NCE Power cab and DC loco's

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IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
You can't with NCE - and even if you could, you wouldn't want to...it could burn out the motor.

Digitrax has the capability to let a DC loco run at address zero - but it is very noisy and sounds bizzarre IMHO. Never could figure out why they included that feature...
 
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Lame9910

Member
You can't with NCE - and even if you could, you wouldn't want to...it could burn out the motor.

Digitrax has the capability to let a DC loco run at address zero - but it is very noisy and sounds bizzarre IMHO. Never could figure out why they included that feature...
Thanks for the answer! I know it's redundant since I asked in the coffee shop but I figure this way if someone asks or searches it will pop up and hopefully they see it.

Sent from my 0PJA2 using Tapatalk
 

Motley

Active Member
Ask me how I know this. I tried to run a DC loco on my NCE system and burnt the DC loco up. LOL

Heck I didn't know anything, I was a complete newb and only had the new NCE system a month or so.
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
All the DCC decoders available today are dual mode i.e. they can run on both DCC or DC, so you can run a DCC decoder equipped loco on a DC layout, but you would need a DC power pack/ controller to do that. It's not a bad idea to have a DC controller you can hook up to a test track (but not with the DCC one at the same time), because all manufacturers suggest testing of DCC locos on DC first, the theory being that if a decoder will run on DC control OK, it should be fine once setup for DCC. Sounds a bit convoluted, but that test track can also be used as your programming track for DCC. One of the big differences and what gives DCC it's advantage over DC, is this ability to give locos their own individual identity (address) thereby enabling more than 1 engine to operate independently of another or others on the same track.

If your previous experience has been with DC operation, then there are new ways of thinking regarding how your trains operate. With DC, you control your engine via the amount of voltage you apply to the track between generally 0-12V. If you place another engine on the same track, it will do exactly the same, at the same time, 0 volts=stop, 12volts=flat out. With DCC, the track is at a constant voltage all the time (about 14V or so for most). All of the speed and anything else is done by digital signals (commands) sent from your Cab, via the track power, to the loco's decoder. That interprets the commands and converts it to activate the various functions.

Once you understand those differences, you'll appreciate your systems advantages.
 

Lame9910

Member
All the DCC decoders available today are dual mode i.e. they can run on both DCC or DC, so you can run a DCC decoder equipped loco on a DC layout, but you would need a DC power pack/ controller to do that. It's not a bad idea to have a DC controller you can hook up to a test track (but not with the DCC one at the same time), because all manufacturers suggest testing of DCC locos on DC first, the theory being that if a decoder will run on DC control OK, it should be fine once setup for DCC. Sounds a bit convoluted, but that test track can also be used as your programming track for DCC. One of the big differences and what gives DCC it's advantage over DC, is this ability to give locos their own individual identity (address) thereby enabling more than 1 engine to operate independently of another or others on the same track.

If your previous experience has been with DC operation, then there are new ways of thinking regarding how your trains operate. With DC, you control your engine via the amount of voltage you apply to the track between generally 0-12V. If you place another engine on the same track, it will do exactly the same, at the same time, 0 volts=stop, 12volts=flat out. With DCC, the track is at a constant voltage all the time (about 14V or so for most). All of the speed and anything else is done by digital signals (commands) sent from your Cab, via the track power, to the loco's decoder. That interprets the commands and converts it to activate the various functions.

Once you understand those differences, you'll appreciate your systems advantages.
Thanks! So for a test track it can be separate on like my work bench and I can then program my locomotives identity on that and then put it on my layout and won't have to program it?

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tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Thanks! So for a test track it can be separate on like my work bench and I can then program my locomotives identity on that and then put it on my layout and won't have to program it?

Sent from my 0PJA2 using Tapatalk

That is certainly the way a lot of DCC users do it, and probably for a novice, the best way, till you're comfortable and more knowledgeable with DCC operation. It is a learning curve when you're new to it. Otherwise a siding off the layout that can be electrically isolated while used for programming and once done, reconnected to the mainline so the loco can then take it's place on the layout.

All DCC decoders come from their manufacturers with a short address of 3, (known as the default address or "short" address), whether pre-installed by the loco's maker (factory installed), or as an aftermarket item to be installed by the customer or their installer, some hobby shops will do this for a price. This means that (and you will find this in your NCE manual), you can run your engine, once it has a decoder in it, on your layout, simply using that address 3, without doing any other setup at all. That's fine for 1 loco. When you get 2 locos is when you will probably want to run them separately (you can run 2 with the address of 3, but they will act exactly like 2 DC locos on the same track). To run and control each separately is when both need their own addresses. It's usual to use the road number of each one as it's address, so buying locos with different road numbers is advisable. This in particular is when you need your programming track to set the loco's operating address to it's cab number, known as it's long address.

Rather than take you any further into programming at the moment, lets get you up and running a train on your layout (just need a simple oval for that) with DCC, because it's usual (and advisable to get you familiarised) to immediately setup your loco with it's long address, which you will use to identify and operate it with. It will always have the default 3 address in it's memory, to return to if necessary, but in the setting up, you choose to operate with the long address only.
 

bnsf971

Gomez Addams
Staff member
The feature of running a single analog address in dcc was included in the early days, when most people had a single dcc engine, but in many cases hundreds of dc engines. This gave people the flexibilty to operate the two more or less together, and get used to dcc, before equipping everything with a decoder.
 

Lame9910

Member
Right on thanks for the info! By the time I got everything setup last night it was time for bed. I'll read over the manual for nce more than just the quick start. Seem to be very in depth and detailed.

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PrairieKnight

Active Member
Lame,

I am new to DCC. I just got my NCE power cab up and running a few weeks ago. The NCE manual is very involved but quite helpful for a newbie like me. I wish I had the knowledge that Toot has.... I have learned alot reading his posts. I stuck with the quick start menu at the front of the manual and that worked just fine. I was able to program a not very expensive 4 axle Walthers DCC loco with no problem. I then went a little farther in the manual and programmed a small switcher to work in my yard area. I did this by removing the Walthers from the track completely and programming the switcher on the mainline. That worked well on my small 4 X 8 layout. I love the "recall" button on the controller enabling me to run the Walthers on the mainline and then "recall" the switcher to do the yard work. The hardest part for me was getting that little red light on that is located on the face plate of the NCE panel where you plug in the controller. Once that red light is on indicating your wiring is up to snuff...the rest is easy.

Good luck and for God sake...have fun :D
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Lame, the manual has a lot of more advanced information in it and can be a bit overwhelming at first, that's why I didn't go too far as yet.

PrairieKnight, I can't claim to be an "in depth" authority on DCC and much of what I have has come from this forum and members like Terry who are always ready to answer questions and put you right.
 
It's not a bad idea to have a DC controller you can hook up to a test track (but not with the DCC one at the same time), because all manufacturers suggest testing of DCC locos on DC first, the theory being that if a decoder will run on DC control OK, it should be fine once setup for DCC...

I have never seen a manufacturer recommend testing their DCC equipped locos on DC first. There's nothing wrong with doing that, there's just no reason for it and I don't think most DCC users do it. I do have a DC test track; however, because I do test any DCC ready loco I get on DC before installing a decoder.
 
...Digitrax has the capability to let a DC loco run at address zero - but it is very noisy and sounds bizzarre IMHO. Never could figure out why they included that feature...

In the early days of DCC, that feature really helped with the adoption of DCC (as a side note, Lenz also has this feature and NCE actually used to support it). Decoders were quite expensive and few early adopter could afford to equip their entire fleets of loco at once, so this allowed them to continue to use un-converted locos on the DCC layout. It also allowed clubs the ability to convert to DCC and maintain the ability to run locos of members who only had DC locos.
 




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