The HD WiFi camera image on my ATSF CoupolaCam (isn't this spelled wrong?) Caboose is rather blurry compared to a similar camera on my Lionel UP Inspection Car. Is anyone else seeing a less-than-satisfactory image (in the HD high resolution mode) on their Lionel cabeese? 

Bruce J Brown

Original Post

Mine was blurry also.  I tried to remove the window by gently pushing it into the caboose but wound up taking the caboose apart to remove the widow since it got stuck between the cupola and the camera.  The difference in clarity was astounding.  Examination of the window after removal showed that it was significantly scratched on the inside and the outside surface was wavy.

Be sure you want to keep the unit before you modify it since doing so voids the warranty.  There are several threads about the caboose and various problems.  Just search for "wifi caboose".

Rolland

Mine was definitely not electronic.  Dave from Lionel has posted in some of the threads but has not commented on the design intent of the window.  Some have suggested it may be a lens to widen the view.  The view on mine is narrow but did not seem to be wider with the blurry image through the window.

Rolland

Rolland,

Having nothing better to do tonight, I took apart the caboose and Dremeled out the window. What an amazing difference!... and what an amazing Lionel design flaw having that thick defective window. Hard for me to believe that anyone owning this car is seeing the full camera resolution.  The UP Inspection Car doesn't suffer this problem since it uses a large thin clear plastic sheet in front of the camera.  Now I have to figure out how to put the caboose all back together again, especially the short LED wire and connector to the cupola.

Bruce

Bruce J Brown

Big Jim,

Thanks for the pointer.  I went through that thread clearly showing that several cars also have camera issues. To Lionel's credit, the caboose is beautifully detailed and lighted. Folks who don't care much about camera resolution probably won't return it. But Rolland--above--correctly identified the problem as a faulty thick lens. That lens is very difficult to remove. Taking apart the car is a non-trivial challenge and putting it all back together is even much more difficult. I don't recommend anyone try it. Maybe the next production run will solve the problem.   

Bruce J Brown

Based on the CSX Caboose thread just mentioned above, it appears that the Cupola camera works for some but not for others.  Some of the posters on that earlier thread reported that taking out the window material seemed to fix the blurry image problem (though I don't think that was universally true).  On the other hand, the first poster on the second page https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...-csx-w-camera?page=2 suggests that some of this might be due to software.  He was able to set the focus and the HD settings using the features in the iPad app for the camera and that the resulting image was very satisfactory.  He also reported that there is a pan capability as well.

So, full disclosure, I do NOT own one of these camera cars (but I've seen/experienced other situations where the problem was with the poorly described software capability) -- so before you take a sharp knife/dremel to the window material (if you think that might be the problem), you might want to check that indeed you've messed around with the software app enough so you can rule that out.  I have no idea whether, for example, the control capability in the iPad app is different (and maybe better) than what you'd get on a PC or an android device (lame, but not surprising).  My speculation is that the camera may have an autofocus feature that could be forcing the camera to focus on the window (or try to if it is too close) - especially if it were scratched or had dust on the surface.  So taking out the window means that the autofocus will find another target further away, thus improving the 'blurry' image.  Or, if no autofocus, the camera could have left the factory with the focus set incorrectly (and not HD, etc.).

Perhaps Dave Olsen will weigh in again on this -- its possible that this really is a QC problem and no amount of messin' with the app will fix the issue.  OTOH, maybe the software instructions are insufficient (or all of the above...)

 

I have compared the Apple and Android apps with the same caboose and found no solution to the blurry image through the software adjustments available.  This was with the Santa Fe version of the caboose.  Removal of the window removed the blurry, double image and color shift issues.  The camera has remarkable depth of field with the window removed from just about the end of the caboose to infinity.  I have ordered another caboose (BN this time) and will report on my experience with it.

Rolland

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