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Eurorack panels and 3.5mm sockets
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Tech DIY  
Author Eurorack panels and 3.5mm sockets
MikeDB
Just building up my first homebrew Eurorack module. I've used a 2mm aluminium front panel and drilled all the holes. The pots and rotary encoders are fine but the nuts on the 3.5mm sockets are hanging on for grim death - maybe half a turn of engagement. At first I thought I'd look for 3.5mm sockets with longer neck threads but of course then the plug won't reach the contacts. What do people do in this situation ? Thinner panel or just glue the 3.5mm sockets in ?

Ths sockets I have are
3.5mm sockets
robotfunk
Why are you using stereo jacks? I've had zero issues with the (mono) jacks I buy from Thonk.
https://www.thonk.co.uk/shop/3-5mm-jacks/
MikeDB
comment removed
MikeDB
robotfunk wrote:
Why are you using stereo jacks? I've had zero issues with the (mono) jacks I buy from Thonk.
https://www.thonk.co.uk/shop/3-5mm-jacks/


Are you using the PJ301BM hand wired type jacks ? They seem to have 5mm threaded barrel rather than the 4mm of the PJ302 type PCB mounting versions Thonk (and others) supply. The ones I bought are also 4mm so will have the same issue.

So new question is does anybody know of a PCB side mounting 3.5mm jack socket with a 5mm threaded barrel ?
romain
i`m using 3mm aluminium sheet and no problem with Thonk jacks
tx301
Had the same issue a while back, solved it by gingerly reaming the top side (obviously) with a countersink bit. Incidentally this also gives a nice shimmering effect around the serrated edges of the nut.
fuzzbass
Before I had learned to buy proven jacks from trusted sources (ex: thonk, synthcube), I obtained some from Chinese sellers on ebay, and the examples had multiple issues:
1. Insufficient thread depth
2. poor quality tapping in the nuts
3. structural weakness such that if nuts gained any purchase, the jack was pulled apart under very little torque.

I probably would also have found the switch contacts were poor, but I didn't get that far with them.

There is something to be said for getting a modular synth on a frugal budget. If you want the modules you build to last, consider paying a bit more for the hard working parts, such as jacks, switches and potentiometers.

On the other hand: ebay is the place to buy LEDs.
MikeDB
tx301 wrote:
Had the same issue a while back, solved it by gingerly reaming the top side (obviously) with a countersink bit. Incidentally this also gives a nice shimmering effect around the serrated edges of the nut.


Thanks - I'll give that a try
MikeDB
fuzzbass wrote:
Before I had learned to buy proven jacks from trusted sources (ex: thonk, synthcube), I obtained some from Chinese sellers on ebay, and the examples had multiple issues:


The problem is often that some 'trusted sources' source their parts from Alibaba anyway so it takes a while to find some that are of higher quality. In the end all of them are made on the same lines in China and then sorted by quality levels.
romain
ok, so forget the nuts and washers, just go for that https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/502-Super-Glue-Cyanoacrylate-Adhesive-Stron gest-Bonding-Fast-Repair-Tool/173665690833?hash=item286f4824d1:m:m-qix ytYa4ori4xbgFt-cgw

Mr. Green
astrosound
Short of buying jacks with longer barrels, various combinations of the following:

Counter bore the back of the panel so the jack body nests into the panel, providing more threads on the front for the nut.

Counter bore the front of the panel, exposing threads up front but might be an eyesore.

Tap the panel and thread the jack in. If there's enough threads exposed on the front put a nut on the front. This is very secure.

Glue it with thread locking glue like loctite. Thread locker is better than super glue for metal on metal, and you can buy it in several strengths. Good stuff to have around.
MikeDB
> Short of buying jacks with longer barrels, various combinations of the following:

That would be my ideal solution


> Counter bore the back of the panel so the jack body nests into the panel, providing more threads on the front for the nut.

Am looking at the practicality of doing this


> Counter bore the front of the panel, exposing threads up front but might be an eyesore.

Tried this one and it is


> Tap the panel and thread the jack in. If there's enough threads exposed on the front put a nut on the front. This is very secure.

Jacks are PCB mounted so not viable


> Glue it with thread locking glue like loctite. Thread locker is better than super glue for metal on metal, and you can buy it in several strengths. Good stuff to have around.

I suspect this may be the final solution. Not perfect as I intended the jack barrels to be the main support to the panel.
Noodle Twister
What I do is remove the nuts from the sockets. Place them on the pcb. Put the front panel on and secure. Then flip it and solder the sockets.

https://www.taydaelectronics.com/3-5mm-mono-enclosed-socket.html

I have used those above which work well and the ones from Thonk. The Thonk ones are more expensive but save some time as you don't need to make a ground connection from cut off resistor legs.

Hope that helps.
MikeDB
Noodle Twister wrote:
What I do is remove the nuts from the sockets. Place them on the pcb. Put the front panel on and secure. Then flip it and solder the sockets.

https://www.taydaelectronics.com/3-5mm-mono-enclosed-socket.html

I have used those above which work well and the ones from Thonk. The Thonk ones are more expensive but save some time as you don't need to make a ground connection from cut off resistor legs.

Hope that helps.


Yes the ones you show are PJ301 types and have 5mm thread so are fine. Unfortunately I have the PCB at right angles to the front panel as there is a lot of associated circuitry and for some inexplicable reason the PJ302 type jack sockets only have 4mm thread, hence my problem. I've looked everywhere for a PJ302 with 5mm thread but they seem to be non-existant.
Noodle Twister
Had a look around. The kobiconn ones at mouser are only 3.5mm. The clone ones I got are 4mm. Seems you might be right..

Take a look here,

Switchcraft jacks


I couldn't tell how long the threaded part is from the pdf hmmm.....
MikeDB
Noodle Twister wrote:
Had a look around. The kobiconn ones at mouser are only 3.5mm. The clone ones I got are 4mm. Seems you might be right..

Take a look here,

Switchcraft jacks


I couldn't tell how long the threaded part is from the pdf hmmm.....


3.5mm :-(

A pity as I really like Switchcraft products. Used to use loads of their stuff in a previous job.
ersatzplanet
MikeDB wrote:
At first I thought I'd look for 3.5mm sockets with longer neck threads but of course then the plug won't reach the contacts.


This is not how it works. The plugs lengths are a industry standard as well as the distance from the front busting surface to the tip contact. For jacks with longer bushings, the contacts are always moved to be in the correct position. The only variable in MONO jack design is where the Ground connection is located. Jacks with metal bushings tend to use them for the ground connection. Jacks with plastic bushings will have a tine to connect to the plug shaft and this can be in different locations depending on the whim of the maker. Cliff jacks, like on the older Doepfer units fo example, have the ground connection where the Ring would be on a Stereo plug. This makes using stereo plugs in them problematic depending on what they are connected to (mainly to other cabinets). Some KobiConn jacks do this also IIRC.

In any case, the bushing length will NEVER make the contacts not connect on a properly made jack. Get ones that will work with your panel. The jacks I use (the same ones TipTop used to use) have plastic bushings that are 4.5mm deep. The jack body behind the panel is 13mm High. They work great.
ixtern
MikeDB wrote:
fuzzbass wrote:
Before I had learned to buy proven jacks from trusted sources (ex: thonk, synthcube), I obtained some from Chinese sellers on ebay, and the examples had multiple issues:


The problem is often that some 'trusted sources' source their parts from Alibaba anyway so it takes a while to find some that are of higher quality. In the end all of them are made on the same lines in China and then sorted by quality levels.

This may be true as I have used Switchcraft 3.5 mm jacks from Mouser:
https://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Switchcraft/35RAPC2AV?qs=sGAEpiMZ ZMv0W4pxf2HiV3fTUvSc3cBdMw4Qf2t1RYc%3D

and then jacks from aliexpress:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/100pcs-Screw-Phone-Jack-3-5mm-3-pin-mo no-channel-socket-2-pole-earphone-audio-plug/32799772257.html?spm=a2g1 7.10010108.1000001.12.4115a450KZzoD8&isOrigTitle=true

Structurally they are identical apart from "Switchcraft" inscription. But Switchcraft jacks quality is little better, especially regarding threads.

Now I prefer to use jacks from thonk, however.
JohnLRice
Don't get too excited because I've never tried these and don't know if the correct size even exists but there are "flush nuts" that you could use (if you can find them)? You would (in theory) drill your jack holes larger to fit the narrow part of the nut and then the wider flange of the nut keeps it from entering the hole.


or maybe Miniature Cinch Nuts?
ersatzplanet
JohnLRice wrote:
Don't get too excited because I've never tried these and don't know if the correct size even exists but there are "flush nuts" that you could use (if you can find them)? You would (in theory) drill your jack holes larger to fit the narrow part of the nut and then the wider flange of the nut keeps it from entering the hole.


or maybe Miniature Cinch Nuts?


I believe these are meant to be swaged into the metal like PEM nuts. They are meant to be come a permanent pair of the metalwork, like a swaged in standoff. In any case there stongly resemble them. The indention along the "shaft" is where the panel metal in a PEM nut is compressed, holding it in place. the thin hex "top" is impressed in the metal to stop it from rotating. If you look at stereo equipment that uses Galveneal metal (a dull grey unfinished metal) for the chassis, you can often see the hex around the bottom outside of the standoffs.

Saying that, They still can be used as nuts but I would bet the hex surface would not last long if attached and removed often.
Monobass
MikeDB wrote:
fuzzbass wrote:
Before I had learned to buy proven jacks from trusted sources (ex: thonk, synthcube), I obtained some from Chinese sellers on ebay, and the examples had multiple issues:


The problem is often that some 'trusted sources' source their parts from Alibaba anyway so it takes a while to find some that are of higher quality. In the end all of them are made on the same lines in China and then sorted by quality levels.


No we literally source nothing from Alibaba at Thonk, we continue the 8 year direct relationship with the jack factory in China. Out of all our suppliers they are more consistent and reliable than any other manufacturer in the far east, Europe or the US. It's weird and counterproductive to start rumours like that.
col
Just incase anyone wants to know the main source:

http://qingpu-electronics.com/en/products/WQP-PJ398SM-362.html
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