Centerpin connector problems?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by David_Rivshin, Dec 23, 2001.

  1. David_Rivshin

    David_Rivshin Second Unit

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    I recently fished 50' of Belden 9555 dual RG59/U through my apartment to use as an interconnect for a second zone. I decided to go with Centerpin RCA ends since they seemed foolproof enough and of high quality. I installed the ends, and all seemed to go easily and well, no obvious cause for concern. But when I tested them out I got no sound at the other end, not even amplified background noise.
    I've done lots of tests with other cables and have determined that it's definately my newly made 50' cable that is the problem. So I grabbed the closest multimeter and did some continuity tests: everything seemed fine, all pins and shields were OK, no short-circuits, nothing other than exactly what I expected. With some more playing around I noticed that if I flex the connector that sometimes I can get the proper signal at the other end, which tells me that I either have a marginal connection or a marginal short-ciruit.
    Does anyone have any experience with Centerpin connectors? Is there any common error that I might have committed, like crimping too tight or too loose? I made pretty sure that I installed the center tube over the center conductor. Is it possible to pry the connectors loose with needlenose pliers and reinstall them, or will they be pretty much useless? Any advice would be greatly appreciated at this point, as I'm basically out of ideas of my own, and those connectors aren't all that cheap...
    You can see a nice animation of the crimping process at http://www.centerpin.com/how-to-checker.htm for those of you that have no idea what I'm babbling about.
    Thanks in advance,
    --
    Dave
     
  2. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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  3. David_Rivshin

    David_Rivshin Second Unit

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    Wayne,
    Hehe, I suppose that does sound alittle strange [​IMG] Both ends of the cable are actually in the same large living/dining room area, and there is about 5-7' free on each side. So I just dragged the ends as close together as possible, ended up being about 3' apart in the end.
     
  4. Steve Berger

    Steve Berger Supporting Actor

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    Actually checking continuity is not that hard. First check center to shield - it should be open or infinity . Then put a clip lead accross the other end (or bend the center to touch the shield if possible) and it should then show a short or low resistance. You could also plug it into something with a known input impedence (1K ohm or 60k or 100k , possibly a 75 ohm matching transformer ) and check for that resistance. Just don't use a powered continuity tester if it's connected to an amp or other device's input plugs.
     
  5. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    David,

    I was going to check back in and give you proper instructions on checking continuity (hopefully not insulting your intelligence, but not knowing what your skill level is), but I see Steve beat me to it.

    I’m guessing you will find that either the shield connection or center pin connection is open, i.e., gets no reading. Since you’ve narrowed it down through other tests, it has to be a problem with the cable.

    If you have to clip the connectors and try again, be sure you continuity check the bare cable. You never know, it could have a problem.

    Happy Holidays,

    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  6. David_Rivshin

    David_Rivshin Second Unit

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    Steve, Wayne,
    Yup, I had tried those methods as well and every time without fail I got the results that I expected. So after pulling my hair out alittle more I decided to de-crimp one end of the cables and play around with it, connecting the center conductor to the connector and connecting the shield with a separate method to the headphones, to make sure it wasn't an issue with the braid not contacting the outside of the connector, or shorting with the center conductor.
    To make a long story short, I finally figured out what the problem was. I had originally assumed that the issue was with the connection of the RCA connector to the RG59/U cable, but that was actually perfect all along. The issue was between the RCA plug and the RCA jacks I was plugging it in to. Apparently Centerpin's RCA plugs have a center pole that is just slightly too short to contact inside most common jacks. I had tried jacks from my old 27" Sony TV, JVC 4800 VCR, Panasonic RP56 DVD player, and cheap RadioShack mixing console. All had the same problem with the Centerpin connector, and indeed may very well have been identical jacks. However I happened to have a RadioShack RCA extention chord laying around that the Centerpin plugs worked flawlessly with, as well as a few different RCA->1/8" jack adapters that worked perfectly.
    Checking everything I could find near me I verified that the center pole on the Centerpin plugs is indeed significantly shorter than on every other RCA plug I had, which come on cables from a variety of manufacturers.
    So the solution to my problem is simple enough, just get another RadioShack RCA extender cable for a few dollars, which I was going to do anyways since it's more flexible and easier to work with in tight spaces. But I want to warn anyone that's planning to use the Centerpin RG59/U, and problably the RG6/U as well, RCA plugs that they will likely not contact properly in the majority of jacks.
    Thanks anyways guys, it's nice to know that I wasn't crazy, at least [​IMG]
    -- Dave
     
  7. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    now if centerpins center pole is too short, resulting, as you stated, that it won't properly make contact, doesn't that sound as if it's a manufacturing defect? have you contacted centerpin to inform them of your findings and if so what was their reply?
     
  8. David_Rivshin

    David_Rivshin Second Unit

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    Yes, it does seem to me to be either a manufacturing or design defect. It does make contact in some higher-end jacks that I've used, mostly in adapter plugs and extention cables, but comes just barely short in standard quality jacks. If I push the connector into the jack it makes just enough contact to get the signal across. I do not know, however, if Centerpin's connectors are within the RCA spec or not, or if perhaps it is the jacks that are not up to snuff. I have yet to find a spec for proper RCA connectors, however, so I can't even begin to say.

    I have not gotten in contact with Centerpin about the issue yet, as I'm not near the email account I'd prefer to use for that conversation at the moment. I will be sure to relay their reply when I hear from them.

    -- Dave
     
  9. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Who would’ve thought? Pretty strange stuff. I’d for sure raise you-know-what with someone about this. Nothing makes me madder than doing everything right only to find out it was a faulty product.

    My compliments on your superior troubleshooting skills, David!

    Happy Holidays,

    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     

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