Reviews

Using an extra throttle with the NCE Power Cab

 

As you can see, this particular throttle uses a potentiometer to adjust the locomotive speed - hence, the "p" in the model #.  The throttle is simple to use, lightweight and easy to hold. The potentiometer knob is at least 1" OD.  (NCE also makes a CAB-04e, if you prefer an encoder over a potentiometer.)

 

According the manual, the CAB-04p comes "shipped from the factory with the address of 5".  There was some discussion earlier on this thread about how a throttle is used in conjunction with the Power Cab. In order for any throttle to work successfully with the Power Cab, the throttle has to have an address of "3".  Before I got the throttle, it wasn't very clear as to how you would go about doing this.  Thankfully, using the Operational Manual that came with the CAB-04p, made set up easy and straightforward.

 

For those interested, here's the step by step process for setting up the NCE CAB-04p to use with your Power Cab.  (The following steps were originally written for use with the NCE Power Pro command station.  I've added [comments in brackets] to make it specifically applicable to the Power Cab.)

 

Steps for programming an extra cab for use with Power Cab

 

  1. Turn on the command station [Power Cab]

  2. Unplug your cab [CAB-04p] from the command station [in this case from the RJ-12 connector of the Power panel

  3. Press and hold down the SELECT LOCO button on the cab while plugging in the cab [into the UTP panel or right connector port of the PCP panel].  The cab will now enter its internal setup program.  This is indicated by a flashing status LED [at the left of the potentiometer].

  4. Press "1" to enter the cab address setup mode.  Notice the flashing of the LED slows signaling it is ready to accept the new address.

  5. To change the address, type in a new address followed by the ENTER key [in this case "3"].  Valid cab addresses are 0 to 63.  An address of 0 sets the cab back to its original factory setting (cab address 5).  If you enter a number outside this range, the LED will flash rapidly indicating an error.  If you get an error, press SELECT LOCO to cancel the error and allow you to re-enter the data correctly.

 

That's all there is to it!   You're good to go.  All you have to do to choose a locomotive is to press SELECT LOCO, punch in the programmed locomotive #, and then ENTER.   You can now run that locomotive.

 

A couple of nifty features of the NCE CAB-04e worth mentioning are:

 

  • Choice between REGULAR and YARD modes - YARD mode changes the throttle so that the potentiometer position for "0" is now midpoint (i.e. 12 'o clock) in the knob's rotation, rather than all the way CCW left.  This allows you to easily manipulate a switcher to go either forward and backwards just by simply rotating the knob CW right and CCW left. Pretty handy*.

 

*CAUTION: One thing you MUST be careful of while changing the throttle from YARD mode to REGULAR mode, or REGULAR mode to YARD mode: BEFORE you press either numbered button to complete the change (i.e. "1" for YARD mode; "0" for REGULAR mode), make sure that the throttle knob is in the appropriate "0" position for that mode - e.g. YARD mode (center); REGULAR mode (CCW left).  If you forget, your locomotive will suddenly take off at a high rate of speed, because the "0" is in a different spot now.  (They failed to mention this in the manual, so I found out the hard way.)

 

  • Setting the OPTION key to perform various tasks - I have mine set for EMERGENCY STOP: Pressing the E-STOP (or OPTION) key now stops the active locomotive; three times in quick succession brings the entire layout to a halt.  (A feature that is available on the Power Pro throttle but not the Power Cab - i.e. unless you are running it as an extra throttle on a Power Pro system.)*

 

*EDIT: After activating the "full layout" E-STOP feature on my CAB-04p with the OPTION button, I was only able to stop the active locomotive on my throttle, and NOT all moving locomotives on the layout.  I'll keep you abreast if I should get that feature to work.

 

To set up the YARD mode or any of the variety of OPTION key options,  you follow the SAME exact format as you did changing the cab address but you insert different numbers in Step 4. ("2" to enter YARD mode setup; "4" for OPTION key setup.

 

Conclusion

 

Well, I hope this turns out to be a help to those of you who were curious how an extra throttle worked with the new NCE Power Cab.  Still learning...