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3-pin power connector choice for 0V/ +15V/ -15V?
3-pin power connector choice for 0V/ +15V/ -15V?
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Old 13th February 2019, 11:11 PM   #1
Gnobuddy is online now Gnobuddy  Canada
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Default 3-pin power connector choice for 0V/ +15V/ -15V?

I am planning some op-amp based projects that need both positive and negative supply rails, the usual 0V, +15V, -15V. I'd like to build these into little die-cast boxes of the sort used for guitar FX pedals.

To power these, I would like to find a suitable power connector that has (at least) three pins, is reasonably small and compact, can carry a reasonable amount of current - say 100 mA DC minimum - and which electrically isolates all three pins from whatever metal box the connector is mounted to. Oh yeah, if at all possible, it should be available at Digikey or Mouser.

Basically, I'm looking for a 3-pin replacement for the everyday 5.5mm "barrel jack" and "barrel plug" connectors we find on most of our contemporary small power supplies and the products they plug into.

I did find these ( https://www.digikey.com/products/en?...1838839-1&v=17 ), but nearly $14 Canadian per connector is a bit much. Surely there is a less expensive alternative?

I also found these ( https://www.digikey.ca/product-detai...2530-ND/164868, https://www.digikey.ca/product-detai...-2030-ND/96910 ). I think these are usable, but the plug is awkwardly long. Really long!

So I have had some trouble finding anything I really liked. Anyone have any suggestions for a suitable connector pair?


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Old 13th February 2019, 11:31 PM   #2
hex69 is offline hex69  Canada
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Some guitar pedals (like Dod) are using 3.5mm mono jack for DC powering, by taking an isolated stereo jack maybe it would do.

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Old 13th February 2019, 11:39 PM   #3
Gnobuddy is online now Gnobuddy  Canada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hex69 View Post
Some guitar pedals (like Dod) are using 3.5mm mono jack for DC powering, by taking an isolated stereo jack maybe it would do.
It will work, but both the tip and ring get shorted to ground as you insert the plug. In principle you can make sure to only insert the plug when the power supply is unplugged (or off), but in practice you always forget sooner or later...then you find sparks and blackened metal on the plug and jack. And one day soon you have to replace the damaged and burned jack, then the damaged and burned plug, and then the power supply itself dies...

(I have some small electronic doodads at work that supply DC power via a mono 3.5 mm jack and plug, so I see this problem frequently.)

Thank you for the suggestion, though, I appreciate it!


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Old 14th February 2019, 12:55 AM   #4
Tubelab_com is online now Tubelab_com  United States
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DIN jack and plug like found on MIDI equipment or mini DIN like used on computer mouse before USB.

Just chose something other than 5 pin unless you have no MIDI equipment. It would suck to accidentally plug +/- 15 volts into the MIDI jack on something expensive like a synthesizer.

Unfortunately I have a Samson Mixpad 9 that uses a standard size 5 pin DIN plug on it's very large external power supply that sits in the middle of a bunch of MIDI synthesizers. I have wrapped its cord with bright red and yellow tape, but it would be really easy to do something STUPID with this setup. I think that Samson made a poor choice here.
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Old 14th February 2019, 01:56 AM   #5
Enzo is offline Enzo  United States
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XLR. You probably have them on some cords or in your drawer. The three pins will handle your currents and voltages. They are cheap.

DIN plugs would work well too. And they make mini-DIN too.
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Old 14th February 2019, 06:00 AM   #6
Gnobuddy is online now Gnobuddy  Canada
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Thanks for all the suggestions! I appreciate the input.

I might settle for mini DIN or mini XLR. I don't use either of those connectors in any of my other equipment, so there is less chance of accidentally plugging in the wrong thing and frying expensive electronics.

Op-amps have been in tons of consumer gear since the 1970s. After nearly 50 years, I'm rather surprised that there doesn't seem to be some sort of standard consumer-grade 3-pin power connector for use with them.


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Old 14th February 2019, 12:38 PM   #7
Tubelab_com is online now Tubelab_com  United States
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Another option for low powered stuff is to just use a single positive 15 volt supply and place a inverting converter inside the box. There are some small charge pump chips that only need 3 caps to work, no inductors. Output current is only a few mA though.
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Old 14th February 2019, 01:52 PM   #8
dhaen is offline dhaen  Europe
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XLR, min or standard are good. In my experience 4-pin are usually chosen for power applications to avoid incorrect plugging to signal cables (which are usually 3 or 5 pin).
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Old 14th February 2019, 01:58 PM   #9
scottjoplin is offline scottjoplin  Wales
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I've used aviation connectors for low voltage supplies
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Old 14th February 2019, 02:51 PM   #10
leadbelly is offline leadbelly  Canada
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Agree that all are good. I've had better experience with XLR: DINs wear with age and get tricky to plug in when old. I would use 3 pin XLR, but pick an unusual configuration to avoid confusing with signal connections. 4 pin XLR is still common in PA world, probably need to go 5 pin if you want to use that avoid mixed up cabling.

3 pin barrel connectors like on laptops are fine, but I would source from ebay, which you say you are unwilling to do.
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