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Discussion Starter #1
Recently, My BLI Big Boy has been randomly stopping on the tracks, but the sound still works and also the headlights starts to blink, I keep on encountering this issue and I don't know what to do. I cleaned the tracks on my layout but it wasn't the tracks, when I run the train forward, it will randomly come to a halt, if I run it backwards, it will continue operating for longer amounts of time. I ran the locomotive today and it stopped not even making it all the way back around the track to me. (Idk if this has to do with the cause but) before it would randomly stop like this, I accidentally added an extra drop of smoke fluid down the stack. Would the smoke fluid be able to reach the electronics? And if you have experienced something like this in the past pls answer, I love this engine and I don't want to have it just randomly stop on the tracks. Not do I want to run it backwards for the rest of it's career.
 

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Clean the locomotives wheels and make sure that the power pickup wipers are making good contact with the axles or inside of the wheels, as appropriate.

You can try resetting the decoder (set CV8 to a value of 8).

If neither of those fixes your problem, then you probably have a bad connectio or wire inside the loco itself. Pull the shell and investigate. The decoder may be in the tender, so that might be a good place to start.

Good luck.
 

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How is the tender connected to the locomotive electrically. If it's a plug into a receptacle, make sure the plug is well and truly 'home' as far as a pretty darned firm shove can put it.

If the locomotive is clean, the tracks are clean, and the plug is squarely and deeply, fully, inserted, then you have an intermittent problem with connectivity inside the tender or loco, a broken wire, a bad solder, a bad decoder output...something that BLI will have to see and fix.

Sorry.
 

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I sent one back to BLI and the simple fix was I did not have the plug all the way in.
My engine was gone for weeks. I thought the plug was in all the way and it wasn't.
Unplug and reinsert the plug and push it all the way in and then push it again. Let us know
how that works. This is a common problem with BLI.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
mopac, I always check if my engine is plugged in before operation and the plug is surely in the locomotive, so it unfortunately doesn't have anything to do with the plug
 

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I thought so too on mine. But ok. Then I think you need to send it in. Give them a call first.
 

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Yes, it can still be the plug, and that was the gist of my comment. Those tiny wires are surprisingly robust, but they do break, and not where it is obvious.

You need a multimeter and set about testing all the inputs and outputs of the decoder, meaning the tender shell has to be lifted for access.

If you can't do that, then you should contact BLI for an RA, or ask a tech to talk you through some diagnostic steps over the phone.
 

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I have to use something other than my fingers to push plug in all the way. I usually use the flat part of a small flat screwdriver. It will go in about 1/8 inch farther than I can do with fingers. Your description sounds like a plug not bottomed out in plug. I will repeat, common problem.
 

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I had a similar sounding problem with my BLI H-10 (https://www.modeltrainforum.com/showthread.php?t=177604).

Ultimately it came down to cleaning the tender wheels. I would strongly suggest cleaning all of the wheels of the locomotive and the tender, including the axles on the tender where the pickups rest against them.

I bought the Woodland Scenics Roto Wheel Cleaner and it has done well, although I know some other people just soak a towel in some alcohol and lay it over the track and run the locomotive over it holding it in place so the wheels slip over the alcohol.

I should stress that I had very little run time on my H-10 before it needed cleaning, so some of this may just be from the manufacturing process.
 

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I don't have any idea what's causing the problem with your BLI Big Boy. The only advice I can give you, from my point of view as a collector anyway, is don't fool with it. For something this big, complex, and expensive, I would put it in a box and send it back to the factory and tell them to go right through it. Even if I had to send it back five times and scream at them on the telephone like a crazy man every morning until they got it right that's what I would do.

I know, there are a lot of very talented and knowledgeable people on this site who could whip your loco into into shape, with little more than a screwdriver and some light lubricant, and get it running better than it ever did from the factory; that's not the route I would take. I'm sure others would, but not me.

Actually, from my point of view, your very lucky to own one. I’ve been looking for an HO Scale BLI Big Boy 4-8-8-4 Steam Loco with steam whistle and Paragon 3 for a long time. There just not out there, even for crazy money - not even in Canada. I can't believe I let this thing slip by me. I've made repeated calls to BLI to find out if I can still get one, or if it has it reached the end of the production run and has been discounted, but never got a straight answer. It says on their website they still can be ordered through a dealer, but that doesn't appear to be true. I had thought a used one, not tampered with and still in the box with everything that came with it, would surface by now, but that hasn't happened yet either. A lot of guys buy these monsters then end up selling it because they can’t get it to run on their layout. So I don’t know what to think. I guess I'll just have to keep looking.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I think I am going to have to send it to BLI bc I made sure the wire was as far in as it could go but it stopped after some time (3-4 laps in), I also cleaned the tender's wheels and locomotive wheels, anything I could do to check without taking the locomotive apart or opening it? I'm actually too scared to open it bc I don't want to mess with the separate details.(btw this is a picture of it after it stopped,)
 

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TheDarkNarps; I think that's the most sensible course of action. It's what I would do. We're not talking about a secondhand Tyco you picked up on ebay for a couple of bucks (I hate Tyco - you getting that?). That's a beautiful loco you've got there. Sure it's gonna be fussy and demanding. That's the nature of the beast. Try living with a Lambo.
 

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TheDarkNarps; I think that's the most sensible course of action. It's what I would do. We're not talking about a secondhand Tyco you picked up on ebay for a couple of bucks (I hate Tyco - you getting that?). That's a beautiful loco you've got there. Sure it's gonna be fussy and demanding. That's the nature of the beast. Try living with a Lambo.
How should I contact BLI to send it back?
 

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Somewhere in your manual will have the phone number. They are very good over the phone. They will help you. I sent one in and except being gone for weeks it was not bad.
You don't have a lot of choice. Send it back.
They will give you a repair number and tell you where to send. You have to call first.
 

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Okay, I took the plunge. I bought the MTH HO scale re-popped version of their Big Boy - 80-3287-1 with Proto3 DCC & Sound, Smoke and Steam Whistle. I guess they're trying to steal their competitor's thunder. Hey, why not? If they can come up with a more realistic execution. It raises the bar for all the manufactures and keeps the standards high. I really wanted to go with BLI, but I was assured by the Rep/store owner, in very frank terms, MTH went back to the drawing board and fixed all the problems customers were bitching about their version of the prototype. Frankly, other than having insane pulling power, although not necessarily a given for every locomotive, it had a growing reputation for being a dog. Supposedly, that's all in the past. This new production run represents the best efforts of MTH to bring to the market the best version of their Big Boy in its most refined form. We'll see... For a little over $600 they better have.
 

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Somewhere in your manual will have the phone number. They are very good over the phone. They will help you. I sent one in and except being gone for weeks it was not bad.
You don't have a lot of choice. Send it back.
They will give you a repair number and tell you where to send. You have to call first.
if I were to email them, how would I do so, would I contact for parts or should I contact them to send it to them so they can have a look
 

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Okay, I took the plunge. I bought the MTH HO scale re-popped version of their Big Boy - 80-3287-1 with Proto3 DCC & Sound, Smoke and Steam Whistle. I guess they're trying to steal their competitor's thunder. Hey, why not? If they can come up with a more realistic execution. It raises the bar for all the manufactures and keeps the standards high. I really wanted to go with BLI, but I was assured by the Rep/store owner, in very frank terms, MTH went back to the drawing board and fixed all the problems customers were bitching about their version of the prototype. Frankly, other than having insane pulling power, although not necessarily a given for every locomotive, it had a growing reputation for being a dog. Supposedly, that's all in the past. This new production run represents the best efforts of MTH to bring to the market the best version of their Big Boy in its most refined form. We'll see... For a little over $600 they better have.
tell me what's it's like to own one, the main reason I bought my bli big boy was to replace my 1995 50th anniversary big boy which doesn't really work that well anymore
 

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if I were to email them, how would I do so, would I contact for parts or should I contact them to send it to them so they can have a look
Is it new? Ask about warrantee repairs. You can't really order parts unless you know which ones you need.
 

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TheDarkNarps, I found the MTH Big Boy on my front steps today and I'm not a happy camper. It had been delivered a full two days ahead of the date and time I was told would be the earliest possible time to expect it. The package was left out in the open during a driving rain storm without notification and looked like a soggy bag of Chinese noodles tossed on a garbage heap. I brought it inside and as I started to cut open the box chunks of water-soaked cardboard started to disintegrate in my hands. I was furious and expecting the worst, but as I got deeper inside I found a large dry layer of packing peanuts. The locomotive was found half way down in its box wrapped in a sealed heavy plastic bag and cushioned in several layers of bubble wrap. Crisis averted.
The locomotive and the box it came in (which is just as important to me) was undamaged and in pristine condition. This is a beautiful prototype of a Big Boy. It comes per-assembled in a long box and is heavy. I haven't built a dedicated line of track yet on my layout that I would consider to be safe to run big steamers on; and I own a lot of them, some of them even bigger then a Big Boy (I own a Yellowstone, Triplex “Russian”, 2-10-2 “USRA", ect.). So I'm in no hurry to risk dropping this thing on the floor. It's suppose to run on 18" loops, but I don't buy it. The most important thing to me right now is that I have one in my roster. When I do have a safe track run dedicated to big steamers I will show them running in all their glory.
 
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