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nilsthyni



Joined: 04/09/11
Posts: 2
Loc: Lund, Sweden
Pro's advise on weak cables from PSU? new
      #938509 - 04/09/11 08:38 AM
Getting tired of buying new PSUs every second year (for my keyboards and stuff) due to breaking cables (mostly at the PSU end).

I figure I could go down three different paths:
1. supporting the leads at the ends with tape or 'shrink wrap'
2. do away with them altogether using a power distributor like 'T-Rex Fuel Tank' (a powerful version due to the keybords higher power demand versus guitar pedals)
3. capitulate and buy a back-up PSU for every gear...

Any tips? How does the pro's do away with this when they build keyboard rigs?
/Robert, a forum novise


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zenguitarAdministrator
active member


Joined: 05/12/02
Posts: 8970
Loc: Devon
Re: Pro's advise on weak cables from PSU? new [Re: nilsthyni]
      #938542 - 04/09/11 12:33 PM
The advantage a pro has is employing a keyboard technician or two.

When touring they use the production rehearsals to decide what equipment is used and how it's going to be wired together. Then the tech works out a routine for assembling and packing everything away. Gaffa tape is in plentiful supply, so trailing PSU cables are kept out of harms way. Part of the production rehearsals is about having a 'back-up' sound on another keyboard, so for example if the piano stops working mid show, there is a piano sound ready on a synth.

The tech will also have a nice flightcased toolbox, and will carry spare leads and wall warts. And if they have to use the spare, then they go to the production manager and ask him to buy a replacement.

Some players do have custom power supplies and looms, but that is uncommon. Custom items are hard to replace at short notice, PSU's are treated as disposable, commodity, items that you can buy at short notice in most towns and cities and can get delivered by next day post.

Andy

--------------------
When the going gets weird, the Weird turn Pro.


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Exalted Wombat



Joined: 06/02/10
Posts: 5918
Re: Pro's advise on weak cables from PSU? new [Re: nilsthyni]
      #938552 - 04/09/11 02:51 PM
Quote nilsthyni:

Getting tired of buying new PSUs every second year (for my keyboards and stuff) due to breaking cables (mostly at the PSU end).

I figure I could go down three different paths:
1. supporting the leads at the ends with tape or 'shrink wrap'
2. do away with them altogether using a power distributor like 'T-Rex Fuel Tank' (a powerful version due to the keybords higher power demand versus guitar pedals)
3. capitulate and buy a back-up PSU for every gear...

Any tips? How does the pro's do away with this when they build keyboard rigs?
/Robert, a forum novise




Treat them well. Anticipate the failure point and contrive to take the strain away. If your gigs matter, yes, you need a back-up of everything of this sort.


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Tony Raven



Joined: 15/11/09
Posts: 180
Loc: Minnesota, USA
Re: Pro's advise on weak cables from PSU? new [Re: nilsthyni]
      #938783 - 05/09/11 05:02 PM
I have a half-dozen "universal" supplies handy... & I don't even gig with my synths. Those flimsy little wires have a way of getting tugged or crushed.

If the plug end isn't right-angle, you could go to the auto shop or plumber's & get a 2"-3" length of black neoprene tube for pennies, then work it down to the wall-wart. Doesn't matter that it's bigger than the wire, as all you're trying to do is spread the bend-strain over a longer stretch -- if it's too stiff, you're just asking for the break to appear further up. But I suppose, even then, it's easier to repair than when it breaks off right at the (near useless) cast-plastic strain relief.

I generally just take the wall-wart, turn the wire back-&-forth once, & lash it together with friction tape. The same can be done at the other end.

A good stompbox brick should be able to handle a few synths, but the supplied wires are probably a bit short, so some splicing might be onvolved.


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Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
SOS Technical Editor


Joined: 25/07/03
Posts: 22274
Loc: Worcestershire
Re: Pro's advise on weak cables from PSU? new [Re: nilsthyni]
      #938789 - 05/09/11 05:38 PM
Quote nilsthyni:

I figure I could go down three different paths:
1. supporting the leads at the ends with tape or 'shrink wrap'
2. do away with them altogether using a power distributor like 'T-Rex Fuel Tank' (a powerful version due to the keybords higher power demand versus guitar pedals)
3. capitulate and buy a back-up PSU for every gear...




The dedicated power distributor idea is a pretty good one, not least because you'll ususally get better power supplies that way with higher quality leads that are more robust and more easily replaceable. This is the route I'd go down, personally.

But if you're wedded to the standard wall warts, then the only solution is to treat them very gently and carefully. You might be able to make them a little more robust by adding some form of cable strain relief, but these are fundamentally cheap, unprofessional devices not intended for the rigours of a tough gigging life. It is inevitable that they will, sooner or later, break.

And because it's a 'when', not an 'if' that they will break, (even if you modify your existing units to try and make them more robust), I would suggest it is absolutely essential that you carry a spare (or two). The cost of buying spares is a lot less than the lost revenue of a cancelled gig!

hugh

--------------------
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


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Exalted Wombat



Joined: 06/02/10
Posts: 5918
Re: Pro's advise on weak cables from PSU? new [Re: nilsthyni]
      #938823 - 05/09/11 10:51 PM
The problem comes with gear like a Kurzweil PC2X. Its power supply delivers two different voltages, on an unusual connector. And the interface with the keyboard is particularly vulnerable.


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grab



Joined: 08/07/07
Posts: 2939
Loc: Cambridge, UK
Re: Pro's advise on weak cables from PSU? new [Re: Exalted Wombat]
      #938850 - 06/09/11 08:40 AM
If you're moderately handy with a drill and soldering iron, you can always drill a hole in the case and fit a better socket. Something like one of this list, perhaps.

http://www.rapidonline.com/Cables-Connectors/Connectors-Mains-Power/Weathe rproof-Connectors


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Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
SOS Technical Editor


Joined: 25/07/03
Posts: 22274
Loc: Worcestershire
Re: Pro's advise on weak cables from PSU? new [Re: grab]
      #938852 - 06/09/11 08:53 AM
Absolutely... I've done that on some of my own equipment before now, and similar 'upgrades' to replace captive mains cables with removable plug/socket arrangements...

However, making these kinds of modifications will inevitably void any warranty and, potentially, damage the equipment if the modifications are not performed correctly. So unless you are totally confident of your abilities to do the work, and to understand fully the nature of what you're doing and the implications, the simple but safe advice is DON'T!

Hugh

--------------------
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


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Dave B



Joined: 03/04/03
Posts: 5688
Loc: Maidenhead
Re: Pro's advise on weak cables from PSU? [Re: nilsthyni]
      #938895 - 06/09/11 12:15 PM
I mod'd a psu once. Plugged it in and it went bang in a most satisfactory way!

Pros? I know from experience that they avoid keyboards with wall warts (IEC leads only) and any modules that must use them are in a proper wheeled rack, permanently attached to a power distribution board (gaffa tape really is your friend) and even then they are mistrusted!

--------------------
Veni, Vidi, Aesculi
(I came, I saw, I conkered)


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tacitus



Joined: 04/02/08
Posts: 970
Re: Pro's advise on weak cables from PSU? new [Re: nilsthyni]
      #946535 - 11/10/11 03:37 PM
I loop the output cable of a wallwart round the psu block and gaffa it there. If I'm doing any amount of gigging on keys I set up a mains strip with everything on it, gaffa'd as above and, if necessary, the wallwarts gaffa'd together. That usually keeps things going, but don't trust me, get spares. I plonk the mains trip with all the wallwarts in a shopping bag and haven't had a failure yet. I do move and load all my own gear, though.

You may need to be careful if putting gaffa tape round a wallwart that you don't block up any ventilation. Look carefully - some of the ribs are actual ventilation, but sometimes they're just there for show.

If I had other crew moving and setting up my stuff I'd go with the power distributor route, I think. But I'd be trying to have only IEC mains leads if I possibly could.


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