Paragon 3

gcav17 Feb 18, 2021

  1. gcav17

    gcav17 TrainBoard Member

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    Is it worth the time or should it be replaced with another decoder?

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  2. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

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    Only if it gives you unresolvable problems. Those who were in this predicament often just replace them with ESU.
     
  3. gcav17

    gcav17 TrainBoard Member

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    How does it do with NCE?

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  4. Mr. Trainiac

    Mr. Trainiac TrainBoard Member

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    I don't have a lot of experience with them, but I know some people that have HO steam locomotives with Paragon 3. I think they sound nice, but I think they have a few 'quirks'. I recently got a SPROG, and the manual had information on being 'Broadway Limited' safe. I'm not sure if the Pagaron 3 system has this issue, but I have heard of a large 'in-rush current' on powerup for other decoders. NMRA spec is 250mA for programming tracks, which tells me Paragon may not exactly be NMRA DCC compliant.

    If you are getting a diesel locomotive, I prefer ESU. With steam, I have heard good things about TCS WowSound. I have no reason to believe it will not perform on NCE. I think it will work equally well on all DCC systems. Most complaints seem to be on the decoders themselves, their software, and various failures that require shipping the model for repair.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2021
  5. gcav17

    gcav17 TrainBoard Member

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    I am looking at an E6 from BLI. I have never. Spook say the paragon 3 is bad. No problem I can replace the decoder if I have to. I just wonder how bad they are..

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  6. Mr. Trainiac

    Mr. Trainiac TrainBoard Member

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    It depends how invested you are in a specific decoder brand. If you are trying to consist the decoder with another brand, it may be worth replacing, but if you are just running a single unit, it may be fine. Personally, I would run the decoder until I had issues, and then switch it for an ESU. If it works without issue, then I would be happy with it. If anything comes up that requires sending it back to BLI, I would just scrap it.

    In other words, they are a fine stock decoder, but if the opportunity to upgrade comes up, I would.
     
  7. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

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    Are you having problems with the Broadway Limited model(s) which have this DCC/sound decoder... or is it that you prefer a different brand?

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  8. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

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    I do not have an N scale with Paragon 3 in them, but I did have a couple in HO scale. My Class J and an SD40-2. I had 0 problems with my SD40-2 and only one problem with my J. My J at slow speed would surge and rattle my imaginary HO scale people like crazy. This was a pretty common issue that some said were with the decoder, some said were with the motor and mech. I tried all the troubleshooting that was offered and still no joy. I contacted BLI and they sent me a ROI and a shipping label. I sent my engine back to them and they stated I had an older defective decoder in my engine and that they would send me a new one free of charge. I didn't just get a new decoder they sent me an entire new engine, in a new box. My box had a wrinkle in one corner and a price sticker remains in the same corner. I also had a slight smudge in the gold trim on the tender. What I got was the same engine model but all brand new wrapped in plastic and no wrinkle in my box. Brand new engine inside, and best of all once I got it on the rails the surging was gone. She ran as smooth as silk after that.

    This was back in 2004/2005 ish time frame, I would hope that the issues in HO and N are all gone at this point but one can never tell for sure.
     
  9. gcav17

    gcav17 TrainBoard Member

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    No. I purchased a locomotive with that decoder. Just trying to assess its worth and whether it will work with NCE. That's all I need. I heard it's very iffy.

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  10. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

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    I do not believe that the Paragon 3 existed in either N or HO that far back. The initial releases from BLI had QSI brand. Paragon 3 is about 4-5 years old in N scale... before that was Paragon 2. The Paragon 3 was developed to include WOW-sound speaker interface around the layout. That is toooooo much noise for me!

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  11. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

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    Maybe it was Paragon 2... Either way there was an issue and they fixed it with a brand new loco. I am guessing it was prolly cheaper for them to just send me a new engine rather than fix what I sent in.
     
  12. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

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    The only real 'beef' I have with BLI is that they do A/B sets where the B unit is unpowered. The BLI chassis are a bit lighter in weight than Kato and as a result they have to use traction tires on the A units. So they sacrifice electrical conductivity in the A unit to pull the 'dead weight' B unit around. That makes no sense at all. As a result... I end up buying an extra powered B unit to swap out the unpowered chassis. Great for BLI... lousy for the modeler who now has an unpowered B unit 'paperweight'.

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  13. bigGG1fan

    bigGG1fan TrainBoard Member

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    I have a few BLI Paragon 3 engines. A couple of SW7s, UP A/B E9s, SP A/B Alcos, and a Heavy Mikado. They run OK, but the switchers have occasional contact issues. The UP and SP units pull well, but if anything happens to the traction tires, it's kaput. I did buy the individual powered A and B units instead of the set.

    Sometimes the chuff on the Mike gets out of sync, and there's really no good guide on the programming. BLI doesn't support JMRI programming (open source software and they don't vouch for it.) You may need a booster to get the response from the engine. I ended up buying a SPROG 2, and now have a spare Digitrax PR4.

    There's better sound out there, but overall, they're OK. I wish they had better horns on the diesels.


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  14. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

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    I edited the Paragon 3 interface to 'Rolling Thunder'. Wow-Sound is Train Contol System (TCS) which is my favorite DCC provider.

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  15. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

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    It does not appear that BLI products are supported by other major DCC third party vendors of either DCC or DCC/Sound products. It seems like modelers are 'on their own' to find a different product to replace the proprietary BLI DCC/Sound system. So... no 'drop-in' replacement for Paragon 2 or 3 DCC.

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  16. gcav17

    gcav17 TrainBoard Member

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    A paragon rant



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