solderless pickup wiring, prototype #1 - Jemsite
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-01-2012, 09:05 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
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solderless pickup wiring, prototype #1

I've been swapping pickups quite a bit lately. Enough so it's beginning to annoy me, especially with a three pickup, H-H-H or H-S-H configuration and multipole switches. So I started looking for a way to create a screw-in terminal solution. I saw the Seymour Duncan system and my first thought was what if you don't want to use their pot? I've heard it's linear too...scratch that. How bout adapting EMG stuff? Nada, not going to work.

So I started looking for a way to fab something up that would be durable, make swapping pickups easy and fit inside the tight confines of an S-body cavity using 17mm or 24mm pots.

I did a ton of research and a lot of measuring and found what I think is a decent solution. Ultimately, I'd like to create a product that'll retrofit to any pot with minimal soldering along with integrated screw terminals. Same with the 5-way, integrated screw terminals that won't require initial soldering to strap a terminal to a switch.

As it sits, I'm soldering terminals to the pots and switches. Do it once and you're then free to swap pickups without soldering.

Right now I have a three terminal and two terminal soldered to the pots. The three terminals mate up with the tabs and the two pole terminal is for ground circuits. Eventually, it'll be a five pole, providing an extra pole on the left and right for grounding. With a three pickup setup, you end up with about half a dozen grounds soldered to the pot. Such a pain!

As for the five way, I ended up ordering the wrong parts for it and the bridge wire will all disappear and it'll be a much cleaner installation. I don't have an extra VLX91 to work on but I do have a few Alphas and another Ibanez 5-way to experiment on. They're almost identical but the tabs have a different spacing. I have a bunch of samples on the way so I can find what works best and produces the smallest package and easiest access to the screw terminals.

A few pics. Don't laugh, I know it's messy but hey, it works. Prototype #2 will be much cleaner.





MichelIV is offline  
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-01-2012, 09:15 PM
 
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Re: solderless pickup wiring, prototype #1

I think you have a good idea, just looks kinda bulky! But good thinking and keep up the good work!
Cameron1234 is offline  
post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-01-2012, 09:46 PM
 
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Re: solderless pickup wiring, prototype #1

Very cool. I use a Liberator in my main pickup testing guitar, and it is incredibly handy. I've been wanting to build a few more of my own since I regularly review pickups for my blog and Seymour Duncans. I just don't know if you can build one for as cheap as you can buy the Liberator. The Bourns pot that is used is very nice, and I've had no issues using it on stage or at home.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-01-2012, 10:11 PM
 
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Re: solderless pickup wiring, prototype #1

Its always a good idea if you change p'ups alot,though i would do what walliman does and mount the terminals to cavity walls or pick guard.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...wGH_jQ3M#t=56s
corey j grieve is offline  
post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-01-2012, 11:22 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: solderless pickup wiring, prototype #1

I just watched the walliman video and he's using Eurostrips which are pretty big with an 8mm pole space which won't work in the S cavity. The stuff I'm using is way smaller and yes, as of now, it's a bit bulky but once in, there's plenty of room. Phase two will have fewer terminals and better fit. But I like the idea of mounting them to a cavity wall. I'll look into that and see if there's room.

Lone, so you like the Liberator then? I've heard a lot of negative comments which is why I chose not to get one. I wasn't sure how it was going to work with an HHH or HSH. setup without soldering to the 5-way. I read you review and I didn't understand you could use one for volume and tone. You didn't happen to take any photos during installation did you?
MichelIV is offline  
post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-02-2012, 12:13 AM
 
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Re: solderless pickup wiring, prototype #1

Yeah, I like it. I use it in a H-H guitar, but want one in a H-S-H too. It can be done with this setup if you think creatively. Just connect the black at white or red and white depending on DiMarzio or Seymour Duncan wiring, etc to one terminal, rather than two, etc and you can come up with a combo that'll work. Remember they are just terminals going to wires, you can do what ever you want with them in the end.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-02-2012, 02:03 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: solderless pickup wiring, prototype #1

A few parts came in today and I thought I'd put up comparison shots.

I ordered a few things from Rich at ibanezrules and a few comparable items.

I received two 500K Ibanez Alpha pots, made in Japan. I have these in my S5470 and I really like the way they feel.

I also received a 3PS1CGAE5, CGAE5 for short, which is a 5-way switch that'll fit the S series bodies and work for an H-S-H pickup configuration (but not an HHH which needs the VLX91 switch).

For comparisons sake, I ordered two of the higher quality CTS pots with brass shafts from Allparts as well as two Alpha 5-way switches from an ebay vendor.

The advantage to the CTS pots is they have linear pole spacing and are easier to line up with a terminal block. The Alpha poles are splayed so it's not as easy without some bending but it's doable and I wanted measurements for those pots too. And they're made in Japan and not Korea or China.

The two 5-ways are virtually identical with the Ibanez (Cor-Tek) circuit board being a bit more transparent. Other than that, same pole spacing, same number of poles, hell, except for the Alpha or Cor-Tek, they look identical. But the Alpha is about 1/6th the price. How will it hold up? Not sure. They both have the same "feel".

Once I get the new terminals in, I should have a package that's actually smaller than the Seymour Duncan setup. I've thought about using mini-pots as well and it's completely doable.

The Bourns pots that SD uses are the cheap ones which cost about the same as an Alpha and are probably made in China. They're not the $15 units with the brass shafts and composite casing. The Allparts CTS are supposedly better than the standard CTS but probably not as good as say an RS Guitarworks matched pot.









Pots. The CTS shaft is about 1mm shorter than the Ibanez.

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-02-2012, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: solderless pickup wiring, prototype #1

Forgot to add, the Cor-Tek comes pre-tinned.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-03-2012, 02:40 PM
 
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Re: solderless pickup wiring, prototype #1

I change pickups a lot and IMHO don't feel that adding all that stuff is anywhere near worth saving the minimal time of soldering a few wires.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-03-2012, 03:13 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: solderless pickup wiring, prototype #1

Well I actually do which is why I am working on an easier solution. I think if I stuck to two pickup combos with a two wire setup, I could somewhat see your point but I'd still be able to do it more quickly this way. By the Time your soldering iron is hot enough to actually solder, I'd be screwing the back cover on. Less chance of damaging electrical components, dripping solder on guitar, etc...if soldering were so easy they wouldn't have invented plugs in the first place.
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-03-2012, 06:28 PM
 
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Re: solderless pickup wiring, prototype #1

Soldering is easy for me. I have a Weller WTCPT and it's hot by the time I remove the back cover. Maybe you need a better soldering set up . Plugs have their place, just don't think it's worth stuffing more hardware into a small route on a guitar plus the fact that you will now have way more connections to potentially cause trouble. I while back I asked Dimarzio why they didn't use a plug like EMG because I did like the idea of a plug into the pickup. They said soldering was preferred as it is a more positive, secure connection and I have to agree. Anyway, like I said just my opinion. If it works for you that's all that counts.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-03-2012, 06:34 PM
 
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Re: solderless pickup wiring, prototype #1

I really like what your doing here MichelIV.. I've been actually thinking in the same pattern with adding this kind of screw-in terminals. Keep up the good work and keep us updated!
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-04-2012, 01:08 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: solderless pickup wiring, prototype #1

Thanks Eskil and will do. I should have the new terminals here some time early next week.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-08-2012, 12:17 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: solderless pickup wiring, prototype #1

Prototype #2. Much more compact and less modifications by hand of the PCB components. I'm almost where I want to be, step three is custom made parts. All of the 5-way switches use a non-standard pole pitch unfortunately and I cannot locate headers that'll fit between it and off the shelf PCB components. So I have to do a bit of cutting.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-08-2012, 04:43 PM
 
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Re: solderless pickup wiring, prototype #1

looking good.
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