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Is it ok to daisy chain together different brand bus boards?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Tech DIY  
Author Is it ok to daisy chain together different brand bus boards?
Ok so I am looking to upgrade my max mA and consolidate my power in my 9u eurorack case. Currently I am running three Flight of Harmony Power modules to three different 4ms distro bus boards. I want to replace those three Flight of Harmony Power modules with the Trogotronic m15. The m15 is an active bus board while the distro boards are passive. So would it be safe to replace one distro bus board with the m15 and daisy chain the 2 remaining 4ms distro boards to it? Or should I just switch completely over the m15 boards? Thanks in advance for everyone's time and help

Below I have attached flyers for both the 4ms distro board and Trogotronic m15

I think mixing those bus boards is ok. However, some might not like "daisy chaining" bus boards in general (no matter which brands).
Another topology is "star-ground" which, if done correctly according to this thread is more like "star power and ground".

I have a few doepfer psu3's and they have 4 parallel power/ground connections for doing a star topology.
The m15 and 4ms both have +5V regulation on the busboard. Because of this don't connect the +5V of the m15 to the +5V of the 4ms, unless you have the 4ms jumpers set so that they're expecting external +5V and not also regulating +5V. The m15 only has 3 wire terminals (+12V, -12V, 0V), so as long as you're using the terminals and not a ribbon cable you should avoid that potential issue.

It's true that daisy chaining busboards should be avoided when possible, but if the m15 is the source of power in your system then connect the 4ms boards from the two sets of wire terminals on the m15 boards and not by connecting ribbon headers between boards. Run thick stranded wire between them and try to keep the wire runs short. You can buy crimp connectors and heavy gauge stranded wire by the foot at pretty much any decent hardware store, get the right connectors and rated for a thick gauge. The 14-16AWG size should be common, often with blue insulation on the connectors.

The 4ms busboards are very long and have the terminals on one end of the board rather than the center. Chaining them from the m15 means that far 21st header has a long road of thin PCB traces and ribbon cable before receiving power. If your system runs fine then great, but if you start encountering issues with noise or bleed between modules then keep that in mind as a potential place to start working on the solution.
The diagram has labelled "Doepfer power connectors (keyed)", which is blatantly misleading.

For those of you that don't know, Doepfer warranties don't cover their modules if you use them on a busboard with keyed headers.

Keyed headers make people complacent about checking their ribbon cables before plugging in a module. Never trust a ribbon cable until you've inspected it and ensured it's been assembled correctly.
Thank you d.simon and NV for your insight and solid advice, it has been amazingly helpful. After considering the risk reward of the unknown of mixing these two bus board compared to risk/unknown I have come to the decision the cost of the extra two M15 bus boards will be worth it (also the fast and trogotronic email support also swayed me a good deal (though I do want to mention 4ms also has great tech support I am just switching to the M15 because it suits my needs/goals better than 4ms current power offerings)).

I will greatly missed the key headers though, I really like those things they are absolutely fabulous if you know how to use them right (like any tool). After you have made sure all you modules ribbon cable match up to them or switch them out for ribbon cable that do you never have to worry about frying a module again (unless the ribbon cable gets unplugged from the module and you reattach it wrong). And thank you to LoFi Junglist for reminding us not to be complacent about ribbon orientation.

Once again thanks to you folks if you any of you are ever in the state of Nebraska in the USA drop me a line and I will buy your a beer or 6 (and we can make some noises). Chugging Beers
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