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Any more thoughts on this controler as I am thinking of upgrading to the Dynamis I am unsure about CV s any way and think I can live with not being able to read back , as at present using Hornby select which does the job on my small shed layout which is mainly singe track with good yard and 2 stations but think I could do with more control any comment would be most helpful
regards
Noel
 

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The NCE Power Cab is a complete DCC system contained within the hand set. The Power Cab throttle facisa is identical in layout to the Pro Cab throttle and the Power cab can function as Pro Cab on Pro Cab systems. The System comes with a UTP that is slightly different from the standard UTP by the addition of a mini stereo jack connection for the power supply and a two pin socket and plug for the layout connection. There is also a red LED fitted that illuminates when the Power Cab is powered up and functioning. The rest of the bits are a 2A power supply and two cables, one 4 wire curly phone cable and a six wire flat cable with RJ12 connectors. Set up is fairly simple first select where to mount the UTP then connect the layout connection via the two pin plug, then plug in the power supply to the mains and plug the mini stereo plug into the back of the UTP. Now plug the flat six wire cable into the Power Cab and then into the UTP. Now switch on the power supply. The Power Cab will boot up and show version number and a cab address. Select an loco and throttle up and nothing happens as your loco refuses to move. This is the first trick with a Power Cab only one socket of the UTP is stet up to power the throttle and this is what the six wire cable is for. Simply un plug the cable from socket and plug it into the other one. The Power will boot up again and this time the red LED will light indicating pwer is now going to the track. Call up that that loco again and it should now move. The other socket on the UTP is a normal 4 wire socket that can be used for a second throttle like a cab 04 or a Pro Cab. Other than the simplified wiring the Pwer Cab has mostly the same features as a Pro Cab but there are a couple of limitations. Firstly you can only have two cabs and only two cab addresses. The Power cab must have address 02 and the second cab address 03. Due to the power limitations about 6 non sound equipped locomotives or three sound equipped can be run at any one time. NCE in their literature quote " Number of similtaneous trains= 12" but I've found 6 to be about the limit. This will also depend on the current consuption of the motors in your locos. You can have more locos on the track but the more you have on limits the number you can run at any one time. I have had six sound equipped steam locos on the track but I have only been able to have two moving at the same time. Another limit is the number of recalls you can have. On the Power cab this is limited to two as opposed to six on the Pro Cab. The system supports on line programming and program track programming and this is another little trick the system has. Due to limit on size the Power cab has no seperate programming track connection just the two wire connection to the track. This in essence turns the whole layout into a programming track and can trap the unwary, those that don't read the manual first!!. To do this would result in all locos on the track being programmed to the same values which would be a royal pain. To solve this NCE have created a small device called the Auto S/W which when fitted senses when you are selecting programming track mode and basically cuts power to the main track and sends power only to the programming track. You could also solve this by wiring track connection through a double pole double throw switch.
One of the neat features is the track current readout. By selecting this the display will show the track current which is a boon as the more locos you put on track and run it will show current being used and when the system gets unstable you see how close you are to the 2A limit. My Power Cab shut down at 1.8A.
The Power cab also has the ability to program sound decoders like QSI or Soundtraxx Tsunami's without the aid of a programming track booster. This is excellent as it means you don't have to spend another 100 bucks on a PTB. The down side is that no serial interface is provided like the RS232 socket on the Pro Cab box.
But this too has been solved by the addition of a USB adaptor. The adaptor allows Power cab users to interface a PC or laptop with NCE cab bus. This allows the use programs like JMRI "Decoder Pro " to be used for programming decoders. The USB adaptor also comes with an update IC that up grades the Power Cab to version 1.28C. After this IC is fitted when you power up the Power cab it will show version 1.3. If you get this it is important to ensure you download the latest drivers for your PC or laptop prior to connecting the adaptor to the PC or laptop. It is also wise to follow the instructions provided concerning the position of the jumpers on the USB adaptor. If like me you are running XP Pro ensure all the jumpers are off and the baud rate is set to 9,600baud. Strange things will happen if you try to set it any higher, basically it won't function and the display on your Power cab will have changed to either some form of gibberish or a series of black blocks. to sort this out up lug the cab and unplug the adaptor from the UTP. Then reset the baud rate back to 9600. Plug it all back in and things should be okay again.

The Power Cab is an excellent starter set for a first timer and is quite capable of handling a small to a large sized layout, I've used it on a 40'x60'three deck layout. It is easily
upgradable with the addition of an SB3 smart booster which allows more cabs and more power. For those with the Power Pro it can be used as a stand alone programming unit, this is what I use it for now, which negates the need for a separate PTB and you have an extra cab when friends call in. The one thing it can't do is radio. For radio you would have to go the full monty for Power Pro radio. I went the other way and resuurected my ols Wangrow System One from 1994 which looks very similar to Power pro but predates it. to this I added and RB02 radio base station and a couple of cab 04PR's to give full radio functionallity.

All in all this is excellent value for money set that has possibly the best support from any manufacturer and please note this is based on my experience here in Australia.


Power Cab, complete DCC in one little unit.


UTP, Note the red LED and the orientation of the cables.


USB adaptor. Curly cable from the UTP and the blue cable ( not supplied) to the PC/laptop


Power supply


My Old System One, 1994, set up with an RB02 to give me radio.


Bikes to need a home and are willing to share.
 

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Neil, it does get cold out here in the bush. We often get frosts in winter and occainsonally it gets down to zero. Usually when that happens I change out of my ordinary thongs and put on the fur lined ones


Regards
Charles Emerson
Queensland
Australia

QUOTE (neil_s_wood @ 24 Oct 2008, 15:30) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I've got a heater just like yours in my garage too. The one to the left of the bike. I didn't think they had heating in Queensland.
 

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QUOTE (neil_s_wood @ 24 Oct 2008, 05:30) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I've got a heater just like yours in my garage too.

Oh dear - we've got one like it in the workshop as well! (well it does get damp here - especially today)

Regards
 

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Not to badly. I only solder the fishplates on the straight lengths and at the heel of a point. I also mount the track on concrete expansion jointing which is an expanded polyethelene rubber/plastic which is fairly immune to temperature change. The baseboards are 12mm ply on 100x100mm L girders of merchant grade plain pine. All in all it has stood up pretty well so far. Strangely enough it doesen't get that hot in the garage as it only sees the sun in the morning so it stays reasonably cool and we don'tt get that hot 36C or 38C is usually the worst we see here. 400klms west at Thargomingdah 45Cis normal summer temps.

Charles Emerson
Queensland
Australia

QUOTE (Lancashire Fusilier @ 24 Oct 2008, 18:16) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>How does the temperature effect your layout?
 

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QUOTE (Ozzie21 @ 24 Oct 2008, 18:13) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Neil, it does get cold out here in the bush. We often get frosts in winter and occainsonally it gets down to zero. Usually when that happens I change out of my ordinary thongs and put on the fur lined ones


Regards
Charles Emerson
Queensland
Australia
Ah, you're more inland. I thought you were near the coast. It does get cold in the bush at night or so I believe from the weather reports.

Climatic extremes are a bit of an issue over here in regard to modelling. You have be careful with track. One day when it had been hot (40's) for about a week I went into the garage to find my track had raised and buckled at one point from thermal expansion. I try to leave bigger gaps on some points now.
 

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Neil, I'm about 2 1/2hrs from the coast o rat least Brisbane. Extra gaps for temperature expansion is a must and like I said I leave sliding fishplates usually at points.If I have a long run of straight track I'll try to put a kink in it just to help with expansion as well as a couple of sliding joints.

reagrds
Charles Emerson
Queensland
Australia

QUOTE (neil_s_wood @ 25 Oct 2008, 06:24) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Ah, you're more inland. I thought you were near the coast. It does get cold in the bush at night or so I believe from the weather reports.

Climatic extremes are a bit of an issue over here in regard to modelling. You have be careful with track. One day when it had been hot (40's) for about a week I went into the garage to find my track had raised and buckled at one point from thermal expansion. I try to leave bigger gaps on some points now.
 

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QUOTE (Ozzie21 @ 26 Oct 2008, 02:28) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Neil, I'm about 2 1/2hrs from the coast o rat least Brisbane. Extra gaps for temperature expansion is a must and like I said I leave sliding fishplates usually at points.If I have a long run of straight track I'll try to put a kink in it just to help with expansion as well as a couple of sliding joints.

reagrds
Charles Emerson
Queensland
Australia
Thanks Charles, unfortunately I found this out the hard way.
cheers
Neil
 

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QUOTE (neil_s_wood @ 26 Oct 2008, 05:14) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Thanks Charles, unfortunately I found this out the hard way.
cheers
Neil

***This issue of expansion has been discussed often over the years. Test measurements I di ages ago show its two things that cause it.

(1) most is because the wood moves as it dries out - about 3/4 of the problem. Pine and other softwoods are worst, Its a little better with high quality ply and MDF but even quality marine ply expands and contracts a lot compared to metal.

(2) the rest is because the metal rail expands... but this is the minor thing really

The problem is on hot and dry days wood shrinks at the same time rail expands... magnifying the problem!

The greatest movement is the wood, which really does expand and shrink a lot. The solution is to leave timber work until early summer or do it before full winter when its at the balance point of humidity - a lttle moisture absorbed but no too much. Then paint it all over with any old paint you have lying around, and as you cut it, dab a little on all cut edges. That removes most of the problem and also lets the layout last longer (much of the creeping unreliability as layouts age is due to the seasonal expansion and contraction of wooodwork!).

The next is the Nickel silver - as its over 60% copper it has a good level of expansion compared to my favourite steel rail. The usual gaps take care of that.

Richard
 

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*** ZTC are thankfully now out of business - it was fraught with little problems and very overpriced. I strongly recommend you look at a current high quality product with easy to understand manuals and very full feature ability like the NCE system

Richard
 

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QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 8 Apr 2009, 06:24) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>*** ZTC are thankfully now out of business - it was fraught with little problems and very overpriced. I strongly recommend you look at a current high quality product with easy to understand manuals and very full feature ability like the NCE system

Richard

ZTC is still not "out of business". It was sold last year to a new owner, SBX of Ipswich UK.
http://www.ztccontrols.co.uk/
http://www.sbxmodelrail.co.uk/

I agree that ZTC products were outdated and problematic, whether the new owner can redress this is unknown at this stage.

- Nigel
 

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***Yes, that information was promulgated long ago.... almost at the time of the original unceremonious closure.

While I do wish the new owners well I think it a very brave move unless they are capitalised adequately for a full redevelopment programme - and can't see anything other than pain for more modelers if they keep selling it as it was/is without significant change.

So, market wise, to all intents and purposes, the brand is still effectively dead in the water and will not resurface as a serious product.

It could never be recommended by anyone with a proper dcc awareness, and nothing short of a rebirth and a significant software upgrade will make it acceptable.

Richard
 

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The service ZTC give cannot be recommended (that is the NEW? ZTC). Promises were made at Warley and again on the telephone but still the items paid for have not arrived, so I am returning everything for a full refund.

I am sorry but I cannot recommend the new ZTC as a company. If the do business like this then I do not think they will last very long in their new form either.

Nigel
 

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QUOTE (naja @ 1 Dec 2009, 17:08) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>The service ZTC give cannot be recommended (that is the NEW? ZTC). Promises were made at Warley and again on the telephone but still the items paid for have not arrived, so I am returning everything for a full refund.

I am sorry but I cannot recommend the new ZTC as a company. If the do business like this then I do not think they will last very long in their new form either.

Nigel

Personally I think you have made the right decision

Chris
 

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HI

Great article there and well put together. I am still a long way from the ecos, but it is something I will consider for the future. I do like the ease of use, the ergonomic "feel" and the fine control but as you pointed out the stop button is an issue. Shame about the 1 second delay on the functions but I am sure you will get used to that. Now that I think about it Dynamis also had a delay but it has being so long since it has being out of the box I cannot remember.

ESU have some outstanding DCC products, well worth a look.

All in all an excellent review and great first hand experience when it comes to making my decision in years to come.

Martin
 

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QUOTE (Martin71 @ 5 Jan 2010, 11:49) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>HI

Great article there and well put together. I am still a long way from the ecos, but it is something I will consider for the future. I do like the ease of use, the ergonomic "feel" and the fine control but as you pointed out the stop button is an issue. Shame about the 1 second delay on the functions but I am sure you will get used to that. Now that I think about it Dynamis also had a delay but it has being so long since it has being out of the box I cannot remember.

ESU have some outstanding DCC products, well worth a look.

All in all an excellent review and great first hand experience when it comes to making my decision in years to come.

Martin
Hi Martin,

this Mobile Control for ECoS product no longer made. There is a new radio control which uses the same body as the Dynamis which is available instead. It has a different wavelength from this one.

cheers

Neil
 
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