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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, so here is the situation. I new to HO train hobby and as a start bought a NCE DCC Twin 3Amp controller and a USB adapter for my computer which is running JMRI as a temporary solution.

The Twin was never meant to be my final controller solution, but a slave controller for my train yard SW-1 trains to the NCE Pro PowerHouse Command Station with separate 10Amp booster.

In the above configuration, you only attach the Twin to the CAB bus, and not attach the track power or unit power. And as such the twin acts as an additional 2 controllers.

Here is my question
Is it possible to supply power to the Twin as well, and run its DCC output as a second DCC bus to be used only to drive DCC Tortoises (SMAIL's)? Please read my question as NOT attaching the Twin DCC out to track, only driving the Tortoises. PowerHouse Pro 10amp would drive all my track needs and Keep to the 2 systems electronically separate which for me is important. And yes, I would have the Twin and Pro system attached via the CAB bus so the twin could still act as a slave controller to the trains.

Currently i have no trains assigned to the DCC ID 3 and 4 which are required for the Twin to control them unless changed by a pro system hammer head unit. As such I could assign all Tortoises on addresses other than 3 and 4 to keep the twin controller knobs available for the 2 SW-1 trains.

Thanks,
John
 

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I'm not at all clear of what you are trying to
accomplish.

The NCE twin DCC controller is described here:

https://www.trainsetsonly.com/nce-dcc-twin-starter-set.html?gclid=Cj0KCQiA04XxBRD5ARIsAGFygj-9z8Q_EuOXlRsIjTJHU2-VVtIM0cnVAL9S5T5xaIY0JpMRGQsmNS4aAnrPEALw_wcB

I haven't seen any of our members reporting use of
this device and would like to see comments from any
who have used it. It doesn't seem to really have a value
as compared to any regular NCE DCC controller.

The NCE twin furnishes 3 AMP of track power which should be
sufficient to run 6 or 7 trains at the same time.
While it controls only 2 trains simultaneously, you
can add any NCE hand held controller for maximum
flexibility.

You can run your tortoise turnouts from the track
output of this unit if you have the appropriate
stationary decoders.

Why would you have need of a 10 amp power supply?
That kind of power can weld metal wheels to the track
when they short.

Don
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm not at all clear of what you are trying to
accomplish.

The NCE twin DCC controller is described here:

https://www.trainsetsonly.com/nce-dcc-twin-starter-set.html?gclid=Cj0KCQiA04XxBRD5ARIsAGFygj-9z8Q_EuOXlRsIjTJHU2-VVtIM0cnVAL9S5T5xaIY0JpMRGQsmNS4aAnrPEALw_wcB

I haven't seen any of our members reporting use of
this device and would like to see comments from any
who have used it. It doesn't seem to really have a value
as compared to any regular NCE DCC controller.

The NCE twin furnishes 3 AMP of track power which should be
sufficient to run 6 or 7 trains at the same time.
While it controls only 2 trains simultaneously, you
can add any NCE hand held controller for maximum
flexibility.

You can run your tortoise turnouts from the track
output of this unit if you have the appropriate
stationary decoders.

Why would you have need of a 10 amp power supply?
That kind of power can weld metal wheels to the track
when they short.

Don


As I stated on page 5
"I can run my ABA set with 2 F units LokSound sound equip, kick off a proto 2000 E unit with no Sound, and when I hit the engine start sequence in my Tsunami2 SD40-2, the Proto 2000 E unit will start to studder in the running. I may have power issues such as too small a gauge wire running from controllers to track. And that is something to fix ASAP before getting increase power."

So obviously 3Amps is not enough. And I dont think 5 amps will overcome my future growth.

When I do expand to the new command station and 10A booster, I dont want the twin to act as a command station. As there can only be 1 command station per layout on the same bus. But I dont see why I should not be able to add power to a different area via the Twin (in this case the my turnout control) the same as adding a additional booster to the CAB bus and powering a different district.

And I am asking if anyone knows anything about that? Or do I risk blowing my Twin if i do that?

John
 

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Discussion Starter #4
It doesn't seem to really have a value
as compared to any regular NCE DCC controller....
On this point alone, I would like to comment my opinion as Forum member who is a USER of the Twin, I believe it has great value (especially for a entry unit) and dont regret buying it. Once hooked up to JMRI, I have been fully capable of doing things on my layout with exception of power demands that 3A limit me too as described in my above comment. And this unit has growth in mind as it can later be used as 2 controllers to Pro system. Which can be configured to be used in a switching yard. Or in my case, my young son can have a loco tied to it set to reduced speeds if I so choose.

Its a great starter unit and with the addition of the USB interface and a Computer (which almost everyone owns) for JMRI, it is in my opinion a better option where I have used my 11in tablets and cell phone for my throttles over a handheld controller.

Reconfiguring of the DCC decoders has been made much easier as I am doing so over a Application interface and not via handheld controller. As well as the option to completely save default decoder values for just incase I need/want to wipe out a loco.

And look at what it was competing against. A NCE PowerHouse which has its own limitations such as unplugging it from the cab to move to a different part of the layout and have everything come to a halt. Using my cell phone or tablet, I just move. And none of the benefits of JMRI which was a small cost increase to the TWIN.

I am just going to be disappointed if I have have to buy an 5A power booster for dedicated turnout control (because I want separate power system from trains ~ aka not needed but wanted) when the twin is more or less the same as a booster with 2 controllers.

When hooked to a command station, you have to configure the TWIN to be in SLAVE mode via CV values given by NCE.
 

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I see what you are saying and if what you have
does what you want that's what it's all about.

I'm still not really clear on your track connections
from the controller with this device. Are you
possibly saying that you intend to have it control
2 separate (Not connected to each other) layouts?
This is often done in a family layout situation.

It is very important that you DO NOT ever
have TWO separate DCC systems connected to
the track at the same time, The controllers
will be damaged. If you are going to use
turnout motors with stationary decoders they
would have to be connected to the track DCC
circuit in order to address them. Some
stationary decoders SWITCH non DCC power and
others USE the DCC track power for point movement.
Which are you using?

Don
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I see what you are saying and if what you have
does what you want that's what it's all about.

I'm still not really clear on your track connections
from the controller with this device. Are you
possibly saying that you intend to have it control
2 separate (Not connected to each other) layouts?
This is often done in a family layout situation.

It is very important that you DO NOT ever
have TWO separate DCC systems connected to
the track at the same time, The controllers
will be damaged. If you are going to use
turnout motors with stationary decoders they
would have to be connected to the track DCC
circuit in order to address them. Some
stationary decoders SWITCH non DCC power and
others USE the DCC track power for point movement.
Which are you using?

Don
Part of the problem is I am a NOOB and having a hard time explaining on forum what in person would be easy.

With NCE PRO system. You have your command station and primary power source, and you if you want more power, you add a booster to the layout and connect it to the CAB bus. As long as the 2 power sources are connected to different sections of the layout track which are isolated, who cares. If you want to add a third booster to run dedicated automation or lighting control via DCC, add a third booster, connect it to the CAB bus, and connect its power output to a dedicated Accessories bus, and attach said DCC capable accssories.

My question is, the Twin has a 3A power source and can be added to the Pro system CAB Bus as 2 remote controllers. You have to change a CV to configure it as a slave.

Does anyone know if a Pro System Command Station can utilize the 3A power output of a TWIN on a dedicated accessories bus for turnouts and such?

Otherwise in the future the TWIN is nothing more than a dual controller to the Pro System and I still have (Read as WANT) to buy a dedicated 5Amp booster to run my Accessories and Turnouts.

Does the relationship correlational between the Pro Command station and the Twin OR a 5A booster make sense now? I would be stoked if the Twin could act as a 3A booster for Accessories relaying DCC commands from a Pro System Command Station.
 

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;)Hi.
I don't quite comprehend what your problem is, but I'll say this:
The Twin obviously is not a walk around unit..but is to be mounted on a panel or what have you..If it's to run a small or medium sized layout the unit seems fine...(reminds me of MRC analog Tech II or IV). Apparently it is capable of running 2 trains simultaneously but can store up to 6. I'll assume it has 2 wires in the back which connect to 2 rails nearby..And as DonR says: DO NOT have a second controller attached to the same trackage !! If you're concerned with adding a booster, I'd imagine it has a port or such for this.
I don't get why you're making something complicated out of this.. You say your Twin is not the final solution for controlling the layout....If So, why not just let the Twin do the job it's designed to do, keep it simple for now and later on down the line when you replace it with whatever it is you intend to, then look for answers to concepts or problems you might have at that time with the new, larger system. No ?....Mark
 

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Discussion Starter #8
;)Hi.
As I don't quite comprehend what your problem is, .....

.....if need be, search for answers to concepts you might have at that time ?

To your first point, if you read my earlier post you will understand the basis of my questions and how I am currently using my DCC and where it will go. You will also understand that I am not limited by the Twin in any other way than Power currently.

To your last point, I have searched and is why I am asking the questions I am asking now here.

Thanks,
John
 

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I think it's much like the powercab in the sense that once you add the booster/ control center type configuration, you can no longer utilize the power portion of the beginner system(be it the twin or the powercab). The only thing I could find was the attached screen grab, that as you said, shows utilizing it as two separate cabs.

It makes sense to me at least, after doing the upgrade to their booster based systems. It seems at least that this is nce way of being able to grow the system. They probably are thinking, you'll have no need for attempting to incorporate the two power portions together, or as you wish to do, utilize the power of the old, beginner system with the "more powerful and capable" advanced system(even if it's just to utilize stationary devices and sends/ receive commands to and from them) .

I gave up the programming track and amp meter on the main layout when I upgraded to the booster based system, so i feel your pain. Tradeoffs.. I will say, that with me running literally "everything" on my layout from the single SB5(and I say this with the acknowledgement that I haven't viewed your layout) 5 amp booster, and I am running 5 servo based switch machines, 7 stationary decoders that run all my lights(last count, I was up to 140 LEDs), my single signal, 2 N engine's and 2 sound equipped HO engines, and 1 non sound HO engine, and I never trip anything(I have my breaker set to 3.5amps), and nothing ever stutters in these tests, that I think you'd be fine with the 10 maps the pro offers. I also run all NCE stationary decoders..



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Discussion Starter #10
I think it's much like the powercab in the sense that once you add the booster/ control center type configuration, you can no longer utilize the power portion of the beginner system(be it the twin or the powercab). The only thing I could find was the attached screen grab, that as you said, shows utilizing it as two separate cabs.

It makes sense to me at least, after doing the upgrade to their booster based systems. It seems at least that this is nce way of being able to grow the system. They probably are thinking, you'll have no need for attempting to incorporate the two power portions together, or as you wish to do, utilize the power of the old, beginner system with the "more powerful and capable" advanced system(even if it's just to utilize stationary devices and sends/ receive commands to and from them) .

I gave up the programming track and amp meter on the main layout when I upgraded to the booster based system, so i feel your pain. Tradeoffs..

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yeah, I seen this screen shot as it came in my paper work. And I totally agree with your comment here...
"They probably are thinking, you'll have no need for attempting to incorporate the two power portions together"

And its very possible that what I was hoping could work wont. Which is a bummer. But it is worth asking. I have asked NCE and still waiting for a response and will be making a Feature Request on this as its a great growth path.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
...I gave up the programming track and amp meter on the main layout when I upgraded to the booster based system, so i feel your pain.
I will be running a DCC Specialties RRAmpMeter for measuring V and A on the track bus in real time.

I thought the Pro system had a dedicated programming port where you could delegate a section of track for train programming? I was going to make a part of my Train Repair Facility dedicated for that with a Double Pull/Double Throw switch to swap between main and program.

And with JMRI, I can do "Programming on Main" when needed.
 

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yeah, I seen this screen shot as it came in my paper work. And I totally agree with your comment here...
"They probably are thinking, you'll have no need for attempting to incorporate the two power portions together"

And its very possible that what I was hoping could work wont. Which is a bummer. But it is worth asking. I have asked NCE and still waiting for a response and will be making a Feature Request on this as its a great growth path.
I agree, never hurts to ask..

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I will be running a DCC Specialties RRAmpMeter for measuring V and A on the track bus in real time.



I thought the Pro system had a dedicated programming port where you could delegate a section of track for train programming? I was going to make a part of my Train Repair Facility dedicated for that with a Double Pull/Double Throw switch to swap between main and program.



And with JMRI, I can do "Programming on Main" when needed.
Ah(on the ampmeter)..

And I believe you are correct on the dedicated port on the pro. But on my booster, there is no dedicated port(I have the SB5). I honestly looked up things specifically for your question(I am weird like that, and I feel as if I learned something also).I looked at the pro system, it's features, etc when I upgraded to the smart booster system. However, my layout for the foreseen future will not either be large enough, or have enough operators(it's more this factor) to warrant the pro.

And, like yourself, I use jmri also for programming on the main. I still have my little dedicated program tracks for new or problematic locos.. They're much smaller than in the past, simply because I rarely use them.

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Leave the twin as the command station. Use the output of the twin to control switches only, (separate buss line). Add booster whose output goes to the track. Add a hand held throttle of your choice.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Leave the twin as the command station. Use the output of the twin to control switches only, (separate buss line). Add booster whose output goes to the track. Add a hand held throttle of your choice.
Funny you would suggest this, as someone at the train show at the Wa Puyallup Fair Grounds suggested the same thing. And as long as the Command Station Features are a match, or reasonable enough for my wants as compared to a Pro system, this may be the ideal solution. Enough power for the stationary DCC items to run, and flexible options for track power based on my needs.

A DB5 (5Amp) booster with a US power supply.

The only question is would the NCE Auto-SW work for setting up a dedicated programing track on the twin the way it does on the Power CAB
 

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Leave the twin as the command station. Use the output of the twin to control switches only, (separate buss line). Add booster whose output goes to the track. Add a hand held throttle of your choice.
This is exactly in ess what I was suggesting to John. Glad I'm not alone in this thought.
I don't get why some noobs such as John make the running of model trains so complicated for themselves this side of perhaps wiring up switch motors/lighting up structures and perhaps making a programming track ? Yes, it's logical for very large layouts/club layouts with experienced runners/members to find the need for more complicated control/routing/boosting/segregating power districts,et al..
My last RR, HO, was 35'x5.5' tapering down to 2' width half way, then made a 90' L turn to 10'x2', using an NCE PowerCab..it's 2 little wires to the rails, 3 daisy chained panels for the ProCab, many times running 2 trains simultaneously and it ran with little to no problems at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
This is exactly in ess what I was suggesting to John. Glad I'm not alone in this thought.
Why why do noobs such as Johnfm3 make the running of model trains so complicated this side of perhaps wiring up switch motors/lighting up structures and perhaps making a programming track ? Yes, it's logical for very large layouts/club layouts with experienced runners/members to have the need for more complicated control/routing/boosting/segregating power districts,et al..
My last RR was 35'x5.5' tapering down to 2' width half way, then made a 90' L turn to 10'x2', using an NCE PowerCab..it's 2 little wires to the rails, 3 daisy chained panels for the ProCab, many times running 2 trains simultaneously and it ran flawlessly. M


With all respect, your ONLY other comment and Idea of thought on this thread was (as found on post #7 on page 1)

"As I don't quite comprehend what your problem is, ..."

with no form of suggestion along the lines of what ncrc5315 suggested.

As far as making things complicated, its people like me who work to push tech to its limits which results in creating new and exciting ideas and concepts which push a industry to grow. With out such people, we would still be running around on DC layouts. (hint: I have spent 13yrs working in different groups at a large software company in Wa which probably explains my need to push the limits)

And for my layout out, I am not looking to make it complicated, I am making it robust future proof. I believe in power districts. And keeping track power separated from the accessories. This small layout is going to be just the staging yard and return loop to what will be the end result. My dream layout which is a 9x9 triple layer layout which is around a helix for display in the house with the main structure laminated in some form of dark oak, and a home remodel where under the main living area of the main house a basement will be dug out for the primary point to point layout will run.

Has anyone ever told you...
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

I have a long term plan. And what I do now will be in line with that plan. So if around my other responsibilities (such as kids college) I can get a parts in prep for my long term goals, I will. And if I can get the upgraded command station, a 5 or 10A booster, and use the twin as a 3Amp Dummy Booster to a dedicated stationary decoder circuit, why not?

Shoot, look at the cost of a 10amp booster by itself ($325) and the 5A is not that much of a savings ($190). They are cheap. The cost is mainly in the hand held controller that I dont want. Even the command station is not that expensive ($280). And if I was to buy a 10A booster now, it would def fall in line with my future upgrades allowing me to upgrade and add the 9x9 with out worry of track power.

John
 

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I've been in this hobby since 1956. But Apparently I'm in left field about your particular endeavors.
You certainly have many questions for someone who sounds like he knows everything....
So I bow out here. Hope it turns out well...M
 

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Discussion Starter #19
To everyone else who has offered a lot of great assistance, thank you. I have not heard back from NCE, which is getting discouraging, but I am really taking a liking to the idea of using the twin as the command station and adding a DB5 5A dumb booster. And when I add the 9x9 layout described above, I can add another DB5 dumb booster. Its a good intermediate option.

Twin Specs
Power: 3 Amps
Maximum number of cabs (throttles) including the two on the Twin: 8 - Cab Addresses for add-on throttles MUST be in the range of 2 through 7.Plus up to 3 USB, AIU or Mini Panel accessories in address range of 8 through 10.
Functions controlled: 9
Maximum number of trains operated simultaneously: 18
 

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But, why wait for NCE ? Several here have told you already what the score is..
I'll say once more: Simplify. Run with what you have now..If you expand the size later, then deal with any throttle changes needed, then, not now...M
 
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