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NCE Battery & System Backup

In this section 

1) WHAT SYSTEMS HAVE A BATTERY?
2) WHAT TYPE OF BATTERY IS INSIDE?
3) REPLACING THE BATTERY.  BE CAREFUL.
4) BACKING UP MY COMMAND STATION DATA
5) EXPECTED BATTERY LIFE


1) WHAT SYSTEMS HAVE A BATTERY?

If you have a:

1) NCE PowerPro  
2) NCE CS02 Command Station
3) NCE Master Series CS01 Command Station
4) Wangrow System One Command Station

All of these devices contain a coin cell battery inside.  The common sign for all of these devices is they all have a DB-9 RS-232 port for PC connection on the front panel.  No other NCE products contain a coin cell battery.  

PROBLEM: The system will never tell you if you have a weak or dead battery.  It does not check.  Without warning, your data such as Consist, Macros and System Setting can be lost or corrupted.

The NCE CS02 and PowerPro systems do offer a way to back up the vulnerable data IF YOUR SYSTEM SUPPORTS IT.

08/2012: NCE has announced that memory back up will only be supported using JMRI Decoder Pro Software.  It will be removed as a menu item on it next release of Command Station Software


2) WHAT TYPE OF BATTERY IS INSIDE?

1) NCE Power Pro
2) NCE CS 02 Command Station.
CR-2032 or CR2032.  This is a relatively large (3/4" diameter or so) common coin cell.  It is a 225mAh, 3V none rechargeable Lithium battery.  2032 indicates the size is 20.0±0.2 mm diameter and 3.2±0.5 mm height as defined by the IEC standard 60086.  Shelf life is 10 Years.   The most common brands of the CR2032 lithium battery are Energizer, Maxell, Panasonic, Sony and Duracell.  Most drug stores sell these for about 4 dollars each.  However if you do a search online for "CR2032", then you can easily find a pack of five for about the same price.









3) NCE Master Series CS01 Command Station
4) Wangrow System One Command Station

CR-2330 or CR2330  This is a large (1" diameter or so) coin cell.  It is a 225mAh, 3V none rechargeable Lithium battery.  2330 indicates the size is 23.0±0.2 mm diameter and 3.0±0.5 mm height as defined by the IEC standard 60086.  Shelf life is 10 Years.   This battery is not as common as it once was and name brands may be harder to find.  The 2032 essentially replaced it.  Do a search online for "CR2330" to find a supply.












3) REPLACING THE BATTERY.  BE CAREFUL.

There is Danger when replacing the battery with the system on!

NCE say in the manual that it is recommended to replace the battery when the system is on.   However a few sentences later, they also say to cover up the electronics to prevent damage if you drop the battery.

Why take the chance?

One "slip" of the coin cell battery or tool into the box while it is powered up can damage or even destroy the system depending on what it shorts out to.  Why?  A coin cell is all metal on all sides so there is no safe angle.  So unless you can guarantee that Murphy's law does not apply to you, turn the power off.


4) BACKING UP MY COMMAND STATION DATA

How can I tell if my system can back up the data?

The Data Back up feature only works with Command Station software released from 2004 up to 2006.

The option to do Memory Backup depends on how old your system it.  You can find out if you system has be doing the following using a ProCab:

1) Press the PROG/ESC key to enter the menu system.

2) Go to the SETUP COMMAND STATION MENU.  Two ways to get there:
2a) Long way: Press the PROG key until it says: SET CMD STATION and then press the ENTER Key.
2b) Short cut: Press 5

3) Display will change and show the Command Station Software Version: It should say 2004 or newer but not latter than 2006.  2007 is broken and you will be require to use JMRI Decoder Pro software to do the backup.  This will be true for all new released of command station software going forward.

4) To exit, press EXPN key.

If your system supports it, at the bottom of this webpage is the PDF instruction on how to do memory backup.

System to old?  NCE has released software upgrades over time for these products for minimal cost (mostly mailing cost).  If you find out your do not have the backup option, contact NCE for a system upgrade.  Until that is done, your out of luck on doing any form of data backup.

Do Not Back Up Corrupted Data

If you you are already experiencing corrupted values, you should forget doing a backing up and just do a full system reset after you replace the battery.  Backing up a system with corrupted values is simple going to save the corrupted values.   Hence the system will look/act strange even after you replaced the battery.   Sorry.

Preventative Backups is the way to go

Back up the command station when you make any changes to the system settings, macros, and optionally consist.  Macros will be the most valuable since they will take the most time to re-enter.  

Consist can be saved to but that only makes sense if you keep your consist the same all the time.  

If you create new consist all the time, then you better off not saving them.   Simple clear all consist first and then verify all the locomotive are in fact no longer part of the consist.  Failure to do this last step will result in many locomotive not working when you bring the system back up after doing a reset.  Why?  The engines still think they are part of a consist even though the command station no longer thinks they are.  (Think dirty wheels or track when doing a clearing of consist.  CV19 may not be zero.)


5) EXPECTED BATTERY LIFE

5 Years of battery life is just an estimate for PowerPro and CS02.  3 years for the CS01 and SYS1 command stations.  Your milage may vary.  Actual life time of the battery will vary with actual system usage.  Battery power is only consumed when the system is off.  If you left your command station on forever, the battery will only fade due to self consumption....in other words the shelf life of the battery which is 10 years.  So one persons experience in battery life will be different than another persion simply because they used run the layout more or less than the other.

What happens when the battery dies?

What happens will depend on the state of the battery.

A weak battery causes increasing unreliable or flakey operation of the system that gets worse and worse the longer you wait to replace it.  The signs are corrupted consist, wrong locomotives showing up on the Procab LCD, System Settings getting set to other values and corrupted macros.

A dead battery will always cause the system to boot slower and nothing is remembered from the last operating session.  No engines in the recall list nor shown on the display.  No macros or consist remembered.  All system setting changes you made go back to the default values.



10/2/16
Ċ
Mark Gurries,
Aug 7, 2012, 5:03 PM