What is the Power Cab's Maximum Current Rating? (Using a non NCE Power Supply)
Power Input Requirements: 10-15V regulated DC, 3A maximum
Power Connector: 5.5mm x 2.5mm center positive
The replacement Power Supply for this kit is a P114 (5240221) or equivalent (13.8VDC 1.8A) Use of ANY other Power Supply is not recommended and will void your factory warranty.
What you need to know.
a) The NCE Power Cab does not regulate the track voltage. The power supply does. Hence the DCC track voltage is about the same as the Power Supply's DC output voltage rating. So get a power supply that is somewhere between 12VDC and 14VDC. 13.8VDC is a common voltage the emulates a car battery voltage.
b) The NCE Power Cab does not set the current limit. The power supply does. Hence the PowerCab current rating is the same as the power supply's current rating. However, if the current exceeds 3 Amps, the NCE Power Cab will shutdown to protect itself. So one must be very careful about the selection of the power supply used with the PowerCab.
The Power Supply used with the Power Cab determines the track voltage and current rating NOT your Power Cab. The Power Cab is designed to be used with a power supply that has no more than 28 watts TOTAL POWER. Voltage multiplied by Current = Watts. So 14v x 2 amps is 28 watts maximum. Going over 28 watts a small bit is no big deal. An example: 15v x 2a = 30 watts of total power draw possible. Since you are unlikely to use it at a full 2 amps continuously you are also probably well under 28 watts of power draw 99% of the time. However: An 18v / 2amp Power Supply would be 36 watts when used at full capacity OR A SHORT CIRCUIT! That is an increase of +28%. This would very likely cause damage to the Power Cab almost instantly. Also, higher track voltages put an additional stress on the track output circuit. Increasing the total wattage by increasing track voltage OR the current rating also greatly increases heat inside the bottom of the Power Cab. This can lead to premature component failures and even deformation of the outside plastic case.
A) You cannot run 3 Amps continuously for the Power Cab. It will overheat with the Power Cab shell deforming due to the high heat build up. It is strongly recommended you use multiple DCC circuit breaker with each set 2 amp trip current for the layout. The Power Cab feeds all of these circuit breaker which then feed the various parts of the layout. The DCC circuit breakers will isolate any short circuit and protect the PowerCab from over heating when there is a short circuit.
B) The Power Cab long flat cable will lose a lot of voltage and may get warm when running a lot of trains. The cable and associated telco RJ jacks and plugs are not really designed to support 3 Amp efficiently.
The preferred method for adding more capacity to the Power Cab is with the SB5 Smartbooster