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RCA Jack Added to FT-450 Keying

tom (W9WQA) on May 10, 2014
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I couldnít find/didnít want to pay $20 for a plug just for 1 wire to key my amp. The oddball connector on the FT-450 can accept a wire wrap pin in the right hole but its messy and can pull out easy.

So I drilled a hole between two connectors and added an RCA jack. Wiring it to the right spot on the board looked very touchy with tiny surface mount parts too easy to mess up.

Then I opted to back up and use that pin plugged in the rear jack but in a new way. I soldered a tiny wire to a very short pin, plugged it in the right hole and ran the wire BACK INSIDE the rig to keep it tidy. I soldered it to the RCA jack and just taped over the unused linear jack covering the pin.

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RCA Jack Added to FT-450 Keying  
by W0WCA on May 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
OK, good job. Thatís the scariest looking amp Iíve ever seen!! What is it?
 
RE: RCA Jack Added to FT-450 Keying  
by W9WQA on May 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
scares you! and you're not even close!

its my ongoing labor of love 2/3 x 813 hb amp started 25+ yrs ago. cost so far still < 100 bucks. makes a big noise. power from heath sb 1000 3300 v on 3, usually 2 813 in gg. somewhere on the forums i talked about building the band sw from 2 switches to get it right. its been fun,and still is as the project goes on. you can see i need to clean up the front panel info but i havent finalized the tune/load setup caps values and coil taps so it goes on,,,and on!
more pix or info on request.
 
Mini DIN Connectors  
by KC8FRJ on May 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Laughing with you. I have found that my Yaesuís female Mini DIN connectors accept/grab 24AWG telephone wire. I am keying my amp with a single strand of it.

It is surprising how much money current radio manufactures are asking for a standard Mini DIN connector wired up. You can pick them up from a variety of outlets ranging from DigiKey to eBay. I have scavenged them from keyboards, mice, S-Video cables and what not if the pin count is correct.

Looks like that 10 pin Mini DIN that the FT-450 uses would be loads of fun to solder up!

73
 
RE: Mini DIN Connectors  
by N1DVJ on May 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I wouldn't think it would be that difficult to solder up to, you're not doing more than two connections. If the other connections are in the way, just clip them off inside the body of the plug.

While I have a good Weller iron, for years I used pretty much junk. When I had to solder something like this, I used a simple Radio Shack iron with a screw in tip. WAY to coarse for this kind of work. So what I did was take a couple inches of solid copper wire, like from 14/2 house wiring, and wrap a coil of it around the tip, with a pigtail sticking out. Then file the end of the wire to a sharp point. Rude and crude but it worked. Didn't last, but it was easy to replace.

But even with a good iron, it can be tough. I have the WTCPT iron, but had to find an aftermarket tip to put down some 114 pin chips. I found a 1/64" chissel tip from a german company that was fantastic, but can't find them any more. And they didn't last. But then, I don't have to do those chips by hand any more.
 
RE: Mini DIN Connectors  
by N1DVJ on May 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I wouldn't think it would be that difficult to solder up to, you're not doing more than two connections. If the other connections are in the way, just clip them off inside the body of the plug.

While I have a good Weller iron, for years I used pretty much junk. When I had to solder something like this, I used a simple Radio Shack iron with a screw in tip. WAY to coarse for this kind of work. So what I did was take a couple inches of solid copper wire, like from 14/2 house wiring, and wrap a coil of it around the tip, with a pigtail sticking out. Then file the end of the wire to a sharp point. Rude and crude but it worked. Didn't last, but it was easy to replace.

But even with a good iron, it can be tough. I have the WTCPT iron, but had to find an aftermarket tip to put down some 114 pin chips. I found a 1/64" chissel tip from a german company that was fantastic, but can't find them any more. And they didn't last. But then, I don't have to do those chips by hand any more.
 
RE: Mini DIN Connectors  
by N1DVJ on May 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Sorry, seems this web site is back to the behavior of seemingly going dead when you click on 'post', and it leads to multiple post...
 
RE: Mini DIN Connectors  
by KF4HR on May 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Looks like all you needed is a standard mini-DIN plug. Plenty of them on old keyboards.
 
RE: Mini DIN Connectors  
by W9WQA on May 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
if you look at it you will find that i am pretty much correct in naming it "oddball"!! very hard to find. believe me thats why i did this,AND its cheep!
 
RE: Mini DIN Connectors  
by K6AER on May 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I would think it would be much cleaner to just solder to a din plug. Radio Shack has plenty of them.
 
RE: Mini DIN Connectors  
by W4PC on May 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
all this to save $20?
 
RE: Mini DIN Connectors  
by N1DVJ on May 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
"Plenty of them on old keyboards."

Yep, plenty on keyboards. That fit only keyboards. Just look closely at the photos above. The three mini-dins you can see look different, and don't look to me that any would fit a keyboard connector. That, to me, sounds like the guy that walks into Radio Shack and says he wants a coaxial power connector. Ok, what diameter for the shell? Uh.... What pin size? Uh.... What depth? Uh.... Locking ring? Uh....

One of the few things that ARE standard is the connector for keyboard and mouse. That's because they are the same. Not just the connector, but the way the protocol handles them. With a lot of laptops, you can plug in either. In fact, if you have a dock with two sockets, you can, on some laptops, plug in TWO mice, or TWO keyboards. It doesn't matter.

But for anything else, there is a plethora of connector styles and configurations to choose from. There ARE standards, but you need to go on line and then figure out which connector is actually the one you need. Or will fit. There are a few cases of subsets what a connector will fit multiple jacks, but that doesn't mean it works in reverse.
 
RE: Mini DIN Connectors  
by N1DVJ on May 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
By the way, while there are 'customs', it appears the radio world uses the 'standard' connectors. Here's a reference to what is out there for plugs.

www.cui.com/product/resource/md.pdf

All of these connectors are available through DigiKey, and I believe they are under $2.

 
RE: Mini DIN Connectors  
by W9WQA on May 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
there are guys like me who drill holes and solder wires+ and have no fear over removing the covers of their radio, old, or NEW!! when money saved is part of it that money can be used for more toys!
years ago i drove up to benton harbor and picked up a heath sb1400 hf rig. i took wire and a speaker with me so i could play on the way home. at home,THAT DAY i set my circle cutter at 3 inch and put a hole for a speaker in the top cover. later i built in a rad shack dsp unit inside on that same top cover. i had to cut the dsp board in half to get it in, then solder 11 jumpers to the board.
its all in the spirit of having fun in my electronics hobby. the rca jack make this a well shielded , solid way of connecting to the amp.

btw when i sold that heavily modified sb1400 at the la porte hamfest, the guy who bought it appreciated what i did to make it a better rig! he had to be a little different, like me!
 
RE: Mini DIN Connectors  
by JOHNZ on May 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
@W9WQA

IMHO, I would be reluctant to buy any gear that has been modified by the previous owner, unless I was very familiar with his technical skills.

I guess one man's personal modifications may be another man's warning to stay away from a piece of equipment that's been heavily tampered with.

That being said, I always admire someone who can improvise and jury rig, someone who can take the proverbial golden screwdriver and make a rig work better. A guy like that was someone you wanted in your communications unit in Viet Nam.

But, man, you set a rig down on the table at a hamfest, and the potential buyer walks up, looks at all the personal modifications, additions, deletions, what is he to think? Should I take a chance? Do I know this guy? What is his reputation?

Than again, I don't know, maybe you keep all your gear and never intend to sell it?

You know, kind of like the ham who drills antenna holes in a brand new automobile, "Don't worry honey, I can fill them in when we go to trade the car in." Yeah, famous last words, the appraiser just knocked off $1,000 for extensive body work required.

In the commercial broadcast world, sorry, no personal modifications or work arounds allowed. It is a world governed by factory specifications and regulatory agency tolerance rules.
 
RE: Mini DIN Connectors  
by N1DVJ on May 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Hey, I've done the mods...

When I had my Swan 500C, I discovered there was a cutout in the chassis. I can't recall the actual size now, but I remember it was one of the 'oval' speakers you could get off the wall at RS. So I put one in, and them put a slide switch on the back wall of the radio to disable it, since it was parallel with the speaker pins on the Jones connector, and I didn't want both speakers on if I was using the AC supply, which had a speaker built in. I also put an RCA on the back that was an out for the oscillator, so I could put a frequency counter on it fairly easily.

But I don't think I would have put a pin in the jack. I might have added the RCA, but think about it, just hook it up. You'd never have both a factory cable and your RCA cable hooked up at the same time, right?
 
RE: Mini DIN Connectors  
by N1DVJ on May 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
About cars... I asked the dealer about an antenna hole. Know what he told me? ZERO. Absolutely no effect on trade in. At least, after a couple years. I suppose it would matter if it was a 'quick turn' car, but once it reaches maybe 3 years, he said zero effect for the NMO mount I had in the center of the roof. I thought maybe they'd leave it for the next owner, but then I got a grocery bag from the dealer with my wiring harness and antenna stuff in it. If it wasn't exactly factory stock, they didn't want it on the vehicle.

Now, I can understand an antenna hole can affect a private sale, but really, is it that much of an issue?
 
RE: Mini DIN Connectors  
by W9WQA on May 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
i dont buy to sell, i buy to use as i see fit and get max fun out of it! if i ever sell i get what i can. i dont live for the radio.

and; "just hook it up. " if you really get a close look at where you need to solder you would understand. i had a wife would use that word and id say,"just" is the key word!, very ez to say till you really get a look. i can pull the pin anytime.

btw, that sb1400 would not key an amp according to heath specs. i had to change the base resistor on the keying transistor. i reported it to heath and they put out a bulletin on it so sometime we hams have to fix things for the mfgrs!!

i never worry about a scratch on a rig,just use it.
 
RE: Mini DIN Connectors  
by K6AER on May 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
This kind of reminds me of a TS-2000 I saw at a at swap meet. The owner took the female "N" connectors for the 450 MHz and 1.2 GHz antenna connections and replaced them with some old SO-239 connectors off of an old radio. He thought he had made the radio much better for you could buy PL-259's at Radio Shack.

When I told him why they used "N" connectors he had no idea about impedance performance of the old connectors at those frequencies.

There is no technical specification that requires amplifiers or radios to have RCA jacks for keying. For that matter many new amplifiers don't have a ALC output any more.

It would have been much cleaner to buy the proper connector at DigiKey.
 
RE: Mini DIN Connectors  
by W9WQA on May 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
i missed the car thing. i heard the same thing posted in a forum, no big deal on trade in.
 
RE: Mini DIN Connectors  
by W9WQA on May 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
"It would have been much cleaner to buy the proper connector at DigiKey."

thats right.ahh, easier,not cleaner.
i actually could not find them at the time i did this mod. ahh, not ezer because of all the messy tiny pin soldering and still use part of the rca cable huh.
going rca to rca means a simple cable when you loose the other one. i have dozens.

meantime its a lot more fun to use mechanical skills to learn how to make things the way you like them. this article is not for the guy who buys everything to fit. its for the ones who home brew at least something in persuit of their hobby!!

now if i could just get to rebuilding those hb 80/40 bazookas i built from scratch,,,too long ago.
 
RE: Mini DIN Connectors  
by W9WQA on May 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
"When I told him why they used "N" connectors he had no idea about impedance performance of the old connectors at those frequencies."

i found this with a search; hope it works


/ehamforum/smf/index.php?topic=68629.0;wap2

i had doubts that you could measure the difference or notice it in normal use. especially on the back of the rig.
but that thread mentions poor quality adapters. i saw some nice new looking barrel conn for pl259 at a ham fest,you could stick the 259 pin in and turn it over and the barrel would slide off!! the guy put them away.
 
RE: Mini DIN Connectors  
by N1DVJ on May 12, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
It wasn't poor quality adapters, It was 'different' adapters.

I ran into that with my Icom 27a. And others. No matter what I did, even using vice-grips and channel locks, the sleeve of the PL-259 would loosen up. And since I had built the radio into the console of my GLH-Turbo, it was a bit of a pain to get back there.

Finally I talked to one of the engineers that did QA for A&A Importers, and he told me 'yep, they are different', What the heck???

Anyway, he told me that there are otherwise high qualityconnectors that have a different 'taper'. There seems to be two different tapers to the threads. The pitch is the same, the size is the same, the depth is the same, but they taper differently.

If you put a PL-259 with one taper on the correct SO-239, the collar tightens down fine. Threads deform slightly as the connector tightens up, and the back of the collar internal 'lip' is against the internal 'tube' lip.

If you put one of one type on the other, one of two things can happen. In one case (I believe Asian PL-259 on American SO-239, or at least on the connectors that are most common) the collar will tighten down 'early', no big deal. But in the other direction, as putting some American PL-259 on my Icom SO-239 pigtail, the collar of the PL-259 can 'bottom out' before the connector is tight enough to slightly distort the threads. In this case, the slightest vibration can cause the PL-259 collar to come loose and vibrate back, and as soon as that happens, you don't have a secure ground connection through the connector.

It's easy to test for this. Just screw on the PL-259 to the SO-239 you plan to use it on. As you tighten it, if the collar of the PL-259 suddenly stops when it's tight, and comes loose with just a few degrees of backing off, then you're going to have a problem. If the collar 'crunches down' as you tighten it, that means it's going to be a good fit and when you take it off, it might take 20 or more degrees of rotation before the collar is free.

I tried everything to make these work. I even screwed the collar back on the PL-259 and put a ring of solid copper wire around the barrel so that as the collar tighten it would try to compress it. No luck. I even managed to get a 'wavy washer' in there. Again, no luck. I ended up taking the pigtail with the SO-239 molded in off the radio. Turns on that on a lot of the ICOMs, the 'strain relief' that holds the pigtail into the chassis is a perfect fit to screw in a chassis mount BNC...Threads are a prefect match. Matter of fact, back in the 80's a lot of the UHF and 220 guys did that to their IC-37 and 47 series radios just to get a better connection.
 
RE: Mini DIN Connectors  
by W9WQA on May 12, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
you are so right!!! and what a can of worms you opened ,,for me at least. i read your post, turned and saw an ic27a. i checked it with? cables of ? conn. NONE HELD FIRM! i made the rounds of other rigs, 2 ss9000, a tentec omni 5, yaesu. the omni was the only one that got a "good" fit with "some" cables. i used an icom cable and a yaesu cable and some old ones ?? and they did no better on import rigs. now i gotta check everything since my memory tells me this has happened b4 and i just accepted it.
i know i had the problem on an in line pwr/swr unit i had on my mobile rig. that swr unit went bad and i had to open it and resolder the so239 pin,SINCE MY EFFORTS TO TIGHTEN IT must have damaged it.
i have another one in the mobile now and ill check it.

wow! this is important info. i never heard it before.
cant really tell the source of conn used in heath, tentec so? its a problem.

what about slightly deforming the shell to make it go on snug?
 
RE: Mini DIN Connectors  
by N1DVJ on May 12, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I discovered this back about 1984. At that time, I tried all kinds of tricks, including squeezing the shell slightly to deform it. Nothing worked. Oh, squeezing the shell keeps it from vibrating off, but even then, if you tighten the shell, grab the coax where it goes into the shell. It will probably be slightly loose. If you can move the inner cylinder of the connector AT ALL, it means that the outer collar did not tighten down so that the lip inside the outer collar holds the lip around the middle of the body on the inner cylinder tightly and as a result presses the front rim of the inner cylinder against the outer rim of the SO-239.
 
RE: Mini DIN Connectors  
by AI7RR on May 12, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I can appreciate the ingenuity of a tinkerer. I did something similar with my FT-857D. There's a pin on the inside that doesn't show on the schematic that ties to the mini-din for amp keying. I used it with a small piece of RG-174 and brought it out to a pigtail with a female RCA. BTW, I love the amp.
73, Roger
 
RE: Mini DIN Connectors  
by K9MHZ on May 12, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
>>>>by K6AER on May 11, 2014
This kind of reminds me of a TS-2000 I saw at a at swap meet. The owner took the female "N" connectors for the 450 MHz and 1.2 GHz antenna connections and replaced them with some old SO-239 connectors off of an old radio. He thought he had made the radio much better for you could buy PL-259's at Radio Shack.

When I told him why they used "N" connectors he had no idea about impedance performance of the old connectors at those frequencies.<<<<



Oh man!! Now that's a story to remember over a few beers when everyone is trying to outdo each other! I guess the good news is that he'll have so much loss at those freqs that he won't be bothering anyone.

 
RE: Mini DIN Connectors  
by K9MHZ on May 12, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Almost forgot....we've got a real beauty locally who hangs out on the big 2-meter (what a surprise) machine in town who couldn't afford an Astron. So off he went to WalMart and bought a wall wart, cut the connector off, and hooked his rig's leads up to the wall wart leads. He actually did key up the repeater somehow, but the AC hum was so overpowering that nobody could tell who it was.

Sorry for the thread veer.....back to FT-450 connectors.

 
RCA Jack Added to FT-450 Keying  
by KC2QYM on May 13, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Someone commented that you did all that to save $20. Well why not if you have the knowledge and spare parts to do it. I'm sure that most of us have boxes and bags of odds and ends things to get many of these interface challenges squared away. All the power to us tinkerers!
 
RE: RCA Jack Added to FT-450 Keying  
by W9WQA on May 13, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
emailed,,,thanks,,,my hobby,my fun,,,
 
RE: RCA Jack Added to FT-450 Keying  
by N1DVJ on May 13, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Well, it's all how our equipment is perceived to ourselves, and no one else matters, really.

At least most of the time.

But those other times... Like when you sell a rig. Or are showing it to someone. I know at least with me I want it to look clean and professional. I want when I show it off to be the same kind of presentation as if I were selling it and would want top dollar.

In this case, I wouldn't care about the RCA jack. In fact, I actually think the RCA jack cleanly mounted on the back panel would be a plus. Except for the pin and wire... Like I've said, it wouldn't matter in this case if the RCA jack were paralleled with the pin, so it could have been tack soldered to the back of the DIN jack, or to the PCB, and it would, to me at least, look like a much cleaner setup.
 
RE: RCA Jack Added to FT-450 Keying  
by W9WQA on May 13, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
" so it could have been tack soldered to the back of the DIN jack, or to the PCB, and it would, to me at least, look like a much cleaner setup. "

belive me, if that was possible or ez im good at "tack"soldering. in the old days you might find a hole in the solder in a terminal on a terminal strip. not so in the days of double sided surface mount boards. where parts are hard to see when you find them!
i posted the info here to help guys who arent afraid to ust a medium phillips and,,,pull the covers!
trust me there is no place to make a connection without risking damage to the radio, and i have NO FEAR trying to solder if it makes sense. so b4 you say, just do this, be sure you have pulled the covers and you can see what you are talking about.
my main motivation was a lot of complaints about the 450 small tuning knob so i did that new knob thing,not to hard. i added the foot extension to lift the front, and added the rad shack dsp unit that was really needed. then i did the rca jack.
if you really look inside you will see that the jack goes thru a boss on the cast aluminum chassis. its thick there and the hole had to be countersunk for the jack to reach thru. so these things are posted to show how you CAN do what might look too hard for some guys.
none of it was real ez,,,but fun for a builder.
 
RE: RCA Jack Added to FT-450 Keying  
by KD2ACO on June 1, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Love your Amp! Tinkering is fun. Make 'em how you like 'em, I say. I've had no problem selling modified gear at all. If the mods are done well and the buyer looks it over and determines that the mods and modder are OK, then no problem.
 
RE: RCA Jack Added to FT-450 Keying  
by W9WQA on June 1, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
yeah thanks! you notice that ALL connections are up front and covers come off ez. so TINKERING is at a moments notice. im thinking of delayed plate volts and tuned inputs. i have some nice 1/2 in. ceramic tuned slug coils that i can strip the wire off . a guy like me who puts function ahead of beauty?, i might mount those coils on the front too! ez to tune while operation.
i have probably spent more time messing than operating.
i should put up a pix of the top and bottom views. all home brew but the heath power supply. sb 1000 3300 v.
 
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