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MTA Connectors..using a screwdriver???
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loss1234



Joined: Jul 24, 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2007 8:18 pm    Post subject: MTA Connectors..using a screwdriver??? Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

anybody have a link for a tutorial on putting the MTA connectors together without the special tool??? (the kind used with the MANKATO FILTER) i have heard that a jewelers screwdriver can work but i cant figure out how to do this.....

thanks'

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Randaleem



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 2:49 am    Post subject: Re: MTA Connectors..using a screwdriver??? Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

loss1234 wrote:
anybody have a link for a tutorial on putting the MTA connectors together without the special tool??? (the kind used with the MANKATO FILTER) i have heard that a jewelers screwdriver can work but i cant figure out how to do this..... thanks'

Hi Loss,

The screwdriver method can work, but I had a high rate of failure doing it that way so I purchased the tools. Others have said that soldering these was the key to their success in using them without the special tools.

Perhaps it will help to see the special tools in relation to the problem?

Here are pics of both the cheapie AMP "screwdriver" replacement, and the expensive (and very much worth it!) pistol grip AMP MTA connector tools.

Pic 001-The cheapie T-Handle is .156 size and the pistol has the .100 size head installed.

Pic 002- A closeup of the Cheaper T-handle tool. The focus is not great and the need to shrink the photo size for publication makes it hard to see that the end shape is like the capital letter "I". There is a thin spring steel middle, with plastic top and bottom molded around it.
This tool of mine was the first I purchased and I thought it was going to work with .100 connectors but it is the .156 size. So I turned the "I" into a "T" by milling away the plastic on the "bottom" so I could use it on the smaller MTA.100's. The thin steel blade of this tool is what you're trying to replicate with a jewelers screwdriver. The top and bottom however, will not be replicated and this is the first part of what makes the use of a screwdriver for the task difficult and fraught with poor results. The top and bottom wider parts serve to guide the thin steel middle blade. More on that in an upcoming pic.

Pic 003- A closeup of the empty pistol head. The molded arrow shows the direction the connector will move as you insert wires into the notch at the left middle of the head, and then when you squeeze the "trigger", a plunger goes from left to right (in this pic) and presses the wire into the connector metal piece.

Pic 004- A loaded pistol, ready for the first wire. And the t-handle in position to press a wire in place. here you can see the T shape mentioned earlier. A new, non-modified tool is an I-shape. You can also see how the connector housing has a space where the top and bottom wider parts will go to guide the tool as it is pressed "away" from us (in this pic)

Pic 005- Using my fingernail, I pushed a couple wires into the connector hard enough to get them to stay in place long enough to use the T-tool. Again you can see that the wire extends past the middle METAL IDC (Insulation Displacement Connector) portion of the connector. The wider parts of the T-tool are blunt and will guide the insulation down in these areas as the middle portion is "stripped" by being pushed into the narrow slot of the metal part of the connector. The danger with a screwdriver is that it will not only strip the wire in other places due to the pressure required, but also that the wedge shaped blade can easily distort the narrow notch of the IDC connector metal, making for a poor connection.
it's also easy to slip and plunge the screwdriver into your fingers holding the connector body upright. Uh, not that I'd know from personal experience mind you! Very Happy Embarassed Wink OUCH!

That metal slot is another key to success with these connectors. These are NOT a one-size-fits-all type. Each one is made for a specific range of wire gauges. Often this is color coded. Be sure you have the right MTA connectors for your wire size(s)! Since the connector works by slicing the insulation away to make contact between the wire and metal part, if the wrong size is used you can have either no conection, or worse! (because you don't notice it at the time) a non- gas-tight connection which is loose and will fail over time. Or just be a source of frustration with intermittent problems which are hard to find.

Two more pics coming up, the e-m post size is limited.

Kind regards, Randal


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Randaleem



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 2:57 am    Post subject: Re: MTA Connectors..using a screwdriver??? Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hi, Here's the last two pics. (EDIT: And two added that hopefully show the T-shape of the end better)

Pic 006-Same view as Pic 004, but the wire is now pressed all the way into the thin IDC slot.

Pic 007- Another view, showing the wires in their final conection completed position.

EDIT: Added Pic 008 and Pic 009-Both trying to show the thin blue steel blade and the "T"-shape that used to be "I" shaped at the end.

Hopefully this will show you enough to have success with using a jewelers screwdriver. I have done that since owning these tools with more success a couple times when repairing something away from the shop without the special tools. Use a SMALL screwdriver (not wider than the distance across the "square" of the metal IDC part, so you don't spread the slots. And press first the inside, then the two outer parts (where the insulation is not being stripped; i.e., the parts that would bve pressed by the top and bottom of the "I". Do this in stages for best results. Middle, inner, outer, repeat.

2nd EDIT: If the T-handle tool is available for the MTA.100 size, IMO it would be money WELL spent if you're going to have synths as a hobby!
About 20 bucks or less, I think. Of course there are other connectors and those who solder these seem to have good results without spending any money for a new tool, so YMMV. (Being larger, the .156 size used in MOTM is easier to use a screwdriver on than the .100 size used in other places, and more often.)

Good luck!

Kind regards, Randal


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Thomas Henry



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 3:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Whew, (or as my limey friends might say, phew).

After all this, I'm thinking of Polonius in Hamlet: "Brevity is the soul of wit."

Thomas Henry
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Randaleem



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 4:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
After all this, I'm thinking of Polonius in Hamlet: "Brevity is the soul of wit."

Polonius? Didn't Hamlet slay him after he gave the Queen some bad advice? Very Happy

No ill intended; just playing, as I'm sure you were! Very Happy

BTW, I'm open to editing; let me know how to make this answer shorter and still effective at answering a newbie's question? I've found devil in the details of this particular subject, so I thought those details worth mentioning?

Kind regards, Randal
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seraph
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 5:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Who is Polonius from Hamlet?
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EdisonRex
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 5:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

And more to the point, what would have been most useful was part numbers and links to where to buy, also indicative pricing.

Jameco seems to have them.

The 58074-1 which is the only part number visible on those pictures refers to the handle only. That's about $65. The heads are another matter, and you could buy a whole completed VCO or two for the price of some of those heads.

But the T-handle tools look to be around $21 minus shipping.

e-Bay seems to have one on auction for a reasonable price. Those heads are about $130 by themselves.

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loss1234



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 5:57 am    Post subject: thanks so much Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

as usual i thank you all. why is everybody getting so down on randaleem? i think the tools ARE Too expensive BUT the pictures show me what i need to know. I couldnt figure out how the hell to even begin to try and get the screwdriver to get the wires to catch. i guess i need to turn a flathead vertical NOT horizontal.


anyone know what wire gauge the mta's that come with the mankato require? and do they call for stranded or solid?

this looks much harder than i thought.

anyone else have tips on how to do this? THE MAIN PROBLEM IS I STILL NEED A PSU WIRE SOLUTION

right now i have snakes of wires going back to the psu and it looks like hell and is dangerous and is noisy. i tried molex and wasnt too good at that either. maybe i should buy a premade harness or something?

thanks!

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 6:25 am    Post subject: Re: thanks so much Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

loss1234 wrote:
the pictures show me what i need to know.


I'm a picture man too. I also need to be shown in pictures or by demonstration how something is done. Manuals tend to have the opposite effect Laughing

That's the great thing about this forum though, that you can post pictures, mp3 files, youtube movies etc etc etc.

I'd rather have pictures than words anyday Very Happy

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Randaleem



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 7:02 am    Post subject: Re: thanks so much Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

loss1234 wrote:
THE MAIN PROBLEM IS I STILL NEED A PSU WIRE SOLUTION right now i have snakes of wires going back to the psu and it looks like hell and is dangerous and is noisy. i tried molex and wasnt too good at that either. maybe i should buy a premade harness or something?
thanks!

Hi loss,

If you're going to be building your own modules exclusively, I can share a power supply distribution method which doesn't require fancy tools and is pretty much available all over the place. Half of it can even be gotten for free in many cases.(pun intended!)

Use old style large PC disk drive 4 pin connectors. These are also made by Molex, and you CAN buy the pins, and male and female housings and use an inexpensive pliers type crimp tool on the pins. But you don't have to do it that way. You can instead simply use old PC power supplies to get one half of the connector prewired to a reasonably long yellow, 2 black, and one red wire per connector.

Then you buy PC disk drive extension cables (many computer shops sell these for as little as 99cents each, and they are available online/surplus as well.) Since this drive extension cable has two connectors and is prewired, you simply cut off one end, keeping the connector that mates with your recycled PSU connectors. (You can use all extension cables if you don't want to cannibalise old PC power supplies, since each has both a male and female end.)

On the PC, the red is 5V, the two blacks are GND, and the yellow is +12V. So it kind of makes sense to keep the yellow as +12 or +15, and use the red for your -V supply.
If you plan ahead, keepingGND on the SAME of the two "middle" wires, at some point in the future when you need another +V line, you can use "phase tape" (Colored electrical tape) to identify one of the black wires as changed from GND to this possibly needed voltage.

If you make up a wiring harness like The ones shown in the technical details/ power supply section of the synthesizers.com website, you'll have excellent "star" grounding (actually better electrically than the more commonly used distribution boards, though not quite as convenient) and it's an inexpensive and effective connector solution.

Having said all that, keep in mind what I wrote that others have said about the MTA's. You CAN solder them. It is possible to remove the metal part from the plastic MTA housing. Then strip the wire normally, and you can see the slot it needs to be pressed into clearly since the connector body is not in the way. Keep the solder to the inside and not too much, or you'll have interference with the plastic body and/or the mating pin the connector slides onto. Trim the wire and perhaps the solder, and you can put the now-wired connector back into the plastic housing.

Kind regards, Randal
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EdisonRex
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 7:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:

why is everybody getting so down on randaleem?


I am not "getting down on Randaleem" any more than I would with anyone else who both asked for constructive criticism or invited discussion. Randaleem has posted a lot recently, much of which leaves discussion points amongst many of us who've been doing this a long time. There are different ways to skin a cat, as it were.

My intent is to make sure the group hears balanced opinions. It's a large forum, and if I disagree with anyone, I will chime in, usually. I don't think it rude, necessarily, to disagree. It is rude to call someone names. That's different.

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Randaleem



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

EdisonRex wrote:
And more to the point, what would have been most useful was part numbers and links to where to buy, also indicative pricing.

Hi EdisonRex,

I bought these years ago, so I've no idea of current pricing. And the place I bought them isn't even in business any more. But the part numbers are on them, so here goes: .100 head = 58246-1, .156 head 58247-1 (FWIW, I'd skip the handle entirely. Its nice, but the action of the head is a simple plunging stroke easily achieved without the handle. What the handle brings is a bit of comfort and most importantly in a semi-production situation; a ratchet that doesn't allow partially "crimped" connections. Not important to personal DIY, as your personal QC will be well in place!. Save the $65. But the head can REALLY speed up making a number of connections. Much less fussy than stripping, crimping individual pins, then strain relief, and then inserting them into housings. Also, the wire feed-through capability of MTA is sometimes a plus too, as is the Right angle connector body to wire out relationship. The head is Expensive, but for some here I'd bet it's worth it.

.156 T-handle tool has no number (When I ordered this there was no .100 T-tool or it was out of stock which was why I modified it to work with .100)

Quote:
The 58074-1 which is the only part number visible on those pictures refers to the handle only. That's about $65.


Kind regards, Randal
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Danno Gee Ray



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 7:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Funny Randaleem, I have been saving up wiring harnesses from dead PC power supplies for some time now, to be used just as you have described.

Like so many others I believed I had discovered my own little secret goldmine! Any chance I can get to recycle instead of reinvent I try to take it. Re-using these types of connectors can save big on tools needed to crimp your own. I think it is a wonderful idea myself.
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loss1234



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 8:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

thanks all

i am going to get this solved today. having some progress with the mta's and i am going to try the surplus computer connectors idea.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

"Connectors for power supplies and data transmission connectors" - a short story of my experiences. Wink lol

For reference, just in case:

- the pins of the Molex connectors (PC power supply) are 0.156 inches apart from each other

- small connectors for ribbon cables / etc. distance between pins is 0.100 inches apart

1) For my 2nd power distribution box in about 1993, a made a circuit board with 2 rows of 3 pin (male) headers sticking up from the PCB. These were for carrying +15V, Ground, -15V. These were the male version for the connector that I mention in the next paragraph.

For the female plug, I ...... (shivering from the horrible memories Shocked Wink ) used Panduit's version of the connectors that have been mentioned earlier in Page 2 of this thread.

Without having to get a 2nd mortgage to afford Panduit's crimper, I found the best way to place the 24 gauge wires into the female connector were thusly:

(Side note: _IF_ I still had any of these connectors, I would do a photo shoot as an example. I threw them ALL out though - from past experiences.)

a) stand the female connector upright on a flat surface
b) place the 1/8-3/16" stripped wire over top of the slot it'll be pressed down into
c) use a SMALL flathead screwdriver at a 45º angle

( *_NOT_* 90 vertical or horizontal - a few bloody fingers told me! Shocked )

with pressure, to push the stripped portion of the wire in between the 2 metal teeth inside the slot of the female connector.

(Side note: If the connector falls over during this process - stand it up again, making sure that the wire is inserted, coming out the side of the connector that has the deeper portion of the slot. The other side is a barrier to prevent the wire coming through the other side.)

d) from much-o experiences - these should be ONE TIME use connectors, for greatest reliability! Even with a good pressure fit connection, during repeated plugging and unplugging of this connector format, have I seen wires in them pop out. Sad
(This is included in a piece of test gear, that one of our customers at work, built for us. ALL of their board connectors use these bloody Panduit (style) connectors. We've had to restrip and reconnect the wires, DOZENS of times.)

After MUCH frustration during testing of modules that I built, using the Panduit connectors for my star distribution connection - did I switch to method #2. Shocked

2) In about 1994, I switched to the type of flat head screws based buss bar that you put 1/4" forked tongue connectors into. Each pair of screws across the buss bar, has one side of them connected to the next pair of screws.
Power or Ground is connected via forked tongue to one end of the buss bar.
3 forked tongue 1/4" connected wires are then connected to each of the buss bars for +V, Ground and -V.

(Whilst I used this method, I would ALSO solder the stripped wire into the connector, AFTER crimping the connector with my cheap-o Mode Electronics crimper. Razz (Cheap-o used for very good reason. Razz Razz ) This formed a solid connection to the wire that, with the Cheap-o crimper, didn't otherwise exist - failing roughly 1 in 5 crimpings, when you try pulling them apart. Razz )

3) (Finally). In October 2007, I FINALLY switched to Molex style (PC power supply connector) 0.156" version of connectors, building myself a new star distribution PCB with vertical male 4 pin connectors installed on it. Following Ken Stone's layout format (+15, GND, GND, -15), I've dedicated 1 of the 2 Ground connectors to a 2nd +15V supply, specifically for my LEDs.
When I'm working with a Ken or Ray Wilson board, the 2nd +15V wire is not connected.

For the pins themselves - (will do a photo shoot of this process if requested):

- I strip approximately 1/4" of the 24 guage wire
- I lay the pin with 4 wings on the desk
- I place the stripped wire portion fully between the wings
- Putting the 1/32" soldering iron tip into the space between the wings, heating the pin and wire, I add enough solder to make a full connection
- Once the pin / wire have cooled, I use needle nose pliers to fold over the 4 wings, TIGHTLY
- I then reheat the pin / wire connection, to reflow the solder, making sure it flows up to the wings as well
- Once all 3 or 4 pins are done, I then slowly insert the pins (into their PROPER places! Wink ) into the connector

(Completed)

As I remove each panel from my synth, I'm converting each board side of them to a male connector. (If they have the power wires soldered to the PCB.)

Overall - this has been the most reliable and easiest to make method that I've used so far. Smile

Making a dual ended power supply cable for a module now takes me approximately 10 minutes. It's easy to become good at making these cables, if you have patience. Smile

I hope this helps. Smile It's the same method that I'll be using for the data connectors, for my Klee. Smile It can take slightly longer for ribbon cables. As long as you're patient though - no troubles. Smile
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Tim Servo



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 12:24 pm    Post subject: MTA Connectors..using a screwdriver???
Subject description: Connectors
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Hi Loss (and everyone else),

Please remember that those MTA connectors for all the Mankato I/O are optional. The connectors are handy if you ever need to swap / move / replace a panel component, but I've seen several Mankati with the wiring soldered directly to the board. I would however, HIGHLY recommend using a removable connector for the DC power input. This allows you to remove and swap around modules as you synth grows. For the DC input, I've always used the .156" 4 pin MTA. These use crimp connectors (I also solder the pins after crimping) and are pretty easy to implement without special tools.

As far as the .10" MTA connectors, I've had pretty good luck pushing the wire (24 gauge stranded) into place. First using a fingernail and pulling the wire past the plasitc barb that helps hold the wire down, and then using a small screwdriver (held at a 45 degree angle across the wire) to push the wire down into the metal blade in the connector. It takes two or three pushes to get the wire firmly seated into the blade, and I test with a meter to make sure I've got a good connection, but it does work. I wouldn't want to do a hundred of them this way, but for the 25 or so for a module, it's okay.

By the way, I bought one of those hand tools but never used it. I'll have to give that a try. Wink


Tim (connectoring away) Servo
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loss1234



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

awesome

so ryk, it sounds like molex was the answer for you? id love to get some part numbers for the male, female, and pins for the system you speak of and gosh, if its not too much trouble, YES, id love pictures. I am going to put my last order in to mouser before xmas so id love to include all the psu parts.

thanks so much to all!!

this forum is the best!!

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I don't know if this helps, but this was my budget solution to my power distribution problems.

I made three of these little boards from crap I had laying around in the garage. Probably not the BEST power distribution system, but better than the precarious network of alligator cables that I had in there before.

I don't have the magic tool. I pop the pins out of my connectors using a mini flathead screwdriver and CAREFULLY solder them at the top. Worked fine for me. You may notice in the picture that I haven't soldered all my connector heads yet. That's because I'm a horrible lazy person.


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Bottom side sloppy wiring.
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Last edited by crashlander42 on Sun Nov 25, 2007 3:51 pm; edited 1 time in total
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EdisonRex
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:


I made these little boards.


They look good. [edit]I just read your edit which answers my other question, thanks![/edit]

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crashlander42



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Sorry for the confusion. I hit submit before I had finished typing my message. Embarassed
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EdisonRex
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

No worries, mate. I use a jeweler's screwdriver in a pinch to get some wires into odd connectors too.
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loss1234



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 9:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

is there a reason everbody elses mta connectors are red and the ones i got for the mankato are white? maybe just different sizes??

i built a little board today that looks like that. i am having more luck now with the screwdriver.

thanks

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elektro80
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Red?

Well, there is always the possibility that the vendor has built in some bull attracting measures?


Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Does that mean that bull won´t stick to the Mankato?

I guess we should go for carbon friendly green connectors. Shocked

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 10:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

loss1234 wrote:
is there a reason everbody elses mta connectors are red and the ones i got for the mankato are white? maybe just different sizes??


At the surplus store where I got mine they had them in red, white, green, and amber. I found red to be the most aesthetically pleasing. I think they just make them in different colors so the obsessive-compulsive engineering crowd can color code things. Laughing

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