NCE and Zonemaster power problem


 I have recently purchased a Dual Zonemaster and Zone share which I am trying to mate with my NCE 5 amp system.  The NCE system covers 3 pwer blocks and the Zonemaster through the Zoneshare covers 4 more power blocks.  The second Zonemaster power source is used for a reversing section.

When running from the NCE system block to the "Z" system block I sometimes get (depending on direction,but usually heading out of the Zone system) a short stop, (none sound) or a complete short if it is a high draw sound locomotive.  There is usually enough "shorting" to scramble the onsisting and sometimes a locomotive it self.  

Is the 5 amp NCE and 7 amp Z system to much out of balance?

I am using ME code 83 rail with multiply feed wires from a 14 guage bus.  

Can anyone give me some guidence or direction.  It is beginning to get a bit frustrating.



wp8thsub's picture

Zone master/share

I seem to recall the problems you are experiencing are a known issue which has been covered in the NCE users Yahoo! group.  If you aren't already a member, join and comb their archives.  Your layout itself may not be the source of the problem.

Rob Spangler  MRH Blog

joef's picture

If you do find the answer on the NCE forum

If you do find the answer to your issue on the NCE forum, please come back here and post a link to the answer!

Joe Fugate
Publisher, Model Railroad Hobbyist magazine

Joe Fugate's HO Siskiyou Line

Babbo_Enzo's picture

As one of my ideas was to use

As one of my ideas was to use the same configuration, you all guess I was interested to have news.

And, as you've to subscribe the NCE group to read messages and I'm already... found this:

does anyone on this list have any experience with, or thoughts on the use of CVP's "ZoneShare" with their NCE Power Pro system ?

We tried the CVP ZoneShare & ZoneMaster products at the San Leandro Historical Railway Society. .
As far as I could tell, they are excellent products, but I ended up having to return them. (We do use the CVP AD4 series accessory decoders of which I think are excellent).
Our HO scale model railroad display uses 6 NCE boosters and about 20 power shields and power shield reversers.
We were evaluating using the ZoneShare / ZoneMaster in lieu of upgrading to power shield X's and also to test compatibility with NCE.
Everything appeared to work okay, except when crossing power boundaries from NCE to CVP or CVP to NCE.
As best as I could figure out, this was like trying to run an engine running from a DC powerpack into different
block powered by a different DC powerpack - it won't work. What we experienced was that as each engine within a consist crossed the power boundary, the engine that just crossed would stop, then resume. The correct polarities were
verified as well as making sure that the boosters had a common ground.
If we did not use the ZoneMaster (which is the equivalent of an NCE booster) and DID use the ZoneShare, there was no hesitation crossing power boundaries.
Did anyone have a successful use of NCE and CVP ZoneShare / ZoneMaster experience?

I think I should have said 'chassis ground' instead of 'common ground'? (I may have an improper understanding of the difference, if any between the two terms).
Al at CVP provided me with instructions with regard to the common ground issue.
I don't remember the exact details, but he referred me to a common ground point within the ZoneMaster to which I soldered a lead which then was tied in to the NCE chassis ground.
Barry Chinn

The CVP booster lack a connection for a "Booster Common" or as some people incorrectly call it "Booster Ground". This high current connection is needed if the CVP booster is to work well with other boosters which includes NCE boosters. CVP seems to acknowledge this since I understand they now have special modification instruction one must do to the booster to bring out this connection when working with more than one booster or at least non EasyDCC boosters*.
The other issue is the input jack options of the booster from the command station. The daisy chainable "DCC DATA BUS" dual jack connections are NOT opto-isolated. The manual seem to imply this is only for EasyDCC booster too use too*. The single jack "OPTO" isolated input will require you to place a splitter "T" connection in front of it if you plan to connect another booster.
The CVP ZoneMaster booster design seems to assume the booster you buy from them will be the only booster you will ever need. Expansion that works is not easy to achieve with non EasyDCC boosters involved.
The consensus is not to use them if your layout will require more than one booster

> and using an existing PB105 for an isolated accessory bus.
If the CVP booster is the only booster running the entire layout and the PB105 only run the accessory bus, there is no need for a Booster Common between the two boosters. So I suspect in this special case, they might work fine. Use the Opto input. Just make the CVP booster last in the booster chain (after the PB105) so you do not need to add a splitter.
Background info for anyone interested:
What is the problem?
The problem you encounter is observed at a booster district when there is no "Booster Common" connection. IF you have a locomotive with offset wheel pickup (Steam engine where tender picks up one rail), the engine will stall on a Booster Districts while crossing the insulation joiners (gaps).

What is a Booster vs Power District?
Power Districts are a subset of Booster Districts.

Booster Districts: Created when more than one booster is involved in powering the layout as often found on large layouts.
Power Districts: Created with devices downstream of the booster. Each device protects a section of track. The most common device is the use of DCC Circuit Breakers. DCC circuit breakers create Power Districts within a given Booster district.

So, it seems that use of an NCE Booster and the Zone Share splitter is working.
As alternative, CVP has to be contacted in order to modify the Booster...Seems they know how!

Hope helps



 Thanks for the replies. I

 Thanks for the replies. I did also email the CVP guys and they knew of the problem and told me that just using the NCE as the controlling station and letting the ZoneMaster do all the powering would be the easiest way to fix the problem. At this point that is what I will do as the 7 AMPS from the ZoneMaster should be plenty of juice for now to power the layout. Once I get to the second deck built a second booster will be needed and at that time I will have to make a decision to buy another ZoneMaster or just buy a NCE booster and use my original power supply with that as it shouldn't create any problems. Thanks for the input from everyone...



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