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Module for patching between cases to transport them
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Eurorack Modules  
Author Module for patching between cases to transport them
_conor
Hello,
I have a Rackbrute (attached to my minibrute 2) and an Intellijel 7u case.
I patch between the two but it's a ballache when I need to transport it.

I'm looking for a module that joins the two cases with one connection that supports multiple patches. Do you guys have any recommendations?

The Link by Evaton Tech looks like the best option in terms of multiple connections but it's not yet available:
https://www.evatontechnologies.com/link

The Intellijel 1U Octalink would be great except I don't have 1U slots in the rackbrute.

What would you guys recommend? Or am I missing something obvious.
Most of what I do involves patching between multiple modules (I have a hexmix mixer plus expander on the 7u) so grouping modules (eg putting all percussion on one case to minimise cross patching) doesn't really solve the problem.
mdoudoroff
Intellijel (1U) and Doepfer (3U) both offer the same/compatible interconnect approach using CAT5.

ADDAC offers a couple options based around ribbon cables.

Evaton is going the HDMI route, as is Plum Audio.

Currently hard to evaluate the pros and cons of each approach.
foliephonics
In this post here, strangegravity made the following (to me very valid) remark :
Quote:
HDMI cable is a terrible design (ultra thin wire and poorly designed non-locking connectors). I'd go with RJ45, easy to make and inexpensive. Clever idea.
wm.wragg
Yeah I was goimg to say the ADDAC213A/B seems the simplest option.

In the “Modular Finder” section of Modular Grid, under the “Function” dropdown, you’ll see an “External” option. Select that and search, and you’ll see others pop up
Blicken Synths
The doepfer A-180-9 will give you room to grow if you end up with a 3rd case down the line. Probably be easier to source an Ethernet cable at short notice rather than a ribbon cable if something was to go wrong
_conor
Love you guys.
Thanks
mdoudoroff
foliephonics wrote:
In this post here, strangegravity made the following (to me very valid) remark :
Quote:
HDMI cable is a terrible design (ultra thin wire and poorly designed non-locking connectors). I'd go with RJ45, easy to make and inexpensive. Clever idea.


While the assertion is reasonable-sounding, it’s not really backed up by anything, is it? Does the wire gauge actually matter in practice with modular voltages? I agree the HDMI connector is a P.O.S. (as is the USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 connector), but again… does it actually matter in practice? I don’t get the impression Evaton doesn’t know what they’re doing.
mdoudoroff
So, I just asked Paul Schreiber, who is (in theory) disinterested in this question, and here’s what he said:

Quote:
CAT5 and HDMI are for supporting digital, serial data with forgiving clock/data recovery circuits on the receiver.

For low-frequency audio/LFO clocks, and CV, ribbon is the way to go. You ground every other wire (all the 'odds or evens') and you will be ok.

I designed a telecom rack where I was sending 'low speed' digital data without clock recovery (in the 65KHz to 1.6MHz range) over 6 feet of ribbon, no issues ever.

Now, if you are saying I want 30 FEET of signals going back and forth, that's different smile


I don’t consider this “the last word”, just an engineer’s perspective.
Hovercraft
I have Octalinks in all my Intellijel cases, and use the Doepfer Multicore modules in my skiffs-no issues interconnecting them, Intellijel adopted the Doepfer standard. Best to use CAT 6a/7/8 cables to make sure they’re shielded. Not a fan of HDMI connectors—more failure-prone than RJ45’s in my experience.
mdoudoroff
Additional commentary:

Quote:
Martin Doudoroff: 10-15 feet might be a relevant distance (linking two performers’s racks in a live situation)

Rob Rogers: For that long, should it be a fat-gauged dB-25?

Paul T Schreiber: correct, I would use like a 24ga wire, DB-25 cable with all odd grounded.


My tentative takeaway is that any of these bridge approaches probably work to some degree, but YMMV. Some signals (e.g. triggers and gates) might be highly reliable, whereas some audio and CV might not, depending on circumstantial variables.

If one really wants to go significant distance with confidence, then the NW2S or maybe-forthcoming tdb-25 from Robaux (https://www.modulargrid.net/e/robaux-tdb-25) are maybe the safest, albeit most expensive bet.
bwhittington
In the 5U world, I use Moon's bus system, which internally connected with up to a few feet of IDC ribbon cable per connection with no issues. Another user made inter-cabinet connections for a very large implementation of that system (about the width of his garage) using DB25, again with no issues. Seems like a proven way to go.

I am planning on using DB25 to interface my 5U bus with two Eurorack cases. Pulp Logic's Tether and Link or Link Data tiles seem perfect. for this. (http://pulplogic.com/product/link-data/#)

HDMI . . . I can barely keep those connectors plugged into my DVD player. hmmm..... But I could see the Doepfer/Intellijel system being okay for short runs between two cases, the OP's stated need.
damase
to me, the intellijel/doepfer system seems like a no brainer. hdmi is way too unreliable, lots of things go wrong with them in the professional video world. ribbon cable is more rare, as are addac modules if you needed to find a new one quickly. rj45 locks in place, it is readily available from just about anywhere, its cheap and easy to carry a bunch of replacements, doepfer and intellijel modules are easy to source if you had an issue on tour.
Blicken Synths
As per the Doepfer page




Notes:

If the enclosed network cables are replaced by other ones pay attention that shielded cables are used. Otherwise the common GND connection is missing !

It's difficult to predict how the modules behave when another network cable is used. It depends upon the internal structure and length of the cable. We recommend network cables CAT7 or CAT8 because these are made of four separately shielded wire pairs.

One simply has to try out if the used network cable is suitable for the application. One has to experiment a bit and possible use other channels to obtain better results. For neighbouring channels the chance for an unwanted crosstalk is higher than for more distant channels because in this case the separate shielding is effective.

In principle the module can be used for all kind of signals: control voltages, audio and digital signals (like Clock, Gate, Start, Stop, Reset). If longer RJ45 cables are used the transmission performance and the cross-talk between signals depend upon the length and the quality/shielding of the used RJ45 cables. It's recommended to separate audio signals from digital signals (e.g. the upper section "1-8" for audio and CV signals, and the lower section "A-F" for digital signals). But from our experience that necessary only for very long cables (> 2 m).
mdoudoroff
Blicken Synths wrote:
It's recommended to separate audio signals from digital signals (e.g. the upper section "1-8" for audio and CV signals, and the lower section "A-F" for digital signals). But from our experience that necessary only for very long cables (> 2 m).


Thank you for sharing. I do not consider a 2m ethernet cable to be “very long”. Indeed, I consider it quite short. Hmm.

I’m going to go try to find out more info about the forthcoming Olympia Modular Tunnel In and Tunnel Out modules. They’re buffered. They don’t have a front-facing tethering connector yet, just a back-facing one, but they’re interested in adding one.
sko87pro
Quote:
The Link by Evaton Tech looks like the best option in terms of multiple connections but it's not yet available:


I believe Russ is close to production. He posted recently on MW and has sold some Evaton Link units at a show, I understand. He’s a super nice guy and very approachable, why not reach out to him via the Evaton website? I guess he’d also talk to you about his choice of HDMI over the other options.
Shayshez
Recently iv'e released series of modules and tools (as DIY kits) that called "RackPlumber" that do exactly what you are looking for.
Currently available 2 modules - RackPlumber (8 Channels via RJ45 connector) and RackPlumber HD (19 Channels via HDMI connector).
The modules provide the ability to connect between 2 cases with connector on the panel and connect between 2 places inside the same case with internal connector on the back (the connectors work simultaneously so you can connect more then two modules and get remote passive mult)
The modules also have LED inside each jack to meter the signals in each channel (the led disabled when jack connected to prevent voltage drop).
I made also breakout box and dedicated breakout cable for Beat Step Pro (will be available soon).
You can find pcb's and panels at Pushermen or PM me if you want assembled modules.
Rack Plumber:


Rack Plumber HD:

Breakout Box:

Breakout Cable for BSP (in prototype stage, still need to design enclosure):
JohnLRice
Folks building modules like this with HDMI connections might consider using jacks with a screw lock tab so cables that secure with a screw can be used if desired:





There are also cables that can lock into regular jacks but I don't think they work as well as the screw type:
Shayshez
Hdmi connector is quite deep and the cable not disconnected easily.
I don’t think it’s necessary to secure those connectors.
JohnLRice
Shayshez wrote:
Hdmi connector is quite deep and the cable not disconnected easily.
I don’t think it’s necessary to secure those connectors.
How many different brands and models of cables have you tried?
Shayshez
I tested few, the thin ones are really bad.
I found thick 2 meter HDMI cables at local store and that what I'm using now for connecting between 3 cases with RackPlumber HD without any problems.
ersatzplanet
If I had the Doepfer unit, one of the first things I would do is modify it. If that module follows the standard Doepfer ethos, it will be using normalizing jacks even though the normalizing is not being used. If so, I would short the normalizing on all the jacks to ground so any unused lines become ground connections and can also act as a partial shield in the wire if they are twisted pairs.

Don't know if that module uses normalized jacks or not though. That way in an emergency, and if you can't get a Cat5 cable that is shielded, just leave one jack not used and you have the ground connection made.
MvK
I#ve been thinking a lot about this, what I need is as many possible connections between 2 cases as possible.

Multipole cables can get very expensive, so I thought about SCSI or serial printer cables, but that seems very fiddly. Then I stumbled across this:


https://www.amazon.de/SIENOC-DB25-G2-Steckerausbruch-Leiterplattenklem men-Steckverbinder/dp/B01NCISZPM
it has 37 pins which are easy to access. would be ok to get 16 connections out of it. I would buy 2 passive multiples for each case and connect their jacks to the pins following Pauls suggestion to ground every 2nd pin.

Is there a mistake here? or do you think it will work?
sirjpink
I am not sure if this is common knowledge, but most (all?) Cat.7 cables are shielded and the wiring diameter is usually AWG26. Cat 8 cables are even AWG24 in diameter, which is why they are a bit more expensive, so I think these could be used for audio without a problem.

ersatzplanet wrote:
If I had the Doepfer unit, one of the first things I would do is modify it. If that module follows the standard Doepfer ethos, it will be using normalizing jacks even though the normalizing is not being used. If so, I would short the normalizing on all the jacks to ground so any unused lines become ground connections and can also act as a partial shield in the wire if they are twisted pairs.

Don't know if that module uses normalized jacks or not though. That way in an emergency, and if you can't get a Cat5 cable that is shielded, just leave one jack not used and you have the ground connection made.

This sounds so logical, I am amazed it wasn't implemented in the 180-9. I hope you don't mind that I'm stealing this idea for my goes-to-external-mixer-breakout box thumbs up
rh2y
_conor wrote:
Hello,

The Link by Evaton Tech looks like the best option in terms of multiple connections but it's not yet available:
https://www.evatontechnologies.com/link


I'm picking up the first giant batch of these at my local contract mfr tomorrow; should be hitting dealer shelves fairly soon. Thanks for the shout-out!

Russ
Joey P.
Hovercraft wrote:
I have Octalinks in all my Intellijel cases, and use the Doepfer Multicore modules in my skiffs-no issues interconnecting them, Intellijel adopted the Doepfer standard. Best to use CAT 6a/7/8 cables to make sure they’re shielded. Not a fan of HDMI connectors—more failure-prone than RJ45’s in my experience.


I have a couple pairs if Octalinks and am thinking about getting the Doepfer A-180-9.

I notice the Doepfer only has 7 connectors on each Cat-5 connection. So is it just 1-7 to 1-7 between Octalink and Doepfer, and #8 isn't used?

Thanks,
starthief
I used the Doepfer A-180-9 over an 8 foot Cat6 connection which was partially coiled up in a box with lots of other cables (USB, power, MIDI...) It was a bit noisy, but I ran an extra ground wire attached via spade lugs under the screws of the A-180-9 and that cleaned it right up.

Cat7 would probably have made that unnecessary, but Cat6 is what the local store happened to have unless I wanted to try 100-foot cables lol

(I since consolidated to one case and have an A-180-9 pair along with the Cat6 cables up in B/S/T grin)
ersatzplanet
starthief wrote:
I used the Doepfer A-180-9 over an 8 foot Cat6 connection which was partially coiled up in a box with lots of other cables (USB, power, MIDI...) It was a bit noisy, but I ran an extra ground wire attached via spade lugs under the screws of the A-180-9 and that cleaned it right up.

Cat7 would probably have made that unnecessary, but Cat6 is what the local store happened to have unless I wanted to try 100-foot cables lol

(I since consolidated to one case and have an A-180-9 pair along with the Cat6 cables up in B/S/T grin)


Can somebody post a picture of the PCB side of the Doepfer A-180-9 so I can see what kind of jacks he is using and if he is connecting the normalization pins (if they have them)? The possible mod I posted a couple of post ago would help with the situation above.
starthief
Sure.

ersatzplanet
starthief wrote:
Sure.



It appears to me from that picture, that the normalization legs of the jacks are not connected to anything (unless they are on the other side of the board). If this is so, a wire jumper between this leg and the ground leg of the same jack will make a ground connection whenever the jacks are not used. If you can't get a shielded cable to make the ground connection, all you have to do is not use one of the jacks and the connection would be made. Also if many jacks are not used, the shielding in the cable gets better since more parallel lines in the cable are now ground.

Of course I could be completely wrong about this since I don't have one here to test. I imagine that somebody who has one will jump in and correct me if I am wrong.
starthief
ersatzplanet wrote:
It appears to me from that picture, that the normalization legs of the jacks are not connected to anything (unless they are on the other side of the board). If this is so, a wire jumper between this leg and the ground leg of the same jack will make a ground connection whenever the jacks are not used. If you can't get a shielded cable to make the ground connection, all you have to do is not use one of the jacks and the connection would be made. Also if many jacks are not used, the shielding in the cable gets better since more parallel lines in the cable are now ground.





I wasn't sure how these jacks are laid out, but with a continuity tester I found that the legs with the black dots are "ground", and the legs opposite seem to be the ones that are connected when no cable is inserted.

My soldering skills aren't up to par and these are ones I'm trying to sell, so I'm not going to try smile

(Since these have no power cable, the "grounding" is only through the sleeve of connected patch cables. Turns out the faceplate has way too much resistance to matter, so I think my spade lug grounding cable only worked because of the screw's contact with the rail... hmmm..... )
ersatzplanet
Can anyone give me the name of an online USA dealer that I can get a Doepfer A-180-9 from?
starthief
If I remember right I got mine from Detroit Modular. Unfortunately not many US dealers consistently have the full range of Doepfer modules in stock, but they usually do.

I've had to buy from Thomann at least once though.
adaris
Joey P. wrote:
Hovercraft wrote:
I have Octalinks in all my Intellijel cases, and use the Doepfer Multicore modules in my skiffs-no issues interconnecting them, Intellijel adopted the Doepfer standard. Best to use CAT 6a/7/8 cables to make sure they’re shielded. Not a fan of HDMI connectors—more failure-prone than RJ45’s in my experience.


I have a couple pairs if Octalinks and am thinking about getting the Doepfer A-180-9.

I notice the Doepfer only has 7 connectors on each Cat-5 connection. So is it just 1-7 to 1-7 between Octalink and Doepfer, and #8 isn't used?

Thanks,


According to the Doepfer website, the upper network connector is wired to the eight sockets 1-8, the lower to the six sockets A-F. So I assume if you connect the upper network connector to an Octalink you could use all 8 channels on the Octalink.
zengomi
For your amusement, here's how I plan to deploy 6 sets of Doepfer A-180-9, 2 sets of ADDAC 213A, and two sets of ADDAC 213B.

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