this work moving forward - ?
My mars light comes on when going in reverse (As the yellow wire is for the reverse light) -- I can't figure it out using JMRI Decoder Pro.
I have an older ESU programmer and can't get it to work.

Thanks,
Wolf

Hi Wolf.

You have to remap the yellow wire (rear headlight output) to a different function key (I used F5) and also add the Mars light effect.  I did this with the drop-down boxes in my LokProgrammer.  I don't use JMRI to do this, so I can't help you with that.

If you want to try changing individual CV's, I THINK that this would do it for you:

1.  Set CV32=2 (you have to do this before changing any of the high-value register CV's).
2.  Set CV282=0 (this takes the yellow wire output off of F0 reverse, so it won't come on when the engine runs in reverse).
3.  Set CV362=2 (this assigns the yellow wire output to F5).  At this point, you should put the engine on the track, and test to make sure F5 turns on the Mars light.

To add the Mars light effect, I think you have to do the following.
1.  Set CV32=0
2.  Set CV267=13

This should enable the Mars light effect.  You may need to adjust the brightness of the LED to get the best Mars effect; you do this by setting CV270 (again, make sure that CV32=0 before you do this) to a value between 1-31, with 31 being the brightest.  I think I used 25 in mine.

John C.

Cajonpassfan

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Re: BLI PA-1 LokSound Transplant
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2017, 10:20:07 AM »
0
Nice work John, thank you for sharing.
Guys, how much of the improvement in tonal sound quality would you attribute to the speaker versus the decoder? (Replacing the decoders on multiple units gets to be an expensive proposition.... and I sure wish there was a way to marry the BLI decoders to a better speaker/enclosure combo).
Regards, Otto K.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2019, 11:36:40 PM by Cajonpassfan »

SP-Wolf

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Re: BLI PA-1 LokSound Transplant
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2017, 12:03:46 PM »
0
Hi Wolf.

You have to remap the yellow wire (rear headlight output) to a different function key (I used F5) and also add the Mars light effect.  I did this with the drop-down boxes in my LokProgrammer.  I don't use JMRI to do this, so I can't help you with that.

If you want to try changing individual CV's, I THINK that this would do it for you:

1.  Set CV32=2 (you have to do this before changing any of the high-value register CV's).
2.  Set CV282=0 (this takes the yellow wire output off of F0 reverse, so it won't come on when the engine runs in reverse).
3.  Set CV362=2 (this assigns the yellow wire output to F5).  At this point, you should put the engine on the track, and test to make sure F5 turns on the Mars light.

To add the Mars light effect, I think you have to do the following.
1.  Set CV32=0
2.  Set CV267=13

This should enable the Mars light effect.  You may need to adjust the brightness of the LED to get the best Mars effect; you do this by setting CV270 (again, make sure that CV32=0 before you do this) to a value between 1-31, with 31 being the brightest.  I think I used 25 in mine.

John C.

Thanks, John!!!

SP-Wolf

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Re: BLI PA-1 LokSound Transplant
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2017, 12:16:17 PM »
-1
Nice work John, thank you for sharing.
Guys, how much of the improvement in tonal sound quality would you attribute to the speaker versus the decoder? (Replacing the decoders on multiple units gets to be an expensive proposition.... and I sure wish there was a way to marry the BLI decoders to a better speaker/enclosure combo).
Regards, Otto K.

Hi Otto,

For me - the decision to switch from the BLI decoder goes beyond the sound quality. It has to do with the poor Paragon 2 programming. And, BLIs' support. Which in my opinion is at the bottom of the list. I contacted them in reference to which CV's control the lighting. After a couple of E-Mails -- first - he or she couldn't identify the model I have. The part number and road numbers correspond to two totally different (And HO) models. So, with that the only recommendation I was given was to send them back (for repair) --- their is nothing to repair-- other than not being able to figure out what CV's control the lighting effects I want.  So, I took the $79+ (BLI wants for repair) and put it towards ESU Loksound select micro decoders. Man - like night and day. In all aspects. Motor control, sound and relative ease of programming. And - yes, the sound quality is heads and shoulders above the Paragon 2 sound. It is richer and fuller and I believe more prototypical. If I ever purchase another another BLI product it will be without their sound system. Of course, if they offer non-sound versions of the particular model I am interested in.

Of course -- this is my opinion.

Thanks,
Wolf

Cajonpassfan

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Re: BLI PA-1 LokSound Transplant
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2017, 06:33:07 PM »
0
Thanks Wolf, knowledgeable first-hand feedback always much appreciated!
I'm having a similar set of "support" issues with BLI, it seems (some of?) their people aren't familiar with their own products. Multiple emails and no resolution yet. But i had a good experieence in the past, so now I am still on the fence, as I sent in one of my locos for warranty repair and waiting to see the outcome. Fingers crossed ...
Otto

jdcolombo

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Re: BLI PA-1 LokSound Transplant
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2017, 10:04:44 PM »
0
Nice work John, thank you for sharing.
Guys, how much of the improvement in tonal sound quality would you attribute to the speaker versus the decoder? (Replacing the decoders on multiple units gets to be an expensive proposition.... and I sure wish there was a way to marry the BLI decoders to a better speaker/enclosure combo).
Regards, Otto K.

My rationale for switching decoders and speakers had nothing to do with customer service, and everything to do with what I considered to be inferior sound (for an Alco prime mover) from the stock Paragon 2 decoder; it's weird behavior on certain things (like having to press F7 to turn the Mars light OFF, instead of on); and general difficulty in getting it working the way I wanted.  See this thread for more:  https://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=38618.0

For me, it wasn't just about the speaker.  The Paragon 2 decoder isn't on my "favorites" list .  .  .

John C.


Cajonpassfan

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Re: BLI PA-1 LokSound Transplant
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2017, 10:35:54 AM »
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Thanks for the explanation, John. Much appreciated!
Otto

SP-Wolf

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Re: BLI PA-1 LokSound Transplant
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2017, 01:06:47 PM »
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Guys,

A little update on my transplant project --- wow, what a huge difference in all aspects. Great sound (I have to lower the prime mover volume), awesome motor control - these units have never performed this good - and - ease of programming. Like I said before -- if BLI ever produces a locomotive that I would consider purchasing -- I hope they offer it in a DC only version - so, I can put in my sound decoder of choice -- that being ESU Loksound.

Thanks again - John. Great tutorial

Wolf