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NCE Power Cab Quick Look - Initial Thoughts and impressions




First off, my PowerCab came very well packed and protected and comes with the following items:

  1. Power (PCP) panel PowerCab (RJ-12)

  2. 6-connector cable (7')

  3. Extra throttle cable (coily cord)

  4. Power Supply (13.5VDC)

  5. Users manual

  6. PowerCab throttle

Power Cab throttle


  1. Locomotive Control

  2. Speed Control - 3 types: (R to L) -> Slow Incremental button (1-step per increment) -> Thumbwheel -> Fast Increment button (4 or 10 steps per increment - 28 or 128 speed)

  3. Commonly Used buttons

  4. Loco and Accessory Selection Group

  5. Data Entry/Function Control

  6. Consist Setup

  7. Programming and Extending Function Control


Buttons are logically laid out and straightforward.  I thought I would miss the potentiometer (like the one on my Bachmann), but the two sets of buttons and thumb wheel for increasing and decreasing speed were very intuitive and made operations very smooth.





View in hand - The PowerCab fits nicely in my large hand.  If you have smaller hands, you may want to hold one first just to try it out and see how it feels.  You could plug in a smaller throttle into the Power panel and only use the PowerCab for programming.  Since the PowerCab provides power to the track, it ALWAYS needs to be connected to the Power panel.


View of LCD display: (L to R, top to bottom)


  • Top row: Loco # | Fast (or Scale) Time

  • Bottom row: Direction | Speed step | Function #s (1-6 only) activated*








*L = light, 1 = bell, dash = off, etc.


Clear, crisp and easy to read.  LCD always stays backlit when powered.


User's manual


Inside view - p. 14.  The Users manual comes in a handy spiral notebook so that it will lay flat.  All pictures are in black and white.  A .pdf color version of the Power Cab manual is also available for download from the NCE website at the following links:


Power Cab Rev 1.1 manual

Power Cab Rev 1.28 manual


First inside page (torn) - disappointing.  Manual came this way.


Power Cab panel (PCP)


Circuit board (with connections) - Nicely labeled and easy to access.  The track power (upper left) is a connector that can be unclipped from the board for easier wiring.  The connector on backside is used for daisy-chaining the Power panel to other UTPs (universal throttle panels) so you can add additional walk-around throttles.

Power supply


I liked the nice slim profile.  It only takes up one outlet space, rather than the customary 2-spaces that other oversized power supplies usually take up in a strip outlet.

















Initial overall rating and satisfaction: A-
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