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Discussion Starter #1
So some of you might have read about my problems with my NCE PowerCab. After continued problems I was thinking about getting rid of it and going to the MRC prodigy advanced2 Wifi system.

My thought process was that this system is available for about the same as a powercab plus JMRI interface, and would have way more power overhead than the base NCE system.

Instead I decided to just get a NCE SB5. Plunging this between the powercab and JMRI interface disables the base station and power functions of the powercab, and essentially turns it into a procab, meaning you can unplug the cab and your trains keep running.

Once I had the unit in hand I was surprised by how much smaller and lighter it was than I expected. I connected it up, restarted my laptop and launched JMRI. I reprogrammed a couple of turnouts and a locomotive that had been acting up with the PowerCab. Everything was normal except that the use programming track option is no longer available. You also cannot check your power draw anymore, as far as I can tell.

I then launched JMRI and everything worked great. I then unplugged the cab and ran everything off my cell phone and JMRI.

All the issues I had with the powercab were resolved. Locos ran perfect. Consists ran great, and my high power draw sound and smoke unit did not starve at high speed steps. Great.

Which got me thinking: why get the powercab at all? I got the SB5 from tower for the same price as the Powercab (ok about $3 more). JMRI interface costs the same either way.

The only disadvantages I found were:

-the loss of use of programming track, which some decoders don't support that anyway.

-needing to add in a circuit breaker, which I should probably have anyway.

-loss of the momentum button, which is a big advantage with my MTH diesels consisted to non MTH locos.

I am thinking about just using the powercab as a programmer on its own track and just run everything elseoff my phone and laptop.

Thoughts, comments, suggestions?
 

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sounds like you really wanted a JMRI interface for controlling your locos. Not sure how well suited the powerCab is for this. It is both a command station, cab and booster.

fortunately, you can now program your locos on a separate programming track while still running the layout with your SB5. This is what most larger layouts do.

i think you would have paid a lot more for a NCE PowerPro which comes with a ProCab.
 
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