Frequently Asked Questions, NCE

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Summary: FAQ for NCE DCC Products


NCE Inc., formerly known as North Coast Engineering

General FAQs

DCC

Scale FAQs

Garden/Large

Manufacturer FAQs

EasyDCC
Digitrax
Lenz
NCE

NCE FAQ section.

Command Stations / Boosters

The NCE starter system is the Power Cab. It comes with a UTP panel that will allow an additional cab throttle to be connected so that two people can operate up to three separate trains on the same model train layout. The Power Cab itself is the throttle, command station and booster all in one handheld package. As such, when the PowerCab is physically disconnected from the layout, all trains stop. When the connection is restored, trains begin moving again. For true walk around operation a second command station/booster must be added, the SB5. When a Power Cab is connected to an SB5, it acts only as a throttle, similar to the Pro Cab.

The Pro Cab system comes with an external Command Station/Booster

Throttles

The NCE starter system is the Power Cab. It contains all you need to convert a model railroad to Digital Command Control. The Power Cab throttle can also be taken to your local model railroad club to use on their layout if they have a NCE Pro Cab system. The Power Cab is a command station/booster/throttle integrated into a hand held unit.

The other throttle is the one with the Pro Cab set. NCE also makes utility throttles.

Power Cab as Throttle

A Power Cab Throttle can be used with another Power Cab. The second throttle must be connected using the cable meant for throttle only usage. The primary Pro Cab will function as the command station and booster.

The same is true when using a Power Cab with a Pro Cab / Power Cab system.

Read the manuals, as there may be a cab address conflict.

Power Cab Firmware Revisions

Original version was 1.28C

Version 1.65 Updates and New Features

  1. All throttles now have up to 6 recall slots
  2. Support for 3 external throttles
  3. Support for 3 AIU, USB or Mini-Panels in addition to the extra throttles
  4. New thumbwheel control of CV programming values
  5. Easy memory operation of the last thrown turnout
  6. Support for Analog Fast Clocks
  7. New, improved USB/computer commands
  8. Programmable Pro Cab™ mode timeout so multiple Power Cabs™ can be used together
    1. This sets the timeout value, determining how long the Power Cab will wait for Cab Bus activity before switching to Power Cab mode. This allows the primary Power Cab to complete its startup routine before other cabs become active on the Cab Bus

Version 1.65B

All the features of V1.65:

  1. All throttles now have six recall slots
  2. Support for three external throttles - addresses 3, 4 & 5
  3. Support for three additional cab devices such as: AIU, USB or Mini-Panel using addresses 8, 9, & 10
  4. New thumbwheel control of CV programming values
  5. Easy memory operation of the last thrown turnout
  6. Support for Analog Fast Clocks
  7. New, improved USB/computer commands
  8. Programmable Pro Cab™ mode timeout so multiple Power Cabs™ can be used together

The most important update, and reason to upgrade:

1.65B fixes a bug for some users who lose cab addresses 5, 8, 9 & 10 after a command station reset. The Power Cab would revert to version 1.28. No additional features or bug fixes are part of this release.

More details: Power Cab Software Update Notes Version 1.65

Power Cab Encoder Replacement

Should the Power Cab's rotary encoder fail, it can be replaced. It is a simple matter to unsolder it and solder a replacement in its place.

The thumb wheel needs to be pulled off the defective encoder and replaced onto the new on.

Incremental Encoder Bourns 3315C-001-006L 6 ppr 120rpm Solid.

One part number to try is the RS Components # 692-8465, or Digikey 3315C-001-006L-ND.

Indexed CV Programming Issues

Do Not Attempt to Program an Indexed CV using the Pro Cab.

There is a bug in the software which causes problems when attempting to program any CV above 255. See

Main article: Configuration Variable/Indexed Configuration Variables.

This only affects the Pro Cab with the Power Pro, PH-Pro or CS02 systems. This issue does not affect the Power Cab.

JMRI can be used with the serial interface, as it understands the issue and can successfully program an Indexed CV with those command stations.

JMRI is a much better option for programming Indexed CVs, as the process can be laborious.

Misc

NCE Decoders and RailCom

With an update to the NMRA DCC Specifications, older NCE decoders which were compliant are no longer. The issue arises when RailCom is active on the command station.

When RailCom is enabled, older NCE decoders may operate erratically or with unexpected results. Disable RailCom to prevent these issues should they arise.

Command stations made with RailCom on board cause the issue. Not all manufacturers1 support RailCom. Most older systems lack RailCom capability. See your manuals to learn if your system has RailCom, and how to disable it.

(1) RailCom is often found on European DCC brands, such as Lenz and ESU.

See also