Lionel 17608 Smoking Action Caboose
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Typically caboose's will have a minimum of illumination and smoke for consideration of a command upgrade. On some, a strobe lamp is also present with a small flasher card. The Mini commander is capable of replacing the small flasher card and easily controlling all functions in a caboose. The caboose can be assigned as an engine or as an accessory.

The example caboose, a C&O 17608, is shown. The small flasher circuit is removed, and the Mini Commander is installed w/ double stick tape in its place. The antenna on the Mini Commander is positioned upright and towards the front end of the shell. Be certain to test fit the Mini Commander before permanently affixing the card to the chassis.

The on/off switch on the bottom of the caboose is rewired to be the CFG/RUN switch.  The CFG/RUN switch is open for RUN, and closed for CFG. The smoke unit is normally attached to HC2, and the illumination light is usually connected to LC1, since LC2 is the only output with a strobe function. The wiring is much simpler than the stock connections, as each component ties to a Mini Commander output directly. Either use the wire nuts from the original wiring or solder and heat shrink the connections. In this example each component has 2 wires, of which polarity is not specific.

Disconnect all the existing wiring and route the wiring into an easy place to group, then attach each Mini Commander output by placing one of the wire assemblies into the Mini Commander and route to the mating function, cutting the wire assembly as needed and connecting  to the components wires.  

* For the illumination lamp, plug the connector into the Mini-Commander LC1, then route, cut, and solder the wires to the lamp leads.

* For the strobe it is suggested to use the wire nuts from the original wiring for the strobe for easy bulb replacement. Most of the time these bulbs are 12v, and will work perfectly with the Mini Commander, however it is best to confirm the bulb voltage ahead of time before connection. If the voltage is too high, it will burn out instantly. See the "Tips" page for how to connect LED's to the Mini-Commander if your caboose has LED's for strobe lamps.

* When connecting the smoke unit do not shorten the smoke unit leads! As the smoke unit leads get very hot, if you solder the connection be sure to make the connection mechanically strong first. It probably is best to use the wire-nuts to connect the mini commander to the smoke unit as well. This has the advantage of allowing easy element replacement as needed.

Replace the on/off switch with the switch supplied in the Mini Commander kit. and plug into the Mini Commander pins as indicated in the diagrams.  It is suggested that the ON be equated to RUN, which is when the switch is open.  The checkout instructions will assume this method of installation; and the reference to ON/OFF will refer to the caboose markings, not the switch contacts.

WARNING: If you plug the connector into the wrong pins, your Mini Commander will be irreparably damaged!!  Only connect to P1 pins 1 & 2.

Attach the power wires to the Mini Commander, placing the pick-up roller wire into the "HOT" connection on the Mini Commander and tighten the screw; connect the track outer rail connection to the "GND" connection and tighten the screw.
  Double check the connections and then proceed to checkout.

* Set the CFG/RUN to RUN (ON)

* Slowly apply track power to the caboose, the illumination lamp should light up. If this fails, turn off the power and double check the connections!

* Check the strobe. Press ACC + 1 and then AUX1. Pressing # 9 should start the strobe lamp flashing.

* Finish the checkout by verifying the control of the Illumination lamp, with #4 turning it off, and #1 turning it back on. Check the strobe by pressing #6 to turn off, and #9 again to turn on.

Program the smoke unit operation by:

* Turn off track power, and wait 5 seconds for the Mini Commander to reset.

* Switch the CFG/RUN switch to CFG (OFF).

* Power up the track - notice the interior illumination lamp is flashing; this is a clear indication you are in CFG mode. If this is not the case, turn off the track power and wait a minimum of 5 seconds; and re-apply power...

* Once in the program mode, you can change the caboose ID and class (engine or accessory). Simply press ENG or ACC then the number you wish to assign(1..99) and press "SET".

* press AUX2 (to program HC2 where the smoke unit is attached); then 6 (for 12v), then BOOST.

Turn off the power, wait 5 seconds, and flip the CFG/RUN switch back to RUN (ON).

When power is restored to the caboose, the caboose will be addressable from the class (ENG or ACC); and the number assigned. Validate the lights are still functional as before by addressing the caboose, pressing AUX1, then the light control buttons. Pressing AUX2 will now activate the smoke unit. Be sure smoke fluid is present!

If the caboose is smoking too lightly, you can program a higher voltage to the smoke unit. Be advised that voltages higher than 14v (7 in configuration sequence) may cause damage to a smoke unit unless designed to operate on higher voltages. Most Lionel caboose smoke units are designed to operate on 10-12 volts. When in doubt, start at a lower voltage and increase slowly to see the effect of the new values.

Once set, the programming will be permanent unless changed.

AUX1 + 6 + BOOST
AUX2 + 6 + BOOST