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Programming track "short" message on NCE Powercab

Nick Ostrosky
 

Using the NCE Powercab it was my understanding that your entire layout can be used as the programming track since NCE doesn't have separate programming track outputs.  However, when I attempt to use "Program Track" (vs. Program on Main") my cab gives me "Short Detected", and if I press enter it asks if I want to continue anyway.  I have no problem operating locomotives, and my entire layout is wired with circuit breakers and auto-reversers (one wye, one loop), none of which is showing a short or giving me any operating troubles.  Has anyone else run into this issue, and does anyone have suggestions for troubleshooting since there are no obvious indicators of a problem?  Thanks!

Don Vollrath
 

Nick, If you use the entire layout as a programming track and there are multiple locos, circuit breakers,reversers or other attachments to the track bus, there is likely to be too much load on the bus for read-back programming to work. Do not do that. You need to create a programming track and isolate the rest of the layout with either a DPDT manual switch or NCE's auto-Switch. Otherwise you will be programming every item attached to the mainline output of the PowerCab.
DonV 

Nick Ostrosky
 

Thank you, Don.  That makes sense, and I’m a little surprised NCE doesn’t cover that in their documentation.

Richard Gagnon <richg_1998@...>
 

I have the PC but used a short section of isolated track some years ago. Seemed logical for program track from all I have read in forums over the years and the manual.

Rich




On Friday, November 9, 2018, 8:38 AM, Nick Ostrosky <nick79ostr@...> wrote:

Using the NCE Powercab it was my understanding that your entire layout can be used as the programming track since NCE doesn't have separate programming track outputs.  However, when I attempt to use "Program Track" (vs. Program on Main") my cab gives me "Short Detected", and if I press enter it asks if I want to continue anyway.  I have no problem operating locomotives, and my entire layout is wired with circuit breakers and auto-reversers (one wye, one loop), none of which is showing a short or giving me any operating troubles.  Has anyone else run into this issue, and does anyone have suggestions for troubleshooting since there are no obvious indicators of a problem?  Thanks!

Glenn
 

Otherwise you will be programming every item attached to the mainline output of the PowerCab. (Guilty).

Wiring for DCC has instructions for making a programing track. http://www.wiringfordcc.com/track_2.htm#d2

It doesn't surprise me NCE doesn't discuss program tracks in the initial set up instructions. The MRC unit I started with Included a resistor and instructions for creating a program track.

I used my separate test track as the programing track. I used three screws to connect power via alligator clips to the track. One screw was wired to the back rail. A second screw was wired to the front rail. The third screw was wired through the resistor to the front rail.

Glenn





-----Original Message-----
From: Don Vollrath
Sent: Nov 9, 2018 9:37 PM
To: w4dccqa@groups.io
Subject: Re: [w4dccqa] Programming track "short" message on NCE Powercab

Nick, If you use the entire layout as a programming track and there are multiple locos, circuit breakers,reversers or other attachments to the track bus, there is likely to be too much load on the bus for read-back programming to work. Do not do that. You need to create a programming track and isolate the rest of the layout with either a DPDT manual switch or NCE's auto-Switch. Otherwise you will be programming every item attached to the mainline output of the PowerCab.
DonV 

Greg Elmassian
 

So the full manual (not the quick start) talks about a programming track, how to isolate it from the main layout with a switch, and in several places encourages you to use the program track.

It also indicates that if you have problems you could be drawing excessive current, or have lights on, etc.

So, while it does not explicitly say "don't use the whole layout for a programming track" it does encourage you to have a separate programming track.

Just makes sense that if you try to use the whole layout, it's easy to leave some other loads on it... in my case, I had DCC switch controllers from Tam Valley, and have to cut them out when in program track mode.

Greg

Mark Gurries
 

On Dec 15, 2018, at 7:49 PM, Greg Elmassian <greg@...> wrote:

So the full manual (not the quick start) talks about a programming track, how to isolate it from the main layout with a switch, and in several places encourages you to use the program track.

That is correct for it will prevent a lot of problems.   The higher end DCC system typically include a set of dedicated programming track terminals so one can implement an isolated programming track.  The PowerCab does not.

It also indicates that if you have problems you could be drawing excessive current, or have lights on, etc.

The main problem with the programming track has to do with “reading" the settings stored inside the decoder such as the locomotive number (address).  If there is any electrical load such as a light that draws power from the programming track that is not under control of the decoder, then it will interfere with the reading process and result in errors.

So, while it does not explicitly say "don't use the whole layout for a programming track" it does encourage you to have a separate programming track.

Because if you take the time to remove ALL of you engines and lighted cars off the layout prior to programming so there is no current draw, you can be successful in the programming track reading.  Just place the engine on the track you wish to program and go.

The PowerCab's lower price comes at the physical expense of asking you to take time and prepare your layout for programming before you start to program.

Just makes sense that if you try to use the whole layout, it's easy to leave some other loads on it... in my case, I had DCC switch controllers from Tam Valley, and have to cut them out when in program track mode.

Yes that will interfere with the programming track.   NCE does offer a solution.   The NCE Autoswitch allows the PowerCab to have a dedicated set of programming track terminals.   


By installing the Autoswtich between the PowerCab and the layout, you will:

1) NOT have to disconnect the Tam Valley controller 
2) NOT have to remove any locomotive or lighted cars from the layout.
3) HAVE a dedicated set of terminals like a high end DCC system has to setup a dedicated programming track.   

If you want to go one more step to create a truly flexible programming track go here:


Now you can have the same dedicated programming track not only program locomotive successfully, but you will also be able to test them with a flick of a switch on the same track.



Greg

Best Regards,

Mark Gurries
Electrical Engineer
DCC Website & NMRA DCC Clinics: www.markgurries.com