Author Topic: BLI Mike initial impressions  (Read 8577 times)

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Nato

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Re: BLI Mike initial impressions
« Reply #105 on: August 20, 2019, 01:39:15 AM »
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 :)         A little late to the party. I finally got to test drive one of the three I purchased (a UP Light one). Robert 3985 and I finally spent yesterday evening cleaning the track and others tasks needed to get my layout operational after installing new tunnel portals and other work over the last several months.My layout is not DCC but CVP Wireless DC. Both Bob and I took turns piloting the locomotive around with a short consist including a correct CA1 Union Pacific Caboose. I was surprised that for a sound equipped locomotive you do not have to crank the throttle to almost Warp Speed to start up. With the power on the headlight is on dim and there are steam sounds from a standing locomotive, when you reach starting speed you hear the turbo generator start up, the headlight brightens up then the locomotive starts up. The Chuff Rate when running does not sound too bad to Robert or me. Comparing it to the Model Power latest run 2-8-2 with sound and a Vandy Tender the BLI locomotive has some added on detail that the otherwise fairly detailed MP locomotive does not have. All in all we were impressed, and I would say BLI has a winner, even though the Paragon System Decoder sounds like it is quite different to program. I cannot wait to run my three , a Undec  Heavy, a Burlington Heavy , and the UP locomotive on the Wasatch N Scale layout when it is set up at the next show we attend so I can use full DC  with all the bells and whistles. Nate Goodman (Nato).  :)

Mark W

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Re: BLI Mike initial impressions
« Reply #106 on: August 26, 2019, 10:24:56 PM »
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Also late to the part, but finally got to take mine out of the box.  Once the plastic was free, one of the tender wheelsets fell to the floor.  No biggie (yet), we've all replaced wheel-sets a thousand times.  Very next thing I saw were the notched cylinders and was instantly filled with dread.  For the first 20 minutes, that's all I could focus on.   :facepalm:

Thankfully, after the initial run, I dug into the box looking for paperwork and found the detail parts to fill in those notches!  While I hate the idea of 'dumbing' down things for radius capability, I have to give them a bonus point for having the foresight to include the fillers. 

I'll echo the running characteristics are quite smooth, however mine starts with a bit of a jerk.  Perhaps this can be tuned with BEMF and trim and such? 

A mild distraction, I don't believe anyone else has mentioned; mine emits a faint but noticeable 'digital buzz' when the motor has power.  Quite similar to the sound a non-decoder equipped motor sounds. 
Initially, mine also displayed frequent stopping, and even shorts!  I was puzzled for a bit until I thought back to the wheelset falling out when I opened the package.  On closer inspection, I found both that it was very narrow in gauge, and there was a metal burr hanging on!  With the burr removed and the wheel properly gauged, I effectively eliminated this problem.  So, for those having issues programming, or with weird function behavior, you might want to check wheel gauges to ensure the two halves are fully separated and have total isolation between the rails! 

Ok, let's dive into sounds..  Ultimately, I turned the sound level of everything down to 35, bell down to 20, and whistle at 50.  One thing I don't understand is the "Power Chuff Threshold".  It seems to randomize the chuff volume during throttle adjustments.   :?   I've found this action is useful to vary the chuff sound and avoid 'machine gun fire', but I don't want to have to feather the throttle every few seconds.  If anyone knows the real purpose/function of the power chuff, I'd love to hear it.

Lastly, the whistle.  I quite like the functionality of 'double-tapping' the whistle to initiate an alternate ending whistle.  I absolutely HATE that the sound file interrupts itself when intending to sound two or more rapid short bursts.  I don't know if these decoders accept firmware updates, but this is a no-go for me.  If there can't be a fix for this, I'll be replacing the decoder with a loksound. 

Last thing that stood out to me is the coal load.  Easily one of the best coal moldings I've seen!  In fact, looking closer, they're not moldings at all; they're glued particulate.  Nice touch.


Overall, like almost everyone else, I am also quite pleased.  If it weren't for the whistle interrupt, I would already have a few more! 




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Cajonpassfan

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Re: BLI Mike initial impressions
« Reply #107 on: August 26, 2019, 11:45:50 PM »
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Hmm, strange about the whistle: mine don’t do that...
whose DCC throttle are you using? I get all kinds of cool effects with NCE...
Otto K.

Mark W

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Re: BLI Mike initial impressions
« Reply #108 on: August 27, 2019, 05:51:34 PM »
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Here's a sound sample.  Pretty certain this is a decoder issue, not a command station. 
In any case, I'm on a DCS100.

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Cajonpassfan

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Re: BLI Mike initial impressions
« Reply #109 on: September 07, 2019, 09:58:55 PM »
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Anyone interested in replacing their BLI Mikado P3 decoder with a Tsu2 or ESU Loksound, more power to you. You shouldn’t pay for a sound decoder twice, so I’ll offer to buy the (undamaged) P3 from you, if you’d like to sell it. Just PM me if interested.
Thanks,
Otto K.

Nato

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Re: BLI Mike initial impressions "Great !"
« Reply #110 on: October 07, 2019, 03:45:26 PM »
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       Just a couple of photos of my BLI Union Pacific 2-8-2 on my layout. Photos by Bob Gilmore. Nate Goodman (Nato).








Cajonpassfan

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Re: BLI Mike initial impressions
« Reply #111 on: October 07, 2019, 08:53:20 PM »
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Looking good, NATO, but you need to add some big Sweeney stacks!
Shouldn’t be too hard...
Otto K.

Nato

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Re: BLI Mike initial impressions
« Reply #112 on: October 08, 2019, 01:40:17 AM »
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   Yes I know some of them had sweeney stacks, Bob G did it on two brass ones many moons ago. The caboose is a MT kitbash by Bob (Robert 3985). Nate Goodman.(Nato).
« Last Edit: October 08, 2019, 02:31:52 AM by Nato »

carlso

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Re: BLI Mike initial impressions
« Reply #113 on: October 08, 2019, 10:22:17 AM »
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Good looking 'boose hop !
Carl Sowell
El Paso, Texas
Southern New Mexico N Scalers, Las Cruces, New Mexico

Nato

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Re: BLI Mike initial impressions
« Reply #114 on: October 10, 2019, 02:22:52 PM »
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   There should be UP/SP style train number indicators on either side of the stack on the smoke box. Detail Associates made or makes these. I have use up my stock and have to get some more to add to the locomotive. Nate Goodman (Nato).

Cajonpassfan

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Re: BLI Mike initial impressions
« Reply #115 on: October 11, 2019, 04:20:16 PM »
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   There should be UP/SP style train number indicators on either side of the stack on the smoke box. Detail Associates made or makes these. I have use up my stock and have to get some more to add to the locomotive. Nate Goodman (Nato).

Nato, I found this in my pics. Hope it’s useful...maybe you can let Bob G.loose...?
Fort Collins, July ‘54, from Stan Kistler collection.
Otto [ Guests cannot view attachments ]
« Last Edit: October 11, 2019, 07:48:29 PM by Cajonpassfan »

robert3985

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Re: BLI Mike initial impressions
« Reply #116 on: October 12, 2019, 01:15:24 AM »
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Nato, I found this in my pics. Hope it’s useful...maybe you can let Bob G.loose...?
Fort Collins, July ‘54, from Stan Kistler collection.
Otto (Attachment Link)

Otto @Cajonpassfan , I'm already loose on the project...both the Sweeney Stack and numberboards.  Also, UP installed a smoke deflector/vane located on the back of the cab roof on many of their USRA Light Macs, which should be an easy part.  Additionally, wind deflectors, shades and armrests for the crew.  I really love the coal bunker extensions in the photo, as well as the added toolbox and those crazy extended/tall water hatches, all of which just screams UP!

Since I have four brass Key USRA UP MacArthurs, already equipped with some of the above parts (factory applied), I won't be buying any of these nice BLI Light USRA Mikes to run on my layout.

However, since I am delving into the possibility of providing some parts and conversions for popular UP and SP engines with the 3D printer waiting for a new shelf to go up next to my exterior ventilated spray booth, I may use Nate's model to take measurements from, and then apply the printed parts. I'll say that there are three to five other parts in the hopper before these, so it'll probably be sometime in the first quarter of next year before they're available.

I have to say that photos don't lie, and several of the photos I took of this nice little engine on Nate's layout look quite good to me.  I think BLI did a very good job on these with the possible exception of not making the spaces between the driver spokes go all the way through...but frankly, their lack doesn't jump out and smack me across the face.

Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore
« Last Edit: October 12, 2019, 01:27:28 AM by robert3985 »

Cajonpassfan

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Re: BLI Mike initial impressions
« Reply #117 on: December 26, 2019, 10:08:29 PM »
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I couldn’t help it, I got me a third one for Christmas, just as solid and steady as the first two. BLI really deserves credit for quality control on these. This one will be a project baby, with maybe a different shell, an ATSF 3160/4000 class mike? Just another loco project I really don’t *need* :D
Otto