NCE USB and serial interfaces and JMRI software

NCE USB, serial, JMRI interfaces


USB interface

Recently, NCE made a USB interface to connect to the cab bus. This interface allows the JMRI software to send commands, and apparently will also interface in some way to the PowerCab programming track, i.e. OPS mode programming of train/accessory/signals.

The unit came with a rom to upgrade the power cab to version 1.28c

First step to install is download and install the driver, you get it from the NCE page on the USB interface. Install it WITHOUT the USB interface connected. After the install, then connect the USB interface and the driver should load and find the hardware.

Since it "exists" on the cab bus, it must have an address like other cabs. When used with the PowerCab, it's address must be 3, so try to avoid that address for your cabs.

There are jumpers on the board that must be set according to the type of system it is connected to. JP1 is to set a baud rate, leave open.

  • For a PowerCab system, leave all jumpers off
  • For a system with the SB3 booster, JP4 on
  • For a PH Pro system, JP3 on
  • For "all systems", JP3 and 4 on, but this mode is unclear when to use

Cab bus addresses when used with an SB3 are limited to 2-5, power pro systems can use 2-63

Use the "coiled cord" to connect the USB interface to the cab bus.

Because the board is bare, and might be located anywhere, I decided to put it in a box to protect it. A radio shack #270-1802 is a perfect fit, the board slips down inside like it was made for it.

I put the board inside and started carving 2 holes, one to fit a USB adapter I have, and the other to allow access for an RJ-11 patch cord.

Below is a shot of the board. Two holes have been elongated to match the holes in the case. There's no components or traces nearby.


I tapped two of the mounting holes inside for 6-32 and used a couple of short screws (used to mount computer hard drives):


There are 2 small leds, one in the lower left corner, labeled USB, and one in the lower right corner labeled CAB BUS. I may get a piece of light pipe to extend these to the top.





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