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  1. #1
    M Carter's Avatar
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    Speedotron Black Line Cables

    I've recently retired two older 102 heads to convert to HID - so I can use my Speedo modifiers for video work. So far so good, they're now 150 watt HIDs, the temp is lower than a 103 (fanless) head and I have the original fans wired to the model light switch for longer lamp life when audio isn't a concern. They put out something like 600 watts of nice, clean 5200k daylight. Very nice having my striplights and big grid reflectors for video. They have external ballasts so their cables can never be plugged into a speedo pack - different cabling entirely. I've done fresnel conversions and as long as proper grounding and wiring is used, it's fairly no-brainer with the kits available.

    Which leaves me with a couple undamaged Black Line cables with the pack connectors undisturbed. Is there any reason I couldn't get the proper female connectors and turn these into head extensions? This wouldn't require opening a pack or anything - just identifying the pin setup and properly soldering, and making sure the strain relief was effective.

    I've shot speedo for 20 years but never picked up head extensions, there's always something else to drop seventy bucks on.

    I suppose I could send them to a speedo repair guy, but is it as simple as IDing the pin setup? Is soldering one of those mil-spec connectors a specialist job, or do you heat & tin the pins and insert the wires? And how would I track down the right connector?

    ...or I could sell the cables on the bay and pickup an extension. But where's the glorious adventure in that?

  2. #2

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    Glorious adventure? That's screwing around in the pack itself. Sometimes including a loud ZAP and being flung against a nearby wall or something with sharp edges.
    But yes, it's as simple as identifying & soldering the pins. I'd tend to use rosin flux and "silver" solder.
    the silver solder I mean isn't the kind used for hardware, it's a better conductor than 60/40 types.
    If you want some of the silver stuff, send me a PM & I'll send you a couple of feet.

    Sourcing the connectors may be as easy as the Grainger site. Speedo wasn't big enough(maybe) for custom plugs like that.
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

  3. #3
    Mike Wilde's Avatar
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    I think they are an amphenol type pin and socket connector system. I have a Black Line pack, but have yet to burn out a socket to look carefully and need to fix one.

    The back end of each pin in such a connector has a half cup that you set the pre tinned conductor in, heat the cup side, and add solder to the open side of the cup.

    Similar connectors with smaller pins for multi channel dimmer control in theatrical stage dimmers, and larger connectors for the power outputs to multiconductor cables from those same dimmers. I have soldered a lot of them.

    Re- using a pre soldered connector requires a lot of solder sucking braid and a gas torch and lots of flicking the heated connector to dislodge old solder before you can think about using it again.
    The big power ones I have worked on are over $120 each, so yes, you reuse them.

    Be methodical. Start from the back side to the connector, towards the middle, doing the edges as you go. The biggest one I have soldered had 28 or so pins. It just takes time and patience.
    my real name, imagine that.

  4. #4
    M Carter's Avatar
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    Thanks guys - I grabbed a loupe and found the part # for the female panel connector (it is amphenol) on the pack - a little googling got me the part # for the female cable connector...

    ... and viola! Eighty bucks! An extension cable is only $70. But an ebay search found some NOS parts for $20 (and no desoldering). A little more googling found a wealth of how-to's as well.

    And yes John, I have no desire whatsoever to open a pack! I have a nice 1205 that uses an oddball AC cable which would be an easy swap to a more common one (I'm terrified of getting to a gig without that one crazy cable) but I'm not interested in even loosening a single screw on that thing (though on my old toggle-switch packs, you do have to tighten the ring-nuts on the switches from time to time - that's about as far as I'll go, just takes pliers externally...)

    Mike, some guys mention putting liquid flux on the cups - is that necessary? The speedo is an 8-pin, but there are only 7 wires in the cable, I'm guessing one pin isn't used.

    And yes, this would be a methodical job, as a crossed connector could have some bad consequences. I'm thinking it might be visually clear to plug the connectors together before soldering, so the correct wires would be "across" from each other vs. making notes of the pins. I score and record most of my commercial video edits, been a musician forever so I'm as anal as anyone about proper soldering - I do enjoy redoing guitar electronics and making custom snake cables. None of that stuff pushes this kind of voltage though.

    Thanks again - John, I'll shoot you a PM regarding the solder - buy you a cocktail? Thanks again.

    Speaking of tunes and guitars and solder - here's me, before the haircut that made my wife so happy:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MmJEnA7RDk



 

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