Guide to modifying a Neutrik locking jack.
Oct 11, 2004 at 4:48 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 13

Dreamslacker

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The force used to release the locking component of Neutrik Locking Jacks is somewhat excessive and may cause the chassis of the (pre)amp to bend. However, the jacks do look wickedly good!
I've decided to come up with a simple and reversible solution to this problem.

The problem lies with the spring used for the locking mechanism; It requires too much force to compress.
There are 2 ways to deal with this. Namely, removing the locking mechanism OR replacing it with a spring with less tension. The latter requires additional money (and more importantly, time) to be spent (you'd typically need to buy a cheap ball-pen/ lighter to get the spring).

This guide explains the former process.

First, a look at the jack:

unmodded.jpg



and from the side we're interested in:

unmodded_side.jpg



We start by disassembling the jack. Begin by removing the screw at the side:

screw_rev.jpg



The plastic assembly along with the contacts can then be seperated from the outer shell:

seperated.jpg



The spring is right underneath the push-tab. Remove both from the plastic assembly:

spring_rev.jpg



You can now see the locking-clip and the sponge/ foam like piece:

lock_clsup.jpg



Both need to be removed. Which leaves only the contacts with the plastic housing:

disassembled.jpg



Putting the jack back together is the direct opposite process except that we leave the sponge and locking-clip out.
  1. Replace the spring and push-tab into the plastic assembly.
  2. Replace the plastic assembly in the metal shell.
  3. Replace the screw (and the plastic washer!).
  4. Use the jack. =)
Completed project:

completed.jpg


Edit:
I know some folks would feel that the locking mechanism should be retained. Here are my reasons for removing the mechanism altogether:
  1. I feel that the locking function of the Neutrik Jack is not fool-proof as it is possible to yank the plug out given sufficient force.
  2. The clamping force of the contacts is such that it provides sufficient to prevent the plug from getting yanked out (accidentally).
Therefore, I decided to forgo the locking mechanism altogether. It's reversible and doesn't cost anything at all.
 
Oct 11, 2004 at 9:03 AM Post #2 of 13

skyskraper

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interesting. but doesnt that somewhat negate the (non aesthetic) purpose of the jack?

i guess aesthetics play a big part and considering all my cans have coiled leads i may not run in to the issues that non coiled lead owners may have. but id much prefer accidental unplugging to ripping out connections on the headphone or its lead...
 
Oct 11, 2004 at 2:50 PM Post #5 of 13

Nisbeth

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Quote:

Originally Posted by seiko_citizen
Would it be possible to get another spring to replace the original neutrik jack? Since the spring is too tight. Maybe by modifying the spring it will be much easier to use


Someone already did that. I actually think it was doobooloo but I might be mistaken
smily_headphones1.gif



/U.
 
Oct 11, 2004 at 3:49 PM Post #6 of 13

rickcr42

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so if i am reading this correctly you worry more about looks than you do having a positive lock and good signal integrity ?

'Don't raise the bridge lower the water"

Why not just stiffen the front panel instead of screwing with the jack or use a sturdier chassis ?
confused.gif


These jacks were no design accident but specifically designed so they do no accidently pull out if you trip on the cable while in the middle of a recording session or during a live performance and the contact integrity is maintained by the pressure of the jack on the plug.

no offense meant here man but it seems to me you are attacking the problem from the wrong direction.looking good seems to be in fashion but signal integrity should be the primary goal
 
Oct 11, 2004 at 11:38 PM Post #7 of 13

Garbz

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Contrary to what rick said I believe you are attacking the problem correctly.
Although rick is right when it comes to a recording session or a live performance, the jack itself still provides excellent contact without the locking mechanism.

The fact is many people didn't buy this jack (DIYers not PROs) for the locking mechanism but for it's unique looks. This is evident in a thread a while ago where people were looking for the Nutrik jack which didn't have the locking mechanism to begin with.

Personally the lock drives me crazy, and if i do yoink the cord I'd much rather have the plug fly accross the room then risk damaging the headphone side of my cable.

I guess it all comes down to why you bought the jack in the first place. (for me it's all looks
biggrin.gif
)
 
Oct 12, 2004 at 12:10 AM Post #8 of 13

Sovkiller

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Neutrik has other jacks, and very good BTW, if you do not like the locking mechanism (BTW, I do not), just get another model, I got the nose chromed that is made by the same Co. IIRC, and does not have this locking mechanism, for our purposes not needed at all, and is very good, and look better IMO.

BTW while using these locking jacks, be careful, if the plug is not inserted or removed correctly, it will cause more damge than benefits....
 
Oct 13, 2004 at 10:23 PM Post #9 of 13

doobooloo

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Quote:

Would it be possible to get another spring to replace the original neutrik jack? Since the spring is too tight. Maybe by modifying the spring it will be much easier to use


What I did a while back was exactly that: remove the very stiff spring and replace it with a piece that I cut out from a cheap lighter (the flint support). That spring was much "softer", and while still retaining the locking mechanism, the red tab was then much easier to press. Once you cut the lighter spring down to the right length, it fits perfectly in the Neutrik jack.

Perhaps this is a better way to attack the problem without defeating the jack's purpose. Or, just buy the tabless Neutrik combo jacks that look even better IMO (Meier-Audio amps). I just bought 22 of those from a distributor (couldn't order less than that).
tongue.gif
 
Oct 14, 2004 at 11:11 AM Post #11 of 13

sft

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Quote:

Originally Posted by doobooloo
or, just buy the tabless Neutrik combo jacks that look even better IMO (Meier-Audio amps). I just bought 22 of those from a distributor (couldn't order less than that).
tongue.gif



The Neutrik combo jacks(NCJ9FI series) not only look better, also get good performance IMO.You found them in Meier-Audio, HeadRoom top-class amps.I and my friends just bought 100 of those from a distributor(couldn't order less than that)
tongue.gif
 
Oct 14, 2004 at 11:33 AM Post #12 of 13

Sovkiller

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Quote:

Originally Posted by sanaka
The black/red theme never excited me much, though I would use those if I wanted a locking jack.
I dig these for a non-locking - Neutrik, classy black, 89¢.


[size=xx-small]click pic[/size]

Peace,
Sanaka



They have that same jack with chromed nose, that IMO looks a little better, less industrial, and same quality as this one, maybe for a little over this price.
 
Oct 16, 2004 at 10:35 AM Post #13 of 13

Dreamslacker

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Quote:

Originally Posted by rickcr42
so if i am reading this correctly you worry more about looks than you do having a positive lock and good signal integrity ?

'Don't raise the bridge lower the water"

Why not just stiffen the front panel instead of screwing with the jack or use a sturdier chassis ?
confused.gif


These jacks were no design accident but specifically designed so they do no accidently pull out if you trip on the cable while in the middle of a recording session or during a live performance and the contact integrity is maintained by the pressure of the jack on the plug.

no offense meant here man but it seems to me you are attacking the problem from the wrong direction.looking good seems to be in fashion but signal integrity should be the primary goal




Actually, from experience. If I trip on the headphone cable plugged into a locking jack, one of the following would happen:
  • The headphone cable breaks.
  • The plug gets yanked out anyway.
  • The component is relatively light and comes flying.
I'm asian, with a smaller build and hence, less absolute strength than you Americans but I can pull the plug out of the stock locking jack. ie. The locking mechanism is not foolproof to begin with.
I've also realized that the contact pressure of the contacts actually provides more retention force than the locking mechanism.
Therefore, I decided to forgo the "locking" function of the jack since it doesn't make a difference to me.

doobooloo: I'd go for the tabless Combi-jacks too but those are not available locally unless I take an entire lot of 100 pieces. I do use the tabbed-Combi-jacks here and then though. My only gripe is that they don't come with goldplated stereo jack contacts.
 

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