Power Cab

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Starter Set by NCE:

Power Cab

Summary: The Power Cab is a combination throttle, command station and booster in one, in the form of a handheld throttle. It can also be used as a throttle only when connected to an NCE Booster.

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NCEpcab.jpg
General information
Manufacturer NCE
Check Price MSRP
Manufacturer Part Number
Common Name
UPC Number
Release information
Product URL Product Link
Manual URL Manual Link
Has computer interface None
Firmware Upgrade Possible
Year Released
Year EOL
Predecessor
Successor
Details
Max Current 2
Command Station PowerCab

Description

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 system consists of a single unit that combines the functions of a cab/throttle, command station and booster. There is an external 'wall wart' type power supply that provides 13.6v DC to power the system, necessary cables for the Power Cab and second throttle, and a control panel that the Power Cab, power supply, optional second throttle and additional NCE UTP panels for remote connection of the second throttle.

Functionally the Power Cab is a Pro-Cab throttle with the command station and booster within the same package. When connected to a Pro–Cab system, the Power Cab disables its internal command station and booster. When fitted for Radio operation, only the Pro Cab is operational. If you pay attention during the boot process. the display will indicate the Pro–Cab is booting, then a few seconds later the Power Cab boots if no command station was detected.

Components

Power Cab Panel

The Power Cab Panel is the main interface point between the layout and the Power Cab. The Power Cab must remain plugged into the PCP for the system to work, as the Power Cab has only one DCC output. (See Smart Booster below).

There can be only one on the layout, as it supplies power to both the handset and the track (via the handset.) If a second cab is desired, it can be added via a Universal Throttle Panel (UTP), to a maximum of three cabs.

The PCP is a passive device, so it would be rare for it to fail. It also supplies power to the (optional) NCE USB interface. The NCE USB interface is specific to the Power Cab.

Power Supply

The power supply is a 13.6VDC switching type power supply. The output voltage of the Power Cab follows the input voltage of the power supply, so tuning for different track voltages can be affected by changing the power supply. NCE lists a voltage range of 10 to 15 VDC at up to 3A.

Cables

Two cables are provided with the Power Cab system. A six-conductor cable is provided for the use of the Power Cab in 'master' mode. The outer two conductors are track power. The inner four are the normal NCE cab bus. An additional four conductor cable is provided for the optional second cab, or to use the Power Cab as a cab on another NCE system. The cables are normal RJ11/12 style telephone style cables.

Types of Cables Used with NCE DCC Systems

See the Cab Bus page for more information

Control Bus Cable

RJH 4P4C cable, used between boosters and a command station, Maximum 300 feet.

Cab Bus
  1. RJ12 6P4C 4 conductor cable used for tethered cabs
  2. RJ12 6P6C 6 conductor cable used between the Cab Bus and the Power Cab.

The heavier 6 conductor cable carries both track power and the Cab Bus. NCE's recommendation is to purchase a replacement cable from them, as third-party cables will lack the heavy gauge conductors that are needed by the Power Cab.

Expandability

Additional Cab

The Power Cab system can support up to three additional cabs via additional UTPs. Any NCE compatible cab may be used. It the optional USB interface is used it counts as an additional cab.

Smart Booster

The SB5 Smart Booster (5 Amps) The Power Cab when used with the SB5 can be unplugged and used in true walk around fashion. It no longer needs to remain connected for the system to work. Up to 6 cabs can be used with the SB5. Additional 5 Amp boosters (DB5) may be added to the SB5 for even more power handling on larger layouts.

Computer Interface

The Power Cab does not come with a computer interface port. The NCE USB interface connects to the NCE cab bus providing an interface for the Power Cab. The Power Cab has a more limited set of available commands than the NCE PH Pro systems. The commands are sufficient for normal operation and programming. The USB interface can also be used with the Smart Booster. The USB interface can also be used with PH systems, but with an even more limited set of commands, not sufficient for programming.

Auto Switch

The Power Cab comes with a single-track power output. When the Power Cab is put into service (programming track) mode, the entire main line is energized as the programming track. The Auto SW (Auto Switch) provides separate track power and programming track output. The Auto SW can be used with other DCC systems that do not provide separate programming track output.

The Auto SW monitors the DCC track bus, when it detects the DCC Packets used to initialize Service Mode programming it will disconnect booster power and connect a dedicated programming track to the system. It will also change modes if a computer is used for programming.

UTP Panel

NCE UTP Cab fascia panels can be used to provide remote locations for attaching the second cab. Note that the Power Cab itself must remain plugged into the PCP panel.

Radio throttle modification

Radio Base Station (RB02) and any other radio equipped cab are required.

  • RB02 Wireless Base Station 916.50 MHz
  • ProCab-R ProCab with radio
  • CAB06r CAB06 with radio

The Power Cab set is not available with a Radio feature. This must be purchased separately.

Further Expansion

Add the 5A PH Pro, up to 63 cabs! Set up the Power Cab as a programming station (isolated from layout). Change the SB5 to Dumb booster mode to power a 5amp power district.

Additional Information

Address Range

  • Primary: 0-127
    • Adding a leading zero to a primary address will cause it to become an extended address. Example: 0127 versus 127.
  • Extended: 0-9999

Consisting

NCE Intelligent Consisting

Decoder Reset Issues

After resetting a decoder to its factory default, select address 3, not 0003. The system sees an address with leading zeros as a long address.

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

Main article: NCE Power Cab/Firmware

Original version was 1.28C

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 Power Pro, PH-Pro or CS-02 system in Program Track Mode.

This issue does not impact the Power Cab.

There is a bug in the command station software which causes problems when attempting to program any CV above 255. See {{main|Configuration Variable/Indexed Configuration Variables}}.

This only affects the Power Pro, PH-Pro or CS02 systems. This issue does not affect the Power Cab. Many will insist this will not work with the Pro Cab. Due to NCE's product naming, many confuse the Pro Cab (a throttle) the Power Cab starter set. The Pro Cab is only a throttle, the issue lies within the command station software.

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.

NCE recommends using JMRI and the serial interface with these systems. Another solution is Ops Mode programming.

Power Cab FAQs

  • No FAQs link to this page.

See Also

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