Power Cab Track Voltage


DCC is difficult to measure correctly. It is a 10khz square wave PWM network signal, not a normal AC.  Reading track voltage correctly on DCC can prove to be a challenge. The voltage on the rails is a Digital PWM form of AC, not standard AC. 

For a true DCC meter, go here:

Test your regular multimeter first on a 120v AC wall outlet to verify you have the meter set correctly and that it is functioning correctly. If you can read a wall outlet, you should be able to read a DCC track voltage.

A regular meter will not give 100% accurate readings on the rails, or the two-pin plug out on the back of the Power Cab Panel. But it can tell you if there is some number to check for around your layout. Regardless of the number, it should be consistent everywhere on your layout and track.

The Power Cab wall transformer Power Supply that plugs into the wall is a DC power supply with a DC output.  The power supply included with your Power Cab may be one of several versions based on what was available to us at the time. The question is the voltage and current ratings of your power supply. Printed on the power supply are a voltage rating and a current rating.  Something like 12v dc or 13.8v dc. and 1.35A, 1.44A, or 1.8A current rating. 

Make sure your wiring is robust enough, so you have the power Cab's full voltage and current capacity on your entire layout. Also, check out For DCC wiring questions. Go here for more info:

If your Power Cab is older than 10 years, consider replacing the P114 Power Supply. 5240221

Otherwise, if you are truly having capacity issues, then get an SB5 booster- 5240027

Keep in mind that the DCC industry standard for HO scale is 14v. All NCE equipment designed for HO Scale is 13.8v. Again, I want to remind you that DCC is difficult to measure correctly. It is a 10khz square wave network signal and not a normal AC. The reading you see is pretty standard on a normal AC DVM.


If you do not own a multimeter, here is a link to an inexpensive one from Home Depot - 


Lighted track bumpers should NOT be used with DCC. These will lower your track voltage AND lower your system capacity below 2amps.

The Power Cab has no voltage adjustment. The standard track voltage for the HO scale is 14v. For the N scale, it is 12v. The incoming power supply for the power cabin is 13.8 VDC. The track output, as measured directly on the back of the Power Cab Panel (PCP), should read about 13.8v AC. DCC track voltage is difficult to read correctly with ANY meter. It is a Digital PWM square wave closer to a computer signal than anything else.

Getting correct voltage readings on the track relies heavily on using the proper gauge wiring for your DCC track bus and track feeders. Your DCC track bus wire should be either 14 or 12ga. Wire with track feeders every three feet. Track feeders should be either 20 or 18. ga if you are on the HO scale. The wire supplied by Kato is not sufficient for reliable long term operation. Also, you must consider that the rail joiners are only good for a PHYSICAL connection and alignment. They are horrible for track power and should not be relied upon for electrical connections. You can also solder some of the pieces together. That will help.

For a true DCC meter, go here:

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