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Using JMRI with NCE Power Cab, SB5 and PH-Power Pro

Posted by on Aug 19, 2015 in Tech Specs, Tips DCC Components, Tips DCC Systems, Tony's Tips |

JMRI works very well with NCE (Power Cab, SB3/5 and Power Pro). The NCE USB is the ONLY way to connect a Power Cab or SB3/5 to a computer. DO NOT USE AN NCE USB TO CONNECT TO A POWER PRO. It will not do what you want JMRI to do. Use a USB to Serial cable to connect your computer to the Power Pro Learn more here Make sure you always use the latest version of JMRI. Download and install SiLabs CP210x drivers for the NCE USB from <> There has been some confusing documentation about jumper settings for a V7 NCE USB. The following are the CORRECT settings for JMRI with various NCE USB versions and NCE hardware combinations. The correct settings for a Power Cab V1.65 or V1.28 (as shown when the Power Cab starts up) and an NCE USB V6 (or you are not sure of the USB version) are: All USB Jumpers off (or at least 2, 3 & 4. Jumper 1 is ignored). JMRI preferences are: System manufacturer: NCE System connection: NCE USB Serial port: <whatever is appropriate for your system> USB version: V6.x.x System: Power Cab Additional Connection Settings->Baud rate: 9600. The JMRI console log should then report V6.3.0. If it reports V7.3.0 and your Power Cab is V1.65, use the settings below instead. The correct settings for a Power Cab V1.65 and an NCE USB V7 are: All USB Jumpers on (or at least 2, 3 & 4. Jumper 1 is ignored). JMRI preferences are: System manufacturer: NCE System connection: NCE USB Serial port: <whatever is appropriate for your system> USB version: V7.x.x System: Power Cab Additional Connection Settings->Baud rate: 19200. The JMRI console log should then report V7.3.7. The correct settings for an SB5 and an NCE USB V7 are: USB Jumper 4 on. All others off (or at least 2 & 3. Jumper 1 is ignored). JMRI preferences are: System manufacturer: NCE System connection: NCE USB Serial port: <whatever is appropriate for your system> USB version: V7.x.x System: SB5 Additional Connection Settings->Baud rate: 19200. The JMRI console log should then report V7.3.1. If this does not work, either: use Help->System console…->Copy to clipboard and paste into a post use Help->Upload Debugging Info… and tell . The JMRI developers on the NCE Yahoo! group can then look in the reports. Your computer will need an Internet connection to do this. Thank you to The NCE-DCC list Yahoo Group and Dave Heap For more information and to join, go to...

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Digitrax Zephyr and PSX-AR

Posted by on Jul 8, 2015 in Blog, Tech Specs, Tips DCC Components, Tips DCC Systems, Tony's Tips |

I would appreciate some help in setting up PSX-AR with a Digitrax Zephyr Extra DCS-51.  Here’s some of the questions. I have checked software version with LED D6 – It is version K. I understand that I should install a jumper J7-3 to J7-4 and that prevents PSX-AR from misinterpreting multiple commands Digitrax sends on startup? Does that mean that there are no “special programming instructions” for Digitrax? The manual packed with the PSX-AR is rev M 6/14 which is more recent than the version on the website rev K 6/11. However, version M talks only about 2 accessory addresses but lists 3 and version K talks about 3 accessory addresses. It seems to me that version K is probably correct and version M is wrong? Digitrax DCS-51 talks about accessory addresses 0-999 (and memorizes status between sessions only for 0-512) while PSX-AR defaults are 2042-2044 and says that setting addresses and programming CVs is “optional and not required”. Am I correct in assuming that when using Digitrax, setting new addresses is mandatory? Thank you, Jan Carr Hi Jan, 1) Yes. If the jumper is in place, the PSX automatically adjusts its default addresses to 997, 998, and 999 when you enter programming mode, and it knows to ignore the “special addresses” sent by Digitrax at power on. 2) A bit of a trick question. The PSX uses two accessory addresses (ON/OFF control, photo cell arm) while the PSX-AR uses three (ON/OFF control, photo cell arm, switch/reverse direction) 3) Not mandatory if you don’t want to use accessory control. As stated in 1), ensure that the J7-3 to J7-4 jumper is in place, move the program jumper to the program position, and turn on power. The D6 LED will flash. When it is done flashing, turn off power and move the jumper back to the normal operation position. The PSX is now set to the default addresses 997, 998, and 999 for Digitrax. Buy PSX-AR Here Buy Digitrax Zephyr Here...

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Posted by on Feb 23, 2015 in Miscellaneous, Tech Specs, Tips DCC Systems, Tony's Tips |

Bus Termination Filters, aka. snubbers, are not needed if you use speaker wire  for your main bus. The reason for the noise [we think] is that the filters draw a large current spike every time the DCC waveform switches polarity. Our guess is that the current spikes are causing magnetostriction (mechanical change due to a magnetic field) in the current transformer (T1), and because they are short pulses, they can be heard sometimes as a ringing. The best answer is to wire the layout so that the snubbers (bus termination filters) are not needed. We recommend using speaker wire as the primary DCC Power transmission bus. It’s cheap and available everywhere.      ...

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NCE DCC Boosters Explained

Posted by on Jan 30, 2015 in Tips DCC Components, Tips DCC Systems, Tony's Tips |

NCE’s 5 Amp DCC booster options, see table below. All have the same booster electronics and include an ECHO friendly 5 Amp DC switching power supply. These new boosters have a lower total cost compared to the older products they are replacing when you consider that the power supplies are included. The DB5 and the PB5 are compatible with other DCC systems. The DB 5 is the lowest cost non kit 5 Amp DCC booster with power supply available in the US. New NCE Booster Case Style Use MSRP DB5 Plastic Add on Booster $179.95 PB5 Metal Add on Booster $199.95 SB5 Plastic Power Cab Add on Booster Has 4  Operator Command Station Function too...

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NCE Corp Systems & Cabs

Posted by on Jan 3, 2015 in Product Compare, Tips DCC Systems, Tony's Tips |

POWERHOUSE PRO ™ 5 Amp DCC System   The Powerhouse Pro is the most user friendly DCC system on the market. Other DCC systems require memorization of arcane simultaneous button sequences and computer hexadecimal numbers to accomplish the simplest tasks.  The ProCab™ walks you through every operation with clearly labeled buttons and well thought out menu prompts in plain English on the back lit LCD display of the Cab. The most often performed operations usually are just a single key press. The Powerhouse Pro has everything you need to get two DCC controlled trains up and running (except power transformer). It includes the user friendly ProCab™, Command Station with integral Five Amp power unit and 2 locomotive decoders. The Quick Start Guide in our system reference manual will have you up and running in less than 20 minutes. Should you ever need it, the entire system can be easily upgraded by simply swapping out a single program memory chip (no returns to the factory!). An RS-232 port is supplied for those wishing to add computer control to their layout. POWERHOUSE PRO-10™ 10 Amp DCC System   The PH-10 has all the same features as our Powerhouse Pro 5 Amp system described above but with a whopping 10 amps of power for O-Scale and Large Scale (G) layouts. Includes: CS02 command station, PB110 power booster, ProCab one D408SR decoder and manual. Not recommended for smaller scales. PROCAB™   The Pro Cab provides user friendly access to advanced system features. Uncomplicated menus on the easy to read, back lit LCD display guide you through the most advanced operations with a minimum of fuss. This cab is ergonomically designed to correctly fit both left and right handed operators. The speed controls are placed directly where your thumb naturally rests – comfortable even after long operating sessions. We provide both a thumb wheel knob and repeating push buttons for speed control. Control of single or multiple turnouts, animated accessories and lights is a snap. It’s easy to setup multiple unit consists and assign them to other cabs or control them yourself. A RECALL button allows control of 1 to 6 trains per cab. Use this cab to access the programming track or the advanced “programming on the mainline” capabilities of the NCE Powerhouse Pro. The ProCab is sound system friendly, it supports all DCC compatible sound units. All ProCabs are also radio ready to accept our field installable RU01-Pro wireless radio control units. CAB04p Engineer Cab with potentiometer The CAB04p is ideal for operating sessions as an Engineer’s cab. It provides easy selection of locos/consists, single button operation of all decoder functions, momentary HORN button, selection and control of individual turnouts or entire routes (via the MACRO key) and our unique OPTION button that can be programmed to act as any button you wish, even ones on a much larger cab. A large...

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Review of MRC Prodigy Advance System

Posted by on Dec 21, 2014 in Tips DCC Systems, Tony's Tips |

by Larry Maier MRC has released a new DCC control system named the Prodigy Advance. This system consists of three units: an AC wall transformer, the DCC Command Station, and a Cab. Installation is quick and easy. Plug the wall transformer in and connect it to the command station. Connect the cab to the command station with the included cable, and connect your track to the “Main Track” terminals. You are good to go! A second set of terminals can be connected to a separate program track if you desire. The Prodigy Advance is rated at 14.5 volts at the track with a rated current capability of 3.5 amperes. It can handle up to 99 cabs (may require cab bus extension with additional power) and will cover both 2-digit (1-127) and 4-digit (1-9,999) address modes. It can be set to 14/28/128 speed steps on a unit-by-unit basis, and will control up to 20 function outputs on your decoder. The Prodigy Advance supports Advanced and Universal consists, although it will only allow one Universal consist active at one time. Standard programming track operation is supported along with programming on the main. On the program track, both CV read and write are supported. In today’s DCC market, most systems have the same basic features. In my mind, the two areas that distinguish one system from another are power capability and human interface. Let’s see how the Prodigy Advance stacks up in these areas. I am proceeding with the human interface first and will follow up power capability in the near future. Human Interface The short answer is that the MRC Prodigy Advance has one of the better (in my opinion) human interfaces on the DCC market today. I particularly like the fact that most functions are directly addressable and do not require a series of arcane button combinations to get to the function I want. If I want to throw a switch, I hit ACCY, I enter the switch address, and then button 1 or 2 to operate the switch. Once selected, I can continuously operate the switch until I leave the selected address. On other systems I have had the problem of suddenly realizing that a switch is in the wrong direction. The train crashes before I can remember the correct sequence to change the switch. With the Prodigy Advance, the ACCY button is right there ready to operate at a moments notice. The system also has the ability to store up to 32 sets of up to 8 accessories each. This allows you to pre-store a switch route that is operated by a single button operation. If you want to access one of the switch routes, you press the ROUTE button, enter the route address (0 – 31), and activate it. Similarly simple actions using the LOCO button or the CONSIST button allow quick access to a locomotive (or...

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