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NCE Mini/Macro Panel

The section has 5 parts

1) MINI/MACRO PANEL INTRODUCTION
2) CONNECTING ELECTRICAL DEVICES TO THE INPUTs
3) MACRO-PANEL
4) MINI-PANEL  
5) MINI-PANEL USAGE WITH THE POWER CAB
6) MINI-PANEL QUICK TIPS
7) MINI-PANEL TECHNICAL REFERENCE ERRORS

HAVING PROBLEMS MAKING YOUR MINIPANEL WORK WITH THE POWERCAB?  CHECK HERE: PowerCab Expansion


1) MINI/MACRO PANEL INTRODUCTION

The NCE Mini/Macro Panel are special devices designed to record and playback macros or scripts of DCC commands to control various layout functions.  This allows one to build automatic control function capability WITHOUT the use of a actual computer. 

Do not know what are macros?  Go here: NCE Macros 

Unlike the capabilities of NCE command stations macros, these two products take Macros to a whole new level of control capability and can be trigered by push of a button or external hardware events.  Using push buttons you can build a control panel to control a interlocking or yard setting up routes and simple signals.  Likewise you can the signal outputs from block occupancy detection, switch machine position status, DCC circuit breaker shutdown, physical position detectors to cause other actions such as levels of layout automating like running of a trains between designated points without an operator.

The Mini/Macro panel plug into the NCE Cab bus and take a Cab/Throttle address.  It has the power to emulated a Cab/Throttle which is a big part of why it can do the things it can do.


2) CONNECTING ELECTRICAL DEVICES TO THE INPUTs

By design, the Mini/Macro panel is designed to be used with simply contact devices such as push buttons, relays and rotary switches.  These devices do not require any external power to operate and are electrically isolated from other outside circuits such that they can be connected without any electrical concerned

The same cannot be automatically said for electrically powered devices which offer a signal or logic output which, at face value, looks like you can hook them up and go.   The problem of concerns

They share the same ground as the all the other devices on the cab bus.  The cab bus gets it power from the command station which in turn is connected to boosters.  If your connecting an external device to a given button input, it must be electrically isolated from DCC track power from the boosters.  Typically that means the external device must have its own dedicated DC power source and NOT gets its power from the track.  If the device can only run on DCC track power, it must provide some form of electrical isolation that break the ground loop path.   Examples of compatible devices are transformer based current occupancy Detector) or opto-isolated signal output.

For a complete list of macro memory capabilities and command, go here:NCE Macro System Specifications


3) MACRO PANEL

The Macro-Panel is NOT A RELEASE PRODUCT.  It is rumored to offer more sophisticated control capability such as offering NX CTC Dispatching Control Panels or US&S Code Button based Dispatching Control Panels.  It will also offer more memory to run allow more macro script commands per input and more button inputs.  Button inputs can also be expanded with button input expansion panels that will plug into the Macro Panel.  In other words a single Macro Panel will allow multiple distributed remote panels to be created.  There is not shipping date offered on this product.  Even if one was offered, NCE product introduction history tells us it that it will ship when it ships.  No use in waiting for it.


4) MINI-PANEL   

Currently, NCE is ONLY offering the Mini-Panel as shown on the picture.  It has 30 button inputs which can run 30 unique macros with each allowing 4 macro script commands.  The user can adjust the memory allocation to free up more memory to hold longer macros scripts commands by giving up button inputs.  Note: See Mini-Panel documentation information the bottom of this page for more information.


















5) MINI-PANEL USAGE WITH THE POWER CAB
When using the Mini-Panel with the PowerCab, there are two setup configuration that must be followed and switch between programming the minipanel and operating the minipanel. The diagram shows the connections required. (A pdf of it is located at the bottom of this webpage.)

The key thing to realize is the Mini-Panel draws power from the 12V cab bus power to operate. The 12V cab bus power is provided by the PowerCabs PCP panel and the power is independent of the PowerCab's existence or mode of operation.

The usage of the PowerCab itself changes depending on what you want to do with the Mini-Panel. The reason why is that the PowerCab is a combination ProCab and DCC command station in a single ProCab package.




PROGRAMMING MODE:

The programming setup is shown on the top of the diagram. Remember to install the programming jumper to enable the programming. The PowerCab is being used as a regular ProCab in this setup. There is no command station. Instead the Mini-panel is acting as its own command station to allow the PowerCab to do the programming.

OPERATING MODE:

This is basically the same setup as required by the PowerCab system by itself and shown in the bottom of the diagram. Remember to remove the programming jumper to enable the programming. The PowerCab is now operating as a command station in which the minipanel must talks to over the cab bus in order to send out its commands.


6) MINI-PANEL QUICK TIPS

Please download the updated technical reference manual "update" listed below.  In addition to corrections, there is additional information in some sections.

a) To reset the Minipanel, set the cab address to 0.  The minipanel will clear all memory, reset to factory defaults with the cab address set to 3.  

b) Macro Panel is hung-up/not responding.  Activating Input 31 will preform a "panel reset" which stops any running macro.  It does not reset memory.  This assumes Input 31 has no macros assigned.

c) There is no step delete option.  Simply change the undesired line/command to a NOP or "no operation" command.  Otherwise you will have to re-enter the macro over again starting from this point forward.


7) MINI-PANEL TECHNICAL REFERENCE ERRORS

The current Mini-Panel technical reference manual was released by NCE in a draft form and as such has multiple errors and omissions.  A corrected version of the manual exist and is found at the bottom of this page.  The Document was edited by Mark Schutzer and has been submitted to NCE to incorporate in the final release of the manual.  It includes connection diagrams that allow one to use it with a PowerCab with regard to programming.

7/15/17

Ċ
Mark Gurries,
Jan 20, 2012, 3:22 PM
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Mark Gurries,
Feb 15, 2012, 4:55 PM