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Question about NCE 5 amp power pro

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Question about NCE 5 amp power pro
Posted by passenger1955 on Friday, November 03, 2017 7:08 PM

Is an NCE 5 amp power pro 5 amps peak or 5 amps continuous?

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Posted by BigDaddy on Friday, November 03, 2017 7:53 PM

deleted

Henry

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Posted by peahrens on Friday, November 03, 2017 8:07 PM

Paul

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, November 03, 2017 8:08 PM

With proper ventilation, any of the 5 amp systems will supply 5 amps. I wouldn't even have this on the radar as criteria for what system to get. And most people way overestimate hoe much power their trains draw - I think conditioned by all the years of thoise overrated MRC power packs, saying they put out 2 1/2 amps and then struggle running just 2 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.

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Posted by passenger1955 on Friday, November 03, 2017 8:50 PM

Thanks very much all. Could someone please direct me to the right doc/page on the DCC spec that descibes the specs on the signal that a booster is expecting so I can read up on all this. Thanks so much.

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Posted by BMMECNYC on Friday, November 03, 2017 9:39 PM

passenger1955

Thanks very much all. Could someone please direct me to the right doc/page on the DCC spec that descibes the specs on the signal that a booster is expecting so I can read up on all this. Thanks so much.

 

I would suggest the following website:

https://sites.google.com/site/markgurries/home

Main Website is DCC in general.

This is NCE's website with manuals.

https://ncedcc.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/218165223-5-and-10-amp-System-Manuals

This link should open the .pdf you need.  It is the most recent copy.

https://ncedcc.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/article_attachments/211497866/PH-PROv2007.pdf

Please note that when it says "grounding" on page 23, this is not meant to be an actual ground.  The intent is to connect all of the boosters and the command station together.  

 I would also suggest joining the NCE-DCC Yahoo Users group.

As far as the actual DCC standards go:

https://www.nmra.org/index-nmra-standards-and-recommended-practices

S-9.x (series) are the applicable DCC standards.  

Im am pretty sure that the communication between command station and booster is proprietary.  The only thing that is spelled out in the NMRA standards is interface between command station and decoder.

Rule 108: In case of doubt or uncertainty, the safe course must be taken.
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Posted by passenger1955 on Friday, November 03, 2017 10:40 PM

So if i’m Reading this right, the command station puts out a maximum of 1 amp (with some flexibility on the voltage) and this could either power a basic DCC system (for example EZ Command) or it could be sent to a booster, which boosts that up to a more powerful level (like 5 or 10 amps). Is that sort of the gist?

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Posted by richg1998 on Friday, November 03, 2017 11:09 PM

The club I use to belong to has a five amp NCE system. I connected a high wattage rheostat and lowered the resistance until the booster tripped at about 4.97 or so amps. It held about that until I lowerd the resistance slightly more. The club has a DCC ampmeter The booster sits in open air.

The way I understand it, boosters do not send amps. They send voltage. Amps is what the load draws.

Rich

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Posted by BMMECNYC on Saturday, November 04, 2017 7:42 AM

passenger1955
and this could either power a basic DCC system (for example EZ Command)

Not exactly.   Typicaly basic DCC systems do not need a separate command station to power them.  Systems like the Ez command typically come with everything you need to get up and running, but Ez command is a dead end on upgrades.

The Bachmann Ez command is a command station itself.  You cannot have two command stations connected to the same layout.  

passenger1955
it could be sent to a booster, which boosts that up to a more powerful level (like 5 or 10 amps)

Yes, sort of

The PH-pro 5amp is an all in one piece of equipment.  It is a command station and booster in one box.  You can add addtional 5 amp boosters to create separate 5amp power districts (if you are building a layout that will be running 200 car trains and 25 dcc sound locomotives all at once).

If you are in HO or smaller scales, the 10amp system is not meant for you.  It is designed for larger scales.  See photos on Mark Gurries website where someone melted a locomotive due to a high resistance short circuit.

You might be able to use the NCE CS02 command station with a different company's booster, but why would you want to?  

Difference in price between the CS02 (Command Station only) and the PH-Pro Box (command station with 5amp booster in the same box) is $110.   Why risk a compatability issue?

Also, you will need a throttle with your DCC system.  This part is completely proprietary*.   If you buy an NCE system, you need to buy their throttles.  Same goes for any of the other manufcaturers (command station and throttle have to be made by same company).  I would recommend purchasing at least 1 Pro Cab.  

This is the 5amp starter set. 

https://www.ncedcc.com/online-store/PH-PRO-5amp-Starter-set-p38322061

It has the necessary components to get you up and running, except the part which plugs into the wall.  That is sold separately.

This is a less expensive route, and is upgradable to the equivalent of the above sysem (and you dont have to throw anything away when you upgrade).

https://www.ncedcc.com/online-store/Power-Cab-Starter-Set-with-24-watt-110-240V-US-Power-Supply-p38322079

*You can use JMRI to talk to your NCE system.  By doing this, you should be able to use any of the JMRI supported cell phone throttle apps.  

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Posted by BMMECNYC on Saturday, November 04, 2017 8:05 AM

Are you shopping around for DCC systems or just trying to learn about the standard and how they work?

 

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Posted by passenger1955 on Saturday, November 04, 2017 8:25 AM

I am trying to learn about the standard and understand how they work.

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Posted by selector on Saturday, November 04, 2017 11:07 AM

DCC, as opposed to Mike's Train House's (MTH) DCS, is an open source provided originally by the Lenz corporation which still makes DCC systems.  When it became the official standard of the NMRA (National Model Railroad Association), other companies were able to offer their versions that could compete.  So, we have EZ-DCC, NCE, Digitrax, Roco, CVP, and some others, but still including Lenz.  And several companies only offer accessories and decoders, but not DCC operating systems of their own.  TCS is an example.

If you'd like to spend a learning afternoon today, it being a Sunday, you could google NMRA and find their recommended practices and their standards for all sorts of rail-related topics from track gauges and clearances to DCC standards.

Unlike Direct Current of old (and still justifiably wildly popular in the hobby with many variants of control system), where the voltage varies to the rails depending on the performance one wants from the drive mechanism inside the locomotives, DCC maintains set operating voltages in a square wave AC (Alternating Current) to the rails.  The locomotive's decoders then interpet signals transmitted along the rails based on the inputs you stipulate via your control paddle or throttle. The decoder tells the locomotive what to do, whether it's lighting or movement, and in some case which sounds you'll want.  Voltage to the motor depends on the speeds assignments YOU tell the system to tell the decoder to do.  But, the voltage is constant to the rails...always.

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Posted by rrinker on Saturday, November 04, 2017 11:17 AM

 The signal fromt he command station IS the DCC packet stream. All a booster is, is an amplifier capabale of reproducing square waves. In fact there is at least one design that uses an common monolithic audioo amplifier chip, which is not really what the chip was designed to do since a square wave in audio usually means you are severely clipping. However, there are numerous booster designes out there with published schematics so you cna see for yourself just how simple they actually are. All the smarts to keep track of throttles is in the coommand station, and even that really comes down to some code in a microcontroller with a clean square wave output to drive the boosters. See the DCC++ stuff made using Arduinos. 

 Why would you want to use the NCE CS02 with other boosters? Maybe you like NCE's throttles, but want to use a cheaper booster - Tam Valley's are under $50 in quantities of 3 or more, so if you want to give each power district a booster..  Or maybe you used some other system and have multiple boosters but want to convert to NCE. You can just swap out the command station and be done, no need to change all the existing boosters. Various booster brands are generally compatible, at least electrically, although each brand tends to use their own cable format, so to interconnect them you may have to make up a cable to link the correct pins on each side. 

                                --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 mfm37 on Saturday, November 04, 2017 11:18 AM

Every DCC system needs one and only one command station. The command station generates the DCC signal that will be sent to the rails. This signal usually low current is then sent to one or more DCC boosters. This sinal is the actual Bi-directional DCC signal that is applied to the tracks and decoders will get their commands from and rectify for operation. From the command station the signal does not have enough current to run a train. The booster "boosts" the signal and outputs it to the rails or any other device that requires DCC power to operate. It does not boost the voltage of the command station's signal. It increases the amount of available current that can be drawn by decoders or accessories.

Many systems include a command station and booster in the same package. Many (not all) allow the command station to be turned off so that only the booster is operational. This allows multiple units to be used on the same layout because there can be only one command station. There are also "just boosters" available and there are also plans available to build your own. Since the actual signal being generated by teh command station is an NMRA standard, most boosters will work when connected properly. This interconnection really depends on the manufacturer to supply the proper specs to do so. Digitrax, NCE, Lenz, and CVP as well as others provide the information. It is always best to check before making a purchase.

Command stations also use a command architecture that is proprietary to each manufacturer. This means that although any booster should work with any command station, only throttles compatible with a particular command station will be able to control it. This is where the user needs to be comfortable with their choice of system. Any command station will run DCC trains. Only the throttle interface for that particular command station will actually control it. Those throttles are what the operator will actually see. The rest is usually sitting somewhere under the layout.

Martin Myers

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Posted by richg1998 on Saturday, November 04, 2017 12:32 PM

I have the NCE Power Cab. Two amps. A wall wart plugs into a panel which powers the hand held cab which is also a booster. I can plug the output of the cab into an NCE smart booster which is good for five amps.

Just take your time reading through all the links. Don't over think this. Manuals are online.

Rich

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Posted by passenger1955 on Saturday, November 04, 2017 4:11 PM

Question: So knowing there can only be one command station per layout ... when you go to your club, and they have jacks all around the room where you can plug in your NCE cab and run trains ...  am I to understand each little jack is not its own command station (connected to the track proximal to the jack)? Are all these jacks wired to a single command station somewhere on the layout that is delivering the DCC signal from one central place?

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Posted by gregc on Saturday, November 04, 2017 4:42 PM

the NCE command station modulates the voltage on the track per the DCC standard to send commands addressed to specific DCC decoders in a locomotive to make the loco move in a particular direction and speed.  There can be only one device, the command station that sends DCC commands by controlling track voltage.

An NCE cab plugs into the jack you mentioned which connect the cab to an NCE cab bus which supports a proprietary communication protocol between an NCE cab and command station.   An NCE cab primarily communicates keypad button presses used to select the decoder address and specify locomotive direction and speed.

 

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by richg1998 on Saturday, November 04, 2017 5:55 PM

passenger1955

Question: So knowing there can only be one command station per layout ... when you go to your club, and they have jacks all around the room where you can plug in your NCE cab and run trains ...  am I to understand each little jack is not its own command station (connected to the track proximal to the jack)? Are all these jacks wired to a single command station somewhere on the layout that is delivering the DCC signal from one central place?

 

Yes. DCC system manuals tell you that.

Rich

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Posted by BMMECNYC on Saturday, November 04, 2017 5:59 PM

passenger1955
Are all these jacks wired to a single command station somewhere on the layout that is delivering the DCC signal from one central place?

Yes

There could be additional boosters distributed around the layout, with commands transmitted via a separate "booster bus" to the boosters from the command station, but it all goes through the central command station.

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Posted by passenger1955 on Saturday, November 04, 2017 7:16 PM

Thanks, I'm learning a lot. So on this point:

"From the command station the signal does not have enough current to run a train. The booster "boosts" the signal and outputs it to the rails or any other device that requires DCC power to operate. It does not boost the voltage of the command station's signal. It increases the amount of available current that can be drawn by decoders or accessories"

Bachmann EZ Command is a 1 AMP command station that you can connect to a layout (and operate a couple of locos), or you can connect it to a booster (and operate more locos).  So is the EZ Command classified as a "command station" - one that has just enough power to lightly operate as standalone (without a booster), and because it doesn't exceed 1 amp, it also fits the spec and has the option of operating with a booster (in the way a command station as laid out in the NMRA spec normally would)?

 

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Posted by BMMECNYC on Saturday, November 04, 2017 8:05 PM

passenger1955

Thanks, I'm learning a lot. So on this point:

"From the command station the signal does not have enough current to run a train. The booster "boosts" the signal and outputs it to the rails or any other device that requires DCC power to operate. It does not boost the voltage of the command station's signal. It increases the amount of available current that can be drawn by decoders or accessories"

Bachmann EZ Command is a 1 AMP command station that you can connect to a layout (and operate a couple of locos), or you can connect it to a booster (and operate more locos).  So is the EZ Command classified as a "command station" - one that has just enough power to lightly operate as standalone (without a booster), and because it doesn't exceed 1 amp, it also fits the spec and has the option of operating with a booster (in the way a command station as laid out in the NMRA spec normally would)?

 

 

That sounds about right.

It is similar in function to the NCE Power Cab (2 amp system), except the NCE system is more functional...

The NCE PH-Pro has a conformance warrant as well...

Having operated layouts with Bachmann Ez command, NCE and Digitrax, NCE was the easiest throttle to use.  

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Posted by passenger1955 on Saturday, November 04, 2017 8:15 PM

Can I assume the NCE Power Cab (2 amp system) has the booster built-in, and is not designed to use with a separate booster?  I notice the DCC command station spec says a command station shouldn't exceed 1000 mA ("...to reduce hazards in case of a short circuit in the Power Station Interface.")

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Posted by BMMECNYC on Saturday, November 04, 2017 8:31 PM

passenger1955

Can I assume the NCE Power Cab (2 amp system) has the booster built-in, and is not designed to use with a separate booster?  I notice the DCC command station spec says a command station shouldn't exceed 1000 mA ("...to reduce hazards in case of a short circuit in the Power Station Interface.")

 

Correct.  

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Posted by rrinker on Saturday, November 04, 2017 10:17 PM

 Well, correct that the PowerCab has a command station and booster built in, but it does work with additional boosters. Boosters can get their signal from the track power signal just as easily as from a special command statioon bus. You can hook Tam Valley boosters to the rail connections of a PowerCab and feed ONLY the output of those to the rails, gaining more power plus independent power districts, where a short in one section won;t shut down the whole layout. Just how useful this is when you can only have one additional cab with the PowerCab remains to be seen. But if yoou use the NCE USB interface with the PowerCab, you can run JMRI computer throttles or WiThrottle to smartphones and actually run more than 2 total cabs, up to the power limit.

SPROG works the same way, it's a programmer but also a command station with low power booster. There's no dedicated booster bus to hook more boosters to it, but you cna wire additional boosters right to the rail connections. With either system, you would not want the rail connections from the device (PowerCab or SPROG) ALSO going to the rails - a short there would kill the signal to all the boosters and shut down the entire layout.

                             --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 cuyama on Saturday, November 04, 2017 10:18 PM

I believe that you'll find that the PowerCab is also designed to be used as a cab with an external booster. In that case the internal booster is not activated.

https://ncedcc.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/201480075-Step-2-Option-A-Power-Cab-SB5-Smartbooster

 

 

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, November 05, 2017 4:23 AM

passenger1955

So if i’m Reading this right, the command station puts out a maximum of 1 amp (with some flexibility on the voltage) and this could either power a basic DCC system (for example EZ Command) or it could be sent to a booster, which boosts that up to a more powerful level (like 5 or 10 amps). Is that sort of the gist?

 

Time for me to join in this conversation. What is the basis for the reference to 1 amp?

The NCE PH-Pro 5 amp system, which I own, only puts out 1 amp maximum from the command station and the  booster raises this power somehow to 5 amps?

Is that what we are saying?

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by passenger1955 on Sunday, November 05, 2017 10:56 AM

I'm reading the NMRA DCC standard "power interface" document.

https://www.nmra.org/sites/default/files/standards/sandrp/pdf/S-9.1.2_2012_07.pdf

On line 72 it says "The (command station) output current should be limited to no greater than 1000 mA to reduce hazards in case of a short circuit in the Power Station Interface."

So I'm gathering that command stations are supposed to limit their power to 1 amp or less, and boosters are supposed to take that 1 amp signal and amplify it to a higher amperage.  Many products (like NCE) combine the command station and power booster into one product. Bachmann EZ Command kind of threads the needle by selling a 1 amp command station that can either operate standalone and run a few locos, or be used in conjunction with a booster. Someone has pointed out above that NCE achieves a similar result by allowing you to disable the built-in booster (if its 2 amps for example) and utilize a separate 5 or 10 amp booster (if you choose).

I think that's what I've gathered from all the great input on this thread. Somebody please correct me if I'm wrong. I appreciate it.

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Posted by rrinker on Sunday, November 05, 2017 11:23 AM

 Yes, this is accurate. But the real key point about the whole thing is that the signal froomt he command station IS the DCC signal, following the same packet design as the track power. The only difference is the current limit. Peak voltage can vary as well - you do not need to alter the command station to use a booster that puts 20V on the rail for large scale, or 12V on the rail for Z scale. This is purely a booster function.

                                         --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 gregc on Sunday, November 05, 2017 12:01 PM

bear in mind, that unlike voltage, current depends on resistance.  any DCC device providing track voltage will only provide as much current as needed and only as much as it is designed to supply.  A single locomotive may only draw a few 100 ma from a 5 amp booster.

passenger1955
So I'm gathering that command stations are supposed to limit their power to 1 amp or less, and boosters are supposed to take that 1 amp signal and amplify it to a higher amperage.

any basic DCC sytem requires a command station that dictates the DCC track voltage carrying commands and a power supply, booster, that can provide that voltage on the track with sufficient current capabilty.   They could be two separate units or a single unit.

there's inevitably a delay (msecs) between the input and output of the booster.   A secondary unit is not driven by the voltage on the track or the output of another booster, but by the original DCC signal generated by the command station.

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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