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NCE Power Cab

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NCE Power Cab
Posted by John Lawrence on Monday, May 27, 2019 7:56 PM

The manual does a quick start using the program track. My understanding is that you don't need a separate programming track, but you just need to have only one loco on the track which you need to program. So I used the main track as the programming track. After programming I noticed the loco ran awfully slow. Then somewhere else in the manual it said that the loco would not run very fast on the programming track. Have I changed my whole layout to the programming track somehow? If so, how do I get it back to the main track? And do I need to only program on the main track since I don't have a separate program track?

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Posted by mbinsewi on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 9:25 AM

I can't answer your question John, but I can give your thread a "bump" back to the top.

There are a lot of NCE users in here.

I use Digitrax, and I progam on the main all the time.  If I have more than the subject locomotive on the track,  I can turn off the track that others might be on. 

Maybe go through the manual again, and see what's up.

Maybe you have the wires to the track connected to the NCE where the programming wires should be?

Just guessing.

Mike.

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Posted by York1 on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 9:29 AM

I wish I could help.  I use NCE and I always "program on the main".  I've never had an issue.  I've never used the "program track" part of the device.

Saints Fan John

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Posted by mbinsewi on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 9:33 AM

John, are there seperate connections for wires to the track, and wires to a programming track?

Mike.

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Posted by York1 on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 9:47 AM

mbinsewi

John, are there seperate connections for wires to the track, and wires to a programming track?

Mike.

 

 

No. I did not wire a separate programming track.  I never worried about it.

As far as removing every locomotive from the track, you only have to do that when you first enter the loco's information.

Once I had my locomotives programmed, all new programming can be done with the other locos on the track.

Saints Fan John

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Posted by gregc on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 9:48 AM

i have a small layout and do what you do.   When I have a new decoder that needs to be programmed, i remove the other locos and program it on the layout using the program track option.

to test the loco, i exit out of the programming mode and change speed/direction.

presumably you're refereing to the 2nd paragraph on pg 48 of the manual.   I don't understand what it is referring to since, as far as I know, the PowerCab does not have separate connections for the mainline and programming track.

i've not notices the problem you describe.   You may want to check the CV5  for max voltage

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by Eric White on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 10:06 AM

Hi John,

I use a PowerCab and while I don't know why your locomotive is running slowly, I'm sure you didn't turn your layout into a programming track.

When the PowerCab is in programming track mode, it only sends enough power to the decoder to communicate with it, not enough to run the locomotive. So if the locomotive is moving, you've left programming track mode.

What did you change while you were programming?

Did the locomotive run faster before programming?

Does the locomotive have a factory-installed decoder, or did you install a new one?

These are all avenues you need to go down to track down why the locomotive is running slowly.

Good luck!

Eric

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Posted by tstage on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 10:28 AM

York1

I wish I could help.  I use NCE and I always "program on the main".  I've never had an issue.  I've never used the "program track" part of the device.

 

John (York1),

If you install your own decoders, it's actually wise to test/address them using "programming track" mode (vs POM).  As Eric mentioned, programming track mode uses less power to communicate with the decoder.  Should you miswire something or the decoder inadvertently shorts to the chassis, you're less likely to fry a component on the decoder board in programming track mode than POM.

Tom

http://www.newyorkcentralmodeling.com

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Posted by mlehman on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 10:52 AM

If it's a new decoder, the easiest thing to do is reset the decoder to the factory default and then the speed should fix itself (revert to factory setting, which I presume it was at previously.) Then try adjusting the speed setting how you want it again. For NCE decoders, this is CV 30 and you enter 2 to reset it. Check you documentation if another decoder brand.

To leave the Programming mode on the PowerCab, you can press the Prog/Esc key at the very left bottom on the PowerCab.

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

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Posted by York1 on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 11:18 AM

tstage
If you install your own decoders, it's actually wise to test/address them using "programming track" mode (vs POM).  As Eric mentioned, programming track mode uses less power to communicate with the decoder.  Should you miswire something or the decoder inadvertently shorts to the chassis, you're less likely to fry a component on the decoder board in programming track mode than POM. Tom

 

Thanks for the info!  Since I'm still fairly new to all this, I need to know things like this.

So far, I have bought all my locomotives with decoders installed. I'll remember your advice if I get to the point of getting a new decoder.

Saints Fan John

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Posted by John Lawrence on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 12:07 PM

No, I don't have a separate programming track. I saw in a video, I think, that you could use your main track as a programming track, and the "Quick Start" in the manual says to use the programming track. But I noticed that when you do that the Cab says "Main off". That's why I was wondering if the Cab was considering my main track a programming track and not delivering full power.

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Posted by John Lawrence on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 12:11 PM

No, I used the main track as a programming track. The "Quick Start" in the manual uses the programming track. I don't have a separate programming track. I noticed in a video that you could use the main track as a programming track, but also the cab says "Main Off" when you do so. I'm thinking That the cab isn't delivering full power because it's thinking the main track is a programming track.

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Posted by richg1998 on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 12:44 PM

John Lawrence

No, I used the main track as a programming track. The "Quick Start" in the manual uses the programming track. I don't have a separate programming track. I noticed in a video that you could use the main track as a programming track, but also the cab says "Main Off" when you do so. I'm thinking That the cab isn't delivering full power because it's thinking the main track is a programming track.

 

Same here. My layout becomes the program track.

I just followed the instructions in the manual. They have been correct for at least twelve years.

I could set up a separate track but see no need to.

Rich

If you ever fall over in public, pick yourself up and say “sorry it’s been a while since I inhabited a body.” And just walk away.

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Posted by tstage on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 1:12 PM

John,

Whenever you use programming track mode with the Power Cab, it does NOT provide full power to the track.  That only happens when using programming on the main (or POM) mode, or when operating locomotives on your layout.

A 18" - 24" piece of track at your bench would suffice just fine for a separate programming track.  And it saves you from having to remove any superfluous locomotives.

Tom

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Posted by BigDaddy on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 2:28 PM

mlehman
If it's a new decoder, the easiest thing to do is reset the decoder to the factory default and then the speed should fix itself (revert to factory setting, which I presume it was at previously.)

New or not, weird stuff sometimes happens with decoders for no reason at all.  I say do a reset.  Some people make lots of changes to lots of CV's.  For them JMRI is useful or at least a notebook of the changes.

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by mbinsewi on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 3:26 PM

tstage
Whenever you use programming track mode with the Power Cab, it does NOT provide full power to the track.  That only happens when using programming on the main (or POM) mode, or when operating locomotives on your layout.

So, there are two settings in the power cab? programming and POM, or full track power?  I've never used a Power Cab, just asking.

Maybe he somehow got the Power Cab in progamming mode.

Mike.

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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 3:58 PM

 The PowerCab only has one set of outputs. It goes to the track. Just 'track', not "programming track" or "main track". Turn the thing on, and it's ready to run trains. Full power is applied to the track. Select the loco address you want to run, and off you go. If you select any program mode BESIDES programming on the main, the full track power is shut off, and now programming commands are sent out to the track. If more than one loco is on the track, they will all get the same programming commands. As soon as you exit programmign mode, the track once again becomes full power main track.

 You cannot select a loco, or send it speed commands, or function commands, while in a programming mode. So there is no way a loco can be runnign with "low power" because the system is in programmign mode. In programming mode, there isn't even a continuous voltage on the track. Only brief pulses as the programming commands are sent.

To avoid "oops" moments and reprogrammign every loco you own because you forgot to take them off the track, NCE has the Auto Switch. This device has one input, which connects to the output of the PowerCab, and 2 outputs. One goes to the main track, and one goes to an isolated or independent piece of track which becomes the programming track. Now, when you select a programming mode besides Programming on the Main, the AutoSwitch directs the program signals to the separate piece of track instead of the main track. When you exit programming mode, the full DCC signal is applied to the main track side of the AutoSwitch.

  You can do the same thing with a toggle switch, however you can forget to operate the toggle. The AutoSwitch never forgets. Plus there is no wiring to figure out, the diagram in the AutoSwitch manual shows exactly how to connect it. Very worth the price (it's actually pretty cheap) just to make things easier to deal with.

                                    --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 richg1998 on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 4:13 PM

I should have been more specific.

I only had a few locos and selected the programming option first with one loco on the layout. I recall something in the manual about that some years ago.

One time I inadvertantly reversed the orange and red wires when soldering in the decoder because of poor lighting.. The Power Cab warned me in the program option which I always do first with any new installation. Never a hot run first.

Rich

If you ever fall over in public, pick yourself up and say “sorry it’s been a while since I inhabited a body.” And just walk away.

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Posted by joe323 on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 6:25 AM

Personally I just bought a togle switch and created a separate programing/test track on my workbench.  It’s very unlikely that I would mis-program my other locomotives since they are sound equipped and I would hear them idle plus on a small layout its never more that 2 maybe 3 on the layout at any given time so it would not be a disaster if I did.

At the moment I am in the process of using the program track to build a roster in JMRI.

Joe Staten Island West 

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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 6:30 AM

It has always been my feeling that NCE erred in offering the Power Cab without a provision for a separate Programming Track. I own the NCE PH-Pro and that system does provide a separate Programming Track feature.

The opportunity for error and possible disaster should not be overlooked when prgramming decoders, especially testing brand new decoders, on the main layout.

Rich

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 7:25 AM

 Would have raised the price by $25 (cost of the AutoSwitch - since that's what would have been required to create a second output for programming. ANd I can guarantee if there were 2 sets of terminals on the back, peopel would complain it's "too complicated". You or I laugh at that, but given what I've seen posted here and elsewhere - I think it's true. 

 Given that they added an extra board inside the same case - and STILL have room for the radio boooard on top of it - they got about as much inside the throttle as they possibly could. Conceptually it's good but you do also have the issue of the track power bus being as long as the cable from the cab to the panel in addition to whatever track you have since all track power passes through that cable - which is why it's an oddball cable with the two outer conductors being thicker. Technically it should have 2 pair thicker - power in to the unit and track power out. The main drive seems to be making the whole system fit in the handheld form factor, with no boxes to put under the layout. Program track was what had to go - even though by this time, no modern system was sold without a program track. Yes, Digitrax was still selling the Empire Builder with the DB150 which has no program track, but that was already an old system. The real 'starter' system, the Zephyr, has a dedicated program track. And the Bachmann EZ Command - well, that doesn't really program anything other than setting the address so I'm not sure that counts. So at least the PowerCab has programming track functionality along with CV readback, it just doesn't have a second set of terminals to connect a dedicated track.

                             --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 richhotrain on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 7:46 AM

Randy,

All good points. I am not knocking the Power Cab. It serves a purpose. But I really like the added protection that the PH-Pro provides by allowing for a separate Programming Track.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by tstage on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 9:16 AM

As a Power Cab user...it's really a non-issue for me.  I also like the fact that I can program anywhere away from the layhout and do not need to be connected to either the Smart Booster or a PH-Pro system to do that.  It does require being connected to another PCP panel though.

Tom

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

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Posted by BigDaddy on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 9:29 AM

Once you make the mistake of programming multiple locos at once, you never make it again.  Like the time my hand slipped off an electrical plug as it was just barely into the socket.  Never happened again.

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 12:15 PM

 TBH it's a non-issue for me reagrdless. I have many ways of programming - dedicated program track from the DCC system, or my completely isolated portable program/test track which has multiple devices. I mainly use it for setting up Loksoudn decoders with the Lokprogrammer. Regular locos - more often than not I simply program on the main, because usually all I need to do is change the address from 3 to the cab number and I'm good to go. I have no ditch lights or warning beacons to configure. Only other thing really is to adjust columes on sound decoders - which is much easier to do on the layout so I can immediately hear the result and adjust the value as necessary.

POM is NOT the same as the whole layout becomign a program track - POM ONLY sends the command to the selected loco address. So unless you have a dozen locos all with the same address sitting on the track, you won't program all of them by using POM. I think a lot of people are confused by this. 

                                 --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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