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NCE 5240027 SB5 SmartBooster


MSRP: $219.95


Courtesy Mark Gurries  “The letters SB mean SMART BOOSTER which is a name specifically targeted to Power Cab users.  The SB5 series of booster are sold as an UPGRADE path for the Power Cab system and NOT presented as new system. True boosters [DB5, PB105, PB110] are not “smart” for they get their commands from the command station [CS02, SB5]. Smart Boosters [SB5] are a complete stand alone command station and booster in a single box.  The command station software in the Smart Booster is basically the same as the Power Cab software and in fact the software revisions between them are the same.”

“The Smart Booster allows six throttle cabs to run trains while giving up the Programming Track Feature. The Programming Track function is still  performed by the Power Cab and adding an NCE AutoSwitch. To add the Programming Track capability to the Smart Booster would be duplicating an existing function. The SB5 is not a complete command station feature wise without the Power Cab.”

Add an SB5 to your Power Cab when you need more track power.  The SB5 can supply 5 Amps of track power while freeing up your Power Cab for true walk around control.  The SB5 accommodates up to 6 throttles plus an additional 3 cab bus accessories such as AIU, USB or Mini-panels. An internationally approved 12/13.8 volt 5 Amp power supply is included.

  • 6 recalls per cab
  • Works with Auto Reversers and Circuit breakers
  • “Booster only” mode to use with other systems

NCE SB5 System Diagram pdf 


DCC Specifications of the SB5:

  • Maximum number of cabs (throttles): 6 – Cab Addresses MUST be in the range of 2 through 7 Plus USB, AIU, Mini Panel accessories in address range of 8 through 10
  • Maximum number of simultaneous trains: 18
  • Functions controlled: 29
  • Locomotive address range: 1-127 (short), 0-9999 (long)
  • Accessory address range: 1-2044
  • Signal address range: 1-2044
  • Maximum number of advanced consists: 16 (addresses 112-127)
  • Maximum number of old consists: 36 (6 per cab)
  • Maximum number of Recalls: 6 per cab

Resetting (Rebooting) the System:
The SB5 has a large power storage capability. This stored up power will continue to operate the microprocessor in the SB5 for up to 15 seconds after power is removed. To reset the system, turn the power off for at least 20 seconds (wait until the red DC power LED goes completely out). If you see the “NCE SB5” message on your cab when you reapply power, the system has properly reset to normal power up condition.

If the above message does not appear wait a bit longer before restoring power.

Returning the System to Original Factory Settings:

  • At the “normal display” press <PROG/ESC> followed by <5>.
  • Press <ENTER> about ten times until the “RESET SYSTEM?” Prompt appears. Press <6> followed by <1> to reset the system to factory default condition. This takes about 10 seconds.

Using a Program Track:
The SB5 is a combination command station and booster, it does not have a dedicated Program Track. It does have the ability to Program on the Main. To access the NCE Program Track, you will need to have available the original set up of the Power Cab and use it connected to a separate piece of track that you can use as the Program Track.

SB5 Booster Mode:
You can disable the command station portion of the SB5 to use it as a “Dumb Booster” with another DCC system. To set the SB5 to booster only mode:

  1. Move the small switch on the bottom of the SB5 toward the rear of the box.
  2. Connect a PowerCab or ProCab to the SB5.
  3. Press <PROG/ESC> followed by <5> to see the SET CMD STATION prompt on the LCD of the cab
  4. Press <ENTER> repeatedly until you see “ENABLE BOOSTER”
  5. Press <1> to enable booster only mode
  6. The status LED on the SB5 should start flashing rapidly indicating the DCC signal is not present and the SB5 is now in Booster mode.

The “Control Bus” jack on the front of the SB5 becomes a DCC signal input rather than a DCC signal output. Connect your DCC signal here.

To return the SB5 to normal command station mode, just reverse the above process (switch toward front of box, disable booster mode in SET CMD STATION).

Note: When in Booster mode cabs connected to the SB5 will still appear to work normally except the word “BOOSTER” will replace the fast clock display. These cabs will not be able to affect actual operation of trains or accessories.


Buy the Radio Equipped Power Cab Here

When can you use the Radio?
A radio Power Cab  can ONLY operate on a layout that already has a dedicated NCE command station including a NCE SB5, CS02, or PH Box along with a RB02 Radio Base station. Here the Power Cab is not used as a Power Cab at all, but as a regular Pro Cab. Operating as a “cab”, the Power Cab can now use the “cab radio” built inside to talk to the command station via the RB02 just like any other radio cab does.

When the Power Cab is used on a NCE layout where the Power Cab is to be used as a Pro Cab throttle, then radio operation is possible. In that specific operational regard, the Power Cab can be upgraded to support a built in radio.

People will falsely assume they can run their layout with the Power Cab in radio mode only to be disappointed that it will not work that way “out of the box” after they purchase it. Tony’s Train Exchange wants to avoid any misunderstanding or claims of False Advertising.


NCE SB5 System Diagram & Power Cab with Radio Upgrade

NCE SB5 System Diagram pdf 

Products in the above Diagram:
NCE Power Cab [Radio Upgrade]
NCE Cab06
NCE Mini Panel
NCE AIU [Auxillary Input Unit]

Power Cab Radio Option
The Power Cab can be upgraded to support a cab radio. However, adding the radio does NOT do what you might think it will do.  Specifically, when using the Power Cab to run a layout, the radio will not work. The Power Cab must still be plugged into the PCP panel as before so the layout can get power over the WIRES from the Power Cab. You cannot send power over the radio.


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