NCE Packet Analyzer

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Occupancy Detection:

NCE: NCE Packet Analyzer

Summary: A packet analyzer is used to view and decoder digital packets. It works with any DCC system at the track level. NCE discontinued this product, which has been replaced by their DCC Meter and Analyser.

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NCE Packet Analyzer.jpg
General information
DCC Category
Occupancy Detection
Manufacturer NCE
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Has computer interface None
Firmware Upgrade Possible
Misc Details

This device is no longer in production.

NCE has released a new DCC Meter and Packet Analyser which offers the same functionality.


NCE made a device they called a packet analyzer. It works with any DCC system at track level, with the ability to also monitor the Cab Bus NCE uses to connect various components together.

Packet Analyser Applications

At the track level it can monitor and display the DCC signal on the rails, telling you what is going on. You can display the data in hex, or plain English. The analyzer also allows you to filter out specific data, such as idle packets, reset, accessory, function command or speed. Additionally, it can display NCE Cab Bus activity.


  • A PC or Mac with a terminal program capable of 38.4Kbps, 7 data bits
  • 9 pin serial cable

If your computer lacks a serial port, as many newer computers do, you will need some sort of USB to Serial adaptor. Be aware that not all adaptors are equal.


Power is normally supplied by a small power supply (wall-wart) or the Cab Bus RJ12 Connector.

The DCC Analyzer can be powered from the track, but jumpers must be set to avoid a ground loop, such as when using a computer.


The analyzer will receive a continuous stream of data, which will be parsed, interpreted and the be transmitted out through the serial port.


The analyzer responds to a number of commands.

For example:

  1. Verbose Mode (easier for a human to understand)
  2. Hexadecimal mode
  3. Display Accessory Packets
  4. Display Idle Packets
  5. Locomotive Packets
  6. Reset Packets
  7. Signal Packets

In Hexadecimal Mode, it can be set to be compatible with the ICC Analyzer. (Inter-Component Connection, for analysis of the inner workings of various software modules.)

In Verbose Mode, the packet contents are a little easier to understand. Words like RESET and IDLE describe their respective packets.

Locomotive packets can display information such as address, speed, (number of digits indicates 14/28 or 128 mode) and direction. ESTOP can also be displayed. Even function data can be displayed.

JMRI's DecoderPro can also read data for the analyzer.

DCC Sniffer

A device like this is sometimes called a DCC Sniffer.

Additional Reading

NCE Packet Analyzer FAQs

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