Power distribution - updated

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sandyb

Power distribution - updated

Post by sandyb » Wed Sep 24, 2008 3:56 pm

This is a looong post - i've read it through a few times but if you find any glaring errors or typos please alert me to them and i'll sort it out :)

This question comes up a lot so I thought I’d try to round up the different ways you can distribute power to various 5U format systems. I’ve concentrated on “off the shelf” solutions that are available from the various manufacturers. You could obviously DIY something as well but I’m going to ignore that for the sake of simplicity. I’ve added links to appropriate pages at the end of the post. So, here goes:

I’ve concentrated on the following manufacturers: Synthesizers.com (and format e.g. STG), MOTM (and format e.g. Bridechamber DIY stuff), Modcan (A and B series) and Cyndustries. If anyone wants to add information for others please feel free to do so.

Power Supplies

All modules from the above manufacturers need a +/- 15v power supply. Frac modules and Wiard 300 series also use this. Some manufacturers also need a 5v source – specifically Synthesizers.com and some of the newer MOTM modules (e.g the 650 midi-CV interface)

All the manufacturers listed sell suitable power supplies.

- Synthesizers.com supplies have +/-15v and 5v
- MOTM sell 2 supplies , one with only +/-15v (MOTM 900) and one which also has 5v (MOTM 950)
- Cyndustries sell +/- 15v supplies
- Modcan sell +/- 15v supplies


Distributing Power

If you’ve only got one manufacturer/format then the easiest thing to do is to stick with their power supply and distribution system. Here’s what each uses:

Synthesizers.com

Synthesizers.com use a 6 pin connector to get power from the power supply to modules.

Image

Power is distributed from the power supply via a power harness which contains a number of these connectors. They sell 2 models: the small power harness has 20, the large has 40.

Image


MOTM

MOTM use a 4 pin connector on most modules – those that only need +/- 15v. These are the same power connectors that Frac and Wiard 300 series module use. Some of the newer modules, that also require 5v, use the same type of connector but with 6 pins (not the same one as Synthesizers.com use)

Image

Power is distributed from the power supply via power distribution boards. There are two main versions – one with only 4 pin connections (i.e. +/- 15v only) and one with a mix of 4 and 6 pin connectors (so you have +/-15v and 5v)

Image

Image


Modcan and Cyndustries

Modcan and Cyndustries have the same type of connector as MOTM to distribute power to modules except they only use a 3 pin version which provides +/-15v only.

Image

Power is distributed from the power supply via a distribution board. The Modcan one (which is completely compatible with Cyndustries modules) looks like this:

Image


But wait – I’ve got more than one 5U format!

Now it gets interesting. There is no one way to distribute power to a mix of 5U formats. Here are some off the shelf solutions.

Synthesizers.com and MOTM

If only want to add one or two Synthesizers.com or MOTM format modules to a system mainly of the other format then Synthesizers.com sell their QMPSA adaptor which convert between the two formats. This adaptor also provides a 5v source so you can run Synthesizers.com modules off a MOTM +/-15v power supply.

Image

For more than a couple of modules this probably isn’t the most cost effective solution though. For more modules it’s easier to use one of MOTM’s convertor boards – MOTM 995. This gives you a combination of 6 pin Synthesizers.com, 4 pin and 6 pin MOTM connectors and can be connected to either a Synthesizers.com or MOTM +/- 15v and 5v power source.

Image

The other option is to use a Synthesizers.com power supply with a power harness to connect to the Synthesizers.com modules. You can then strip one of the 6 pin connectors off the power harness and, using the colour-coded wiring guide on the Synthesizers,com site, wire the harness directly to one of the two main MOTM power distribution boards that are pictured above – they have binding posts that make this easy to do. If you don’t need the 5v for your MOTM modules simply snip this wire short on the Synthesizers.com harness and tape it up.


Modcan/Cyndustries

Adding Modcan and/or Cyndustries is a relatively straightforward task and in many ways you can do the same things as you do to connect Synthesizers.com and MOTM together. The only difference is that you need to account for the fact that Modcan/Cyndustries use 3 pin, rather than MOTM’s 4 pin connectors.

With Modcan probably the easiest option is to ask Bruce to terminate the power cables in MOTM style 4 pin connectors – he’s fine with doing this. You can then use exactly the same type of distribution system you’d use with a MOTM or MOTM/Synthesizers.com mix system. Remember Modcan are +/-15v only – no need to worry about 5v for them. This would also work for Cyndustries modules although I have no idea if it’s something Cynthia will do or not – can’t hurt to ask I guess!

The other option would be to use a Cyndustries power distribution board, which provides connectors for 4 pin MOTM and 3 pin Modcan/Cyndustries. This could be wired to a suitable power supply using binding posts as with the MOTM distribution boards.

Image


STG distro board

A further option is the distribution board made by Suit and Tie Guy. These can be ordered with a combination of Synthesizers.com, MOTM and Modcan/Cyndustries connectors. They have a set of screw terminals for attaching the power supply of your choice. Details can be found from the page in the links section below. STG can also provide suitable cables for powering Synthesizers.com modules from this distribution board. Here's a picture of one (which is now residing in my cabinet :))

Image

Links

Modcan power information:
http://www.modcan.com/bseries/bmount.html

MOTM power supply:
http://www.synthtech.com/motm900.html
MOTM power distribution boards:
http://www.synthtech.com/testcart/index ... cts_id=180
http://www.synthtech.com/testcart/index ... cts_id=182
MOTM to Synthesizers.com adaptor board:
http://www.synthtech.com/testcart/index ... cts_id=183

Synthesizers.com power components:
http://www.synthesizers.com/q101.html
Synthesizers.com power wiring information:
http://www.synthesizers.com/technical.html

Suit and Tie Guy distribution board:
http://stgsoundlabs.com/products/distro.htm
Suit and Tie Guy power cable:
http://stgsoundlabs.com/products/power_cable_mu.htm


sandy
Last edited by sandyb on Thu Apr 16, 2009 5:47 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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parasitk
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Post by parasitk » Wed Sep 24, 2008 4:47 pm

Great and handy post, thanks!

thermionicjunky
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Post by thermionicjunky » Wed Sep 24, 2008 5:18 pm

Technically, the Modcan 50B power module is separate from the case. Still, it's great to have this information compiled in one place. These questions get asked a lot.

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Post by BugBrand » Wed Sep 24, 2008 6:55 pm

Good work & thanks!

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Post by Roycie Roller » Wed Sep 24, 2008 7:57 pm

Thanks sandy! Very helpful indeed! So, now i know that when i order some Modcan B (hopefully soon!), i ask Bruce to terminate the power cord to a 4-pin MOTM/ frac connection, and that way i can run them off my ps500!!! Woo-hoo!

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Post by parasitk » Wed Sep 24, 2008 8:05 pm

Roycie Roller wrote:Thanks sandy! Very helpful indeed! So, now i know that when i order some Modcan B (hopefully soon!), i ask Bruce to terminate the power cord to a 4-pin MOTM/ frac connection, and that way i can run them off my ps500!!! Woo-hoo!
I'm right there with you. I'm seriously going to do this. I know I've flirted with getting into a bunch of different formats, but I AM doing this Modcan thing. :sb:

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Roycie Roller
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Post by Roycie Roller » Wed Sep 24, 2008 8:42 pm

It makes so much sense, especially if you want to DIY a bit as well, seeings most of that is +/-15v. I honestly can't imagine i'd ever have a need for other formats now with so many great +/-15v options.
The CV recorder, Quad LFO, Digital oscillators, and the delays alone cover SO much sonic territory.
I saw a great little portable system once which had a mix of Modcan A & Blacet modules that had been banana-fied, so there's that option as well if you wanted bananas.

JohnLRice

Post by JohnLRice » Wed Sep 24, 2008 10:33 pm

nice job, Sandy!

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Post by suitandtieguy » Thu Sep 25, 2008 2:05 am

i'd like to add my voice to the choir thanking you for putting that post together.

i think distro boards for dotcom would be a good idea. we currently have ideas for how ours will work, but i'm interested in hearing opinions.

sandyb

Post by sandyb » Thu Sep 25, 2008 12:30 pm

thanks everyone for your comments - i'm glad the post is useful
suitandtieguy wrote:i'd like to add my voice to the choir thanking you for putting that post together.

i think distro boards for dotcom would be a good idea. we currently have ideas for how ours will work, but i'm interested in hearing opinions.
a dotcom distro board would be great! i think the ability to connect it to the power supply either via the dotcom style connector that they provide for the wiring harness or via binding posts (so you could use it easily with a DIY power supply) would be useful. sticking some 4 pin MOTM style connectors on there would help sell a few more imho. are you planning to sell suitable cables to go from the distro board to the dotcom modules as well?

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Post by doctorvague » Fri Dec 05, 2008 8:09 am

Thanks for very much for your work in putting this together. I am going to sell off a bunch of Euro and Frac stuff and am getting my first dotcom system delivered Monday and plan to incorporate some Modcan B I have and a MOTM 440 in a second dotcom cab so I'm researching these exact issues. As your pics show, I had noticed before that the distro board that came with my Modcan rack has holes so 4-pin connectors can be added - nice touch.

One question -
am I right that the dotcom 6 pin connectors are the .1 spec and that Blacet, MOTM and Modcan are all the .156 connectors? If I can figure out the correct connectors I'll just DIY some of this stuff. I already have a bunch of the .156 4 pin that Blacet MOTM uses. I'll re-read your post - the answers may already be there.

Now I just need to do a bunch of research on dotcom panels for DIY as I'm stepping into unfamiliar territory.

Thanks again!
Phil

sandyb

Post by sandyb » Fri Dec 05, 2008 1:15 pm

doctorvague wrote: One question -
am I right that the dotcom 6 pin connectors are the .1 spec and that Blacet, MOTM and Modcan are all the .156 connectors? If I can figure out the correct connectors I'll just DIY some of this stuff. I already have a bunch of the .156 4 pin that Blacet MOTM uses. I'll re-read your post - the answers may already be there.

Now I just need to do a bunch of research on dotcom panels for DIY as I'm stepping into unfamiliar territory.

Thanks again!
Phil
hi Phil

yup - dotcom are .1 and blacet/motm/modcan .156 connectors. the dotcom power wiring information page i link to in the main post should give you all the details you need to diy something. as i'm sure you know dotcom sell blank panels in various sizes (up to 8 wide i think) and i'm pretty sure bridechamber is planning on making some dotcom format panels at some point too. make sure to post some pictures of your dotcom system when it arrives!

sandy

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Post by doctorvague » Fri Dec 05, 2008 1:21 pm

Thanks very much SandyB - just what I needed to know!
The challenge on panels will be finding a silkscreener that can help me in my small town. But that's another thread entirely...
sandyb wrote:
hi Phil

yup - dotcom are .1 and blacet/motm/modcan .156 connectors. the dotcom power wiring information page i link to in the main post should give you all the details you need to diy something. as i'm sure you know dotcom sell blank panels in various sizes (up to 8 wide i think) and i'm pretty sure bridechamber is planning on making some dotcom format panels at some point too. make sure to post some pictures of your dotcom system when it arrives!

sandy

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Post by synthetic » Fri Dec 05, 2008 1:23 pm

Great reference, thanks. A few more interesting links about distributing power in a modular system:

http://www.hotrodmotm.com/ps.htm
http://www.hotrodmotm.com/distribute.htm
http://www.hotrodmotm.com/distribute_sod.htm

I purchased a pair of PowerOne supplies for my synth, one for +/- 15V and another for +5V. They're pretty easy to set up, and you can find them on eBay super cheap.

sandyb

Post by sandyb » Fri Dec 05, 2008 1:26 pm

doctorvague wrote:Thanks very much SandyB - just what I needed to know!
The challenge on panels will be finding a silkscreener that can help me in my small town. But that's another thread entirely...
no problem Phil - glad to be of help.
just an idea but if you do find a silkscreener who is willing to do small runs maybe you could try some of the folks on this here forum for a group buy on some of the popular diy modules?

sandy

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Post by doctorvague » Fri Dec 05, 2008 1:59 pm

As long as I can ship UPS or Fedex to the US I'd be glad to. The PO is way slow and across town.
sandyb wrote: no problem Phil - glad to be of help.
just an idea but if you do find a silkscreener who is willing to do small runs maybe you could try some of the folks on this here forum for a group buy on some of the popular diy modules?

sandy

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Post by patchdub » Fri Dec 19, 2008 10:51 pm

hi. great post! and great forum, i just found it.

am i understanding the motm site correctly that the 995 board is an addition to the motm 950 and not the 900?

so if i have a motm 900 and want to add a .com module i will need to use a synthesizers.com QMPSA adaptor?

thanks for all the info

JohnLRice

Post by JohnLRice » Fri Dec 19, 2008 11:21 pm

patchdub wrote:hi. great post! and great forum, i just found it.

am i understanding the motm site correctly that the 995 board is an addition to the motm 950 and not the 900?

so if i have a motm 900 and want to add a .com module i will need to use a synthesizers.com QMPSA adaptor?

thanks for all the info
Welcome patchdub!!! :hihi: You've found your way to the bestest synth forum ever! :wink:

You are correct about the power supply boards etc. The MOTM-900 only generates -15 and +15, the MOTM-950 adds +5. The synthesizers.com QMPSA adaptor will create a +5 feed out of the +15 supplied from your MOTM-900. The MOTM-995 board doesn't do any convertion etc, it just passes along what it's given.

Keep in mind though that not all the synthesizers.com modules need the +5 so, you may be able to get by with just a simple adapter cable between your MOTM-900 and the module. Which DotCom module(s) are you thinking of hooking up?

Best of luck!

John L Rice

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Post by patchdub » Sat Dec 20, 2008 2:42 am

i am trying to hook up the .com Q104 which is a midi interface. on its specs it says it takes +15v@50ma. so does that mean i don't need the QMPSA adaptor for the motm 900 and i need to make the connection a different way? if so how?

also, thanks again for all your great advice on the yahoo forum.

JohnLRice

Post by JohnLRice » Sat Dec 20, 2008 3:59 am

patchdub wrote:i am trying to hook up the .com Q104 which is a midi interface. on its specs it says it takes +15v@50ma. so does that mean i don't need the QMPSA adaptor for the motm 900 and i need to make the connection a different way? if so how?

also, thanks again for all your great advice on the yahoo forum.
Thanks for your kind words, if I was helpful I'm glad! 8)

You could use the QMPSA, it would probably be the simplest and easiest . But, since you don't need +5v an only +15 then with just a little DIY elbow grease you can do it much cheaper! (I would contact Synthesizers.com to confirm the voltages, I'm a little surprized that a module that is doing digital stuff isn't using +5 but . . . )

When you order your Q104, ask if they'd be kind enough to sell you just one cable like they make for their power harnesses (those have either 20 or 40 cables in them). So you'd have a cable with a Dotcom connector at one end and bare wire at the other. Then buy one of the Synth Tech MOTM 4-pin power cables and cut off the connector at one end. Solder them together and insulate the ends or use wire nuts if you aren't into soldering. Maybe one of those insulated European style terminal strips would work great: http://www.alliedelec.com/Search/Produc ... 3-HDS%2f04

There are other ways to do it but that seems the easiest.

sandyb

Post by sandyb » Sat Dec 20, 2008 4:27 am

patchdub wrote:hi. great post! and great forum, i just found it.

am i understanding the motm site correctly that the 995 board is an addition to the motm 950 and not the 900?

so if i have a motm 900 and want to add a .com module i will need to use a synthesizers.com QMPSA adaptor?

thanks for all the info
as john said the easiest non-diy option is the dotcom QMPSA adaptor and that would do fine. do you already have a MOTM 900? if you don't, i'd consider buying a dotcom power supply and one of the newer MOTM distribution boards. that way you'll have the ability to run any dotcom or MOTM modules that you may buy in the future.

sandy

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Post by patchdub » Mon Dec 22, 2008 11:49 pm

i do already have a motm 900. might take the easy route and go with the qmpsa adaptor though i am trying to go as diy as possible. no matter what i have several kits to build before the q104 is even usable.

thanks.

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Post by suitandtieguy » Fri Feb 27, 2009 1:39 am

hey that power distro card is on its way. should be available within the month, or as soon as i have verified it works AOK.

here's the checkplot:

http://pics.livejournal.com/suitandtieguy/pic/000gxsrx

sandyb

Post by sandyb » Thu Apr 16, 2009 5:28 pm

suitandtieguy wrote:hey that power distro card is on its way. should be available within the month, or as soon as i have verified it works AOK.

here's the checkplot:

http://pics.livejournal.com/suitandtieguy/pic/000gxsrx

it works well! i've updated the main post to include details.

sandy

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cyndustries

Post by dude » Sun Jul 12, 2009 9:14 pm

am i wrong or did i see that cynthia's zero oscillator has an option for most if not all the formats including power? minor detail but seemed related. maybe someday i will afford one of those...

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