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NCE power pro radio and jmri set up

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  • Member since
    September 2002
  • 7,423 posts
NCE power pro radio and jmri set up
Posted by ndbprr on Friday, August 25, 2023 2:23 PM

trying to establish these two on a workbench so everthing electrically works before laying track.  have a Dell computer with windows 11 (why can't microsoft stay with xp that was easy and never crashed?).  Hook up the NCE system and can run an engine back and forth.  Sound doesn't come on until I run the thumbwheel up a little  Is that normal? download Java 11 then jmri.  decoder pro opens I change various settings and nothing on the engine changes.  jmri screen say's it does but engine volume and everything else stays the same.  Decide maybe i need the engine on a programming track so I hooked up the wires to the programing plug on the NCE front panel, after removing the original track wires and have no power to the track when the wires from the plug are attached.  check with voltmeter no voltage.  open to suggestions

  • Member since
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  • From: 10,430’ (3,179 m)
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Posted by jjdamnit on Saturday, August 26, 2023 4:23 PM

Hello All,

I'm having difficulty trying to understand what you exactly want to achieve...

  • Are you trying to make a stand-alone programming track with JMRI DecoderPro using your PC?

  • Do you want to use the Power Pro "Programming Track" output of the command station/booster for a stand-alone programming track?

  • Are you trying to test locomotive(s) through the NCE system on the stand-alone programming track as opposed to moving them to the pike?
  • Why are you disconnecting the wires from the "Track" output of the command station/booster to your pike?

There are several things to consider:

  • Setting up a stand-alone programming track using JMRI Decoder Pro from your PC you will need a USB interface unit.
  • My DCC system is an NCE PowerPro wireless system too. For my stand-alone programming track using my Mac I have a Digitrax PR3 (superceeded by the PR4).
  • The programming output of the Power Pro command station/booster only sends signal packets (CV changes) when in the programming mode.
  • When not in the programming mode there is no output from the programming track outputs of the command station/booster.

  • Having a built-in programming track on your pike requires a Dual Pole Dual Throw toggle switch; Pg. 78-79 Power Pro System Manual, to switch between track power and programming and have both rails isolated or "gapped."
  • If you want to test the locomotive(s) using your Power Pro system on the programming track you need to wire it just like a separate power district from your power bus.

Connecting your PC; via JMRI Decoder Pro, to the NCE command station/booster requires a USB to Serial cable (#5240320).

This will then allow your PC to communicate with the NCE command station/booster using JMRI DecoderPro/PanelPro.

Hope this helps.

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

  • Member since
    September 2002
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Posted by ndbprr on Sunday, August 27, 2023 7:12 AM

NCE says power pro does not use the USB card ot uses the rs232 port with a USB to rs232 cable.  Currently all I have is a pice of flex track that works with track leads but doesn't with leads from the programming connector on the right side.  Yes to all your questions.

  • Member since
    February 2008
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Posted by maxman on Sunday, August 27, 2023 4:01 PM

You are using the "program track" selection on the PowerCab menu, correct?

  • Member since
    September 2014
  • From: 10,430’ (3,179 m)
  • 2,160 posts
Posted by jjdamnit on Tuesday, August 29, 2023 1:01 PM

Hello All,

Do you have your Power Pro System Reference Manual?

Much of this is outlined in the manual.

ndbprr
NCE says power pro does not use the USB card ot uses the rs232 port with a USB to rs232 cable.

I'm not sure what USB card NCE is referring to.

On the Power Pro PH-Box there is only a 9-pin serial port- -apparently, NCE is considering adding a USB port sometime in the future.

To connect your PC (Not a Mac) you need a serial to USB-A cable (6-foot USB to Serial Cable for Power Pro Powerhouse CS02).

If the CS02 cable is not long enough to reach from your PH-Box to your PC you can use a USB-A (Male) to USB-A (Female) extension cable.

Then you can use JMRI DecoderPro/Panel Pro from your PC to program and run your trains through the NCE system.

As far as setting up a built-in programming track to your pike...

Most programming devices- -including the PH-Box- -the voltage is set well below the normal track voltage of 14v.

The reasoning is that if the decoder installation is miswired the lower voltage won't fry the decoder- -in theory!

As I've previously posted when the PH-Box is in the "Running" mode the only power being put out is from the Track Power.

When in the "Programming" mode, it sends a low-power signal from the Programming outputs.

That is why if you want to drive your locomotive(s) onto the programming track section of your pike you need either a...

jjdamnit
Dual Pole Dual-Throw (DP-DT)toggle switch; Pg. 78-79 Power Pro System Manual, to switch between track power and programming.

This section of track needs to have both rails isolated or "gapped."

With the toggle switch thrown to "Track" power you drive the locomotive(s) onto the isolated setion of track.

Throw the switch to "Programming" and, put the cab (throttle) into "Programming" mode.

Or use, an NCE Auto-SW.

It is a small electronic device that detects programming packets and only sends them to the isolated section of "programming" track.

With this unit, you can drive your locomotive(s) onto the isolated section of track.

Put the throttle in "Programming" mode, and this device acts like an automatic DP-DT switch.

If you want to use JMRI DecoderPro to power a built-in programming track you will still need an interface like a Digitrax PR4, a DP-DT toggle switch and an isolated section of track.

Hope this helps.

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

  • Member since
    January 2013
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Posted by PM Railfan on Tuesday, August 29, 2023 3:08 PM

Off Topic

I dont do DCC, I usually read along just to kinda keep up with things but.... you mean to tell me DCC comes with 80 plus pages of setup? (the manual mentioned above)

PMR

  • Member since
    September 2014
  • From: 10,430’ (3,179 m)
  • 2,160 posts
Posted by jjdamnit on Wednesday, August 30, 2023 12:39 PM

Hello All,

PM Railfan
...you mean to tell me DCC comes with 80 plus pages of setup? (the manual mentioned above)

Yes, from cover to cover it's 89 pages.

The two pages I referenced are a schematic of how to set up a large DCC system with multiple controllers, boosters, wireless control, block circuit breaker protection, and a built-in programming track.

Just two (2) pages out of 89!

Much of the other contents of the manual are:

  • The physical layout of the controller- -buttons and their functions
  • Explanation of functions specific to the NCE system
  • How to change the parameters of the booster
  • Step-by-step setup of all possible functions
  • Technical information that the average user doesn't need

The actual "Quick Set Up Guide" is about seven (7) pages; four of which are schematics.

The Digitrax Big Book Of DCC is 175 pages. This book deals with everything from the makeup of the actual signal packets to basic programming, detection and signaling.

Now go to your car and pull out the User Manual(s).

Despite what auto manufacturers recommend not too many folks read their car's manuals from cover to cover.

But being able to look up "What A Blinking Airbag Light Indicates" is in there- -somewhere- -when you need that info. 

DCC can be as simple or complex as you want it to be, but in my experience, it is far superior to "Running the tracks" in DC.

Hope this helps.

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

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