The company started out as North Coast Engineering. New York regulations were involved in changing the name to NCE, Inc. Even today, some folks (erroneously) call it North Coast or North Coast Engineering.
Often considered one of the most user friendly systems, NCE offers a complete line of Digital Command Control products.
PROCAB - NCE's very sophisticated "ProCab" provides user-friendly access to all system features in a single handheld throttle device. The ProCab is available in radio and non-radio versions. The ProCab is one of the most ergonomic cabs on the market.
POWERCAB - Built on the ergonomic ProCab platform, the PowerCab combines a 2 amp (peak) system for your home layout with a cab that can be taken to the club or a friend's layout. The PowerCab can have a radio board installed and be used as a wireless cab.
DUPLEX RADIO - NCE's radio system has been honed to a fine edge and is Bruce's choice for his own use since 2010.
POWER TO SPARE - NCE is renowned for its effortless power:
The 5 amp system guarantees a full 5+ amps on the track for your S and smaller scale systems.
The 10 amp systems provide an enormous reserve of power and should be used only with G-scale or exceptionally well wired O-scale layouts. It provides over 10 continuous amps and will deliver 30 amps for 1/4 second for power-hungry locos like the offerings from USA Trains and Charles Ro. Since it is capable of an instantaneous 60 amps - faster than a circuit breaker than react - it is NOT RECOMMENDED FOR ANY OF THE SMALLER SCALES!
The NCE Web site
NCE Cab Addresses
Every cab on the system MUST have a unique address.
For each system type, the cab operation will be influenced by the address.
I’ve gone through the documentation I can find and have compiled the following table of what can exist where on what system.
If you find an error in this data, please let me know so I can keep things straight for the NCE fans out there. Click on this chart for a full size version.
Frequently Asked Questions
Due to its ease of operation, there are very few questions frequently asked about NCE sets' operation.
We answer the most common ones here.
Can I run two PowerCabs together as a system?
Yes. One PowerCab can be the MASTER - command station, booster, etc. It must use the 6-wire flat cord and be plugged into the left socket on the PCP (PowerCab Circuit Panel) when the LED is at the bottom. It cannot be removed while the system is in operation. The other PowerCab, using the 4 conductor coiled cord and set to Cab Address 3, can be plugged into the right jack. There may be a bit of a tussle for leadership when the system is powered up. To avoid that, hold down the DIRECTION key on the MASTER when power is applied. Later software allows the power up delay on the secondary PowerCab, so that it will not fight for control with the primary PowerCab.
How do I connect my PowerCab?
Use the flat cable to operate your PowerCab as a DCC system. Use the coiled cord when you are using it only as a controller. For more information, CLICK HERE to go to the Model Railroad Hobbyist issue with more details.
How about an auto-reverser for my PowerCab?
There have been rumors, some of them perpetuated by Bruce, that there was no auto-reverser to work with the PowerCab. Recent testing has shown that the PSxAR, set to 1.27 amps, works flawlessly as an auto-reverser! Out of the box, it won't work, but jumper J6 pin 1 to J6 pin 2 to set the trip current to 1.27 amps and it will do just fine. The circuit breaker functionality will NOT work with the PowerCab - the PowerCab will shut down before the PSxAR will shut off..
Bruce recommends jumpering J7 Pin 3 to J7 Pin 4 to activate the low power booster program within the PSxAR.
How about a circuit protector for my PowerCab?
NCE designed the CP-6 set of bulbs as a way to isolate sections of your layout with the PowerCab. This works, but lacks elegance.
Bruce tried the PSx series of circuit breakers and found that they would NOT work as delivered, even with the jumpers set (as discussed above) for 1.27 amps. The PSx tripped before the PowerCab, but then when the PowerCab auto reset, the PowerCab shut down. SO, Bruce tried adding the manual reset push button (a normally closed push button across J7 pin 1 and J7 pin 2). IT WORKS! A short on the layout trips the PSx. Clearing the short and pressing the button caused Bruce's Tsunami equipped loco to pick up where it left off motion, sound and light wise!
Bruce recommends jumpering J7 Pin 3 to J7 Pin 4 to activate the low power booster program within the PSx.
How do I tell what version ProCab I have?
You can read the version of your ProCab, here's how. Click on the photos for a larger view.
When you plug your ProCab into your system, the first display shows the version of the cab firmware. In this case, it is V1.3.
If you have a RADIO ProCabR, you can check out the radio version level by installing the 4 x AAA batteries in the cab. When you press EMERGENCY STOP and the cab starts up, it will show you the radio version - which has no relationship to the cab version. In this case the RADIO is V1.5. These two photos are of the same cab. It is V1.3 with RADIO V1.5!
What is the situation with upgrading Cabs to the Radio V1.5?
The external antenna cabs may be older radio versions. The internal antenna version are all V1.5 or later.
If you don't know what radio version you have, you can tell by opening your cab and looking at the radio board, which is installed in the upper portion of the rear of the cab. See example below.
Now, in the lower left corner of the board - shown in detail below - you can see some components. If your board is missing a resistor as shown in the photo below, you have Version 1.5 radio - the upgrade that came out in 2008!
If your board has a resistor in this location, you have an older version radio board.
Can I upgrade from non-radio to radio cabs?
Yes. The cost is about $100 and they will need to go back to NCE. Bruce can no longer provide this service.