New from NCE

NCE released several new products late last fall and they sent me one of each so let’s take a quick look at what came in the care package. First is their Snubber, an electronic circuit designed to trap and neutralize killer spikes created by shorts on the track. I have written in the past about killer spikes and snubbers in my DCC Corner column, my “Wiring Your Model Railroad” book, and in posts here. Basically when a short occurs on the track a large voltage spike can surge into the track creating havoc with decoders. These spikes can cause locomotives to suddenly take off down the track like a bat out of you know where. They also can change CV settings, and if the spike is large enough, destroy the decoder. Snubbers are devices consisting of a capacitor and one or more resistors tuned to capture these spikes and neutralize them. A snubber is usually placed at the end of each power bus between the two wires, although if your wiring is especially noisy they can also be placed at intermediate distances from the booster. Although you can make your own snubber easily and cheaply, the NCE Snubber is prebuilt and has wiring terminals making the job quick–a perfect alternative for those challenged by soldering irons and electronic components.

NCE has also released a pair of accessory decoders that can be used to control lights.

The Light-It is a lighting decoder w/built-in white LED.

Features of this decoder::

• Works on DCC or DC (limited operation on DC)

• Works with loco, accessory or signal addressing

• Built-In Warm white LED (can be disabled)

• Up to 3 LEDs may be controlled separately 5v with 3 – 10mA outputs

• Built-in resistors – just connect LEDs

• Functions as an NMRA Signal decoder with 18 aspects

• Each output individually dimmable


The Illuminator is a lighting decoder compatible with Woodland Scenics Just Plug system. It is a DCC decoder that will allow you to use your throttle or computer to control lights. If you look close you will see that a Light-It decoder is at the heart of The Illuminator. The additional circuitry provides screw terminal connectors and components to supply the 12VDC power to the Just Plug lights.

Features of this decoder::

• Works with DCC or DC (limited operation on DC)

• Includes mating connectors with 100mm long wires

• Built-In Warm white LED (can be disabled)

• Up to 3 Just Plug accessories may be controlled separately

• Supplies the correct 12 Volts to Just Plug products

• Can have different lighting effects for each output

• Each output individually dimmable

for more information on these new products go to the NCE website ( and download the manuals.


  • Larry, will this NCE product work with other system specifically MRC Prodigy?

    • Yes, they should work with any DCC system the same way that a mobile decoder will. These are just another type of accessory decoder for controlling lights.

    • It should since it is sensing the current running through the power bus feeders.

  • Morning Larry. I bought a package of three Light-Its recently, so perhaps I could jump in with a couple of comments/observations.

    * I love how small they are — approximately 5/8″ by 3/4″. I love using LEDs for structure lighting, so the size of these boards will make them very easy to hide out of view.

    * Kudos to NEC for designing the board to be powered with either DCC or DC. There are still lots of modellers who prefer to stay with DC control, so its great that these folks can take advantage of the Light-It’s functionality as well.

    * One thing I do not understand is why NEC designed the board with only 10mA outputs. Surface mount LEDs nominally draw 20mA at a typical operating voltage of 3.3 to 3.5 volts (for maximum illumination), so this implies that the LEDs attached to the three outputs will only have half their potential intensity. Since NEC has designed the board so that each LED is dimmable, why not start with a maximum output amperage of 20 rather than 10 mA??

    Just my 2 cents worth …

    Don Tanner