NCE Packet Analyzer

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

Uses

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.

Requirements

  • 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

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.

Operation

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

Commands

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. (Not sure what this is...)

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.




Additional Reading

Instruction Manual