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Hi, I see that the manufacturer,  NCE recommends a  "Brutus" NCE 5240241 18V-10amp power supply. $200.  Is this necessary, or are there much less expensive options?   I find $25.00 switching transformers on Amazon. Are they equivalent?    I see the NCE is a plug and play setup but can this be worked around and how.  Thanks



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Not sure about the switching power supplies, but sounds like some are using them successfully (above post). Those are definitely priced right! I do use a couple of the switching supplies for things other than running trains around here and have had no problems with any of them so far. The ones I have included a plastic cover for the 120 volt terminals, as said above, not completely isolated, but much better than being fully exposed. I located them so the 120 volts is not accessible without moving something to get to it.

I have had my eye on an NCE system for a few years now. Was planning to use a Lionel Powerhouse 180. Sometime ago I compared the PH-180s specs to the NCE 'Brutus' and didn't see much (if any) difference. But I already have a few of the PH-180s, no need for an extra purchase on my end. The new catalog price for PH-180s is now up to $150, they were half that (street price) when I got mine. Not sure about street prices now, but that it will still be a big difference between those and the switching power supplies.

You can use either AC or DC to power the booster, within the specified voltage ranges, of course.

Here is what I use:

It's a 13A fanless DC switching power supply. Runs nice and cool, and fits nicely in a stack with the other NCE gear. About $90.

If you use a DC supply, there is also a simple mod you can make to the booster, which is to bypass the giant rectifier that the power input goes through. This cuts down dramatically on the heat generated in the booster itself, just in the process of rectifying the AC input.

Last edited by thor73

I just use the Lionel 180W brick to power mine, have had no issues.  It also trips nice and fast if there is a short.  I do have one of the NCE power supplies (Came with the booster as I bought it used.) that I have never even plugged in.  It's rather large and heavy so I just boxed it back up.  The Lionel brick is the best option, IMHO.

Hi and thanks for the 2 suggestions.  First , I am running 2 rail O,  I mention this because of the reaction I got from Charles Ro supply!   I live nearby so I dropped in to ask this question to them personally,  Can I use the Lionel 180 W brick to power my NCE 10 amp Power Pro system?  They have NO knowledge concerning 2 rail O scale nor NCE and gave no suggestions.  VERY disappointing customer service!   But I see SINCLAIR has success with this item, so how do you treat the electrical connecter on the Lionel brick to plug into the Power Pro PB110.  Cut it off and splice the wire?   Additionally, THOR 73,  does the mouser power supply you use require purchasing a power plug connection to the wall?  Will the 13amps create a situation where more than 22VAC would be supplied to the power pro input terminal?  Sorry, but I know just enough about electricity to get myself into trouble.




As for 2R vs 3R with DCC power, there is nothing different except the track (You use the center rail one outer rail with 3R DCC instead of both outer rails in 2R DCC.).  As for me, you could say I cheat.  My Lionel 180W bricks are plugged into the Lionel ZW-C, and then the power goes to the booster and command base from there.  If I didn't have the ZW-C, I would just make a pig tail connector to plug into the end of the 180W brick.  If you do a search on the forum, Gunrunner has posted the parts from Digikey that mate to the connector on the brick.  Charles Ro may just have no experience with O gauge DCC as it's not a common thing as Legacy and DCS are the main players in this field in the USA.  And I'd rather someone not share then share information that is not correct.

You can also find the PH-180 connector cables on ebay, try searching for something like 'Lionel powerhouse cable' or something similar. That search just turned up a few. Included in the search results was also the set of cables that Lionel makes. The connectors that gunrunnerjohn has posted here several times and mentioned in Sinclair's post would be the least expensive of them all, but would also require a crimper, some wire and a little DIY activity. 

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