NCE Hints

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Summary: A list of hints relating to the NCE and Wangrow System One DCC Systems

NCE Power Pro Serial Port Issues

The jackscrews used on the DE9 socket may be too tall for the application making it difficult to secure the connector to it. This can be problematic when using a computer to communicate with the Power Pro.

This is a result of the case material being too thick, where the connector is meant to be mounted through a knockout on a thinner metal case. One solution is to cut the jackscrew so it is no longer proud of the connector.

Throttles

Video

See the Video.

Cab Address

This refers to the address of a device on the Cab Bus, not a locomotive's address. Up to 63 addresses are available on the Cab Bus, some of which are reserved.

Cab 02

This Cab Address is special. Cabs on other addresses can have their capabilities limited, such as preventing the ability to change CVs or use the Momentum key[1]. The Cab on address 2 is the master cab, and retains all its functionality.

This feature is often used for operating sessions, preventing operators from accidentally (or deliberately) making changes to the programming of a multifunction decoder. The host (or a trusted associate) will keep the cab assigned to address 2 for himself, while limiting the functions of throttles on other addresses to what is necessary.

Consists

Your locomotive worked fine yesterday but will not respond today:

This can occur if the locomotive was part of a consist, and the consist was cleared. If the lights, bell and other functions can be controlled, but nothing else, it is possible that the decoder didn't clear the consist information. Press Del Loco to delete the information again. Another method is to reset CV19 to zero using Ops Mode programming.

Headlight Issues

If the headlight turns on and off as the throttle is changed, the reason is a multifunction decoder with only 14 speed steps operating on a DCC system using 28 speed steps.

The speed command in the 14 step mode uses one bit to control the headlight. This bit changes with the throttle changes, and toggles the headlight on when the speed step is an even number.

Programming Related

Will Not Respond on an Analog Layout

If Power Conversion Mode is set to NMRA DCC Only, the decoder will not respond to a DC Voltage.

Emergency Stop (E-Stop)

How the E-Stop function behaves is determined by the system in use.

  • Power Cab
    • E-Stop only affects the locomotive displayed on the Power Cab's LCD
    • Disconnecting the Power Cab from the layout stops everything as power to the track is lost
  • Power Pro
    • Pressing the E-stop button three times on any cab will disconnect the track power.

Consisting

This is important if you take your motive power to run on another layout which uses NCE equipment when you do not use an NCE system on your own layout.

NCE uses a hybrid version of Advanced Consisting which they call Intelligent Consisting.

  • Always break up any consist you created with an NCE command station before removing your locomotives from the layout. Failure to do so will render the units immobile when placed on a layout which does not use an NCE DCC system.

If you forget to do that and find you cannot get the locomotives to move, write a value of "0" (zero) to CV19.

For compatibility and to avoid conflicts, it is preferable to use Extended Addressing (4-digit) mode for multifunction decoders.

Power Pro

Clear All Consists

The "Clear All Advanced Consists" command available in the NCE Power Pro sends a Clear Consist Address command, which causes CV19 to be reset, this is done using the Broadcast Address. All decoders on the track must obey Broadcast Address commands.

Consist is not Cleared

Pressing the Clear button in the consist group should clear all the consist information stored in CV19. Some decoders may enter a sleep mode, and may miss the Clear Consist command.

In this case, use Consist Delete, enter the locomotive number, and press Enter. Make at least two attempts to ensure success.

PowerCab

The PowerCab supports consist addresses from 112 to 127. This is also true for the SB5 Smart Booster.

Operations

NCE Decoders and RailCom

Moved to FAQs

Mini Panel

The Mini Panel is a specialised throttle class device. It can instruct the command station to create commands to one or more preprogrammed loco addresses.

It cannot send messages outside of the Locomotive, Signal or Accessory messages. To communicate with JMRI an AUI Panel is needed.

AUI Panel

The Auxiliary Input Unit provides connections for up to fourteen devices, such as the BD20 Block Detector, switch contacts, and other sensors. The AUI will supply notifications from the sensors to the command station via the Cab Bus. A computer can interface to the RS-232 port on the command station.

The AUI has 14 LEDs to indicate which sensor in operation.

The AUI must be connected to the Cab Bus, but daisy chaining is possible. It must also be assigned an address on the Cab Bus which is not in use already by another device. The factory default is 4, recommended addresses are in the upper end of the range, from 50 to 63.

Cab Reset

To reset any NCE throttle including the Power Cab: Press SELECT LOCO button when plugging the Cab in, then release the button. Reading or changing the cab address is now possible.

With the cursor blinking, select a new address, or enter 00 to reset the cab to its factory defaults. Press ENTER when finished.

Power Cab Reset Warning
If you have a Power Cab with a firmware version less than the current V1.65B, approach the reset with caution. Doing so may create a new problem whose only resolution is to upgrade the firmware. If you have not upgraded the firmware to the current version, it is advisable to do so. Read the section regarding Power Cab Addresses for more details.

If no changes are desired, just press ENTER to exit.

Reset Cab ID Number: Power Pro

  1. Press the PROG/ESC key five times, to go to Set CMD Station
  2. Press the ENTER key 33 times, scrolling through the menu options. The last option is Clear All Cab Memory
  3. Reboot the command station
  4. Each Cab must be plugged in, one at a time, to register its existing Cab ID, which is stored in the cab.

Cab Addresses

Every cab must have its own unique address. Consult your documentation to determine which addresses are permitted by your system and software.

Programming Issues

Blind Writes

Many systems, including NCE, perform a blind write when programming in OPS Mode. The throttle may indicate success, when the write was not successful.

Power Cab

If you do not have a dedicated programming track, the load presented to the Power Cab may be too great, which will result in a failure to program and CV read back will not work. It is also likely that every decoder on the rails will also be reprogrammed.

Solution: Create a dedicated programming track.

Note: A program track booster should not be used with an NCE Power Cab

Power Pro

A firmware issue in the Power Pro affects programming track operation. Attempting to write to a CV greater than 256 will possibly corrupt the multifunction decoder. The Power Pro software will write to a CV which is less than 257, which could have unpredictable results.

There is no way around this issue. An alternate strategy is to use a Power Cab system to perform programming.

A program track booster may be required with an NCE Power Pro. The Soundtraxx PTB-100 is the best choice. Other devices may have issues when used with the Power Pro.

JMRI

This problem will also occur using JMRI on the program track. The advantage to DecoderPro is that it understands the issue, and instead of corrupting the decoder's memory, will just return an error response.

ESU Decoders

This issue does not impact the programming of an ESU decoder, as they have an intelligent method of handling CV >256 in their firmware. DecoderPro uses that method to avoid the problem.

Ops Mode Programming

In Operations Mode commands can be sent to a specified decoder, which requires pre-selection via a throttle.

Computer Interface

The serial interface (USB or serial) can send any command.

Notes and References

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

Power Cab, SB3, SB5 Firmware

See chart here: Power Cab/SB3/SB5 Software

NCE Power Cab Extended Functions

Altering the parameters of a Power Cab to access functions F10-F28

Engineer Cab06 Battery Cover Removal

Quick tip on removing the battery cover from a NCE radio Cab06

Update NCE Command Station with New Firmware

Firmware Upgrade NCE PH Power Pro Command Station
  1. The Momentum key makes changes to CVs 3 & 4 using Ops Mode Programming.