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HELP: Testing patch cables and CV signals?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion  
Author HELP: Testing patch cables and CV signals?
Mr. Pete
Still no dave jones O'Tool in my cases~ they are never in stock, anywhere! ~ but I did set up an analog oscilloscope with some advice from helpful forum member(s)
Since I still don't have an O'Tool, I'm not sure if that module would even do this~ but what do I need and how do I use it to check and test

1) are cables working correctly?
2) how much voltage is coming out of an output?

can I pickup a cheap Voltmeter or what?
suggestions please?
Dcramer
Yup, I've seen where people have made up a simple cable with a jack on one end and pins on the other to go into a cheap multimeter. It's an easy way to see changing voltages. These meters can also test for continuity to check cables. Saves
Mr. Pete
Thanks! Still wondering how that will work.. attaching it to get a readable signal... something like the probe on the Oscilloscope, I'm guessing? I did an on-line search on multimeter videos and tutorials but nobody seems to have posted anything in regards synth modules ~ and doubt anybody will know anything at the Big Box store I'm likely to find one in...

Dcramer wrote:
Yup, I've seen where people have made up a simple cable with a jack on one end and pins on the other to go into a cheap multimeter. It's an easy way to see changing voltages. These meters can also test for continuity to check cables. Saves
Plugler
As already by Dcramer explained, for CV or Gate voltages, you need a multimeter.

You can test cables with a multimeter too, but it is not very comfortable. And very unreliable for finding a loose contact.

Because I often solder cables myself, I want to test the quality easily, before I use them.
Sometimes, a loose contact ("Wackelkontakt") can happen. Mostly with cheap cables, when only exchanging the plug. The loose contact happens then only when bending the cable directly behind the plug, and only in one direction...

For this and many other purposes, I can highly recomment a dedicated cable/connection tester.

I use this:
Behringer CT-100
Very cheap, you can get it e.g. at Thomann for 15 Euro.
With this model, you can test adapter cables too, e.g. 3,5mm <--> 6,3mm.

The new, and expensive Mackie MTest-1 is not well designed, as with this you can not test adapter cables with different plugs. Only 3,5mm <--> 3,5mm.
umma gumma
Plugler wrote:
As already by Dcramer explained, for CV or Gate voltages, you need a multimeter.

You can test cables with a multimeter too, but it is not very comfortable. And very unreliable for finding a loose contact.

Because I often solder cables myself, I want to test the quality easily, before I use them.
Sometimes, a loose contact ("Wackelkontakt") can happen. Mostly with cheap cables, when only exchanging the plug. The loose contact happens then only when bending the cable directly behind the plug, and only in one direction...

For this and many other purposes, I can highly recomment a dedicated cable/connection tester.

I use this:
Behringer CT-100
Very cheap, you can get it e.g. at Thomann for 15 Euro.
With this model, you can test adapter cables too, e.g. 3,5mm <--> 6,3mm.

The new, and expensive Mackie MTest-1 is not well designed, as with this you can not test adapter cables with different plugs. Only 3,5mm <--> 3,5mm.


hey that Behringer tester looks like a good idea, thx for the link!

just last night I used my cheap multimeter to isolate a dead patch cord: cut it down until I got signal again, then resoldered the tip. Actually converted it into a mix out/insert cable
JohnLRice
For oscilloscope (and multimeter) use you can buy a loose plug or jack and clip the probe to the contacts.


Or if you don't solder but want a neater solution you can buy these premade for oscilloscope use from ADDAC?
http://www.addacsystem.com/product/addac-accessories/addac0017
cptnal
I'm very basic - I clip the terminals of my multimeter to the tip and sleeve of a cable plugged into the module I'm measuring. zombie
ersatzplanet
We make a module just for testing patch cords, providing +5V to the standard Eurorack bus, and providing an adjustable DC voltage - the PC5V.



You would be amazed how often a patch weirdness can come down to a bad cord.
Plugler
JohnLRice wrote:
For oscilloscope (and multimeter) use you can buy a loose plug or jack and clip the probe to the contacts.

[...]

Or if you don't solder but want a neater solution you can buy these premade for oscilloscope use from ADDAC?
http://www.addacsystem.com/product/addac-accessories/addac0017


Female plugs?

I've wanted male plugs. No chance to get ready cables in Germany! So I got cheap "oscilloscope probe" cables on eBay and soldered high quality plugs (Amphenol KM2PB-AU) on them.
Costs: ~ 18 Euro for two, including the plugs
Time: ~ 20 minutes for two

The only disadvantage is, that they are a little bit too short (~1,2m). 2m would be better, but it's hard to get (cheap) >= 2m oscilloscope probes.

BTW: The grey parts on my cables are looking the same as the grey parts on the ADDAC above. So it seems, they had the same idea. hihi


Edit:
Here is a photo of my version:



I've marked each of my 4 cables with the corresponding color of the oscilloscope input, with paintmarkers from Edding.
Graham Hinton
Plugler wrote:
The new, and expensive Mackie MTest-1 is not well designed, as with this you can not test adapter cables with different plugs. Only 3,5mm <--> 3,5mm.


It is not well designed and Mackie are only badging it, but you can test adapter cables with that type. Just put one end in the left side and the other in the right.

The problems with all cable testers on the market is that they invariably do not have one connector that you really want and do have several that you will never use. Also most will not properly test a microphone or a MIDI cable, two of the most common types in use, because they do not isolate the chassis. A 3-pin XLR needs a 4-way test and a 5-pin DIN needs a 6-way test.

To get over that I designed my own tester pcb that can accommodate any connector you want up to ten ways and change them if you have the need.
I can supply the pcb core for making your ultimate cable tester. This is mine on a Lexan panel in a Pelicase:

ranix
I use this with a BNC cable. I use overspecced BNC cables that are very thick and also flexible and cost an arm and a leg. I have 5 cables - two sets of red and blue (2 oscopes) plus a green for trigger signals when needed.

https://www.amazon.com/Pomona-1297-Female-Two-Conductor-Phone/dp/B00HK IQLYE/
ranix
(if it's not clear, I just plug the suspect cable into a VCO on one end and a mult on the other end and wiggle it around to check for broken connections, and inspect the output with the above described cables plugged into an oscope)
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