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Internal PSU - so space isn't the issue...

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Re: Internal PSU - so space isn't the issue...

Postby BigRedX » Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:37 am

It's all very well telling us to carry spare external PSUs, but the reality of the matter is that if you require something other than the standard 9V DC or USB style PSU, they are expensive and difficult to get hold of even if you go directly to the manufacturer of the equipment in question.

I've just had a look at the various musical devices I have that require external PSUs and there are at least 3 different voltage requirements other than the standard 9V DC and USB.
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Re: Internal PSU - so space isn't the issue...

Postby ef37a » Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:54 am

BigRedX wrote:It's all very well telling us to carry spare external PSUs, but the reality of the matter is that if you require something other than the standard 9V DC or USB style PSU, they are expensive and difficult to get hold of even if you go directly to the manufacturer of the equipment in question.

I've just had a look at the various musical devices I have that require external PSUs and there are at least 3 different voltage requirements other than the standard 9V DC and USB.

Well yes but, if you check the actual supply voltage and current needed you can usually find a much cheaper replacement online. My F'rite 8i6 is perfectly happy running from a 50 watt 12V monitor supply I had handy!

To me, spares and backup are just part of the job. NOT that I do it anymore!

To respond to the point that "even if Behringer can do it...." ? I have a BCA2000 in the loft. Great concept, good performance, rubbish reliablity and drivers! However it did sport an internal supply.The fact is though, huge companies like Behr' can afford to make their own bespoke SMPS ferrites say) and even if not themselves have SUCH clout that they will not be left in the lurch if a separate supplier wanted to stop production.

"They" do this to "us" you know? A lot of a production manager's time is spent chasing the buggers because they supply a different LED and you cannot know if it will work the same as the original. When you get "global" it becomes a full time freaking nightmare!

Mid sized and smaller concerns go for off the shelf watts because they can get them anywhere and plug 'em in!

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Re: Internal PSU - so space isn't the issue...

Postby The Elf » Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:11 pm

BigRedX wrote:I've just had a look at the various musical devices I have that require external PSUs and there are at least 3 different voltage requirements other than the standard 9V DC and USB.
If it were only the Voltage!

I've also taken a quick look around here. I have adaptors here that are...
AC or DC.
Anything from 24V down to 4.5V, I think... Some of them are impossible to read without a microscope.
Anything from 300ma to 2A, even when the Voltage is the same.
Centre-positive and outer positive.
Multipin and simpler 'barrel' connectors, and something that looks like an XLR on steroids. Another would be mistaken for a MIDI plug.
Something that looks like a telephone connector.
At least four different sizes/depths of barrel connectors with/without 'knuckles' - one of them is pin-thin.
USB of various types.

Most of the cables are variously far too short (Zoom LiveTrak by far the worst in this respect)/insanely long (stand up, Digitech RP1000 and RME MADIFace XT). Four of the wall-warts won't permit use of a socket above/left/right of them (I bought a couple of 'wart-friendly' power strips last year for the Christmas tree lights!)...

I should point out that this is after a cull of 'non-critical' gear that uses external PSUs!

I'd defy anyone without a degree in electronics to find many of these 'off the shelf!' :lol:

What an utter mess.
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Re: Internal PSU - so space isn't the issue...

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:23 pm

In the face of all that, Rane's concept of a universal power supply unit wasn't such a bad idea after all! :D
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Re: Internal PSU - so space isn't the issue...

Postby The Elf » Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:27 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:In the face of all that, Rane's concept of a universal power supply unit wasn't such a bad idea after all! :D
Well I wouldn't say I'd be averse to it, but we already have a universal power supply. It's called a mains plug and an IEC socket! Same connectors, same Voltage/ampage, same polarity, comes in any length and takes only one plug space... Works like a charm!

But this is where we came in, and I haven't seen the horse moving for a while! :lol:
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Re: Internal PSU - so space isn't the issue...

Postby johnny h » Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:50 pm

The Elf wrote:
Hugh Robjohns wrote:In the face of all that, Rane's concept of a universal power supply unit wasn't such a bad idea after all! :D
Well I wouldn't say I'd be averse to it, but we already have a universal power supply. It's called a mains plug and an IEC socket! Same connectors, same Voltage/ampage, same polarity, comes in any length and takes only one plug space... Works like a charm!

But this is where we came in, and I haven't seen the horse moving for a while! :lol:
To be fair, multi-voltage PSUs with reversible polarities are very common and cheap, and they work well. I always keep a few spare when I'm on the road.
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Re: Internal PSU - so space isn't the issue...

Postby The Elf » Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:55 pm

johnny h wrote:
The Elf wrote:
Hugh Robjohns wrote:In the face of all that, Rane's concept of a universal power supply unit wasn't such a bad idea after all! :D
Well I wouldn't say I'd be averse to it, but we already have a universal power supply. It's called a mains plug and an IEC socket! Same connectors, same Voltage/ampage, same polarity, comes in any length and takes only one plug space... Works like a charm!

But this is where we came in, and I haven't seen the horse moving for a while! :lol:
To be fair, multi-voltage PSUs with reversible polarities are very common and cheap, and they work well. I always keep a few spare when I'm on the road.
I have universal supplies too, but they don't always physically fit, and they don't always have enough ampage. They are also often bulky and the cable length is invariably inappropriate.
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Re: Internal PSU - so space isn't the issue...

Postby ef37a » Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:59 pm

The Elf wrote:
BigRedX wrote:I've just had a look at the various musical devices I have that require external PSUs and there are at least 3 different voltage requirements other than the standard 9V DC and USB.
If it were only the Voltage!

I've also taken a quick look around here. I have adaptors here that are...
AC or DC.
Anything from 24V down to 4.5V, I think... Some of them are impossible to read without a microscope.
Anything from 300ma to 2A, even when the Voltage is the same.
Centre-positive and outer positive.
Multipin and simpler 'barrel' connectors, and something that looks like an XLR on steroids. Another would be mistaken for a MIDI plug.
Something that looks like a telephone connector.
At least four different sizes/depths of barrel connectors with/without 'knuckles' - one of them is pin-thin.
USB of various types.

Most of the cables are variously far too short (Zoom LiveTrak by far the worst in this respect)/insanely long (stand up, Digitech RP1000 and RME MADIFace XT). Four of the wall-warts won't permit use of a socket above/left/right of them (I bought a couple of 'wart-friendly' power strips last year for the Christmas tree lights!)...

I should point out that this is after a cull of 'non-critical' gear that uses external PSUs!

I'd defy anyone without a degree in electronics to find many of these 'off the shelf!' :lol:

What an utter mess.

Yes indeed and I would be the first one to say "there orta be a law!" The fact is of course YOU bought all that kit with that plethora of supply arrangements.

Perhaps if we all, when looking for a new synth/mixer whatever, TOLD the manufacturer of the one you quite like "I would buy that IF it had an internal mains supply AND I would pay you an extra £50 or so for the convenience". I know that pester power from the consumer does work but of course the vast majority won't pay the excess.

BTW I do not have a degree in electronics (or anything else!) City&Guilds lad me but V and I and watts hardly warrants a doctorate!

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Re: Internal PSU - so space isn't the issue...

Postby The Elf » Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:28 pm

ef37a wrote:Yes indeed and I would be the first one to say "there orta be a law!" The fact is of course YOU bought all that kit with that plethora of supply arrangements.
When you want a Kawai K1r, you just have to put up and shut up! :lol:

ef37a wrote:Perhaps if we all, when looking for a new synth/mixer whatever, TOLD the manufacturer of the one you quite like "I would buy that IF it had an internal mains supply AND I would pay you an extra £50 or so for the convenience".
Tried that. I was on the list for a certain 8000 quid synth. When I discovered it came lumbered with an external PSU (and a bloomin' special one at that!), I offered to pay extra to have a custom version with it mounted internally.
"No way", said they.
"No sale", said I.

They actually thought I was joking...
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Re: Internal PSU - so space isn't the issue...

Postby Brian M Rose » Thu Jun 13, 2019 2:02 pm

"Well I wouldn't say I'd be averse to it, but we already have a universal power supply. It's called a mains plug and an IEC socket! Same connectors, same Voltage/ampage, same polarity, comes in any length and takes only one plug space... Works like a charm!"

Just out of curiosity... When I worked in Broadcast Television, almost all 'glue' equipment had redundant power supplies, typically 2x IEC sockets, so that if power went down, the 2nd power supply would kick in.
OK, very, very expensive, but obliviously a television station or for that matter an OB simply HAS to stay on-air. Now I realise that live music and home studios may not have quite the same requirements; or do they?
At Radio Harrow our 10 year old B******r Headphone Amp went Awol. Just under £100 to replace which frankly was not bad (it was just an annoyance rather than a disaster). But for everyone - just how important is reliability?
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Re: Internal PSU - so space isn't the issue...

Postby ef37a » Thu Jun 13, 2019 2:24 pm

The Elf wrote:
ef37a wrote:Yes indeed and I would be the first one to say "there orta be a law!" The fact is of course YOU bought all that kit with that plethora of supply arrangements.
When you want a Kawai K1r, you just have to put up and shut up! :lol:

ef37a wrote:Perhaps if we all, when looking for a new synth/mixer whatever, TOLD the manufacturer of the one you quite like "I would buy that IF it had an internal mains supply AND I would pay you an extra £50 or so for the convenience".
Tried that. I was on the list for a certain 8000 quid synth. When I discovered it came lumbered with an external PSU (and a bloomin' special one at that!), I offered to pay extra to have a custom version with it mounted internally.
"No way", said they.
"No sale", said I.

They actually thought I was joking...

Good for you Elf but of course, no manfctr is going to make a special for one customer, my point was that if enough people tell them what they want they might change the next design? Mind you, like taxes, what people SAY they will pay for services and what they actually vote for can be very different things!

The problem is the design of products, especially something as mind bogglingly complex as a £8k synth! is a very protracted process and lead times on components can be a total PITA. To have a DC powered, non-lethal prototype up and running to impress the boss is very attractive and if Marketing then put their oar in and say "we want it in the shops in six months", slapping an external supply on it is often the only way out.

And! I am sure it had happened that someone cocked up and a company is lumbered with 100,000 12V 2A line lumps. The design guys in the dungeon are then told "Most of what you think up next MUST run on one of these". !!

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Re: Internal PSU - so space isn't the issue...

Postby Folderol » Thu Jun 13, 2019 2:32 pm

The Elf wrote:
johnny h wrote:
The Elf wrote:
Hugh Robjohns wrote:In the face of all that, Rane's concept of a universal power supply unit wasn't such a bad idea after all! :D
Well I wouldn't say I'd be averse to it, but we already have a universal power supply. It's called a mains plug and an IEC socket! Same connectors, same Voltage/ampage, same polarity, comes in any length and takes only one plug space... Works like a charm!

But this is where we came in, and I haven't seen the horse moving for a while! :lol:
To be fair, multi-voltage PSUs with reversible polarities are very common and cheap, and they work well. I always keep a few spare when I'm on the road.
I have universal supplies too, but they don't always physically fit, and they don't always have enough ampage. They are also often bulky and the cable length is invariably inappropriate.
They are also potential kit murders :(
Who can honestly say they have never plugged one in with the wrong voltage/polarity? It is especially easy to do in precisely the gig situation.
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Re: Internal PSU - so space isn't the issue...

Postby ef37a » Thu Jun 13, 2019 2:46 pm

Folderol wrote:
The Elf wrote:
johnny h wrote:
The Elf wrote:
Hugh Robjohns wrote:In the face of all that, Rane's concept of a universal power supply unit wasn't such a bad idea after all! :D
Well I wouldn't say I'd be averse to it, but we already have a universal power supply. It's called a mains plug and an IEC socket! Same connectors, same Voltage/ampage, same polarity, comes in any length and takes only one plug space... Works like a charm!

But this is where we came in, and I haven't seen the horse moving for a while! :lol:
To be fair, multi-voltage PSUs with reversible polarities are very common and cheap, and they work well. I always keep a few spare when I'm on the road.
I have universal supplies too, but they don't always physically fit, and they don't always have enough ampage. They are also often bulky and the cable length is invariably inappropriate.
There are also potential kit murders :(
Who can honestly say they have never plugged one in with the wrong voltage/polarity? it is especially easy to do in precisely the gig situation.

Part of the legislation for standard supplies I would like to see would also include a requirement for equipment to be polarity protected or even not care! But once again it comes down to money. A simple series diode will suffice in many cases but degrades the supply's regulation and so a big cap is needed post diode (though many G pedal makers don't seem to bother!) A full bridge will need the supply to be a bit higher to cover the diode drops but then I see equipment using internal DC-DC converters and these have very good regulation.

Anything is possible if you can persuade the punter to pay. I know of valve equipment that is a bit "over-engineered" such that a valve flash over does not destroy other components and burn holes in the print but such hidden measures make the retail cost rather uncompetitive.

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Re: Internal PSU - so space isn't the issue...

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Jun 13, 2019 2:50 pm

ef37a wrote:...no manfctr is going to make a special for one customer...

Some will and do. Drawmer made a special custom version of the A2D2 A-D converter for me, for example (the LED meter colours are different to the standard model), and I know of a few other small manufacturers that will do custom mods where it is reasonably practical as a one off. And there are other companies where everything they make is semi-bespoke -- like Crookwood and others. But you're right in that it ain't gonna happen with a large mass-producing manufacturer.

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Re: Internal PSU - so space isn't the issue...

Postby ef37a » Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:22 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
ef37a wrote:...no manfctr is going to make a special for one customer...

Some will and do. Drawmer made a special custom version of the A2D2 A-D converter for me, for example (the LED meter colours are different to the standard model), and I know of a few other small manufacturers that will do custom mods where it is reasonably practical as a one off. And there are other companies where everything they make is semi-bespoke -- like Crookwood and others. But you're right in that it ain't gonna happen with a large mass-producing manufacturer.

H

Ha! Bet they would not have done it for me! It can be a dangerous practice commercially. I was with a company and the MD had friends I think in the network industry and we often had odd jobs to build. Sometimes just wiring up a rack unit and testing* the result. Stock outlets and racks went out "empty" for the customer to wire. Sometimes he had bespoke metalwork made and coated, short runs of 20 or so boxes. All this stopped when the company changed hands. Word was these favours were in danger of sinking the company.

*That was an iterative process! Just one wire (of 96 pairs) in the wrong IDC slot and back to the bench, often more than once.

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Re: Internal PSU - so space isn't the issue...

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Jun 13, 2019 5:37 pm

ef37a wrote:Ha! Bet they would not have done it for me!

They would have, actually -- it was a mod they were prepared to offer to special order because they appreciated the sense of it. As I said in my review:

Hugh Robjohns Review wrote:One final point worthy of mention: a persistent issue I have with digital meters is the way most fail to indicate the normal operating range and safety headroom margin in an operationally useful way. The standard A2D2 does better than most in this respect, with the top six meter segments glowing yellow to warn of incursions into the headroom zone. However, with such a large and detailed scale, I felt there was a better option... and after discussing this with Drawmer I'm delighted to say that the company were very willing to supply a unit to my precise specifications. As a result, I bought a customised unit, which is now installed in my test reference system. The 'Robjohns Meter,' as I believe it is known in Wakefield, uses green LEDs from ‑50 up to ‑20dBFS, yellow from ‑18 to ‑9dBFS, and red all the way up to zero. This arrangement conforms with the broadcasting level standards (alignment level of ‑18dBFS and maximum permitted level of ‑9dBFS) and makes it very easy to see at a glance when signals are sitting in the 'normal' yellow region, and when they have crept into the (red) headroom margin.

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/drawmer-a2d2

Dramwer A2D2 standard meter.png
Standard Meter

Drawmer A2D2 Robjohns meter.jpg
Robjohns Variant meter

It can be a dangerous practice commercially.

Yes, it can. But that specific example it simply involved altering the relative numbers and positions of different coloured LEDs when stuffing the boards with components, which isn't that big a deal. For a one-off like mine, it was done by hand during the build without too much of a cost penalty, but if required for larger numbers it could be done with altered instructions for the component stuffing machines, again with no cost penalty assuming the different coloured LEDs cost the same price. I believe there were a number of subsequent orders for 'the Robjohns meter' version. ;-)

Word was these favours were in danger of sinking the company.

Ah yes... 'favours' are dangerous. But properly costed 'mods', 'one-offs' and 'bespokes' shouldn't be a problem, provided the company has the flexibility and resources to deal with them efficiently -- and that the product is designed in such a way that allows such tweakery. Not everything does, of course, but some products are designed from the outset with customisation very much in mind.

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Re: Internal PSU - so space isn't the issue...

Postby blinddrew » Thu Jun 13, 2019 6:05 pm

Folderol wrote:They are also potential kit murders :(
Who can honestly say they have never plugged one in with the wrong voltage/polarity? It is especially easy to do in precisely the gig situation.
Yep, fried a fender tuner pedal like that. :(
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Re: Internal PSU - so space isn't the issue...

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Jun 13, 2019 6:16 pm

Boss pedals seem pretty robust in the face of non-regulated PSUs. For some bizarre reason the Boss PSU that came with my MicroCube is un-regulated and punts out 13V with no load. I did not realise and powered my Peterson StroboStomp from it which instantaneously popped....... Can't understand why all pedals don't have a built in regulator to protect them (well, I can actually, it's called 'profit').....
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Re: Internal PSU - so space isn't the issue...

Postby Folderol » Thu Jun 13, 2019 6:19 pm

"and that the product is designed in such a way that allows such tweakery."

This is the core of good design. It increases the initial development costs, but further down the line, more than pays for itself when variations are wanted, or specific components become unavailable. Unfortunately becoming a rare occurrence :(
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Re: Internal PSU - so space isn't the issue...

Postby The Elf » Thu Jun 13, 2019 6:24 pm

I've had custom nips and tucks from various manufacturers over the years. One of the old 'Big Three' used to be particularly helpful in this regard, though their ability to do so has been squeezed over the years. Drawmer even created a special version of their M500 software for me, but then I live about 20 minutes from the factory, so I'm a bit blessed there! :lol:

Yes, it costs, but I've always been prepared to pay a fair price. I'm not saying every manufacturer should offer this, but it's nice when they can. I'm in no way suggesting that in my my example above they *should* have agreed to do a mod for me, but I think it would have been a nice gesture to at least have given it consideration, at additional cost, given the figures involved.
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