How to secure jacks

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How to secure jacks

Postby such_a_dreamer » 08 Feb 2014, 21:17

Hope this is the right place to post this - I've been building pedals for a while now and using some of them in my rig. Though I'm not yet happy with the quality and durability of them. I've looked through existing threads but not managed to find any advice on this.....

One of my main problems is the input and output jacks coming loose over time. I've been using open jacks - first cheap ones but have now moved onto neutrik jacks.
Is there a way to make them secure? I'm thinking that there must be some sort of washer you can get which helps secure it - maybe a a plastic washer? or should I use closed jacks like amp style jacks are they more secure? If so examples of where to get those would be great. Or any advice one what people have found works for them, perhaps anything I might be doing wrong :-)
I don't care how much they cost I just want a really reliable solution.

Plus I must say this forum is ace! Such a great knowledge base for how to make all kinds of wonderful sounds.
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Re: How to secure jacks

Postby dwmorrin » 09 Feb 2014, 02:48

It's called a lockwasher, and you can buy them at all kinds of places, but small bear electronics, a great DIY pedal resource, has them here:
And don't forget the flat washer that goes on the outside (usually comes with the jack):

You don't need to use lockwashers. How are you securing the nuts in the first place? Do you have the correct size nut driver? Depends on the nut. Common sizes are 1/2" and 12mm, unless a large nut is used. 13mm, 14mm, and 15mm wrenches come in handy for those larger nuts, and stompswitch nuts too.
Here's an inch size set from small bear:
You should collect both inch and metric sizes.

A good twist from the right size nut driver should hold it down even without a lockwasher for a long time.

If you're drilling your own holes, make sure the holes are clean and even before trying to mount the jacks. Use little files to remove any uneven spots left over from drilling.
I feel like oversized holes are less secure, so I try to select the correct drill bit, and take care of your bits: use oil and keep them organized.

Doesn't matter if the jacks are open or closed style.
I find that the quality of the threads of both the jack and the nut will be higher and more consistent on the "name brand" jacks, and more hit and miss with the cheap jacks. But at any price, you should be able to secure them for a long time. Hope that gets you going! :thumbsup

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such_a_dreamer (09 Feb 2014, 18:55)
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Re: How to secure jacks

Postby aionios » 09 Feb 2014, 04:28

My first recommendation would be to use the black plastic enclosed type - Switchcraft #111/112. Nearly all of the coming loose is due to how tightly the open-frame jacks hold the plug, so you have to jiggle it and pull hard to disconnect. The Switchcraft enclosed jacks connect and disconnect much more easily, so there's a lot less stress to cause them to come loose.

That said, even with the Switchcrafts I've still taken to using lock washers on the inside of the enclosure. More of just a precautionary measure though. They also make it a lot easier to orient the jacks the way you want them, as the jacks won't spin around while you tighten the nut.
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such_a_dreamer (09 Feb 2014, 18:55)
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Re: How to secure jacks

Postby such_a_dreamer » 09 Feb 2014, 18:35

Awesome thank you both this exactly what I needed to know.
How are you securing the nuts in the first place?

Badly, apparently. I had just been securing them with pliers which seemed to get quite tight. I didn't know of nut drivers - I haven't really done anything practical before this and technology at school mostly involved dodging mdf flying at your head.
But that seems like common sense and what I've been missing so nut drivers are added to the shopping list. I think I've been drilling the holes a little too large too but I am getting a better drill bit to help me with better accuracy. I will stick to the better brands for proper builds and the lockwashers will be good just to make sure, but it's good to know I can do some test builds using cheaper ones and stile expect them to last.

Thanks for the advice it certainly will get me going. :-)

My first recommendation would be to use the black plastic enclosed type - Switchcraft #111/112.

These sound like they have some advantages, I think I will experiment with the ones you suggest. They seem like a neat solution for builds. Though I think I might struggle fitting them in on some 1590a builds if they take up more space. I will try and see, thank you.
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Re: How to secure jacks

Postby colm » 18 Feb 2014, 00:03

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Re: How to secure jacks

Postby Tall Steve » 13 Mar 2014, 15:03

If it's cheaper, you can also use a socket w/o the wrench.
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Re: How to secure jacks

Postby rullywowr » 13 Mar 2014, 17:41

I like to use a deep socket set (from Harbor Freight) along with a 1/4" screwdriver handled socket driver. These are cheap and allow you to torque just about any fastener you will encounter on pedals.
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