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Discussing the most important lesson in Eurorack: How to plug in a Eurorack module so you don't utterly destroy it. HANDY CHECKLIST BELOW!

Thanks to Gur Milstein for sending his input on this. He makes ace power solutions and cases: Tiptopaudio (uZeus FTW)

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EURORACK POWER PRIMER AND EXTREMELY NERDY POWER CHECKLIST

Eurorack power is delivered through ribbon cables which must be correctly orientated on both the module end and the power distribution end. The ribbon connectors plug into either 10 or 16 pin strips on the products. Many manufacturers put special connectors that use a notch on the ribbon cable ends, to ensure they can only be plugged in one way around, which is helpful IF the ribbon cable has been correctly manufactured. Not all manufacturers use these headers however, and there are many inconsistencies between manufacturers. There are NO universally agreed standards, necessarily.

There is a +12V side and a -12V side on each connector. -12V on the power plug should lead, via ribbon cable, to the corresponding -12V end of the pin connector on the module, which is often marked with variations on: '-12V, Red, Red!, Red Stripe, "|" and so forth.'

Unfortunately the responsibility of confirming correct orientation lies with the user.

1. Is the cable made correctly? Cables can be made incorrectly. When you fold the cable over itself and compare the pin connectors with the notches facing in the same direction, is the red/coloured stripe on the same side of the connector on both? This indicates a good cable.

2. Are you actually plugging into a power socket on the module? Some modules have expansion sockets which use the same connector type as a power inlet. These are normally marked, but may not be. Check the manual to be sure, or ask the manufacturer.

3. Now you found the power inlet socket on the module, do you know which side of the pins expects -12V? This is where most mistakes that damage modules get made - it is never wise to unplug the ribbon from a module.

As mentioned, the -12V end of a Eurorack module's power inlet is typically marked with variations on '-12V, Red, Red!, Red Stripe, "|" and so forth. CHECK THE MANUAL TO BE SURE, OR CONTACT THE MANUFACTURER _ONLY_.

Typically one would plug the module in so that the Coloured/Red Stripe on the ribbon cable ends up located on the side with the -12V power pins.

BE AWARE THAT NOT ALL MANUFACTURERS NECESSARILY PRODUCE CABLES WHICH ARE DESIGNED FOR THE RED STRIPE TO REPRESENT '-12V' - CWEJMAN LITERALLY DO THE OPPOSITE. IT IS MISLEADING TO ASSUME RED STRIPE ALWAYS INDICATES -12V BECAUSE OF THIS.

Doepfer do not indicate power orientation on many of their modules, nor, inexplicably, do they indicate this in the manual either. But they maintain a design principle that the -12V pin is at the bottom of the module, if the module is held upright. But this 'rule' applies ONLY to Doepfer. DO NOT APPLY IT ARBITRARILY TO ANY OTHER MANUFACTURER.

REPEAT: CHECK THE MANUAL TO BE SURE, OR CONTACT THE MANUFACTURER _ONLY_.

4. Did you plug the other end of the ribbon cable into the power output socket on your Eurorack power distribution board/flying bus board, the right way around?

You are aiming for -12V on the module to lead to -12V on the power board, which should be marked, like on the module.

On many distribution boards, shrouded headers are used so that you literally can ONLY plug it in one way round. For this reason it is essential that your ribbon cables be made correctly.

BUT IT IS MISLEADING TO JUST ASSUME RED STRIPE AUTOMATICALLY MEANS -12V.

For unshrouded connectors (i.e. Doepfer, Intellijel), CHECK WHETHER YOU ALIGNED THE PINS CORRECTLY. It is easy to accidentally plug the power connector in too high or low and not realise, especially when swapping out a module in a dense system. SO CHECK WITH A TORCH, or feel above and below the ribbon cable with your finger to confirm no pins are floating free!

5. Final check before power on: You should be able to use your finger and trace from the -12V INPUT pin on the power header of the module, through the ribbon wire, to the corresponding -12V OUTPUT on the power supply - which should be marked on a PCB-style bus-board, or lead to the marked -12V output of an output module such as Tiptop uZeus.

You are aiming for -12V/+12V on the module to lead to -12V/+12V on the power board.

If you are in ANY doubt, DON'T CHANCE IT - it's statistically more likely you're going to get it wrong, than right. CHECK THE MANUAL OR ASK THE MANUFACTURER.

More reading: Comforumviewtopic

248 Sep 2018 Youtube

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