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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Everyone:

I'm building a model railroad here on the Oregon Coast. Am glad to join your group!

I do have a question that is preventing me from getting my railroad up and running. I purchased an NCE 5 amp DCC system. When I set it up it appears to work fine except......I cannot get any current to run from the track leads. The power enters the system but it does not exit it. Neither through the main track leads nor the programming leads. Do I have a defective system or am I missing something?

Defender;
I don't know how much of the following you may have already done, so I'm going to start from square one.
DCC systems should output a constant AC voltage of about 16 volts. Do you have a multimeter? If you don't I strongly recommend you buy one. It doesn't have to be some fancy, expensive model. Harbor Freight www.harborfreight.com sells a meter that is fine for model railroad work for only $5. (see photo)

If you do have a meter ,I suggest you set it for AC volts and put one meter lead on each rail of your track. You should be able to read the 16 volts. If you don't get AC voltage on the track, then I would disconnect the output wires of your DCC system from the track, and try for the 16 volts AC directly from the output wires. If you still have no voltage on the output wires, there is something wrong with the DCC hardware itself. In that case you do indeed have good input power to the NCE system, and bad/no output as you describe.

If the voltage without the track is good, and the voltage with the track connected is zero, you may have a short circuit on the track itself. You can verify that by disconnecting the output wires from the track, setting your multimeter to read ohms of resistance, and again hold one meter lead on each rail. If you get a zero, or very low reading, that confirms that there is a short circuit in the track. If you get a resistance reading of infinity, or very high Megohms, then there is no short in the track.
Another possible test of the track would be to first make sure the DCC system is disconnected from the track, and hook up a DC power pack and place a DC locomotive on your track. Does the DC loco run? If so, the track is OK.

All of the preceding was to check on the basic power. The next step, assuming you can get the 16 volts AC on a piece of track, is to check the DCC programing of the DCC equipped loco. The NCE system should have come with written directions on how to do this. Most new DCC locomotives come from the factory with their digital address set to 03. If your NCE system is sending signals to a different address than what the locomotive is programed for, the loco will not run.
I suggest you re-post your question on the DCC section of this forum. The folks over there know more about DCC than I do, and can probably help you.

Good Luck;

Traction Fan

Thank you TF.

Yes, I have a multimeter and yes it registers 16.5 volts on the power lead going into the system. Checked track, checked wires and checked the track output from the system with the meter. Good power going in, no power going out from the unit. While there may be a track problem I can't tell because the track is receiving no juice. The cab seems to be working fine.

Since I'm a newbie can you tell me how to post to the DCC section?

Thanks again.
 

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I'm not sure which NCE system you are using but I recently purchased the NCE Powercab starter set. My first experience with DCC. In order to check out the Powercab, I made a simple programming track. I could not get any power to the track just as you have described. Frustrated, to say the least. What I finally figured out, after actually carefully reading the instructions (ahem), was that the two cords that come with the set to connect the handheld unit to the control unit are not the same. I had been using the coiled cord not realizing that the two are different. The coiled one I think is for a second handheld unit. The flat cord is the one you need to use. After realizing this, I switched the two, and voila', problem solved. I do not know that this is your problem, but sometimes things are really that simple.
 

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I believe TommyB is correct. I have the starter set NCE you have to use the flat cable the coil is wired different. You have to "Plug" The cable into the left Port (As you are facing it) Red light on and you are ready to go.
 

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Did you remove the track power from being connected to the DCC system? The the DCC system output read ~16v a/c? If so the DCC system is OK and you probably have a short or open in the track system. Try using the Ohm meter to determine if the track is shorted.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Tommy B.

Thank you for your response. I have a starter unit too. The instructions leave much to be desired. I was indeed using the coiled cord. My unit actually was packed with three flat cables. A short one to connect the power to the control center and two long flat cables. The "quick setup" instructions say to use the coiled cord but it's plugged into an intermediate device that doesn't match the one provided to me. I tried both flat cables from cab bus to control station and the problem was not solved. Using my meter I have power coming into the command station. The station gets powered and the cab functions work. But I still get no electricity to the track cables. When I put my meter on the wires exiting the track outlet I get a zero reading. When connected to the track itself I still get a zero reading. It can't be a track short because there is no power going to the track. As far as I can tell the command station is not feeding back the signal to the track leads.
 

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Is there a small plug into which the wires are screwed which in turn plugs into the control panel? If so, check that both wires are screwed tightly into the plug. It happened to me, and at least one other person, that one wire was not securely screwed into the plug. That was the cause of no power to the track.
 

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🌈I own a PowerCab 5-6 years now. I think it's great. Though I've no layout now due to twice relocating Apts., I can only add that the squiggly-stretchy (not flat) wire runs from the bottom jack on the throttle to the small panel (usually mounted on the facia board) which has the 2 jacks in front (for 1 or 2 controllers) and the red pilot light. This panel's rear has the out-to-track wires.. If you add another panel (say 8ft away) the flat wire is used for daisy chaining panels together around the layout for walk-around running. All controllers (PCab and small pilot cabs) the use the squiggly wire from their bottom to the facia panels..
Sorry if all this has already been covered above. But it's too much to read thru them all. Easier to just tell my version. M🚦

PS. To all PCab owners, try to not put too much pressure on the speed wheel..We tend to do this when panicking over some bad thing up ahead because we don't want to unrealistically stop everything abruptly via the red panic button. Pressing down on the wheel too strongly can break the (I think) encoder on its axle. Then we can only use the 4 speed buttons. I did this and NCE sent me a new wheel/axle..
Hopefully they've changed this in the newer issues of the PCab...
Also: if you do ever open and close the casing do not over tighten the screws. Stop when they're just a tad snug.. It's easy to strip the threads (I stripped 3 !)..
 

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From my Powercab starter set manual. You should have this information. It's very basic, for sure. Meant only for the purpose of getting up and running...….


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I see your are using the Power Pro, and not the PowerCab. A definite step-up from what I have. I'm sure someone here will help you find your answer...[spoken while backing away].
 
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