Author Topic: BLI SW7 with Loksound  (Read 468 times)

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Jim Starbuck

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BLI SW7 with Loksound
« on: September 13, 2020, 11:26:46 AM »
+3
This is a pretty straightforward installation replacing the stock Paragon 3 with a Loksound 58823 v5 Micro wired decoder and uses the factory installed speaker.
The stock decoder was unscrewed from the chassis and the wires were clipped off flush with the end of the board leaving adequate length to wire to the v5.
No chassis modifications are needed and other than removing the shell, no disassembly of the mech is required.

I cut the shrink wrap off to expose the sub board and ground connection on the v5 then desoldered the ESU wires. The wires from the mechanism will solder directly to the v5. I soldered a lead to the ground pad on the main board to connect to the capacitors later then taped the Loksound to the top of the mechanism.

Color coding of the BLI wiring doesn’t follow standards but it’s not hard to determine what’s what.
Left track power is gray and right track power is black. Keep a close eye on the black wires as one of the speaker wires is black as well but is easily identified because it emerges from the mechanism on the left side above the fuel tank.
The red wire on the left side is a motor lead and the red wire on the right side is the other speaker wire. The blue wire on the right side is the other motor lead.

For lighting I removed the original wiring from the stock light boards and reused the boards. I soldered one end of 1k radial resistors each to the front and rear light output pads on the sub board then used magnet wire to feed the - side of the stock light boards from the resistors. The + side of the boards were connected to the + common pad on the decoder. The cab light board can be placed back in the cab interior but I chose to leave that piece out in favor of a see through cab. The light board is affixed to the cab roof with double sided foam tape.

Four 25v 220 uF capacitors were stacked in the cab area and connected to the ground and + common on the decoder being careful to mind the polarity of the caps and use kapton tape to thoroughly insulate everything.
Programming was done prior to connecting the + wire to the capacitors.

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Edit: Added a short shaky video

« Last Edit: September 15, 2020, 04:24:27 PM by Jim Starbuck »
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Cajonpassfan

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Re: BLI SW7 with Loksound
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2020, 07:13:44 PM »
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Nice to have the caps for good operation. But does that mean you cannot tweak the programming now that they are connected? Or have to disconnect the +wire to do that?
Thanks, Otto K.

Jim Starbuck

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Re: BLI SW7 with Loksound
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2020, 08:52:11 PM »
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Nice to have the caps for good operation. But does that mean you cannot tweak the programming now that they are connected? Or have to disconnect the +wire to do that?
Thanks, Otto K.

That is correct Otto.
I spent considerable time programming this to get everything how I wanted it before connecting the caps.  Now that they are connected the Lokprogrammer gives me an error when trying to read back the CVs.
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jdcolombo

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Re: BLI SW7 with Loksound
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2020, 11:50:48 PM »
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You can make programming changes with caps connected using ops mode (programming on the main).  But I wouldn’t do this for anything complex.  Speed changes, momentum changes, changing the horn/bell, yes. Maybe even adjusting sound volume levels if you are careful to set CV31 and 32 correctly.  Anything more complex, like function key programming, no. 

John C.

peteski

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Re: BLI SW7 with Loksound
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2020, 01:18:28 AM »
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You can make programming changes with caps connected using ops mode (programming on the main).  But I wouldn’t do this for anything complex.  Speed changes, momentum changes, changing the horn/bell, yes. Maybe even adjusting sound volume levels if you are careful to set CV31 and 32 correctly.  Anything more complex, like function key programming, no. 

John C.

Shouldn't just adding a coil in series with the cap (if there is enough room in the loco) resolve the programming on programming track problem?
. . . 42 . . .

Jim Starbuck

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Re: BLI SW7 with Loksound
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2020, 07:58:31 AM »
+1
The coil is a great idea but I rarely need to do additional programming after I have the engine set up. It has the correct horn. The bell and bell speed are set as well as lighting, dimming,  acceleration and deceleration along with the slow speed motor characteristics and sound functions.
Volume is about the only thing I change and that is set up on a function key. In Lokprogrammer in the function mapping field under the logical functions column there’s a selection for volume control. I usually set this up on F5.
It divides the range of volume into 5 or 6 segments then by double pressing the function key gives on the fly volume control. It ups the volume by 15-20% for each step then loops back to the lowest after passing the highest.
A neat trick Mr. Denton showed me.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2020, 09:07:25 PM by Jim Starbuck »
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jdcolombo

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Re: BLI SW7 with Loksound
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2020, 10:42:29 AM »
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Hi Jim.

I do the same thing.  I set up all the programming exactly as I wish before connecting the last cap wire.  About the only thing I program after that is the speed curve, to do speed matching.  But that's just the standard CV2, CV5, CV6 - no fiddling with CV31 and 32 needed.

I've thought about trying the volume "ratchet" idea.  Might have to think about that on my next installation.  Would make it easier when I move engines from the layout, where I keep the volume modest, to a public display, where I want the volume blasting away.  :)

John C.

garethashenden

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Re: BLI SW7 with Loksound
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2020, 01:04:23 PM »
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I'm not surprised but somehow I'm still disappointed that BLI don't use standard wire colors.

tehachapifan

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Re: BLI SW7 with Loksound
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2020, 06:37:59 PM »
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Just curious as to what caused you to replace the stock decoder. I like mine enough, though the idle sound seems a bit too....something (loud? tinny?). Plus, I could do without the footsteps in gravel sequence at startup. Otherwise, I'm pretty happy with it overall.

jdcolombo

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Re: BLI SW7 with Loksound
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2020, 07:44:42 PM »
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Not sure what Jim's reasons were, but I replaced the BLI Paragon 3's in all 4 of my BLI Mikados for the following reasons:

1.  Impossible to program headlight to stay on when engine is in reverse.  The "headlight on in forward; off when backing up" behavior is not prototypical.  I am flabbergasted that you cannot program the headlight to stay on in both directions.  Every decoder I've ever used, going back to Digitrax decoders from the late 1990's, could do this.  These are supposed to be models, not toys.  Get with the program.

2.  Impossible to add keep alive to avoid sound dropouts.  I think there is a bit of keep alive on the Paragon 3 board itself, but it's not enough.

3.  In my case (steam, remember), not enough selection of bells/whistles (two bells, three whistles, vs. ESU's 15 whistles and 2 bells, which are then adjustable for pitch and timing via programming). 

4.  Inferior chuff-to-driver rotation matching (again, for steam engines only, obviously) to ESU.

5.  Slowest-speed performance vastly inferior to ESU decoders.  Probably due to inability to fine-tune BEMF parameters for best performance.  I'll freely admit that I'm a nut case when it comes to slow-speed creep.  I expect my engines to be able to run smoothly at less than 1 smph at speed step 1/128 unless there is a mechanical problem.  The Mikes couldn't do that with the P3; they can do it easily with the ESU LokSound 5's I have in them now.  The mechanism is great; the P3 speed control is the problem.

I didn't like the Paragon 2 that came in my BLI PA-1's very much either (I replaced those, too), but in terms of performance and programmability, it was better than the Paragon 3.   The Paragon 2's in my PA's also had generally inferior prime-mover sound to the ESU ALCo sound file.  With my steamers, the sound itself on the Paragon 3 was fine.  It was everything else that was the problem.

John C.

« Last Edit: September 15, 2020, 07:48:24 PM by jdcolombo »

Jim Starbuck

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Re: BLI SW7 with Loksound
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2020, 08:42:54 PM »
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I agree with John’s assessment of the Paragon 3.

A couple things in particular prompted the change in my SW7. The sound quality is ok though I found the footsteps on startup a bit cutesy. To be honest, I just couldn’t put up with the lighting or to be more specific, that it was factory programmed like that and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.  Ah...yes there is...enter Loksound.

This was my first experience with BLI and I was completely put off by their user unfriendly decoder and especially that it’s in a model at this price point. Even the grade C decoders Bachmann puts in their locos have better light functions.

BLI did so much right with this model. It runs beautifully with the coreless motor, Good weight, The truck design is innovative and well engineered, Detail in spades, Pulls great....Then there’s the decoder...

I definitely can’t speak for others as I’m sure there are plenty of people delighted to have a very nice looking and running SW7/ NW2 switcher with factory installed sound. It’s a great model that I was really looking forward to but sure wish they offered it without their decoder.
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tehachapifan

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Re: BLI SW7 with Loksound
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2020, 11:22:29 PM »
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Ah, yes....I forgot about the odd headlight behavior. That is a bit annoying for sure. As far as slow speed performance goes, I managed to finally get mine running pretty good via CV programming. Can't remember exactly what I did though.