A list of hints relating to the NCE and Wangrow System One systems
- 1 NCE Hints and Tips
- 1.1 NCE / Wangrow Serial Communications
- 1.2 NCE Serial and USB Interfaces
- 1.3 Throttles
- 1.4 Software Versions
- 1.5 Consisting
- 1.6 Operations
- 1.7 Mini Panel
- 1.8 Cab Reset
- 1.9 Cab Addresses
- 1.10 Programming Issues
- 1.11 Ops Mode Programming
- 2 Notes and References
NCE Hints and Tips
NCE / Wangrow Serial Communications
The serial port works at 9600 bps. Setting it to a faster speed will not work, as the system lacks the handshaking capability to manage communications. JMRI does not allow speeds greater than 9600 for this reason.
NCE Serial and USB Interfaces
A number of commands present when using a serial cable are not available when using the NCE USB interface. Of the commands that are available, the computer interface can send any command it wants.
The NCE USB uses the SiLabs CP2102 chipset. Use the SiLabs CP210x drivers from SiLabs available here. There is a universal driver for Windows10. You also need to know if your OS version is 32 or 64 bit, and install the appropriate driver.
Limitations of the USB Interface
Clock unavailable. Turnout monitoring unavailable.
No mobile decoder programming.
Auxiliary Input Unit (AUI) Support
- USB versions 7.x and above, Smartbooster with firmware version 1.65 and above support the AUI
- USB versions less than 7.x, no AIU support
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.
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 a even number.
- CV29: This has to be set correctly for Primary and Extended Addresses to work
- Ensure that the CVs which control Acceleration, Deceleration and their adjustments are set to reasonable values.
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.
Pro Cab Firmware
When the Pro Cab is connected to the Cab Bus, it will display the software revisions.
For a Radio person (Pro Cab R), install the battery and press E-Stop to display the Radio version. If is has an external antenna, the version will be less than V1.5. Cabs with V1.5 or better have an internal antenna. Those versions appeared in 2008.
Power Cab Firmware
There are several versions of firmware used:
If the system has 1.65 installed, it should be upgraded to 1.65B, as 1.65 has serious bugs which will reduce the functionality of the system should a System Reset be performed. If the Power Cab reports this version of ROMs installed, you should contact NCE regarding an upgrade.
The revision can be seen on the second screen as the Power Cab boots up.
Power Cab Address Ranges
The software revision determines the available range of valid addresses for additional throttles
- V1.28C: The only valid additional throttle address is 3. Unofficially address 4 might be available
- V1.65: Valid addresses for extra throttles are 3, 4 and 5
- The NCE USB, Mini Panel or AIU also have access to addresses such as 8, 9 & 10. Following a System Reset, all extra addresses will be lost and the version 1.28C limitations will be applied
- V1.65B: Same as 1.65, with the elimination of the system reset issues
These issues are also present with the Smart Booster having an address range of 2-5 for V1.28 and 2 through 7 for V1.65B.
Some Power Cab Panels (PCP) have an issue with their design and manufacture. They may require an upgrade for reliable operation with extra devices on the Cab Bus.
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.
- 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 can not get the locomotives to move, write a value of "0" (zero) to CV19
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.
NCE Decoders and RailCom
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.
The Mini Panel is a throttle class device. It can instruct the command station to create commands to one or more preprogrammed loco addresses.
To reset any NCE throttle including the Power Cab: Press SELECT LOCO button when plugging the Cab in, then release 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
- Press the PROG/ESC key five times, to go to Set CMD Station
- Press the ENTER key 33 times, scrolling through the menu options. The last option is Clear All Cab Memory
- Reboot the command station
- Each Cab must be plugged in, one at a time, to register its existing Cab ID, which is stored in the cab.
Every cab must have its own unique address. Consult your documentation to determine which addresses are permitted by your system and software.
Many systems, including NCE, perform a blind write when programming in OPS Mode. The throttle may indicate success, when the write was not successful.
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
A firmware issue in the Power Pro affects programming track operation. Attempting to write to a CV greater than 256 will result in the decoder's possible corruption. The firmware 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,
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.
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.
The serial interface (USB or serial) can send any command.