Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

NCE PH-Pro and JMRI

1995 views
22 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    January, 2014
  • From: Cresskill, NJ USA
  • 1,001 posts
NCE PH-Pro and JMRI
Posted by gdelmoro on Friday, February 09, 2018 7:10 AM

Hi, I have a PC with Windows 7 and an NCE PH-Pro DCC System. Can someone tell me what I need (hardware) to connect and make it work? I hear that the USP serial cable needs to be matched to the Windows version? I also hear that the PH-Pro has a port to connect the cable to.

Is it as easy as just buying the cable?

Also there are many versions of JMRI, do I want the newest or is there a specific version that i need for Windows 7?

Anything else I need to get or do?

Gary

Moderator
  • Member since
    June, 2003
  • From: Northeast OH
  • 14,148 posts
Posted by tstage on Friday, February 09, 2018 7:48 AM

Gary,

If you go to this JMRI webpage it contains the software info you are looking for:

http://jmri.org/install/WindowsNew.shtml

The current version 4.2 4.10 is supposed to work with Windows 7.

Here's the webpage for the USB-to-Serial adapter:

http://jmri.org/help/en/html/hardware/USBtoSerial.shtml

Tom

http://www.newyorkcentralmodeling.com

Time...It marches on...without ever turning around to see if anyone is even keeping in step.

  • Member since
    December, 2001
  • 1,859 posts
Posted by Stevert on Friday, February 09, 2018 9:02 AM

I wouldn't use 4.2, that version is over two years old and would be missing, among other things, the more recently-released decoder definitions. 

The current Production version is 4.10, and it's available via a link right from the JMRI home page:  http://jmri.org/ 

(As an aside, I always run the latest Test release, and have even run unreleased nightly builds to test or take advantage of new fixes and features.)

Here's more info on connecting to an NCE system and getting everything set up correctly: http://jmri.org/help/en/html/hardware/nce/NCE.shtml 

  • Member since
    January, 2014
  • From: Cresskill, NJ USA
  • 1,001 posts
Posted by gdelmoro on Saturday, February 10, 2018 9:59 AM

Ok so I purchased the USB to serial adapter but some of the videos I’m looking at also have this;

Do I need this too or does the NCE command station take care of it?

Gary

  • Member since
    February, 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 24,624 posts
Posted by rrinker on Saturday, February 10, 2018 11:09 AM

 That is just another USB to serial adapter.

                   --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

  • Member since
    October, 2005
  • 756 posts
Posted by betamax on Saturday, February 10, 2018 2:53 PM

You will need a serial cable between the command station and the usb/serial adapter.

Also, the brand of USB/Serial is important, as many of the cheap ones may not work in this situation.  They work fine for simple things, but are missing signals that your device expects.  Some NCE designs came out of the Wangrow era, so they are a little different than other DCC systems when it comes to computer interfaces.

  • Member since
    January, 2014
  • From: Cresskill, NJ USA
  • 1,001 posts
Posted by gdelmoro on Monday, February 12, 2018 8:51 AM

Ok so I got the cable, installed the driver, downloaded JMRI for Windows 7 and connected to the NCE Command Station.

I placed a BLI Loco on the program track and selected program on program track with my cab.

I added the loco to the roster then double clicked and selected read all sheets.  It begins reading CV’s then every 2,3,5 CV’s I get error 301 which JMRI says is the loco not making contact.  I shut down the Decoder Pro and reseated the loco.  Same thing it reads several CV’s then an error pops up disappears immediately and ot continues to read CV’s.

any Ideas?

Gary

  • Member since
    December, 2001
  • 1,859 posts
Posted by Stevert on Monday, February 12, 2018 9:03 AM

It sounds like your connections, preferences, etc are all correct since it tries to work and has at least some success.  So, it could be one or two things:

1) Not sure if the BLI has the automated audible response to programming commands.  If it does, turn it off.  JMRI is unable to account for the pauses those responses introduce.

2) The PH-Pro's programming outputs have trouble with the power needs of some sound decoders, so you may need a programming track booster.

Try a reading all sheets on a non-sound decoder and see how that works out.

EDIT: Fixed typo.

  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Pa.
  • 3,153 posts
Posted by DigitalGriffin on Monday, February 12, 2018 10:00 AM

Since you are using a POWER CAB and you don't have a command station with a RS232 port, you'll need this:

https://www.ncedcc.com/online-store/USB-Interface-for-Power-Cab-p38322160

I think you'll have to change the default address from 3 to something else because the power cab defaults at 3 itself.

This is what we used down at the club I helped wire up.

Don - Specializing in layout DC->DCC conversions

Modeling C&O transition era and steel industries There's Nothing Like Big Steam!

  • Member since
    February, 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 24,624 posts
Posted by rrinker on Monday, February 12, 2018 10:41 AM

No, Gary has a full PH-Pro system, not a PowerCab. He's got the right hardware. The NCE-USB does work with the PH-Pro but it has some serious limitations, sicne it's really means for the PowerCab.

 I would follow the suggestion to try a non-sound loco. The fact that it starts to read and then fails means it's almost certainly communicating with the command station OK.  It might even work with the BLI loco if you try just reading one sheet at a time instead of trying to read every CV in the loco in one go. 

                                --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Pa.
  • 3,153 posts
Posted by DigitalGriffin on Monday, February 12, 2018 11:03 AM

rrinker

No, Gary has a full PH-Pro system, not a PowerCab. He's got the right hardware. The NCE-USB does work with the PH-Pro but it has some serious limitations, sicne it's really means for the PowerCab.



My mistake.  I thought I read powercab.  But far as I know, the USB is just as powerful as the RS232 port.  I read the command set and programmed for it.

But it's been about 9 years since I programmed it for the club.  You can check the command reference here:

https://ncedcc.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/article_attachments/200502169/USB_V7.pdf

[edit]

After checking the manual, PH-PRO with the USB adapter can't use the program track.  train commands work (speed and function buttons) but no POM (OPS) CV programming apparently.  So that would make decoder pro useless.

Don - Specializing in layout DC->DCC conversions

Modeling C&O transition era and steel industries There's Nothing Like Big Steam!

  • Member since
    January, 2014
  • From: Cresskill, NJ USA
  • 1,001 posts
Posted by gdelmoro on Monday, February 12, 2018 4:41 PM

betamax

You will need a serial cable between the command station and the usb/serial adapter.

Also, the brand of USB/Serial is important, as many of the cheap ones may not work in this situation.  They work fine for simple things, but are missing signals that your device expects.  Some NCE designs came out of the Wangrow era, so they are a little different than other DCC systems when it comes to computer interfaces.

 

PH Pro with Radio and ProCab system

Gary

  • Member since
    January, 2014
  • From: Cresskill, NJ USA
  • 1,001 posts
Posted by gdelmoro on Monday, February 12, 2018 4:49 PM

Making progress although I really don’t know why.

I posted this on the JMRI Group also.

At first Decoder Pro would not read the decoder, then when I shut everything down and started up the NCE system, put a loco on the program track and then started the PC and then decoder Pro - Wl-La it started reading CV’s rapidly. Until about 10 minutes in then I got error 306. Shut down and restarted everything and was able to add 5 locos and read all sheets and write some reprogrammed sounds and volumes.  On the 6th loco... wouldn’t read the decoder until I did the shutdown-startup thing then it found it and made it about 15 minutes into reading sheets and just stopped. Once again shut-Start and away it went. 

One MRR on the JMRI Group thought that it could be dirty track or wheels. Next time I try to add locos, I’ll clean both before I start and see what happens.

Indifferent Open to ideas 

Gary

  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Pa.
  • 3,153 posts
Posted by DigitalGriffin on Monday, February 12, 2018 8:39 PM

1.  Make sure your cables are secure

2.  See if the PH Pro has an option to "Talk" at 9600 baud which is a slower rate.  Decoder pro might be talking faster then the command station can handle.  But that is a pure guess.  You need a pass through RS232 and not a cross over one. (Cross over is where the TX and RX lines cross pins)

From the manual:

 

The factory default baud rate is 9600 baud. You can use the SET CMD STA menu to

 

 

 

change the baud rate to 19200 or 38400. The rest of the communications parameters

 

 

 

are 8 bits, No parity, and One stop bit. If you are using a terminal program on a PC, set it

 

 

 

to echo characters. The characters sent to the Command Station are not echoed.


The nce group should also be able to give you some good hints.

 

 

Don - Specializing in layout DC->DCC conversions

Modeling C&O transition era and steel industries There's Nothing Like Big Steam!

  • Member since
    January, 2014
  • From: Cresskill, NJ USA
  • 1,001 posts
Posted by gdelmoro on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 11:26 AM

DigitalGriffin

1.  Make sure your cables are secure

2.  See if the PH Pro has an option to "Talk" at 9600 baud which is a slower rate.  Decoder pro might be talking faster then the command station can handle.  But that is a pure guess.  You need a pass through RS232 and not a cross over one. (Cross over is where the TX and RX lines cross pins)

From the manual:

 

The factory default baud rate is 9600 baud. You can use the SET CMD STA menu to

 

 

 

change the baud rate to 19200 or 38400. The rest of the communications parameters

 

 

 

are 8 bits, No parity, and One stop bit. If you are using a terminal program on a PC, set it

 

 

 

to echo characters. The characters sent to the Command Station are not echoed.


The nce group should also be able to give you some good hints.

 

 

 

Ok,

Baud rate is set to 9600. are you saying I can set it to one of the higher ones on the PC com port?

 

Gary

  • Member since
    April, 2018
  • 3 posts
Posted by monta on Wednesday, April 04, 2018 10:06 AM

Hi,

Same problem here!! Nce procab.I install jmri, cable (using 19hs serial to usb). No way to get decoder pro working. I can not access the decoder via decoder pro

In all my locomotives same problem error 301. it starts reading cv8 , taking some time and I get the error 301.

I tested JMRI panelpro using throttle, it is working well so the interface betwen pc and jmri is working. I can control locomotive using throttle from panel pro with no problem.

 

please anyone have an idea/

 

Tks a lot for help.

From Brazil all the best for all of you

 

Monta

 

  • Member since
    December, 2001
  • 1,859 posts
Posted by Stevert on Thursday, April 05, 2018 1:03 PM

monta

Hi,

Same problem here!! Nce procab.I install jmri, cable (using 19hs serial to usb). No way to get decoder pro working. I can not access the decoder via decoder pro

In all my locomotives same problem error 301. it starts reading cv8 , taking some time and I get the error 301.

I tested JMRI panelpro using throttle, it is working well so the interface betwen pc and jmri is working. I can control locomotive using throttle from panel pro with no problem.

 

please anyone have an idea/

 

Tks a lot for help.

From Brazil all the best for all of you

 

Monta

 

 

Monta,

A 301 error indicates that the command station has told JMRI that it doesn't "see" a loco on the programming track.

So, make sure that your programming track is isolated from the rest of the layout, and that all the connections from the command station's programming outputs to the decoder itself (CS programming outputs to programming track, clean programming track & clean loco wheels making good contact, loco wiring is good, etc.)

  • Member since
    May, 2010
  • 3,163 posts
Posted by mbinsewi on Thursday, April 05, 2018 2:16 PM

I've had a dirty program track interfere with a JMRI session.  The wheel sets on the loco were new NS wheels, but it all it took was the dirty track.

Mike.

  • Member since
    April, 2018
  • 3 posts
Posted by monta on Thursday, April 05, 2018 2:30 PM

SadHi,

Tks,

All wheels are clean and the track is cleaned using act 6006.

I happens with all my locomotives. JMRI does not recognize any one of them.

Very strange. JMRI commmunicates with loco via pane-pro using throttle but the rooster does not see the locomotivesSad

I am searching all forum to try to understand what  causing the problem.

Tks

Monta

  • Member since
    May, 2010
  • 3,163 posts
Posted by mbinsewi on Thursday, April 05, 2018 3:36 PM

Maybe try the JMRI users group.

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/jmriusers/info

Mike.

  • Member since
    February, 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 24,624 posts
Posted by rrinker on Thursday, April 05, 2018 4:35 PM

What decoders are in these locos? Sound decoders will probbaly not read on the Power Pro without a program track booster. Do you have any without sound decoders? If the throttle in JMRI runs trains, then the communications is working properly between your computer and the DCC system.

 You ARE trying to read on the program track, not the main, right? Does your throttle read CVs from these locos?

                                         --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

  • Member since
    January, 2014
  • From: Cresskill, NJ USA
  • 1,001 posts
Posted by gdelmoro on Thursday, April 05, 2018 6:24 PM

rrinker

What decoders are in these locos? Sound decoders will probbaly not read on the Power Pro without a program track booster. Do you have any without sound decoders? If the throttle in JMRI runs trains, then the communications is working properly between your computer and the DCC system.

 You ARE trying to read on the program track, not the main, right? Does your throttle read CVs from these locos?

                                         --Randy

 

 

Randy’s right without the program track booster it won’t read off the program track.

Also as above when I first started using Decoder Pro I didnt realize I needed to select Program Track.

Gary

  • Member since
    April, 2018
  • 3 posts
Posted by monta on Thursday, April 05, 2018 11:56 PM

Hi,

First of tks for all support of the group, Thnks a lot.

I cleaned everything again and just two os my locos, jmri does not recognize.

Both uses soundtraxx tsunami decoder . One is a kt1000 on sd40-2 and the other is gn1000 on c44-9. The ecanamis are working well. I think is the decoders problem.

I will install more decoder on the rest of my locos. I will install the new tsunami 2.

Tks for all of you.

Monta

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Users Online

There are no community member online

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!