Bad batch of red switchcaps - Small Bear.

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Bad batch of red switchcaps - Small Bear.

Post by Rex Coil 7 » Fri Nov 17, 2017 11:13 am

Small Bear is a great bunch, so let's get any notions that I'm ~slamming~ Small Bear out of the way, straight away. What I am posting here is a warning about the possibility of a vendor having been screwed over by their suppliers.

Getting to it here .....

I bought a small group of those funky little plastic (poly? .. plastic? .. sum kinda rubbuh?) colored caps that fit on the bat of mini toggle switches. I think I bought like 25 of 5 colors, including red which is what this thread covers ... the red ones.

While I'm no expert builder like some of the members here, I do have a fairly good set of hands that I've used to make a living with and pay for my home and lifestyle. A bit of a goof, but not hamfisted.

Ok, enough stage setting, here's what I'm whining about today. I installed several of the red ones, some of the blue ones, some of the yellow ones. All of them share installations on different brands of gear (Doepfer, Synthesizers.Com, some DIY stuff using Mountain mini-togs, Suit and Tie Guy modules, others). That's relevant because they all may use different manufacturers of mini toggles (which may have slightly different shaped and thickness bats on the minitoggles those particular companies use).

Everything goes just fine when installing the colored switch bat covers, except the red ones, and only after about 12+ hours pass by. Them red ones go on just fine, no issues, I don't have to ~shove~ them on, or fight with them, they just go on the bats like all of the other ones do.

But after some time (12 or so hours, maybe even a few days) the red ones are splitting, some of them are actually splitting in to 2 pieces. But only the red ones, not any of the other colors.

I'm no manufacturing chemist, but I'm guessing it may have something to do with the pigment (red) mixing poorly with whatever chemicals it takes to make a switch bat cover.

I've had over a dozen of the red ones split by now, I bought them about 2 months ... or so ... ago, and installed most of them from about 1 month back right up until a week back.

PICS:

There's scribblin' all over this picture because this is the one I have sent to Small Bear. I didn't ~complain~ to them .. per se .. I just wanted to inform them that they may have a bad batch of red ones in their inventory (in hopes they can contact their own supplier and have them rectify the situation for Small Bear). I did the picture that way instead of taking several pictures of different modules so no-one would think I put the same 2 split caps on several different pieces of kit just to make the situation seem worse than it is.

Image


Another pic, a composite image of two modules, each with their own split read caps ......


Image


WHAT'S MY POINT?


Well, one thing for sure, it's not to paint Small Bear as some crappy vendor. And when I contacted them I made sure to make perfectly clear that I wasn't asking for a refund, or returns (after all, we're talking about $0.30 cent items here, my cost on the return shipping would far exceed the loss of the bad caps). I mean, the loss on the ~dozen odd~ split caps would amount to roughly $3.60 ... the shipping for those would probably be $5.00 bux!

So, that said, I just wanted to inform Small Bear, and to inform the membership here.

Ya might wanna wait a few weeks (more?) before ordering bat covers from Small Bear until they exhaust their inventory (or get their situation resolved with their own vendors). But only the red ones, I just checked the yellow and blue ones not but 15 seconds ago and they're still good-to-go.

So wait a bit, or even check with Small Bear prior to ordering .... y'know, for peace of mind so as to be able to rest easily ... like my totally deaf cat "Peep" .....


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RC7 over and out ....



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Post by thetwlo » Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:19 pm

probably just a bad batch, or very old stock.
I bought red ones from SmallBear 1-2 years ago, all fine.

But the Tayda ones work well, a little smaller, not as "shaped" but a lot cheaper!
http://www.taydaelectronics.com/new-arr ... p-red.html

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Post by Rex Coil 7 » Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:49 pm

thetwlo wrote:probably just a bad batch, or very old stock.
I bought red ones from SmallBear 1-2 years ago, all fine.

But the Tayda ones work well, a little smaller, not as "shaped" but a lot cheaper!
http://www.taydaelectronics.com/new-arr ... p-red.html
Yuh ... I have red ones I bought from Small Bear five+ years back, no issues.

These new ones I got were some they had just got in, they'd shown "out of stock" then suddenly they had them in stock, so I bought a few dozen, and then the problems started.

Like I said, it's certainly not the end of the flippin' world, they're just some silly little caps. I'm figuring as you said, probably a bad batch.

I actually found some red ones at my local Lowes yesterday when I went there hunting down some stainless steel stuff (it amazes me how well stocked Lowes is on stainless hardware, especially out here in the desert southwest). But them red caps Lowes had were this odd looking sortof orange-ish color, so I passed.

Dunno ... just check with them (Small Bear) if any of you go to buy some, I'm sure I'm not the only person that bought some of their newest inventory, and I cannot imagine that I'm the only person having trouble with them. So I'd guess they know about it. Maybe they'll advise on when more are on their way in.

:tu:
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Post by thetwlo » Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:12 pm

funny! I stumbled on those at Lowe's today as well!
but they were out of place in one the parts drawers and didn't see where they were actually supposed to be stocked.
Weird as these are usually kind of hard to find, or search for.

Now, if we could find for the sub-miniature switches!

hmmm, maybe just dip them in plasti-dip?

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Split switch caps

Post by davebr » Sat Nov 18, 2017 2:12 am

I've built a number of Buchla modules this past year and have had a lot of trouble with split blue caps. All of the other colors were fine. I have tried putting them on partially, and pushing them all the way on over days, I've tried heating them, and simply just pushing them on. Nothing made a difference.
Some large percentage just split.

I have tried batches from Mouse and Small Bear. My conclusion was something in the manufacturing process must have changed. I just bought a lot and kept replacing them. Eventually I would find ones that didn't split.

Having a batch of red caps show the same issue might be troubling. Rather than an old batch, these could possibly be a new batch and we might be seeing issues that might affect all the colors. Or, it could be just a random bad batch.

Dave

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Re: Split switch caps

Post by Rex Coil 7 » Sat Nov 18, 2017 3:33 am

davebr wrote:I've built a number of Buchla modules this past year and have had a lot of trouble with split blue caps. All of the other colors were fine. I have tried putting them on partially, and pushing them all the way on over days, I've tried heating them, and simply just pushing them on. Nothing made a difference.
Some large percentage just split.

I have tried batches from Mouse and Small Bear. My conclusion was something in the manufacturing process must have changed. I just bought a lot and kept replacing them. Eventually I would find ones that didn't split.

Having a batch of red caps show the same issue might be troubling. Rather than an old batch, these could possibly be a new batch and we might be seeing issues that might affect all the colors. Or, it could be just a random bad batch.

Dave
I had a feeling that if this thread got in front of enough eyeballs eventually someone else would reply with the same problem.

I'm not sure exactly what it is that causes this oddball problem, all I know is that it is annoying!
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Post by Randy » Sat Nov 18, 2017 9:02 am

It would be tricky but I wonder if you could make your own caps using Plasti-Dip?

https://plastidip.com/

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Post by papz » Sat Nov 18, 2017 11:22 am

I have the same problem with a bunch of Mammoth's red and blue ones bought 2 years ago or so, which are the exact same type and split the exact same way. Other colors are ok.
When I informed Mammoth about this, they replied no one reported such an issue, which I doubt sine it has been reported on a regular basis on various forums for years.
So I'm afraid it doesn't concern a batch only but is the "normal" quality of these crappy caps.

Weedywhizz's new ones are cheaper and softer : https://www.samodular.com/product/switch-caps/
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Post by Rex Coil 7 » Sat Nov 18, 2017 12:04 pm

thetwlo wrote:...... hmmm, maybe just dip them in plasti-dip?
Randy wrote:It would be tricky but I wonder if you could make your own caps using Plasti-Dip?

https://plastidip.com/

Randy
Seems to be a popular idea ..... :tu: I'd bet that is how some of them are made in the first place.

It would be a bit tippy-toe to do ... not really the dipping part, but setting up some way of hanging the switches ~bat down~ until the goop sets up totally solid. Not an impossible feat, by any means, just something that would need to be worked out.

First thing that comes to mind is using a ~forked~ type crimp connector terminal, crimped on to some good stiff wire. Affix the wire to something so that the forked crimp connector offers itself to the switch to allow just slipping the switch into the forked connector. You could just ~stab~ the piece of wire into a heavy cardboard box, or maybe staple it to a short piece of scrap 2x4, or perhaps not even use any wire, just figure out some other means to fix the connector in a steady state. The stiff wire could easily be set on a board (or ~everwhat~) so that it sticks straight out. Easy to make a row of these forks to hold a few switches for goop curing.

I'm mentally going that way since I recently bought 200pcs of the wrong forked crimp terminals (doing a bit of electrical work in my shop, putting in some proper wiring for the mill and the lathe .... I've been using .... uhm .... extension cords ... ~cringe~ ... for several years to power two $5k machines ... I figure it's about time to properly wire them in!). Anyhow, I bought the wrong crimp connectors that have far too large of a forked end, so there they sit! Unused, all sad and lonely, discarded from a productive life.

You cannot just use a piece of thin cardboard with holes in it to hold the switches, the Plasti-Dip forms a droplet on the lowest part of any piece that's dipped, so the switch bat needs to hang straight down so the droplet forms on the tip of the switch bat.

So the crimp connector idea can be used to combat that problem. The connector may be angled or bent in such a manner that assures the switch bat is pointing straight down to do a good job of this task.

Image

There's probably six other ways to get this done, this is just something that would be convenient for me since I have an abundance of #10 forked crimp connectors that are looking for a job.

Which reminds me, I still need to order 200pcs of #8s !! :hmm:
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Post by Rex Coil 7 » Sat Nov 18, 2017 12:07 pm

papz wrote:I have the same problem with a bunch of Mammoth's red and blue ones bought 2 years ago or so, which are the exact same type and split the exact same way. Other colors are ok.
When I informed Mammoth about this, they replied no one reported such an issue, which I doubt sine it has been reported on a regular basis on various forums for years.
So I'm afraid it doesn't concern a batch only but is the "normal" quality of these crappy caps.

Weedywhizz's new ones are cheaper and softer : https://www.samodular.com/product/switch-caps/
Ok .. so I'm NOT insane or being too picky.

Hmmm ... seems it's time to take this situation into our own DIY hands here, folks!

The Plasti Dip solution is becoming more viable with each added comment by others that have experienced the same issue. Complaint = valid.

The fix for making sure it doesn't happen any more is DIY!!!!

Yup, I'm on it!
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Post by Rex Coil 7 » Sat Nov 18, 2017 12:17 pm

The Plasti-Dip solution will also take care of putting switch caps on the large toggle switches I tend to use the hell out of in my synth project ....

Image

Image

Right on! :nana: :yay:
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Post by papz » Sat Nov 18, 2017 12:51 pm

A good and neat DIY solution is buy Tayda's white ones ($0.03 each) and tie dye them in water + acetone but you want to do this outside because the smell is really awful.

[video][/video]
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Post by Rex Coil 7 » Sat Nov 18, 2017 2:02 pm

Checked out the Plasti-Dip web page. So I'm sittin' here thinkin' ~what in hell am I gonna do with an entire can of red Plasti-Dip after I use it to put tips on a dozen little bitty switches?~

And another thing, what if the dip doesn't match some of my knobs?

WAIT JUST A DARNED TOOTIN' MINUTE! DIP THE KNOBS!!!!

That idea solves another issue I have going on .... I have some knobs that are shaped in ways I really like, but they are only available in black.

TA DA! Plasti-Dip to the rescue! I figure I may be able to use an exacto knife to trim the dip away from the set screw hole after dipping is complete, as long as the dip doesn't totally fill the set screw hole up.

Could also stick a mandrel or plug of sorts into the set screw hole, and then remove it when the dip stuff is partially set up. Something like a busted-off Q-Tip might fit into the set screw hole well enough to plug the set screw hole just long enough to keep the dip from totally filling the hole.

Hmmm ... may not be such a good idea after all. I need to think on that.

.... thinking ..... thinking ....
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Post by emmaker » Sat Nov 18, 2017 2:26 pm

Some things about using powdered fabric dyes.

Keep in mind that that these are meant to be permanent dyes. They do not come out (at least good ones) and stain everything they touch. It would be interesting to see if he was really able to clean his counter top. Rit dyes aren't as strong so maybe he was able too.

I assume that you are going to use gloves otherwise you'll have to wait until all your skin dies off and you get new skin for your skin tone to get back to normal.

When using stronger dyes (like Dharma Trading Procion) while in powder form you want to use eye and lung protection. So I'd assume it's a good idea to do this with Rit dyes also. You do not want the dye getting in your eyes and lungs. You may end up with serious health issues if you don't.

A lot of countertops are porous and if any dye gets in them it will not come out. Hopefully this will make sense. For the countertop take a large garbage bag and open it up so it's easy to put stuff in. Put it flat on the counter with the closed end away from you and then put newspaper or something absorbent on top of it. Do your work and when don stick your hand in the bag and grab the absorbent material and pull it into the bag. Then throw the bag away. Sorta like the dog poop trick with plastic bags.

Good luck.
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Post by Rex Coil 7 » Sat Nov 18, 2017 2:33 pm

.... and the cap on the acetone can is still open, too! That stuff evaporates quickly, so he's losing munnies and allowing even more toxic shit into his lungs ... not to mention just begging for an accidental spill. And a kitchen fire! (acetone is as flammable as gasoline, perhaps even more so, practically speaking ... it's one of the base elements of acetylene ... y'know ... the stuff used in welding torches)

His mom, or his landlord, or his wife (or all three) are not going to be happy with the mess.

Bad workmanship, I used to employ over a dozen shop techs, and if I saw that going on in my shop I'd give the guy some ~what for~ ...

:lol:
emmaker wrote:.....For the countertop take a large garbage bag and open it up so it's easy to put stuff in. Put it flat on the counter with the closed end away from you and then put newspaper or something absorbent on top of it. Do your work and when don stick your hand in the bag and grab the absorbent material and pull it into the bag. Then throw the bag away. Sorta like the dog poop trick with plastic bags.

Good luck.
Jay S.
Jay S. .... you're hired! I need a guy like you watching out for my interests. How does the position of "shop foreman" sound?

:tu:
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Post by emmaker » Sat Nov 18, 2017 2:56 pm

I was also wondering if the guy was married at the beginning of the video.
Jay S. .... you're hired! I need a guy like you watching out for my interests. How does the position of "shop foreman" sound?
Let's see I live in Oregon, you live in Arizona, it's winter. Let me think about that.

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Post by papz » Sat Nov 18, 2017 2:57 pm

Yes, this video is not the best workmanship example, sorry, my bad.
And thanks for the useful warning. Of course protection is highly recommended, as mentioned on the dye packs.

That said this works fine, I have very nice switch caps and Synthi patch pins dyed this way by my friend Steve at Digitana (who is still alive, healthy and with a normal human color :lol: ).
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Post by Randy » Sat Nov 18, 2017 7:13 pm

Rex, you'd be surprised at what you can use the Plasti-dip for. It's great for dipping the handles of small tools like pliers into, makes them easier to use. I hadn't thought of the knob coating idea, that's actually a good one.

You may also not need to hang the switches upside down after dipping, gotta experiment a bit. If you dip properly, the stuff doesn't actually run that much.

Off topic, but another idea, although might look odd, is for situations where you want a small knob on a pot. I wonder if you can just dip the pot shaft? Problem is you still need a marker. I ended up using small plastic end caps and using black stripe decals, like this:

Image

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Post by Paul Perry » Sun Nov 19, 2017 2:46 am

Not that it helps us any, but I suspect I know why one colour in a batch might be bad... I've seen video of garbage recyclers in India who scavage plastic objects & sort by colour & sell this to small factories making stuff like (I guess) sleeves etc. If you get plastic types mixed, you could get the trouble we are seeing.

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Post by Rex Coil 7 » Sun Nov 19, 2017 3:02 am

Randy wrote:Rex, you'd be surprised at what you can use the Plasti-dip for. It's great for dipping the handles of small tools like pliers into, makes them easier to use. I hadn't thought of the knob coating idea, that's actually a good one.

You may also not need to hang the switches upside down after dipping, gotta experiment a bit. If you dip properly, the stuff doesn't actually run that much.

Off topic, but another idea, although might look odd, is for situations where you want a small knob on a pot. I wonder if you can just dip the pot shaft? Problem is you still need a marker. I ended up using small plastic end caps and using black stripe decals, like this:

Image

Randy[/img]
Yea, I'm quite familiar with it, when my family's business was going (we sold welding products, such as compressed gasses and welding machines and all of that stuff) we were a Plasti-Dip authorized dealer. I'm talkin' 1983 here. So I've been around the stuff for quite some time. I've used it for many many things over the years. I just never considered making my own switch caps because they are so readily available and inexpensive.

But since this garbage plastic issue has created some crappy caps, when someone else mentioned using Plasti-Dip I began entertaining the idea.

RE; using it on a potentiometer, some pots don't need a marker, so it would work out fine. I've thought about it before.

I have more tools that I've dipped over the years than I can recall. Where I live the summers are friggin brutal, and if you make the mistake of leaving a wrench in the Sun, you'll probably only make that mistake once! I've measured surface temps of tools exceeding 165f on out hottest days. So that dip is really helpful!

I may give the switch bat notion a try ... I mean .. why not, right?

:tu:
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Post by Rex Coil 7 » Sun Nov 19, 2017 3:04 am

Paul Perry wrote:Not that it helps us any, but I suspect I know why one colour in a batch might be bad... I've seen video of garbage recyclers in India who scavage plastic objects & sort by colour & sell this to small factories making stuff like (I guess) sleeves etc. If you get plastic types mixed, you could get the trouble we are seeing.
You are most likely quite right about that! I can't imagine the plastic these caps are made of is anything high quality.
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Post by minime123 » Sat Dec 02, 2017 11:33 pm

these splitting caps have been a major PITA for us over the last couple of years. we used to replace all our arp odyssey caps with new vinyl ones that slipped right on. we got a lot of them from a friend in the UK - they were sold in multicolored batches by RS. they weren't exactly like the original odyssey caps, but we didn't want exact replacements because these were easier to put on. anyway, once we finally ran out, we had a friend in australia order us a bunch of the same caps from RS australia (RS will not sell directly to the US) and what he sent ended up to be these horrible caps people here are complaining about. they'd appear to go on ok at first but some colors would eventually break. sometimes it took an hour, sometimes weeks. and it wasn't just the red. since then, we bought caps from various other suppliers but have been unable to find caps in all colors that didn't break. one solution might be contacting RS in the UK again and seeing where they used to get their multicolored caps and ordering from them directly. is there anyone in the UK who wants to make some calls to RS? we'd love to find those old caps again. i can take some pics of some if need be.
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Post by Rex Coil 7 » Sun Dec 03, 2017 1:13 am

First off, who or what is "RS" (why do people assume others know wtf ambiguous initials stand for?... this seems to happen a lot in forums).

I have just recently heard back from Small Bear on this. Got the standard reply of "we've never heard of this happening before", however they did offer to refund me the amount that the split caps were worth.

Myself, I'm not worried about being repaid for $3.00 worth of caps, my thing is that I just don't want it to happen again! Small Bear told me that theirs are Mouser items, and that they buy them by the hundreds at a time. If that's the case, then even buying them from Mouser is a gamble.

I believe that it's all about what member Paul Perry said, about the junk recycling plastic that is used in many items today.

That said ..... I'm buying some Plasti-Dip ... hells bells, anything's worth a shot at this point. As it is now, I feel as though I have to buy 20 to obtain 10 good ones. It's not the cost that bugs me, it's just that some things are just SHIT these days.

I've taken all of the red ones off of my synth (32 of them) and gone to yellow. Not that I like yellow better, I just like caps that aren't splitting better! And so far ... knock on my wooden head ... the yellow ones have been holding up.

As soon as I get some money, I'm going to try the Plasti-Dip method. I'll be certain to post the results.

:mrgreen:


minime123 wrote:these splitting caps have been a major PITA for us over the last couple of years. we used to replace all our arp odyssey caps with new vinyl ones that slipped right on. we got a lot of them from a friend in the UK - they were sold in multicolored batches by RS. they weren't exactly like the original odyssey caps, but we didn't want exact replacements because these were easier to put on. anyway, once we finally ran out, we had a friend in australia order us a bunch of the same caps from RS australia (RS will not sell directly to the US) and what he sent ended up to be these horrible caps people here are complaining about. they'd appear to go on ok at first but some colors would eventually break. sometimes it took an hour, sometimes weeks. and it wasn't just the red. since then, we bought caps from various other suppliers but have been unable to find caps in all colors that didn't break. one solution might be contacting RS in the UK again and seeing where they used to get their multicolored caps and ordering from them directly. is there anyone in the UK who wants to make some calls to RS? we'd love to find those old caps again. i can take some pics of some if need be.
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Post by Altitude909 » Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:19 am

What size bats do your switches have? Those caps are designed for 3mm diameter bats, maybe what youre using is larger..

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minime123
buy/sell/trade
Posts: 379
Joined: Wed Mar 18, 2009 4:13 pm
Location: 123synthland

Post by minime123 » Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:28 am

Rex Coil 7 wrote:First off, who or what is "RS" (why do people assume others know wtf ambiguous initials stand for?... this seems to happen a lot in forums).
sorry rex, RK is an electronic component distrubutor in the UK and elsewhere:
https://uk.rs-online.com/web/
VINTAGE SYNTH DEALER
- Buy / Sell / Trade / Repair
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