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RANT: funky 3-pin power inputs on small mixers


Jeff_D_in_MD

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The DC power input on my small mixer failed last night (fortunately at a rehearsal, not a gig). The mixer has an external AC/DC transformer, and the wire that plugs into the mixer has three small metal pins similar to a PS/2 mouse or keyboard plug in the pre-USB days. Previously the female receptacle on the mixer had been pushed in and the cord was difficult to plug in, and last night one of the male pins on the cord bent and then broke off when I tried to bend it back.

 

Today I went to the local store, and then searched on line, and found that nearly all small mixers use power plugs like this! Yamaha, Mackie, Behringer--only Peavey seemed to have a small mixer with a more sturdy DC input (two conductor female wire with robust single-pin male jack, like the AC adapters on the majority of home electronics.

 

Why do small mixers have these small, fragile power cord plugs? Grrr!

 

Yamaha P2 acoustic, Yamaha P120 digital, Nord Electro 3HP, QSC K10.

FOR SALE: Nord Electro 2-61.

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A-freaking-men brother!

 

I called Yamaha to see how much it would be to get a new adapter for my MG10/2 Mixer, because my adapter has bitten the dust. Their response? A cool $48 or so. Seriously!? I informed him that I would look elsewhere first, then get back to him. I don't really want to pay 1/2 of what I paid for the mixer just for a new adapter. What other solution is there? I occasionally look on E-bay with zero luck. Can I rig one up myself?

Kawai C-60 Grand Piano : Hammond A-100 : Hammond SK2 : Yamaha CP4 : Yamaha Montage 7 : Moog Sub 37

 

My latest album: Funky organ, huge horn section

https://bobbycressey.bandcamp.com/album/cali-native

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If you're handy, cut the cord and remove the jack. Replace them with the mating power connectors of your choice. Shouldn't be too tough.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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It is probable that one company OEMs the power supplies for all these mixers. I have three different sizes of the Tapco with the same little plug. LZ has the best suggestion - find out which connection goes to which color lead inside and to the power supply; remove the plug and socket, and replace them with something sturdier. An XLR connector would be good connection, but one would have to remember never to plug the power supply into a mic connector on the board (it might also be too large to fit on some units.

 

Kurzweil used a similar - but not identical) connector on the PC2 series. I'm really glad they put the transformer inside the PC3 series, like the K series - so that a standard IEC computer type power cord does the job.

 

Howard Grand|Hamm SK1-73|Kurz PC2|PC2X|PC3|PC3X|PC361; QSC K10's

HP DAW|Epi Les Paul & LP 5-str bass|iPad mini2

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

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It looks as if the Mackie mixers have a female cord and male prongs on the mixer, rather than the male cord on the Yamahas and Behringers (see this image: http://cachepe.zzounds.com/media/quality,85/brand,zzounds/402-VLZ3_Back-c9e907d07c4364e8ef7b89e05000db3e.jpg). I am not sure whether that would be more sturdy.

 

The Alesis rack-mount line mixer has an internal power supply and uses a standard IEC cord. Maybe that's the better route, but it seems overkill when I just want to mix two boards to one output, or boost the output of a single board (the Nord).

Yamaha P2 acoustic, Yamaha P120 digital, Nord Electro 3HP, QSC K10.

FOR SALE: Nord Electro 2-61.

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I would guess they do it because those mixers are so small, they don't want the AC and/or transformer inside the housing. Why they use such an unconventional jack is anyone's guess and MBK's guess may be correct.

 

My Mackie 1202 VLZ uses the standard IEC three prong cord. I just checked the Mackie site and that's the smallest of that series to do that. The 802 and 402 use the funky jack you're talking about.

 

Another thought - those mixers aren't designed/considering regular plugging and unplugging for gigging, even though they're pitched as tough for transport and all that.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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Another thought - those mixers aren't designed/considering regular plugging and unplugging for gigging, even though they're pitched as tough for transport and all that.
You're probably right, but I know I've had far fewer than 100 occasions to plug in the mixer since I bought it--I should think that the MTBF should be at least 100 plug/unplug events.

 

It's probably still under warranty, but I hate that kind of hassle.

Yamaha P2 acoustic, Yamaha P120 digital, Nord Electro 3HP, QSC K10.

FOR SALE: Nord Electro 2-61.

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If it's still under warranty, you should take advantage of that. One thing it might do is make them reconsider that design in future models.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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I have on many occasions replaced power connectors. I try to find something that is a standard. It is not hard to wire in a DIN (like MIDI, but please don't use the same pin configuration as MIDI, okay????)

 

Depending on how a device is made, the power connector could be wired directly to a circuit board, in which case you should just bite the bullet and search Mouser or Digikey for the replacement part. (The drag about Digikey is their $50 minumum order...) But if there is room on the chassis there is nothing to stop you from punching a new hole, installing a new connector, and jumpering from the original connector to your newer, more sturdy one. That way, an original power supply can be used, or yours with the modification can be used.

 

If you can source the replacement part, that is a lot less work. But buy more than one. These companies don't build these things, they buy them, so you should be able to find a replacement.

 

 

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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I would guess they do it because those mixers are so small, they don't want the AC and/or transformer inside the housing.

 

Two other reasons:

 

1. Placing the transformer inside the mixer not only requires more space, it also requires shielding to prevent magnetic fields, etc. from being picked up by other circuitry within the unit.

 

2. Often, I believe, a small company will avoid liability insurance costs by bulk purchasing (wall-wart) power-supply units from an outside-source manufacturer. They also don't have to pay for UL (Underwriters Laboratories) fees for UL Listing, either, as that's paid for by the manufacturer.

 

I find I deliberately look for mixers that have an A/C cord attached, so as to avoid the "wall-wart" mess and flimsy cable hazard.

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2. Often, I believe, a small company will avoid liability insurance costs by bulk purchasing (wall-wart) power-supply units from an outside-source manufacturer. They also don't have to pay for UL (Underwriters Laboratories) fees for UL Listing, either, as that's paid for by the manufacturer.

 

Not exactly true. They still have to go through the whole process and pay UL for the listing on the mixer. Having a power supply that already has a UL component listing makes it easier to get the overall approval, but it does not cost any less.

 

As a side note, I sell industrial instrumentation that typically consists of a sensor and a transmitter, wired together in the field. They BOTH have to be UL approved in order to meet approval. In otherwords, if you buy a sensor with UL approval and a transmitter with CSA (Canadian Standard) and hook them up, neither approval stands (even though they are exactly the same thing). Each agency only approves the device when connected as tested, which in our case is connected to the other piece as approved by them. UL won't approve it connected to a CSA approved device, because then they don't get the money to approve that device as well. And we have to have different model numbers to order it with whatever approval you want (even though they are exactly the same) because the device has to be tagged with the appropriate approval information - so in order to be UL, it has to carry the UL tag, so you have to order that model number. Kind of crazy. Basically all you get with the different model codes for different approvals is the appropriate tag and certificate.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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Bottom line: it is cheaper to source existing power supplies than to re-invent the wheel. UL listing is a part of it. Shielding, too. WAITING for UL approval slows your time to market, while using an already approved supply gets your product out the door faster.

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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2. Often, I believe, a small company will avoid liability insurance costs by bulk purchasing (wall-wart) power-supply units from an outside-source manufacturer. They also don't have to pay for UL (Underwriters Laboratories) fees for UL Listing, either, as that's paid for by the manufacturer.

 

Not exactly true. They still have to go through the whole process and pay UL for the listing on the mixer. Having a power supply that already has a UL component listing makes it easier to get the overall approval, but it does not cost any less.

 

Thank you for the clarification. I appreciate you taking the time. Thanks, also, to Bill for his insight.

 

Dick

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