Preparing for SW Upgrade

In this section talks about all the steps one should take to prepare for a NCE Software Upgrade.

1) WHY THIS SECTION.
2) COMMON PROBLEMS WHEN SOFTWARE UPGRADES RESULT IN THE LOSS OF MEMORY.
3) MEMORY BACKUP OPTIONS
4) WORSE CASE MANUAL PREPERATION


1) WHY THIS SECTION.
Critical information is stored in the command station memory.  Information that has the potential to be lost is:

1) Consist
2) Macros
3) Recalls
4) Trains assignment to throttles
5) Function status.
6) Command Station Settings.

Some NCE software upgrades DO NOT SAVE this information.
Some NCE software upgrades DO SAVE this information.  However this has not always been true for the memory is lost anyway for many reasons.

BOTTOM LINE:  There is a risk you take in doing a software ugrade that can result in the loss of memory.   A memory loss can become a very inconvenient delay in time to getting the layout up and running again.

MURPHYS LAW AT WORK HERE: NEVER DO A SOFTWARE UPGRADE JUST BEFORE YOU PLAN TO HAVE GUEST OVER.  Do it only when you have the time to recover the layout if things do not go well.


2) COMMON PROBLEMS WHEN SOFTWARE UPGRADES RESULT IN THE LOSS OF MEMORY.

Consist: What you notice is many engines that were part of a consist before suddenly no longer work properly.  They appear to be dead.  Why?  The command station as lost the consisting information to properly control them while the engines themselves are still in consist mode.

Macros:  They will no long work because they are gone.

The larger the layout, the worse this gets.


2) MEMORY BACKUP OPTIONS

There are two options

a) PowerPro Only: The PowerPro system has integrated memory backup options.  Starting with the 2004 software upgrad, memory backup feature was added to the command station and require the use of a PC with a serial port and terminal emulation software.   The Backup commands are found in the "Command Station Setup" menu.  If your system does not show any memory backup commands in the menu, this option will not work.  If found, the instruction on how to do the back are found in the manual.   A copy of the instructions is also found on NCE website in the archives/documentation section.

b) All systems.  Use the FREE JMRI Decoder Pro software to do memory backup.

If for some reason you do not have any backup option available, you MUST perform the Manual Preparation Section.

3) MANUAL PREPARATIONS BACKUP OPTION.

ONLY perform this section IF YOU DO NOT HAVE any memory backup option for your system or do not plan to backup the system.

MACROS: The only thing worth writing down is the macros and re-entering them when you are done with the software upgrade. 

CONSISTING:  You must delete them all.  That said, you may want to take the extra step of making a complete list of all of the consist you have before you do this. 

TO PREVENT PROBLEMS APPEARING AFTER THE UPGRADE, YOU MUST PERFORM THE FOLLOWING PROCEDURE STEP BY STEP
.


PROCEDURE:

You will need a pad and pen to record consist numbers and engine numbers to complete this task.

A) Make sure all the engines that are part of any consist are now sitting on LIVE/POWERED track.

B) Enter the Browse Consist Menu.  Menu 9.  (ShortCut: Press [PROG], [9] keys.)

MAKING A LIST:

C) The display will show the first consist if it consist 127.  If none shown push the [INC]/[DEC] keys or use the Thumbwheel to move up and down the consist menu to find them.

D) When you find a consist, record the consist number followed by the lead engine and rear engine (if one) numbers.

E) Press [ENTER] key to see if there are any mid consist engines and record these engine numbers too.

F) Go back to step C and repeat until all the consisted engines are found and recorded.

DELETING THE CONSIST:

G) Referring to your list, go back to the first consist # you found.  Use the [INC]/[DEC] keys or use the Thumbwheel to move up and down to help guide you to find the consist.

H) With the consist number shown in the display, press the [CLEAR] key in the consist key area followed by the [1] key to kill the consist.  When completed, mark ONLY the consist number off the list.  Do not delete the engine numbers.

I) Go back to step G until all the consist are found and cleared out.  When you do a full scroll up or down in the consist browser, you should not see any consist.

TESTING THE ENGINES:

J) Refer to the list of engines that were part of any consist that you recorded.   Find the first engine of the first consist you found.

K) Enter the engine number on the throttle and see if you can run the engine.

L) Did the engine run?

YES:  Them cross this engine off the list and find the next one on the list.  Go to step K.

NO: Go to Step N

M) STOP:  With all the engine running, you are ready to proceed with the software upgrade.

FIXING DEAD ENGINES:


N) Make sure the engine has not sitting on dirty track.  Move it manually on the track.

O) Did the engine run?

YES: Go to step L.

P) Press [DELETE LOCO] key in the consist key area, enter the engine number at the prompt of the engine not working and press [ENTER] key.  (This is a very fast way of manually setting the engine's CV19 to zero.)

Q) Did the engine run?

YES: Go to step L.

NO:  Repeat starting at STEP N.  If that fails, you must use the Programming Track to make sure CV19=0