Rack Mounted Zektor's

QuadraphonicQuad

Help Support QuadraphonicQuad:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.

par4ken

2K Club - QQ Super Nova
QQ Supporter
Joined
May 28, 2011
Messages
3,695
Location
NW Ontario
After reading Sonics posts about the Zektor switcher I went searching eBay. Along came a deal for two model HDS4 2’s. The price was less than other comparable offers for a single unit. I added it to my eBay watch list. As is often the case, the seller sent me an even better offer. I snapped them up. Upon receipt I noticed that the seller forgot to include the power adaptors (wall warts). The seller apologised and then gave me a further discount!

In usual fashion I decided that I would like to rack mount the switches. Usually to do that all that you have to do is remove the top cover, drill a couple of holes and then attach the adaptors with small machine screws and nuts. The Zektor is not that easy. The case has no lid but consists of two roughly L shaped pieces one for the front and top the other for the bottom and back. The two pieces overlap somewhat on the sides.

Several methods could have been used to mount the adaptors. I could have used a tap and die to thread holes on the sides but that would be difficult as the metal is a bit thin to allow for a lot of thread depth and you have to go through two separate metal layers. Another possibility would be to simply use self tapping screws. That just didn’t seem right to me either. I chose to glue nuts on the inside of the box and then was I was able to attach the adaptors with machine screws. I used my favourite “grey glue” Loctite EA E-90FL epoxy adhesive, to glue in the nuts. This epoxy takes a very long time to cure but is much better, stronger and longer lasting than that five minute garbage!

Disassembly involved removing the front panel, being careful not to lose the small plastic (fibre optic) light tubes that are used to conduct the light from the PC board surface mounted LED’s to the surface of the front panel. From the factory they were held in place by a small dab of silicon sealant. I was able to reassemble one unit, one time without the sealant. Further attempts without the sealant became frustrating. Reassembly was a breeze; by following the factory procedure of simply adding a dab of sealant to each “tube”.

Another hiccup was that the front panel and the main board are connected by a short flat ribbon cable. After disassembling and reassembling both units a couple of times I ended up damaging the cables on both units. Luckily ribbon cable replacements are readily available on eBay for only a buck or two. I purchased some that were a bit longer than the originals and that made a huge difference with reassembly. I could have gone a bit longer still with the ribbon cable; as there is plenty of room for it to fold over inside the case.

About gluing in the nuts; the first step is to hold the rack mount adaptors in their proper location on the assembled unit, then mark the holes. I used a "Sharpie" marker for that purpose. Disassemble then drill the holes in the top chassis piece. Reassemble and then mark the holes in the bottom chassis. Disassemble and drill the bottom case holes. The holes could be drilled all at once if you are sure that you won’t be drilling into the PC board! Working with the bottom chassis and using the rack adaptors as a guide insert the machine screws and attach with the nuts. Then tip the unit on its side and run a bit of epoxy around the nuts, be careful not to get glue on the machine screws. Allow the epoxy to cure for at least a day, preferably for several days. Then remove the screws and tip the unit to the other side and repeat the procedure. I found that it was easier to use two nuts instead of one, which gave more room for the epoxy and there was less chance of getting any glue on the screw threads. Reassemble the unit and attach the adaptor with the machine screws.
100_1295.JPG


100_1296.JPG

I’m using (or will be when I get more RCA cables) the Zektors to switch between decoders. I have mounted many of my decoders into a single Hammond Rack frame 1459JBK1. At the top are the Space and Image Composer then the Tate II. Next is a Kramer Video audio Distribution Amplifier. I’m only using the audio section of it to buffer the single stereo input to ten outputs. That way I can drive up to ten decoders from a single input without the need of any switching. Because almost nobody still uses composite video you can find these units used at bargain prices.

Below the Kramer is the Gemini SP-1 Circle Surround Decoder. Below that is the Sansui QS-1 with Involve module inside. Next is the Sony QSD-2010 with the Involve SQ module inside. Then is a Tripp-Light power bar with six outlets on the back and another six on the front. On the bottom is the Vista (Photolume) Vario-matrix decoder the Lafayette SQ-L and the Connaught Model 1530E SQ Decoder.

The first Zektor selects between the S&IC, Tate II, SP-1, QS1. The second Zektor connects to the S&IC’s discrete input, which then selects the remaining sources (decoders).

rack.jpg


It is a credit to Hammond that they still make many/most of the same items as in many years past. They are a great source for chassis, racks and transformers. In the late seventies I purchased a similar Hammond rack, the main difference was that at that time they only came in grey, although black might have been available on special order (I forget now). When I thought about purchasing a second one I found that it had been discontinued, however this model replaces it and aside from the colour the only other difference is that the original had tapped 10/32 screw holes while this one comes with clips. All I did to it was add Shepherd caster wheels to the bottom of it.
 
Last edited:
@par4ken , that is inspiring. Not only the DIY rack mount concept with the glued in nuts, but the idea of the Kramer Distibutor....excellent solution it would seem. Do you have to manually switch what it drives, or does it drive every output at once? I may need to look into one of those. I only have 4 additional outputs from my pre / pro, so I have to drive one of my Tates through the QSD-1's tape out. It works, but a little klunky. I am trying to score a nice QSD-2, so then I'll need the Kramer!

What a score on the Zektors!

Like the Circle Surround...I keep my eyes open for one of those, but later!

Edit: I read too quickly....I see now what the Zektors are switching.
 
Last edited:
@par4ken , that is inspiring. Not only the DIY rack mount concept with the glued in nuts, but the idea of the Kramer Distibutor....excellent solution it would seem. Do you have to manually switch what it drives, or does it drive every output at once? I may need to look into one of those. I only have 4 additional outputs from my pre / pro, so I have to drive one of my Tates through the QSD-1's tape out. It works, but a little klunky. I am trying to score a nice QSD-2, so then I'll need the Kramer!

What a score on the Zektors!

Like the Circle Surround...I keep my eyes open for one of those, but later!

Edit: I read too quickly....I see now what the Zektors are switching.
The Kramer provides 10 separate buffered outputs simultaneously, plus a passthrough output. I will be able to run all the decoders at the same time and then switch the outputs via the Zekors. Great for decoder comparisons.

The Gemini decoder can be found for as little as $50.00. I've listened to other Circle Surround decoders that were not that impressive. This one has a rear effects control so you can throw more sound to the rear. The biggest bargain in surround out there. No centre but it does have a sub output.
 
The Kramer provides 10 separate buffered outputs simultaneously, plus a passthrough output. I will be able to run all the decoders at the same time and then switch the outputs via the Zekors. Great for decoder comparisons.

The Gemini decoder can be found for as little as $50.00. I've listened to other Circle Surround decoders that were not that impressive. This one has a rear effects control so you can throw more sound to the rear. The biggest bargain in surround out there. No centre but it does have a sub output.

Thank you. I nearly received a Circle Surround for free from a visitor on these pages, but he came and left, never returned. But they are inexpensive like you said. I have never learned to appreciate a center channel...they always sounds awkward to me. Don't use one.

Yes, the Zektors are a dream for that. It's a lot of fun.
 
I love seeing how people have solved the switching question for their individual set ups. Many ways to skin the cat. Very kewl setup Ken!

I have seen new in the box Circle Surround decoders on fleabay for $20 . There was someone that must have bought a stack of them that was blowing them out. I passed on them iirc because they were balanced only.
 
I love seeing how people have solved the switching question for their individual set ups. Many ways to skin the cat. Very kewl setup Ken!

I have seen new in the box Circle Surround decoders on fleabay for $20 . There was someone that must have bought a stack of them that was blowing them out. I passed on them iirc because they were balanced only.
XLR to RCA adaptors are available cheaply. The Gemini was intended for professional "music man" type setups. The manual even shows the four corner speaker setup around the dance floor. Most pro's likly don't want to bother with surround, they want to keep their setups simple and easy to move around. The unit would be great for use in a pub.
 

Attachments

  • Gemini_sp1.pdf
    1,008.3 KB · Views: 0
I would not use XLR to RCA adapters unless I had complete schematics for both interconnected pieces of equipment. There are some variants and conventions that would need to be examined. Some differential setups are sort of fake. I would want to trace all the circuitry before such use. Just me.
 
I would not use XLR to RCA adapters unless I had complete schematics for both interconnected pieces of equipment. There are some variants and conventions that would need to be examined. Some differential setups are sort of fake. I would want to trace all the circuitry before such use. Just me.
The schematic is in the manual that I posted. The input is an op-amp based differential amplifier. The output feeds the positive output (via a resistor) and is inverted by an op-amp to feed the negative output (also via the same value resistor). So sort of fake output.

Ideally the adaptor would ground the negative pin on the input side and leave it open on the output. I was using a set for awhile without issue, although the negative output side may have been grounded by that adaptor. Later I made up my own set of cables, leaving the cold side open.
 
I pocked up a Zektor a couple of days ago from ebay. It’s still om the way, and the seller noted that it did not have the power supply. I’ll be using it to switch between my Oppo’s MCH output, my Involve Surround Master, and my CD4 demodulator.

I built my own “racks” (build thread in my sig), and I might have to do some rearranging to get it all in there, but it should work OK.
 
I hate to tell you guys but I also picked up a Kramer vm 10 xl from ebay....for $15 plus shipping. Seller says used some scratches condition is fully operational. Seller has 98.9 rating. I dont care if only half the outputs work. I follow the technical opinions in these threads and bow down to superior technical knowledge.....
 
It was actually listed at $20 or best offer. I offered $15 and was accepted. Shipping is $22.
You have to watch the cheap item prices but exorbitant shipping charges from sellers a way to make you think you got a deal when you didnt.
 
It was actually listed at $20 or best offer. I offered $15 and was accepted. Shipping is $22.
You have to watch the cheap item prices but exorbitant shipping charges from sellers a way to make you think you got a deal when you didnt.
I’ve been buying and selling on ebay since 1999. I believe the shippers make more than the sellers do.
 
I found a Zektor on ebay a few days ago. It didn’t come with a wall wart, but I have a bunch that will probably suffice. I put a watch on it, and the seller made me an offer that was good, so I took it. It arrived yesterday, and it’s nice and clean. Interestingly for this thread, there were mounting holes on the sides for rack ears. Also mentioned earlier on this thread, the shipping was about 75% as much as the purchase price. Shippers make a lot off ebay sellers, even with a discount.

A second interesting thing for this thread is that I have a piece of gear, an Esoteric Sound surface noise reducer, that has rack ears integrated into the fromt panel. I’m going to have to cut those off one of these days. The actual unit with the electronics in it is a lot smaller than the front panel, although the panel has graphics outside the width of the chassis that I don’t want to lose. I need to figure out if the panel is steel or aluminum (easy with a magnet) to determine what tool to use for the cutting, and just how much disassembly I’m going to have to do to get that job done.

No, I’m not bored with retirement!
 
I found a Zektor on ebay a few days ago. It didn’t come with a wall wart, but I have a bunch that will probably suffice. I put a watch on it, and the seller made me an offer that was good, so I took it. It arrived yesterday, and it’s nice and clean. Interestingly for this thread, there were mounting holes on the sides for rack ears. Also mentioned earlier on this thread, the shipping was about 75% as much as the purchase price. Shippers make a lot off ebay sellers, even with a discount.

A second interesting thing for this thread is that I have a piece of gear, an Esoteric Sound surface noise reducer, that has rack ears integrated into the fromt panel. I’m going to have to cut those off one of these days. The actual unit with the electronics in it is a lot smaller than the front panel, although the panel has graphics outside the width of the chassis that I don’t want to lose. I need to figure out if the panel is steel or aluminum (easy with a magnet) to determine what tool to use for the cutting, and just how much disassembly I’m going to have to do to get that job done.

No, I’m not bored with retirement!
Often components have screw holes for or that can be used to mount rack ears. The problem is that not all rack ears are the same.

A tip for those purchasing on eBay is to add the item into your watch list first, often you will get a better offer the very next day. And yes often shipping is more than the purchase price.

I'm horrified that you want to cut off the rack ears from a piece of equipment! I've heard of people doing that to the QSD-1! IMHO equipement looks better with rack ears on even if not mounted into a rack!
 
The Kramer vm10xl arrived yesterday fast shipping!
I was able to download a user manual from the Kramer website looks like there are two with a revised version.
I hope to plug this in this weekend for a brief test
I notice one of the button caps is missing from the two push buttons on the front face although the underlying switch seems to work with a push.
Can the button caps be sourced anywhere for a replacement? Not critical I guess as long as it works
I never would have thought of this as a replacement or alternative to a switching box.
 
I never even thought about looking for a manual, these are so simple to begin with. The manuals that I was able to find are all just user manuals containing no schematics. There are at least two similar models the VM-10ARII and the VM-10XL.
 
Last edited:
Back
Top