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New IEC C14 Connectors for Plasma Music Power Supplies

New IEC C14 connector at Plasma Music

I try hard to keep my prices as low as possible but quality is equally if not more,  important. I’ve never wanted to be involved with making or selling cheap crap so I've spent quite a lot of time recently, looking into new IEC C14 connectors for Plasma Music power supplies.

Over the years, I’ve used a variety of IEC C14 connectors but for the power supplies I design and supply specifically for vintage synthesisers, space behind the power inlet socket is often limited. Connectors with 6.3mm (1/4") spade terminals for example, are often quite impractical and so I try to source C14 connectors with shorter solder tags only. Unfortunately, there's not too many to choose from.

IEC C14 power inlet socket with 6.3mm spades terminals
The space behind the IEC C14 power inlet socket on machines like the Roland MKS-70 and MKS-80, is limited. While the 6.3mm spades on the back of the C14 may (just) fit, crimped power cables will not.

Despite changing my soldering iron tip to something a little more heavy duty, I’ve got a bit fed up with just how difficult it can be sometimes, to get solder to adhere to the solder lugs. Quite honestly, if I find it challenging, then I'm concerned for my customers! I’ve therefore, recently changed the make of the chassis mounting C14 connector that I include in my earth bonding kit and that I fit in-place of the now obsolete C10 2-pin IEC connector.

New and old IEC connectors (front)
My old IEC C14 is on the left and the new, slightly more contemporary looking C14 is on the right. The tags on the new sockets are much easier to solder, although I still recommending using a more substantial soldering iron tip. They're also much sturdier.

Some may consider that the visual difference between the old and new connectors is perhaps substantial with the newer C14s have a more modern feel about them. More importantly however, they're a better fit for the cut-outs on vintage gear. Hey don't worry, the mounting holes are still 40mm apart! 🙂

New IEC C14 Connectors for Plasma Music Power Supplies (rear)
While theoretically able to handle more current, the thicker tags on the old C14 connector on the left, took a lot more heat to get solder to adhere safely and securely, than those on the new C14 on the right.

Replacement power supplies like Guy Wilkinson's P0004 for the Roland Super JX, my Aurora for the Roland MKS-80 and my Super Nova for the Roland Juno-106, all have reduced exposure to mains, making them much safer than Roland's original power supplies. To keep things as safe as possible from the power point of entry, I always fit a boot over the rear of the new C14 chassis mounting socket. This boot is also included with my earth bonding kit.

IEC C14 with boot
My C10 to C14 conversions and PSU installations ALWAYS include the fitting a boot over the rear of the new C14 socket.

99% of the time, the new IEC socket needs to be wired in sitchu, as it's often soldered to existing live and neutral wires within the machine in question. As such, the easiest, quickest and most reliable solder tags are necessary. Cheaper C14 sockets tend to have heavily plated and quite thick tags which require a lot of heat so as to allow solder to adhere properly. With a body made of budget plastic, the danger of applying excessive heat, is that connection pins (which are the other side of the solder tags) will simply become loose. That's seriously not good! 🙁 A trick I use to reduce the risk of that, is to plug in a C13 connector into the C14 and then lock the whole thing into a vice.

Here's how I solder to the back of a C14
I use a C13 to 'hold' the pins inside a C14 connector while I solder on to the solder tags on the rear.

I'm confident that my choice of new IEC C14 Connectors for Plasma Music power supplies will make life easier for my customers but I always welcome feedback so please don't hesitate to contact me with any comments or opinions.