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Discussion Starter #1
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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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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Discussion Starter #3
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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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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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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Discussion Starter #6
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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Discussion Starter #8
NCE cables

No problem, glad to help... Anytime...

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Hi MatroxD, I viewed your thread on the MY Layout section and noticed at one point you were making cables for your NCE Powercab. Were you successful and were you able to make longer cables to help with mobility?
 

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I have a Digitrax system, and the ESu Cab Control. The ESu is really cool, works great, can't say enough good things about it, except for one thing. It is very heavy at the knob end, and this gets very annoying very quickly, (for me anyway). I would try an ESu if possible, maybe it won't be a big deal for you, but I just want to bring that up.
 

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Hi MatroxD, I viewed your thread on the MY Layout section and noticed at one point you were making cables for your NCE Powercab. Were you successful and were you able to make longer cables to help with mobility?
Hi.. Yes, I did indeed make cables successfully. All of the cables im using now, from the booster, to every cab is made by me. Me personally, for what you spend on the regular cables(at set lengths that may or may not conform to your specific needs), if you can, I'd highly recommend making your own. Nothing whatsoever against NCE of course. It's just extremely easy to do honestly.

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Discussion Starter #11
The thought of making cables is great. Can you tell me what equipment you need to get and what kind of wire? Also how long were you able to make the cab connection wire? Another thought re the SB5 ---is it possible to damage items with the 5 amps available or do you have some kind of power limiting safety measures on your layout? Thanks, Paul
 

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The thought of making cables is great. Can you tell me what equipment you need to get and what kind of wire? Also how long were you able to make the cab connection wire? Another thought re the SB5 ---is it possible to damage items with the 5 amps available or do you have some kind of power limiting safety measures on your layout? Thanks, Paul
Uh, let me remember.. To make the cables, you really only need a good network crimper, some bulk CAT11 cable, and the CAT11 jacks. That's it honestly. I think the longest I made were 2 10 foot cables, just to see if I could. Lol. The bulk of them are 4,5, and 6 feet. Then I have lots odd cables that are smaller than 18".

And with the sb5, no it's not an issue, because it's the voltage, not the amp's that would cause the problem. It's just like anything else, it only pulls the amperage it needs, except in the case of a short. And in those cases, as recommended, I cannot stress enough than to have some type of circuit breaker for short protection. I have 1 NCE EB1 running the whole layout at the moment, but I should have more. Even a powercab should have some form of short protection, to guard your booster in the cab.

For your sized layout, I would definitely run multiple. Even mine should have at least 2 or 3. I would ideally add a second on the N circuit first, separating the two, then adding another for my yard. Im doing that soon honestly. But for yours I would do a few at least..

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