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Author Topic: ProCo upgrading 3.5mm jacks  (Read 2508 times)

Joseph D. Macry

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ProCo upgrading 3.5mm jacks
« on: February 01, 2013, 04:06:34 pm »

I have had a running problem with 3.5mm TRS jacks breaking off inside ProCo iFace, iRack, iPlate, and custom panels/plates installed in schools. The breakage seems to result from users yanking on or tripping over input cables.
After a series of emails to ProCo, apparently I have become well known around their shop. Everyone I talked to said they have seen the pictures I have been sending. Bill Eaton of ProCo tells me they have approved a more robust female jack that should withstand users yanking on the cables. Production with the improved jacks should begin in about a week, as soon as the new jacks come in. For custom plates, I have been advised to specifically ask for the heavy-duty 3.5mm jack. He could not tell me if the price will be affected.
Here's a picture of most recent case of a broken jack inside an iFace box.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2013, 04:09:53 pm by josephmacry »
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Joseph Macry,
Austin, TX

Joseph D. Macry

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Re: ProCo upgrading 3.5mm jacks
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2013, 04:19:49 pm »

Added note: I find the silkscreen on the STEREO/MONO switch a bit confusing. If I tell a gym coach: "Be sure to set this switch to mono," which way is mono on the switch?
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Joseph Macry,
Austin, TX

Chris Clark

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Re: ProCo upgrading 3.5mm jacks
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2013, 07:28:02 pm »

For a quick temp fix to the 1/8" jack problem, could you just get an 1/8" to dual RCA cable and leave it with the box? (A drop of hot glue holding each RCA connector in place would prevent it from, erm, sprouting legs and wandering.) Just a quick idea not sure whether or not it would work for your purposes. If you find yourself using the RCA inputs occasionally for straight RCA cables (which doesn't seem likely considering ProCo's big warning of "Don't use it with line levels!") obviously this may not work as well as I'm thinking.

You are right, that switch indication is a tough one - quickly looking at it would seem to indicate that the "On" position is Mono (as in, is the Mono Sum On or Off?) but to determine for sure I'd have to see the wiring on the back of the switch (somewhat blocked by the borked 1/8" jack in your picture)

Perhaps if you figure it out for sure you could make a label to stick over the top of the silkscreen along the lines of
|----------|
| Stereo-> |
|  <-Mono  |
|----------|

Then you can just tell the users exactly "Stereo" or "Mono"
« Last Edit: February 01, 2013, 07:31:36 pm by Chris Clark »
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Joseph D. Macry

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Re: ProCo upgrading 3.5mm jacks
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2013, 01:46:57 pm »

For a quick temp fix to the 1/8" jack problem, could you just get an 1/8" to dual RCA cable and leave it with the box? (A drop of hot glue holding each RCA connector in place would prevent it from, erm, sprouting legs and wandering.) Just a quick idea not sure whether or not it would work for your purposes. If you find yourself using the RCA inputs occasionally for straight RCA cables (which doesn't seem likely considering ProCo's big warning of "Don't use it with line levels!") obviously this may not work as well as I'm thinking.

You are right, that switch indication is a tough one - quickly looking at it would seem to indicate that the "On" position is Mono (as in, is the Mono Sum On or Off?) but to determine for sure I'd have to see the wiring on the back of the switch (somewhat blocked by the borked 1/8" jack in your picture)

Perhaps if you figure it out for sure you could make a label to stick over the top of the silkscreen along the lines of
|----------|
| Stereo-> |
|  <-Mono  |
|----------|

Then you can just tell the users exactly "Stereo" or "Mono"

Yes, I could just supply them with a 1/8" - dual RCA cable, and the box would work. But then the customer would be stuck with a "broken" box that is under warranty, making them wonder why I didn't just get it fixed. (iFace, iPlate and iRack all have 5 year warranty from manufacturer.) Takes me about an hour to drive to school and back to fetch, then return broken item, plus maybe an hour to prepare box and paperwork for shipping to repair.

This school had 3 iFace boxes, one for each gym and the cafeteria. 2 of 3 are broken. Sent one in two weeks ago for warranty repair, now the 2nd. They borrowed the 3rd from cafe to use at the ball game. I provided my Radial ProAV1 as a loaner.

For the Mono/Stereo, I just tell the user to go with whichever sounds better. (Most modern music isn't as hard-panned as, say, early Beatles stereo records.)  Same for ground-lift switch: Use whichever way has less buzz.
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Joseph Macry,
Austin, TX

Jason Lavoie

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Re: ProCo upgrading 3.5mm jacks
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2013, 12:10:40 am »

I have had a running problem with 3.5mm TRS jacks breaking off inside ProCo iFace, iRack, iPlate, and custom panels/plates installed in schools. The breakage seems to result from users yanking on or tripping over input cables.
After a series of emails to ProCo, apparently I have become well known around their shop. Everyone I talked to said they have seen the pictures I have been sending. Bill Eaton of ProCo tells me they have approved a more robust female jack that should withstand users yanking on the cables. Production with the improved jacks should begin in about a week, as soon as the new jacks come in. For custom plates, I have been advised to specifically ask for the heavy-duty 3.5mm jack. He could not tell me if the price will be affected.
Here's a picture of most recent case of a broken jack inside an iFace box.

If you have space for it, Amphenol makes this little gem: http://www.amphenolaudio.com/Amphenol_Phone_Vertical_Jacks.html
second item in the list is an 1/8" jack but built in a 1/4" jack sized housing.. seems very robust so far where I've used it.

Jason
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Re: ProCo upgrading 3.5mm jacks
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2013, 12:10:40 am »


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