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Small design modification suggestion for PC controller


Randy
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I'm not sure how much of an issue this is for others, but last season I damaged one of the RJ45 jacks on one of my PC boards.

During the commotion of disconnecting the SPT-2 wires and the cat5 wires, some pressure must have been applied and it lifted an RJ45 socket right out of the controller. Dan was nice enough to send a replacement...

After the season tear-down was complete, I was working on the controller and came up with a small modification that I think may help prevent this from happening again.

I took a small piece of wood (I think it was a paint stir stick) and cut it down so that it would cover all three of the sockets that are next to each other (the RJ11 and the 2 RJ45 sockets). I used a little bit of "Big Stretch" caulking (great stuff, by the way) and glued the piece of wood to the 3 sockets. After it dried, it made quite a rigid set of the 3 sockets. I might try to get some popsicle sticks and do a few more of the controllers this way...

Anyways, I mention this to others here so you might take the same steps to prevent a socket from lifting out of the controller. It is a pain to fix it, so an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, right?

Not sure how Dan feels about this, but a professionally-made sliver of something that went over all three of these sockets would help them stay more rigid during use. Anyone else have this problem?

Thanks, Randy



Attached files 173527=9927-controller.jpg

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There are a couple of things I try to do to protect them. First, I avoid booted cables. For some reason, I have difficulty getting the cables to release with the boots on them.

The other is on controllers where there is some risk of the cables being snagged, I try to locate something nearby to cable tie the cables to.. I suppose one could add a section of rope to the cable clamps for the power inlet, and cable tie the cat 5 to it...

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-klb- wrote:

First, I avoid booted cables. For some reason, I have difficulty getting the cables to release with the boots on them.

I have the same problem Kevin. I ended up trimming the boots down with a razor blade.
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The xcelite flush cutters we use do a really good job of cutting them off as well.. Just lay the flush cut side down against the connector body, and cut... Slides right under the tab, and leaves almost none of the boot behind.

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Randy,
I ran into this on one of my PC boards the center RJ45 sockets, I made it work the holidays it on my list to repair.


Also I see a need for a small modification for a notch in the cables strain relief bracket so one can run the data cables through without going through
A strain relief as I found you can't tighten the cable clamp’s screws without damaging the data cable.

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Great idea Randy. I also damaged a couple controllers - one by clumsily getting my foot tangled in the cat5 and the other one was one of those mysteries as to how it got damaged. (Could have easily been a clumsy 187-lb dog...) I've also got that on my fixit list for the summer.

Let us know how the popsicle fix works out. Sounds like it could be the answer.

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-klb- wrote:

Have you seen the current versions, that add a 4th hole in the case and strain relief bracket?


Great, I've taken it one step further and drilled a 3/16" hole in the upper left corner of the left heat sink. This allows me to ty-wrap the Ethernet cables to the heat sink. When it's time to dismantle the display I simply cut the ty-wrap.

Rick




Attached files 173568=9932-cropped.jpg
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I ran into this same situation once last summer also involving a booted cable. The first thing I did was cut it off and replace the connector.

The wiggly jack was a pretty simple fix as well. What I did was push the RJ45 jack flush to the board and then from the solder side of the board, I inserted the tip of my soldering iron in the two holes that secure the connector and melted the plastic outward. It mushroomed out and secured the jack back to the board. Probably not the best way to go about it, but it has lasted a year so far.

Steve

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Rick,
I also drill a hole in the heatsink for strain relief...
I did have that fail this year too:(
Our Mailman started cutting through the yard..and the display. He tripped over the comms cord broke the tie wrap and pulled it out and detached the plastic rj45 connector from it's mount.:X

I hope he fell on his butt:X

Next year is going to be the LOR alarm system!!! Lights, Sirens, and Laser blasters:P

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I just got a repaired board back from LOR for this very reason. They laid a bead of hot glue along the top of the rj45 and rj11 connectors to glue them to the board.

I tested it and I'm happy with the solution. I did this to my new boards and I plan on doing it with all the rest this fall.

I also zip tie the cables to whatever I can. The heat sink idea is good. Thanks for the tip.

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Randy and others,

All nice ideas. Yes, I had the same problem on a couple of controllers that were used on a commercial display. I think there are other threads about this somewhere on the board.

Those solder-in cat5 sockets are too easy to break. I believe I saw somewhere that LOR said not to use booted cables. I sure can concur with that. Ironically, those booted cables came in an LOR shipment! I almost never got one of those cables unplugged from a box during the take-down of a display. I cut off the boots so they don't cause a problem trying to unplug them.

On my cat5 connectors, I have started putting a small bead of gorilla glue allow the base of the front where the cable plugs into the socket. It adds more support while still being able to pry it off the board if the connector needs replacement in the future.

I also create a small loop with the cat5 cable (with some slack) inside the box. I put a cable-tie on the loop so the wire can't pull out and damage the socket.

Frankly, I would much prefer that the cat5 sockets be bulkhead mounted on the bottom of the box so we don't have to take off all the covers each time we setup or put away boxes each year. It waste a lot of time with those screws. If done properly, it won't present a moisture problem.

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