Summary: NCE began as an OEM in 1993, supplying hardware and software for the Wangrow SystemOne. NCE became a DCC manufacturer when Wangrow passed on the NCE Power House DCC system as the replacement for the SystemOne. Today NCE offers a variety of DCC Systems and accessories.
|See more Manufacturers|
|email@example.comURIs of the form "firstname.lastname@example.org" are not allowed.|
|Main URL||Main URL|
|URL to manuals|
82 East main Street Webster, NY 14580
|Device Types||Other, Booster, Command Station, Mobile Decoder, Power Supply, Stationary Decoder, Throttle|
NCE began manufacturing DCC Products on an OEM basis in 1993 and was originally known as North Coast Engineering. They provided the software component of Wangrow's SystemOne and RamFixx Technologies' RamTraxx DCC systems. The name was changed to NCE when it was incorporated in 1996. Today, NCE has to grown into a full-time electronic design and manufacturing firm devoted entirely to the development and sale of products for the control of model railroads.
The NCE Power House was intended to be marketed by Wangrow as the next generation SystemOne. Wangrow declined, so NCE decided since it was a finished, ready for production product, they would release it under their own brand. Wangrow subsequently went out of business when their licence for the command station software supplied by NCE expired. Wangrow failed to comprehend the difficulty and time requirements needed to create their own software.
NCE produces a full line of Digital Command Control products
- Power Pro
- Power Pro R (Radio)
- Power Pro 10
- Power Pro 10 R
- Five- and 10-Amp versions available.
- Walkaround capability
- Expansion: 63 devices (Additional cabs and accessory items). NCE calls anything on the throttle network a "cab".
- Interface: Serial Port, RS232. USB adaptor card is not recommended as some commands are not available over USB connections.
- Programming Track connections, Programming Track Booster recommended.
Entry Level Systems
- Power Cab
While the Power Cab looks a lot like a Power Pro (they use the same package for the throttle), it is a 1.5A Booster, Command Station and Throttle integrated into a handheld device. If you disconnect it from the layout, everything stops as the DCC track signal is generated in the handheld. Adding a Smart Booster eliminates that issue. The tight level of integration limits the available current for the track power bus. Some software features are also absent.
The Power Cab features Pro Cab compatibility when connected to NCE Pro Cab / Power Pro command station it functions as a throttle. A cable to enable this feature is included.
The interface to the layout is called the PCP or Pro Cab Panel. It has connections for the ProCab, DC Power, and the Rail A and B terminals to connect the track power bus. It also has jacks to enable expansion of the system via the Cab Bus. Only three additional UTP panels are supported. In addition, three additional cab bus devices are supported for a total of three throttles and three accessories.
Supports USB interfaces for computer control
- DCC Twin
This system features two throttles integrated into a single enclosure with the command station and a 3A booster. Limited programming options. Can also be used as a pair of throttles in another NCE system.
Power Pro compared to Power Cab
The Power Pro has additional features. While both units may look alike, there are some important differences:
- Computer interface: RS232, does not require a cab bus address to function, advanced features compared to other NCE systems
- Macro Capability Enhanced
- Accessory decoders last state is restored upon power up
- Control up to 250 locomotives
- Consisting: Up to 128 Advanced Consists possible, with additional consisting features.
- Pro Cab/Pro Cab R
- ProCab Deluxe
- Available singe throttle cab with radio and choice of rotary encoder or potentiometer. Four digit display. Can be used with YARD mode (center zero)
- Cab06r: Radio version
- A Pro Cab and a Power Cab look almost identical but they are two completely different products.
A Pro Cab is a Throttle only. It requires a DCC command station to function. It is a dumb terminal with a keypad and a display.
The Power Cab is a complete DCC system in one package. It is a Throttle, Command Station and Booster. All three in one (handheld) package.
- The Power Cab has a six-wire cable which connects it to the power supply, and also has wires which carry the digital DCC track signal and the throttle bus. This cable cannot be substituted with another. If you need a longer reach, the solution is to purchase a Cab06. They are available in tethered and wireless versions. The Power Cab must remain connected to the Power Cab Panel for the system to work.
- If you wish to run more than a few locomotives with your Power Cab, an SB5 booster may be required.
Each Cab must have its own unique cab address. Available cab addresses are based on the command station being used. Example: For a Power Cab system the available cab addresses are 3, 4, and 5. Addresses 8, 9, and 10 can be used for devices like the USB interface, AIU and Mini Panel.
- Power Pro System command station/booster
- Command Station Only for Power Pro
- SB5 Smart Booster
- Five-amp command station / booster for Power Cab system, up to six throttles. NCE radio compatible. Converts to booster only if needed.
See this page for firmware revisions applicable to their command stations.
NCE has used three product names in its manufacturing history.
- MASTER SERIES
- Power House
- Power Pro
- Five Amp
- 10 Amp Booster with Automatic Reverse. Recommended for large scales.
- Five Amp booster
- Replaced by the DB5 Booster
- Replaced by SB5 Smart Booster
The SB5 and DB5 are 5A units. They are current production as of 2017
Smart Booster Firmware
- Total number of Cabs supported is 6, Addresses 2-7.
- Supports three AUI, USB or Minipanels on addresses 8-10
- Improved USB functions
- Corrected issues with Dumb Booster modes
- Number of cab addresses available after reset corrected
- PB105. This model evolved into the DB and SB3 boosters. Available by special order only.
- PB110 10A booster, superseded by the PB110a
- PB205. Many PB205a boosters don't have the model's name marked on the front of the booster. Dual 5A boosters
- Main article: NCE/Circuit Protectors
AR10 10A Auto Reverser
|SWITCH-8||SWITCH-8 MK II|
- NCE FAQs
- NCE FAQ - NCE Frequently Asked Questions
- NCE Hints - Hints and tips for NCE products
- NCE Products - a more detailed list of NCE's offerings.
- Wangrow - Early DCC manufacturer which used NCE parts and software.
The Power Cab has a known firmware issue where some functions are swapped after using the Program Track.
This issue is solved by rebooting the Power Cab. If you press a function button and it does not work as expected, this will fix the issue.
Edit FAQ Related Articles: NCE Power Cab, Accessing Functions above F9 with an NCE Power Cab Related Manufacturer: NCE Categories: Command Station, Throttle
To reset an NCE Power Cab to its factory defaults, use the following process:
- Use the Setup Command Station menus by pressing PROG + 5
- Scroll through the menu options until the display shows "Reset System"
- Pressing 6 will initiate the process
- The prompt will ask "Are You Sure?"
- Press 1 if the answer is Yes.
This will clear the Power Cab portion, any items stored in memory for the Pro Cab mode will remain.
The display will return to the opening screen.
If the firmware version is 1.65, the system will revert to version 1.28. It is recommended to upgrade to version 1.65B to avoid this issue.
The Power Cab functions as a Pro Cab when connected to an external command station.
See page 57 of the Power Cab manual for full details.
Edit FAQ Related Articles: NCE Power Cab, Difference between NCE Pro Cab and Power Cab Related Manufacturer: NCE Categories: Command Station, Starter Set
There is an issue with NCE Power Cabs manufactured during 2013. The contract manufacturer installed incorrect components which cause issues when any expansion devices are added to the Cab Bus. Power Cabs with this issue will also exhibit these behaviors when connected to an expanded Cab Bus (USB interface, Mini Panels) or used as a throttle only on another layout. It will also occur if the affected Power Cab is used as a throttle only with another Power Cab.
These units shipped with the V1.65 firmware ROM installed. If the Power Cab in question has V1.28 or earlier there are no issues and the firmware can be upgraded with no issues.
For much more information on this issue see
- A Modeller's Life podcast, Episode 198
- Fall 2022
- Replaced by DCC Meter and Packet Analyser