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Base Station Radio Updates

In this section, we cover the hardware and software changes of the Cab portion of the  NCE radio System.   To learn about basic radio system itself, go here:

IN THIS SECTION:

1) RADIO BASE STATION JOB FUNCTION
2) RADIO BASE STATION HARDWARE VERSIONS
3) RADIO BASE STATION SOFTWARE VERSIONS
4) RADIO BASE STATION UPGRADE SUPPORT
5) RADIO REPEATERS
6) HISTORIC RADIO BASE STATION (RB01/RB02) PROBLEMS
7) GOT RADIO PROBLEMS?  GO HEAR: Radio Problems?


1) RADIO BASE STATION JOB FUNCTION

A radio base station is the master radio controller that acts as a bridge between the command station and the radio cabs.   The radio based station physically connects to the cab bus but has no address assigned to it.    The radio base station since it job it to allow all radio cabs to look like plugged in tethered cabs such that the command station never knows it is working with a radio cab or not.  It command station talks to a radio cab the same way it would talk to a plugged in cab.   Stated another way, the radio base station's job is to make the radio system operation transparent to both the cabs and the command station.  Hence there is no software upgrade required of the command station or the cabs to support radio.   Just buy ONE radio base station, plug it in to ANY NCE DCC system and your good to go.  All you need to do is buy radio cabs.


2) RADIO BASE STATION HARDWARE VERSIONS (Types)

There are two versions of the radio base station RB01 and the RB02.    The RB01 was the original radio base station the has no radio repeater support capability.
RB02 is a RB01 with radio repeater support.   You can tell the difference by looking at the number of connections the unit has.   A RB01 only has one jack where as the RB02 has 3.


3) RADIO BASE STATION SOFTWARE VERSIONS

 Radio
Software
Version
 Base Station
Type
Radio DescriptionVersion Status
1.0RB01Original Radio Software Release

There is no software upgrade for this base station.  NCE did offer at one time a trade in of exchanging old RB01 base station for a RPT1 or Radio Repeater.  They only way to get reliable radio operation with the RB01 is to replace it with a RB02.
Obsolete
1.0RB02
Support for Base Station Repeaters

Discontinued
2.0RB02
Major Radio Bug Software Release.
See section 6 for list
Supported
2.1RB02Same as V2.0 but includes a bug fix for the CAB06 when it is using a ProCab Radio address.  It helps speed up the Display update rate on the Cab06 but unfortunately still remains slow because the Cab06 also gets the ProCab display update too which is data it must throw away slowing down the radio system.  Problem is avoided if you stick to using Engineer Cab addresses only.

NOTE: There is a difference between V2.1 software upgrade done by individuals and that done by NCE.  NCE released a revised version of V2.1 that fixed the lost Layout ID problem by removing the option to change it.  It alway at zero.


In Production

RB03?
No Cab Address Limits for ProCabs
Bug fix for Function Status Feature
Future

FIGURING OUT THE BASE STATION SOFTWARE VERSION

RB01:  There was only one SW version released for the RB01.
RB02:  Look on the bottom of the RB02 for a sticker. If: 
            a) no sticker, it is V1.0
            b) sticker, the sticker shows version number:  2.0 or 2.1

4) RADIO BASE STATION UPGRADE SUPPORT

There is no user software upgrade options for the radio system.  All upgrades must be done by NCE.


5) RADIO REPEATERS

The radio system has a limited amount of radio transmission power per the FCC rules.   This limited the range the radio based station could cover.  The problem would show up on large layouts.  With the introduction of the RB02, radio repeaters were introduced to allow the radio system coverage to work with very large layouts.

Repeater look exactly like radio base stations but they are not.  They all have a label on them that says they are a repeater.   Connection wise, they do not connect to the cab bus but instead connect to one of the two RB02 repeater jacks or a repeater jack of another repeater.  A large array of repeaters can be connected to a single radio base station allowing for mega large radio coverage.   However in practice there is diminishing performance returns in going past two repeaters.


6) HISTORIC RADIO BASE STATION (RB01/RB02) PROBLEMS

The RB01 and non upgraded RB02 radio base station would start to show problems when the following conditions were met:

1) A lot of radio cabs were being used.
2) The combination of wired (plugged in) and wireless (radio) cabs being used at the same time.
3) The radio cab addresses being used.
4) Sudden complete loss of radio operation on power up from a previous operating session where the radio ran just fine.

In other words very flaky radio operation under some conditions or loss of radio operation.

Version 2.0 update of the RB02 FIXED bugs and timing issues related to:

1) Key presses to get dropped
2) Runaway trains
3) Several cab addresses (8, 18, and 49) would cause the system to do bad things.




Updated 
5/28/17
8/16/17