Post-war whistles and TMCC

I’ve converted several postwar Lionel steam engines to TMCC using Electric Railroad AC Commanders, including a 671, 681, 736, 773, and 2046.  They were all well used over the years by previous generations in my family, so only in “good” condition at best, and I made no changes that can’t be undone by putting the E-unit back in place of the AC Commander.


But it took me a while to figure out how to handle the whistle tenders.   I ended up building the circuit described on the Electric Railroad web site here:  For all of the engines, the AC Commander is in the boiler or cab of the engine, so I ran a tether back to the tender with three wires:  1) whistle signal, 2) rear electro-coupler, and 3) TMCC antenna.  Total cost of components was about $6 per whistle controller, and I built four of them.  Most of the cost ($4.50) is the solid-state AC relay that you see in the picture below.


It works great!  I can now blow the postwar whistles from my CAB-1 whistle button.


I mounted the circuit in the tender where the DC relay used to be.  (Again, no permanent mods - I saved the DC relay and can put it back if there should ever be a reason to.)





And with a little planning of the parts layout, it was easy enough to just build the circuit on a generic 1" square piece of prototyping board, rather than go through the trouble of getting the custom PCB made as described on the ERR web site.




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