NCE Corporation Switch-It (buy
General: The NCE Switch-It is a two-address
decoder specifically designed to drive stall motor switch machines.
It therefore does not have some of the features that the other decoders
have.† It is the easiest to install:
- Connect two wires to the track
- Connect two wires from Switch Machine 1 to Output
- Connect two wires from Switch Machine 2 to Output
- Use 3M double-sided tape to attach to the side
of one of your switch machines
The Switch-It has a terminal block for manual input.
If you wire four momentary push buttons to these terminals, the
operation of the push buttons will provide manual operation of the
switch in addition to DCC control.
Since the unit is designed for stall motor switch
machines, its output current capability is limited to 50 ma, more
than sufficient for the 25 ma stall current of the Tortoise.† An
added benefit is that since the switch machine limits the current
to 25 ma, you can place LEDís in series with the decoder output
without the normal current limiting resistor.† The switch machine
itself acts as the current limiter.
Connections: Connections for the track, switch
machines, and manual control switches are by screw clamp style terminal
strips.† You can use any general-purpose hookup wire to make connections
to the Switch-It.
Feedback: The Switch-It has no provision for
feedback to the cab bus.† If you need switch position feed back,
then you must wire the switch position data into an auxiliary cab
bus input such as the NCE/Wangrow AIU-01.
Programming: Since the Switch-It only has
one function, there is no programming other than to specify the
address of the associated switch.† The unit can be programmed by
any DCC system that supports accessory control.† This is done by
connecting two wires across the manual switch inputs for the output
to be programmed and issuing an accessory control command to the
desired accessory address.† Then remove the wires.† You are ready
to go.† This method also works to recover the unit if you have hopelessly
programmed the Switch-It to a secret address.† If you have an NCE
Powerhouse system, then programming the Switch-It is even easier.
Set all decoder addresses within 4 of the current address (factory
default 1 or 2) to OFF.† Set the address to be programmed to a new
value to ON. (This assumes you know the units current address.
It comes defaulted to 1 and 2.† If you have no clue as to the address,
then use the jumper wire procedure.)† Use the PROGRAM ACCESSORIES
mode of the ProCab to set CV 545 (output A) or CV 546 (output B)
to 1.† Next hit SEL ACCY and enter the address you want the Switch-It
to use and hit 0 or 1 when prompted.† The unit is now programmed
to the new address.† You can re-assign Switch-It addresses in place
on your layout as your layout changes or as operating considerations
Manual: The manual is clear and easy to follow.
It contains all the information you need to get your Switch-It working.
Performance: I did not test the Switch-It
with the high current loads because its output capability is limited
to 50 ma.† It did light the grain-of-wheat bulbs, but they were
dim.† I measured 23.8 ma instead of the more normal 30 ma.
The Switch-It works perfectly with the Tortoise switch
machine.† Run voltage is 9.8 Ė 10.5 volts when operating directly
from track power (there is no provision for separate switch power
input).† Run current was 3.3 ma, and stall current was 13.6 ma.
The Tortoise ran solidly with good torque.† I tried putting a red/green
dual LED in series with the Tortoise.† It was bright red when running/stalled
in one position and bright green when running/stalled in the other
position.† This gives a simple method of indicating point position
on your control panel.† If the LED where installed in a single lens
target signal, it would make a perfect track side position indicator.
Two LEDís could be connected in series for dual indications with
little effect on the Tortoise operation.
I replaced the Tortoise with a 470 ohm Ĺ watt resistor.
The LED switched from red to green just as before.† In this mode,
you could make a dual lens signal with the Switch-It and be able
to do all four color combinations (red over red, green over green,
red over green and green over red) as are used in prototype signals.
If you used a separate red and green LED, a standard two-color signal
can be made.
The Switch-It is the only decoder of the group that
is small enough to fit inside of an HO boxcar.† By filing the small
tabs on either side of the printed circuit board, the card will
just fit into a standard boxcar.† With a flashing LED, this will
make an End of Train device controllable from the command station.
With a white LED, you can control the drumhead and tail light of
a passenger car, in addition to the red and green marker lights.
You could also control the marker lights on a caboose.
Recommendation: If your main application of
a stationary decoder is to operate stall motor switch machines,
the Switch-It is a BEST CHOICE for this application.† It
is easy to install, works well, and is the least expensive per switch
point.† It is functionally and programming compatible with all DCC
systems that allow accessory control.