Author Topic: BLI Paragon 4 is coming out  (Read 574 times)

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kiwi_al

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BLI Paragon 4 is coming out
« on: March 26, 2021, 04:10:01 AM »
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Received some BLI marketing in my inbox about the new Paragon 4 sound decoder BLI is installing in it's new HO offerings. They must have heard about the complaints about their Paragon 3 decoders. It'll be interesting to see what everyone thinks of them. I did do a search for Paragon 4 decoders but didn't get a hit. If I'm repeating something then pass on by  :D :D

https://www.broadway-limited.com/paragon4-2.aspx


reinhardtjh

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Re: BLI Paragon 4 is coming out
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2021, 08:41:22 AM »
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On the BLI Delivery Schedule page the NYC Dreyfuss Hudson, ATSF 4000 and EMD GP20 are all listed as Paragon 4.  These are due starting in April 2021.  Anything HO before that is Paragon 3.

All the N Scale locos on the schedule are still Paragon 3.  They are the GE AC6000 and the USRA Pacifics.

There was mention of the Paragon 4 decoder in their Facebook posts recently about the Hudson and the Class 4000

Edit:  I just found on the Support page several documents for the Paragon 4.

Paragon 4 Steam Operator's Manual - http://www.broadway-limited2.com/support/Paragon%204%20HO%20Steam%20Manual%20(3.12.2021).pdf

Paragon 4 Steam Technical Reference Manual - http://www.broadway-limited2.com/support/techSteam[1.12].pdf

Paragon 4 Diesel Operator's Manual - http://www.broadway-limited2.com/support/Paragon%204%20Diesel%20Operators%20Manual%20(3.16.2021)%20REV%201.pdf

Paragon 4 Diesel Technical Reference Manual - http://www.broadway-limited2.com/support/techDiesel[1.14].pdf
« Last Edit: March 26, 2021, 08:49:54 AM by reinhardtjh »
John H. Reinhardt
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C&O HS #11530
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jdcolombo

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Re: BLI Paragon 4 is coming out
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2021, 09:45:24 AM »
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A quick look at the Steam Operator's manual indicates that you can now separately program the front and rear lights to separate function keys.  This means that you can now program the decoder to keep the front light on, although you'd have to assign separate function keys to the front and rear lights and turn them on/off manually.  Still not nearly as good as an ESU, but better than the P3, which locked you into the non-prototypical forward/reverse light orientation.

If I acquire any more BLI locos, I'd probably still replace the Paragon with an ESU, but at least the P4 appears to have addressed one of the most serious shortcomings of the P3.

John C.

learmoia

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Re: BLI Paragon 4 is coming out
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2021, 09:55:12 AM »
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What did they change... Increase the max volume?
“You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try.” ~Homer Simpson

reinhardtjh

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Re: BLI Paragon 4 is coming out
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2021, 10:14:20 AM »
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What did they change... Increase the max volume?

I managed to find the Facebook entry. This is from Bob Grubba

Quote
“Our customers spoke, and we listened. I am very excited to introduce Paragon4 with Rolling ThunderTM, which incorporates all new, cutting-edge features modelers have been requesting most. After evaluating all of the available electronics on the market, we’re confident that Paragon4 with Rolling ThunderTM exceeds the performance, features and usability of any other.”

-Bob Grubba
President
Broadway Limited Imports


The improvements listed are:
Quote
ALL NEW FEATURES

Paragon4 with Rolling ThunderTM builds on the industry leading features of its predecessor, Paragon3, by adding the following highly requested features:

INCREASED CAPACITANCE for HO

For HO, we built our GoPack! power continuity capacitors into the decoder. They are enough to provide several seconds of run time to get past dead spots in the track, but unlike external keep alive type products, we can control the capacitors with software. For example, someone using block control can set CV12 to 1 to make the model stop after 1 second, or disable it entirely by setting CV12 to 0. The capacitors are also disabled automatically on the program track so they don’t interfere with reading back CVs. This makes Paragon4 fully compatible with most systems on the market, including Digitrax, NCE, MRC, and Decoder Pro.

INCREASED CAPACITANCE for N

For N, we could not fit the big capacitors needed to get several seconds of run time, but we did find some huge surface mount capacitors that increase the run time 3 fold over Paragon 3. Customers will notice our N scale models will now run on track that previously would have caused starting and stopping. We also implemented new design and testing procedures to dramatically improve electrical pickup in HO and N, so our Paragon4 models just run better and more reliably.

SWITCHER MODE

We’ve implemented a number of operating modes that make it easy for modelers to set up the locomotive for common types of use. Switcher mode is entered by setting CV128 to 3. This adjusts CV’s 3, 4 and 6 to reduce momentum and improve throttle response for more precise low speed control. To turn off, set CV128=4.

PRO MODE LIGHTING

Our models have semi-automatic lighting by default. The cab light comes on when you stop, the headlight goes off and the rear light goes on when you switch to reverse, etc. For most customers, that works great, but some of our more advanced customers want to control and adjust each light independently. For that we created a mode we call Pro Mode that mostly affects lighting. Setting CV128 to 1 turns on Pro Mode. With Pro Mode activated, a user can turn on and off headlight, rear light, front classification lights, rear classification lights, number boards, cab lights, front rule 17 dimming, read rule 17 dimming, etc. independently using function buttons. Nothing happens automatically. Setting CV128 to 2 turns off Pro Mode. Setting CV128 just triggers a list of CV’s to be set all at once. Turning Switcher Mode on and off does not affect Pro Mode. They can be used together or separately. You can only read back the last setting of CV128.

COMPREHENSIVE BUG FIXES

We also took the time to fix every bug and problem we were aware of with our decoders. For example, we put in a more robust motor driver circuit and improved our motor control software to smooth out some mid-speed jerkiness and reduce the chance of a burned out drive circuit. We solved some programming track read issues that affected Decoder Pro users and we made it impossible to change address-related CV’s while the train is moving to eliminate problems some customers were encountering on club layouts, etc.
John H. Reinhardt
PRRT&HS #8909
C&O HS #11530
N-Trak #7566

amato1969

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Re: BLI Paragon 4 is coming out
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2021, 11:01:45 AM »
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Happy to see the "pro lighting" functionality; that's the one thing that I don't love about my NW2.

  Frank

peteski

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Re: BLI Paragon 4 is coming out
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2021, 01:25:39 PM »
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Still sounds way inferior to the other industry leaders in sound decoders. Even Tsunami seems to have superior features/programminig-flexibility compared to the newest BLI.  The only thing going for BLI is their Sound of Thunder (if you are into that type of sound effect).
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Cajonpassfan

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Re: BLI Paragon 4 is coming out
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2021, 11:34:19 PM »
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I don’t know, maybe we are just too hard on BLI. I like the fact that each new generation BLI decoder represents a marked improvement, and the built-in capacitance is getting much better as well (which can’t be said of “other industry leaders”). And giving us a proto-based alternative to the silly automatic lighting effects most buyers appear to like deserves credit, too. In my world, there is room for P4 decoders, in addition to P3’s, ESU 4 and 5’s, Tsunamis and QSI....At least my steam engines don’t all sound the same.
Viva la diference😎
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learmoia

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Re: BLI Paragon 4 is coming out
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2021, 08:29:07 AM »
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Ohh... I suppose if I'm forced to buy a sound chip with my locomotive... I'd take QSI over MRC  :D...

That doesn't mean I'm happy about it..

~Ian
“You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try.” ~Homer Simpson

greenwizard88

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Re: BLI Paragon 4 is coming out
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2021, 12:05:41 AM »
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This right here:
Quote
For example, we put in a more robust motor driver circuit and improved our motor control software to smooth out some mid-speed jerkiness and reduce the chance of a burned out drive circuit.

I had a GEVO that would blow its board every time it hit a switch with the front truck not quite on the rails. After 2 blown boards it finally worked, but the speed curve on deceleration was funky in a way that I couldn't smooth out.
My name is Drew

jagged ben

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Re: BLI Paragon 4 is coming out
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2021, 11:50:12 AM »
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At least they are making changes to their firmware.  Unlike Digitrax which after all these years still doesn't support a dimmed rear light on a DPU.

jdcolombo

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Re: BLI Paragon 4 is coming out
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2021, 12:05:40 PM »
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I'll give them credit for moving in the right direction.  The real test, of course, is how it will sound.  I thought the P3 sounded pretty good and that BLI did a good job with the speaker in the tender of the Mikado.  I just couldn't deal with the lighting issues, and since I'm an all-ESU shop, I really prefer to keep it that way.  It's just easier to learn one set of advanced programming commands/language instead of 2 or 3 or 4.

But for someone who likes sound and doesn't want to mess with re-doing an entire sound installation, the P4 looks pretty good.  I still wish manufacturers would offer a "sound ready" option, but I understand that having only one version of a locomotive makes sense from an inventory and production standpoint.  So be it.  I'm nearing the end of my locomotive acquisition phase anyway (well, OK - that's probably a lie  :D).

John C.