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Power Pax Programming Booster and TCS Keep Alive Capacitor

Posted by on Oct 1, 2015 in Tips DCC Components, Tony's Tips |

I purchased two PowerPax Boosters from you.  I understand the need to isolate the PowerPax Programming track from the running track.  We also have several TCS Keep Alive equipped Decoders. If I quickly remove a TCS Keep Alive locomotive from the running track and start programming before the TCS capacitor discharges, will this damage the Power Pax ?……John B. John: This should not hurt the PowerPax. The stay alive circuit is DC and is blocked from feeding back into the track by diodes. In fact, the stay alive circuit may draw enough current at start up to trip the PowerPax circuit protection, which is set at 250mA per the NMRA requirements. If you have a problem, you may need to actually use this technique to get the engine up and running on the program track. You can use a length of dead track that is longer than the engine between the DCC and the PowerPax track. Charge the engine up on DCC and then slide it across to the Program Track as you enable the Program Track. Unfortunately, the engine decoder technology at this point has surpassed the NMRA’s concept of the Program Track, so there are some mis-matches between the NMRA specs and today’s...

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PSX Address Programming

Posted by on Oct 1, 2015 in Tech Specs, Tips DCC Components, Tony's Tips |

I have a question related to the PSX-1 Circuit Breaker..  I have ten PSX’s daisy chained together and programmed for addresses 1001 through 1010.  When I use the accy. address option on my NCE PH-Pro and turn off some of the PSX-1’s everything is fine until I turn one back on.  When I turn some ON, the previous addressed one turns OFF.  I then have to go down the “chain” of PSX’s and turn each one back on since the next lower one now turns off until the last one, 1001, does not turn off.  This doesn’t happen with all of them. Example:  1007, when turned back on, 1006 then turns off. I then have to go through turning on 1006, then 1005, then 1004, then 1003, then 1002, but 1001 does not turn off?  Thanks…..John C. John: OK. The problem is each PSX uses THREE addresses. If you programmed them in sequence [likely], the ON command to one is the photo cell enable to the previous one. The previous one then trips off. Here is what to do: Place the first PSX in program mode by moving the Program Jumper to PROGRAM Send an ON (1) command to the accessory address 1001, then to accessory address 2043, then to accessory address 2044. Remove power and return the first PSX’s Program Jumper to normal operation. Set the second PSX to program and turn on power. Send the ON (1) accessory command to 1002, 2043, 2044. Repeat as necessary. This will program each of the PSX’s on/off controls to 1001, 1002, etc. while leaving the other two addresses for photo cell arm [and switch control on the PSX-AR only] at their default values. If you only send one address, the PSX assumes you want the three addresses in sequence. Send 1001 only, and 1001 is on/off, 1002 is photo cell arm, and 1003 is switch control (only used by PSX-AR but programmed in the PSX breaker). Hope this...

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Reset A PSX-AR with Digitrax

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

Ever feel that you’re lost and need to reset your PSX-AR unit? Here’s the exact procedure to restore to factory defaults with your Digitrax DCC system. Also included is how to assign the address for controlling a turnout with the PSX-AR. Make sure you have installed the Digitrax configuration jumper J7-3 to J7-4 Turn off the DCS51, connect the PSX-AR, and move the program jumper to program Turn on the DCS51 or other Digitrax System You will see D6 flash; hopefully long/short, but this is not critical Press PROG MODE until you see OPS displayed Press STEPS CV, you see o001 (number may be different) Press 63 then CV and see d000 (number may be different) Press 42 then CV-WR Make sure you see D6 flash You are now reset Press EXIT Press SWITCH and the address you want (e.g. 100) Press either t or c Make sure you see D6 flash The switch control will be at the address you used (e.g. 100) plus 2 (e.g. 102) Turn of track power and place the jumper back to normal Turn on track power. The PSX should turn on (c) and off (t) at the switch address you programmed The switch control should operate (t/c) at the address you programmed plus...

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Why Program Track Boosters are Needed

Posted by on Sep 14, 2015 in Tech Specs, Tips DCC Components |

Contributed by Mark Gurries and the NCE Yahoo! Group What can you expect a PTB100 and Power Pax Programming Track Booster to do when connected to the programming track of a DCC system other than just writing a CV setting? You will be able to RESTORE THE LOST CV READ capability of the programming track when working with sound decoders. Simplistically, this is the primary purpose of the programming track booster. A fully compliant NMRA DCC programming track is an electrically “safe place” to test locomotives without blowing up decoders. It is intentionally designed to provide a very small amount of current to the track. If there is a short on the locomotive, the short will NOT cause any damage to any electronics. Decoder’s know this environment and shutdown everything but remain alive enough to communicate. There is not even enough current to run the motor. The original NMRA DCC specifications/standard for the Programming Track was written/developed BEFORE the existence of sound decoders. Eventually sound decoders were introduced and they presented a unique transient current load condition on the programming track that the programming track was never intended to support. It took a long while, but the NMRA finally updated the DCC Programming track specification/standard to address a sound decoder’s power needs while still keeping the programming track safe. With respect to multiple DCC manufactures and the adoption of the updated programming track standard: 1) NEW DCC systems, There have only been been a few that have been updated to follow the NEW NMRA programming track specification. NCE’s PowerCab falls into this category. 2) OLD DCC systems: Many in production today still follow the ORIGINAL OLD NMRA programming track specification. They have not been updated. NCE’s PowerPro falls into this category. There are two problems. Writing and Reading on the Programming Track which are both directly tied to the power problem.. The Programming Track booster is sort of like a Booster for running trains but is specifically designed to maintain the electrically “safe place” programming track environment. A programming track booster adds additional TRANSIENT current capability support and still allows reading and writing CV values. Programming Track boosters do not limit the number nor the type of CV’s you can access in any way. They are transparent devices to the programming track interface of the DCC system. For more information, go here:

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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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Clearing The Lenz LZV100 Stack

Posted by on Aug 11, 2015 in Tech Specs, Tips DCC Components, Tony's Tips |

You clear the stack of the LZV100 by setting the address on your display to 000 in the same way as you would for any other decoder address. Then, you press the 4 key about 20-28 times. Somewhere, around key press 17-20, you will see a short delay of response on the LH display.  If you have an RRampmeter, you will notice the power to track and the display go off for for a second or two. Shut off power to the system and count to 45. Then turn the system back on.  You will have cleared the stack and reset the command part of it system to factory default. Any decoder address you control with an LH unit will automatically be entered into the system...

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