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Power Cab problem

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Power Cab problem
Posted by Bigjim7 on Thursday, June 20, 2019 11:27 AM

My NCE Power Cab is 7 years old. Always work great. Today I pluged it in. Nothing. The red light does not come on. I tested the power supply thing and I am getting no reading; also took a little street light and put a wire in the center plug and touch the outer part ' nothing. Can I just buy a new power supply. I assume it has to be the exact one to not damage the power cab itself. Thanks for any help. Sucks because I was having the kids over Friday night to run trains. Bummer. Jim

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Posted by tstage on Thursday, June 20, 2019 11:40 AM

Jim,

Yea, you can order the PCP panel power supply separately.  Here's the direct link to it on the NCE website.  And you may be able to find it cheaper on eBay or from an online vendor.  [Edit: M.B. Klein has it for $28]

Tom

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Posted by BigDaddy on Thursday, June 20, 2019 11:51 AM

The power supply, we commonly call a wall wart, is an uncommon 13.8 V and 2 amp.    In another thread on fixing these, Randy cautioned not to go over 2 amps.

Some of the Ebay "replacements" exceed these specs.

Make sure your ebay replacement is for a power cab and not the pro Cab.

We never found out if the OP in the other thread fixed his power supply.

Henry

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Posted by richg1998 on Thursday, June 20, 2019 12:36 PM

I would stick with the ssme one from NCE. If you understand electronics, just watch the specs. Observe polarity when hooking up if you DIY.

Rich

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Posted by Bigjim7 on Thursday, June 20, 2019 1:38 PM
I will order the Real one from NCE. I just hope the power cab is not bad. Thanks
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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, June 20, 2019 1:41 PM

 Not too likely, the power supply is the weak link. They are sort of dime a dozen - NCE doesn;t make that, they just rebrand the same ones you can find on eBay or Amazon. There's nothing special about the included power supply, just observe the volt and amp rating, and the polarity of the plug 

                                       --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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

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Posted by tstage on Thursday, June 20, 2019 2:04 PM

Bigjim7
I will order the Real one from NCE. I just hope the power cab is not bad. Thanks

Jim,

The 2A power supply from M.B. Klein is the exact same model you get from NCE for the Power Cab.  It's just a few bucks cheaper from M.B. Klein...

Tom

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Posted by BigDaddy on Thursday, June 20, 2019 2:48 PM

This is the thread I referred to earlier.

http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/744/p/274242/3124365.aspx#3124365

Randy your opinion was different then than it is now.  I'm not finding any 13.8 v wall warts.

I mistook the pro cab power supply for a copycat product on ebay, I will change my post

 

Henry

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Posted by maxman on Thursday, June 20, 2019 2:58 PM

You did test the outlet itself, correct?  It's not connected to a wall switch that might have been inadvertently turned off, is it?

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, June 20, 2019 6:06 PM

 What opinion was different in that other thread? Most of that one was askign if it was worth repairing, basically not. Just get a new one, and you can;t exceed 2 amps, or it risks damaging the PowerCab - the internal shutdown is not an exact threshold, where it works at 2 amps but if you load it with 2.01 amps, it shuts off. The PowerCab will happily keep supplying power as long as the power supply can feed it, as long as there's not an actual short circuit. Instead, it will overheat. It's mentioned somewhere on the NCE web site (good luck finding anythign in that mess) and I think Mark Gurries has an item about it on his web site - you can get slightly more capacity from the PowerCab with a bigger than the stock power supply (based on the other thread, it seems more like the output of the one supplied varied with different batches) so if you had the lower output one, you could use the slightly higher output supply which might mean the difference between running 2 trains and 3, but there is that not to exceed for the power supply to avoid damaging the PowerCab.

It's a lsightly odd voltage - it's basically the actual value of a "12 Volt" car electrical system, so there actually are plenty of options - for high amp power supplies. 2 amps or less are out there, got hits from DigiKey and Mouser, but they don;t seem to show up in the easy places like Amazon.

                             --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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

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Posted by BNSF UP and others modeler on Thursday, June 20, 2019 8:19 PM

BigDaddy

We never found out if the OP in the other thread fixed his power supply.

 

Silly me, I didn't ever say. You are right.

I also get this feeling thats because I stated in another thread or someplace that the problem was the power supply, which I confirmed when I got a new NCE wall wart and plugged it in. If the OP of this thread would like to tinker with his power supply, I can provide some help, but otherwise, for me, it was a process of elimination. I ruled out, through many tests, the power cab and the PCP, so it had to be the power supply. I bought a new one and viola! Do have to say though that my old power supply did the wierdest thing, which you can read more about in the thread link. It's up to the OP though if he wants to tinker or just buy a replacement for the guilty member.

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Posted by tstage on Thursday, June 20, 2019 8:59 PM

BNSF UP and others modeler
I bought a new one and viola!

Yea, there was just too much violins in that other thread...

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Posted by BNSF UP and others modeler on Thursday, June 20, 2019 9:45 PM

I know right? Maybe people shouldn't fiddle with these kinds of things.Laugh

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Posted by tstage on Thursday, June 20, 2019 11:17 PM

Or, maybe they should just be strung up if they do...Wink

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Posted by BigDaddy on Friday, June 21, 2019 12:23 PM

I know better than to challenge my friend Randy's electrical knowledge.  If one wall wart says it puts out 12 volts and another says it puts out 13.8 assume that is real difference and matters.

Do I understand that you are saying they are about the same, functionally?

 

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, June 21, 2019 4:35 PM

  No, they clearly aren't the same. If you use a 12V power supply, the PowerCab PROBABLY will work, but the track voltage will be significantly lower. Which might not be a bad thing, but more and more modern models actually only do run at prototypical tops speeds on the correct voltage, it's not like the days when so many would run 150-200 smph so reducing the voltage would actually be beneficial. What I said is 13.8 volts sounds odd but it's actually the voltage of the "12 volt" system in most cars. You can get very large (10 amp or more) 13.8VDC supplies to run car electronics outside of a vehicle. It's not the same as 12 volts - we call car electrical systems 12 volt but in truth they are 13.8 - start your car and measure the voltage, it's going to be at least 13.8 if not a bit higher if you alternator is working properly. The actual voltage of each cell in the car battery is about 2.1 volts, so fully charged with the car off it should read around 12.6 volts (6 cells). An old car with a 6 volt system was actually 6.3 volts. If that sounds familiar, that's a common filament voltage for tubes. 

 What I'm saying is it seems there have been anything from 1.5 to 2 amp power supplies used - all at 13.8V. It's stated in at least two places that I know of to never use more than a 2 amp supply with the PowerCab. 1.8 amps seems to be the most common factory one- seems odd but 1.8 amps at 13.8 volts is 25 watts. Nice round number.

                                  --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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

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Posted by BigDaddy on Friday, June 21, 2019 6:01 PM

Randy thanks for the clarification

Henry

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Posted by Bigjim7 on Monday, June 24, 2019 2:34 PM
Well my new power supply came today from MB Klien and my Power Cab fired right back up and works just like before. Big Relief ' I was saving up for some other train stuff and having to buy a PCab would have set me back a bit. But all is well. Thanks to all who gave advice.yippee
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Posted by tstage on Monday, June 24, 2019 5:28 PM

Bigjim7
Well my new power supply came today from MB Klien and my Power Cab fired right back up and works just like before. Big Relief ' I was saving up for some other train stuff and having to buy a PCab would have set me back a bit. But all is well. Thanks to all who gave advice.yippee

Glad that fixed your issue, Jim.  Had there been something wrong with your Power Cab, it still most likely would have been more economical to have it repaired by NCE vs forking out $$$ for whole new Power Cab.  I've had mine for 13+ years and have yet to have anything go wrong with it.

Happy Power Cabbing. Stick out tongue

Tom

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Posted by BNSF UP and others modeler on Monday, June 24, 2019 8:20 PM

I think there is more to be gleaned from this thread than meets the eye. I find it fascinating that both of us found that the power supply was the culprit. That leads me to believe that the next time someone has wierd problems like ours, we should first suggest a new power supply. Seems to be a good answer.

The idea would be to save future inquirers from the headache I went through to figure out my problem.

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Posted by Bigjim7 on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 6:44 AM
Well it only takes 10 seconds to test the power supply with a meter or small light bulb to see if it is putting out power' if not its the power supply. You have to be pretty dumb to buy a whole Power cab before just testing the wall wart.
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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 8:00 AM

Problem is, you need to put at least about half the rated load on the power supply to know if it really is good or not, just connecting a meter might read proper voltage but a meter by design is high impedence - doesn't draw much power to avoid influencing the device under test. A fairly common failure in a power supply is where it just falls on its face under load. So an unloaded test will make you think it is just fine.

 FIRST step for a DCC system should be a reset of the system, when odd things are happening. If that doesn't help, check the power supply. The system is, after all, a small computer. Rebooting often fixes weird issues.

                                  --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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

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Posted by Bigjim7 on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 1:57 PM
How in the heck do you reset a power cab if it will not came on. No if their is no current coming out of the wall wart its bad.

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