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Thread: Quick disconnects for pickups

  1. #21
    Axellent Member Forecaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spellcaster View Post
    I went looking for quick-disconnects this morning and struck gold. I inquired in a local hobby shop, thinking I'd try to get some for the Esquire build. They didn't have any parts for RC aircraft, but they tipped me off to new RC specialist shop that just opened in town a few days ago.

    I checked, and they actually had the female connectors in stock, but not the males. They're going to start carrying them for me and should have them in within a couple of weeks. I think I'll start using them on all my guitars.

    I looked back over this thread and noted TB's objection about whether the connectors would fit in a Tele wire channel. I have a feeling these ones will.
    Part nuymber and pics when You get 'em!
    Thanx SC!

    And thanx fellas, for addressing an issue just before I have to :P

    I'd originally intended to use a liberator with just a bridge pup,
    before I got the stellacaster body instead.

  2. #22
    Axe-honerated spellcaster's Avatar
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    A quick followup on the connectors I mentioned in my last post.....When I didn't hear back from the place I'd ordered them, I emailed, and they emailed back saying they had arrived and I should come and get them. I went in (ten mile drive and a wasted hour) to find out that they'd ordered the two-pin version, rather than the six pin units I'd ordered. (I needed five connection points for the Reilander pickup). I was peed off but didn't make a scene.....just told them that I'd order the parts from the US since that would probably be faster. (I hope they understood the irony). I think I'm done buying locally....too expensive, too many order screwups. I'm going to try the Hanson Hobbies connectors that I mentioned in my first post in this thread. FC mentioned being interested in the connectors, so I'll post again when I've received them and tried them out.
    "I know just enough to be dangerous....."

  3. #23
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    Looking forward to Your results, SC....Thanx!
    I've had My share of shipping foul-ups from Stew-Mac and a couple of other vendors.
    I will allow for these delays when planning a build, from now on,lol.

  4. #24
    Axe-honerated spellcaster's Avatar
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    I just got my order for the connectors. It took just about no time to get my shipping quote.....Standard US shipping's 4.95 flat rate, and they charged me an extra 2.00 for international shipping. This seems to be good people as far as service goes, and their shipping is reasonable. I didn't think to inquire where in the US they're located, but I'm guessing I'll probably get my order within a couple of weeks by the time it gets processed through Canada Customs.

    These servo leads that I ordered are a bit wider than the standard two-pin jack/plug sets which I think are under 1/4" square. It's possible that the rectangular shape of the servo plugs won't slide through the wiring channel from control cavity to the pickup cavity. I'm still brainstorming trying to think what tool would open that hole up. I think I might be able to drill as much as I can on the pickup cavity side, cut down a small rat-tail file and angle it into the channel, and then just file it out. If that works, fine, but if not, because the body's not painted yet, I could drill from the outside lower edge of the body - through to the control cavity and on to the pickup cavity.....and then just dowel and fill the outside edge of the body.

    Thought I should mention that.....The three pin connectors would work in almost any other Fender guitar like a Strat, Mustang or Jaguar, but for a Tele...or a Tele-formatted guitar, you might be better to plan on using the two-pinners. Makes sense too, because you only need rwo-wire connection for single coils. and either four or six for a humbucker.

    In my case, I'm going to use two of the three-pin connectors - One for the three positive taps from the pickup, and a second for the ground returns - pickup negative, base plate negative, and bridge/string ground (which I'll run down one of the bridge screw mounting holes. I'm going to reverse the connectors too....A male and a female on the control side, and a male and a female on the pickup side....That way, there's no chance I'm going screw it up anytime I have to disconnect things - They'll only plug back together one way. Only thing I'm not sure of is where the jacks and plugs should connect - I'd like to preserve all the length on the pickup wires, which means the plugs should rest i the control cavity....But there's more room to accommodate the jacks and plugs in the pickup side. I've got a bit of time to stew about this while I wait for the connectors.

    Something else I wanted to mention is that if one of us was inclined to do it themselves, you can buy the raw connectors and assemble the crimped-on pins into the receptacle....That would give you a choice of what colour and gauge each wire should be. They sell all the parts, crimpers and wire, so if you want something custom, it's possible.

    Hansen Hobbies - Home
    "I know just enough to be dangerous....."

  5. #25
    Axe-honerated spellcaster's Avatar
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    I got my first shipment of the quick disconnects in today's mail. The service from Hansen Hobbies was great.....I ordered them Halloween (last Thursday), the shipment cleared Canada Customs Monday morning, and then the post office took five days here in Canada to deliver them. (Small wonder our postal system is held in such low esteem - They're always the weak link in the delivery chain!)

    I ordered a ten-pack of servo leads (ten pigtails with a male and a female on each one) and by the time it was shipped, the cost was 24.10 USD, which translates to about 2.50 CDN per male & female unit. They're smaller than I expected......the jacks, the larger of the two) are rectangular and only about 5/16" wide. They may end up fitting in the existing wire channel in my Esquire.

    I'll probably try them out this weekend and will keep you updated.

    "I know just enough to be dangerous....."

  6. #26
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    5/16ths, that's great.
    I could fabricate a mountable housing out of super sculpey,
    and that would make a big difference in dialing in the right pups for the telemonster.

    Thanx for keeping us updated, SC

  7. #27
    Axe-honerated spellcaster's Avatar
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    It's been a big tougher than I thought.....probably because this is a one-off body and the wire channel was smaller than I expected. I think 1/4" is fairly standard, so at most, it should only need a touch up to be big enough. i started by stripping the pickup and controls out. (I'm just lovin' this top-load bridge....just lower the string tension, capo near the top of the neck, and four screws pulls the bridge and pickup out)



    I started out by drilling as big a hole as I could from the pickup rout side, using a small profile right angle drill that I could get close to the body with. I was able to get the drill close to parallel to the top, and managed to drill about 1" of the 1 1/2" channel. I considered trying to go in from the control cavity side, but it's too steep an angle. I used a variety of small rat-tail files, from diamond jewelers files, to 1/4" files, to a 1/2" rat-tail, and got almost there. Eventually, I used the drill again, with a slightly smaller bit, and put the bit in till it was just barely poking into the control cavity, and then went back-and-forth repeatedly to oval the hole a bit. It's not the prettiest thing I've ever done, but serviceable. I think if the flex-cable for my Dremel was working, with the very small chuck that holds the bits, I probably could have done it faster and neater.



    I'm going to touch up the shielding paint and then set it aside for drying until tomorrow. Noise hasn't been an issue in this guitar, but when I first built a guitar around this body, I was still using the StewMac shielding paint and it would look neater if I touched it up. The pickup cavity has been about half-rerouted so it's bare, and in the control cavity, the wood I laminated to one side to move the cavity is bare......and, in the picture, you can see where I had to use a spoon chisel and scoop out the bottom of the channel for a full-size pickup switch.

    I'm still mulling over where to locate the connectors. I'm thinking in the control rout makes more sense. I think it's unlikely that I'll need to access the pickup or the underside of the bridge, and if anything, the control plate is something I'm more likely to want to pull apart and maybe remove. So, I'm going to leave the pickup leads full length and hope that I can lay it loose in the bottom of the pickup rout, with just a bit of wire and connector threaded through into the control cavity. The matching connectors, at the pickup switch terminals and the back of the volume pot (ground), I'll keep short.

    I'll pick this up again in the morning.
    "I know just enough to be dangerous....."

  8. #28
    Axe-honerated spellcaster's Avatar
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    That shielding paint from StewMac is crap. When I started using it, I was disappointed to find it arrived almost dry powder that needed to be reconstituted with water. I was finding that it took many coats to get good even coverage, and that if I touched it after it was dry, it rubbed off in a kind of graphite powder. I only used that paint a few times, and every time, I had to reconstitute it with water. I took to shooting it with clear coat just so it wouldn't fall off if the wiring touched it. The quality of the paint is what prompted me to start buying 3" x 50 metre rolls of adhesive copper. I payed over thirty bucks for that stupid little can and I was determined to use it up, even if it was for stuff like this job. It was a waste of time.....the paint had turned into a solid piece of rock. I tried reconstituting it with water....with solvent....with paint thinner...and with mineral spirits....and ended up throwing it in the garbage in disgust. Do yourself a favour, and avoid shielding paints like the plague.

    I ended up using some flat black Tremclad paint just to improve the aesthetics. As I said before, the guitar doesn't have any noise issues, but if it develops any problems, I'll tear it down and copper plate it.

    I 've been mulling over the grounding.....I'm using one three-pin connector for the signal positives from the pickup. The other three pin connector is going to be all the grounds. One, the negative lead from the coil, one the grounding plate on the bottom of the Reilander pickup, and one as a bridge ground. Over time, I've tried a bunch of different ways of doing this on a Tele. More than once, I've seen experienced guys saying that flaring stripped wire under the bridge plate is adequate. However, more than a few times, I've seen people in forums like TDPRI, suggesting that there's a real advantage in ensuring that the bottom of the bridge plate is dead flat and making perfect contact with the body (to the point of block-sanding or grinding it). I'm not sure if either stance is 100% correct, but there's no doubt that those opinions are incompatible.....If that bridge plate's flat, and you splay a piece of stripped #22 or #24 stranded wire under it, it won't have proper contact. What I've started doing is using an X-Acto knife to score a tiny channel in the top between the edge of the pickup rout and one of the bridge mounting screw holes. Then I lay the insulated wire into the channel so it sits flush with the top, and at the point when the wire intercepts the screw hole, I leave 3/4" of stripped stranded wire to stick down the hole, to thread in with the bridge mounting screw. I'm guessing there will be people who cringe at the idea of scoring the body to do it, but it works reliably, and to my way of thinking: In a situation where you're using a vintage bridge, there are no front mounting screws, and anything that promotes the front edge of the bridge sitting dead flat to the body has got to be a good thing.
    "I know just enough to be dangerous....."

  9. #29
    Axe-honerated spellcaster's Avatar
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    This is a slow process when I can hardly see, but it's finally done. The paint I did last night still isn't dry (!) but since the wiring's going to be modular, I can do it all in advance and plug it in later. If I was doing this again, I'd add a two-conductor jack and plug for the wires to the TRS output jack, so I could totally remove the control plate. All that remains to be done is create the slot for the bridge ground wire to lay.

    "I know just enough to be dangerous....."

  10. #30
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    All together now and all is well. I'm finding I like these connectors. The wire is finely stranded copper that strips nicely and isn't brittle, and the connectors lock together positively but are quite easy to unplug. I'll definitely be ordering from Hansen's again.

    I can see where there are some additional possibilities. With a Tele, it would be possible to have multiple control plates that might use different values of pots or caps, or different types of switching that could be quick-changed just by undoing two screws and unplugging some connectors.

    "I know just enough to be dangerous....."

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