ESU Cab Control #50310 vs NCE Powercab - Model Train Forum - the complete model train resource
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Old 11-08-2019, 12:40 PM   #1
graywolf06
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ESU Cab Control #50310 vs NCE Powercab

I was wondering if anyone is using the ESU unit and how it compares to the NCE operation. I was thinking of upgrading the NCE to wireless but the cost of components is staggering as compared to the cost of a ESU control right out of the box. I like the NCE powercab but the 7 foot cord is limiting. The buttons on the NCE are all there to operate quickly. Is the operation of the ESU as efficient or is it cumbersome to pull up the necessary screens? Thanks in advance. Paul
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Old 11-08-2019, 06:00 PM   #2
CTValleyRR
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Someone who is more familiar with the NCE product line may be able to give you better advice, but based on a few minutes of research, it looks like if you already have a ProCab, it doesn't appear that the ESU is significantly cheaper, because you only need a wireless interface box and ANY wireless throttle, not necessarily the full featured unit. The ProCab stays plugged in and still provides the brains of the system; you run the train with a smaller throttle that doesn't have all the functionality for programming, etc.

I'm also not a huge fan of touch screens for train operation. To me, they lack precision and tactile feedback. The throttle wheel on the ESU system looks overly large, and using it to select menu options is a royal pain in the butt. I have some experience with that: Bachmann's Dynamis system is made by the same company, and had a joystick for menus. Very clunky and awkward compared to my MRC prodigy, which could accomplish the same tasks in a tenth of the time by pressing s few buttons. However, these "human interface" details are VERY personal, and what's true for me may not be for others. The only way to know for sure is to try it.

I will say, though that there seems to be a trend to add more bells and whistles to controllers, when basic DCC is far from broken, so why add bling for bling's sake?
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Old 11-08-2019, 06:07 PM   #3
graywolf06
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Thanks, I have the Powercab unit which is a complete operating unit not the Procab. Does your suggestion still stand re all that I would need to purchase?
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Old 11-08-2019, 06:16 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by graywolf06 View Post
Thanks, I have the Powercab unit which is a complete operating unit not the Procab. Does your suggestion still stand re all that I would need to purchase?
Makes no difference. The master throttle stays tethered; you run from a wireless cab.
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Old 12-06-2019, 07:46 PM   #5
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Actually, and not sure you'd want to consider this, but its what I did.

If you buy a booster, like the SB5 for your powercab, the powercab becomes a procab. Then, you can install as many panels as you like, moving around as you wish. I have a small layout(L shaped, 8x4 with a 3x2 yard added). But, i found like yourself, that the cord was limiting my movement and function.

So i added the booster and another panel at the end when im doing jmri. I purchased a CAB06 and that does 2 things, it lets you set up dedicated programming tracks( mine is in my yard, and it has bumpers just like any other yard track), and then, you can disconnect while your trains are running if you wish, and they continue until you plug into another panel and resume controlling, switching, e.t.c. It actually gives you 2 separate systems.

You don't have to purchase the second(or in my case 2nd and 3rd) CAB immediately, and can just use the powercab the exact same way as you'd use the little cab. It also allows multi user control(sometimes, I'll run on the main, while my wife messes around with a switcher in the yard, setting up car configurations for me on that end of the layout). All just by purchasing the SB5 booster.

I have a wireless cab, but ihave to send it in, and then, like you said, ihave to buy the receiver, and ijust haven't felt like doing that as of yet. So there are plenty of options. Not to mention, with the booster, you gain much more amperage..

Hope this helps somewhat as another option..

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Old 12-06-2019, 09:21 PM   #6
graywolf06
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Thanks MatroxD for a very thoughtful option. The SB5 would certainly be a step in the right direction even if in the future I went wireless.
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Old 12-07-2019, 03:41 AM   #7
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Thanks MatroxD for a very thoughtful option. The SB5 would certainly be a step in the right direction even if in the future I went wireless.
No problem, glad to help... Anytime...

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