Up on the bench today: A Lectrosonics wireless microphone cube.
This unit snaps right into the XLR connector at the bottom of a ‘stick’ microphone for handheld use. You’ve probably seen these in use on the news before (though often the bottom of the mic will be out of the shot and you won’t see it hanging there).
This is the upper end of the cube, as seen with the mic in a position of normal use.
The black plastic coated cone serves two purposes. One, you twist it to press the locking tab on the XLR to eject the assembly from the microphone. Two, it’s always being forced towards the tip by a strong spring, so the mic is gripped firmly and prevented from rattling around.
See how the XLR is all chewed up on this one? The spring failed over time (and LOTS of hard use) and allowed it to rattle around, causing eventual failure of the connector.
Looks easy enough to replace, right? It’s just screwed to one end plate of the ‘cube’ housing, into which there are five screw holes – two on the flatted side that’s down on the static mat in this picture, three of which face the rest of the pack body.
OH AND NO REDEMPTION EITHER.
Step one… get the pack open by removing all the tiny screws surrounding the display and controls then lift that out. Good luck. That part is fecking DIFFICULT, I have always just firmly stuck gaff tape to it and used it as a handle to lift it out. Be careful as you will be disconnecting a small pitch set of header pins above the top of the display towards the XLR end. Don’t bend them. The whole thing will come free when lifted only about a millimeter out of the recess though so the risk of this should be small. The two screws right next to the XLR are longer than the others as they land in the XLR endcap.
Step two, proceed to gut the whole damn thing like a fish. Photo captions inspired by the short film above.
Off comes the battery door – 4 pieces – first to come out are the four long larger black cone head Phillips screws, followed by the outer plate and the battery flap, then three more short small cone head screws to get that thin inner plate and spring off.
Now you can see the three screws on the back of the XLR plate down holes drilled through the cube body… but you can only actually reach one of them! This is gonna get sillier. Trust me. You’ve gotta get the radio board out of there.
On a side note, see that little black biscuit on the radio board? That’s topped with a strong magnet. Is that…. a whole-ass miniature RF CIRCULATOR?
The short black wire is the antenna lead. This must be desoldered along with the red and green power wires. Oh, also, to get to this point, you have to take out four tiny pan head Phillips screws and three larger short pan head screws that hold the control/audio board to the back of the front panel. Disconnect the one flat flex connector to the front panel membrane switches. The audio wires are Kynar and are looped through a hole in the board next to where they’re actually soldered down. There are fine pitch SMT components RIGHT NEXT TO the through holes they are soldered into. Be careful. This precluded the use of a vacuum desoldering pump and made me swear even more.
And finally, here’s the small mountain of screws that you’ll find yourself facing midway through the process. Don’t ask me to explain the “Line ‘Em Up” thing because I don’t understand it either. It just spontaneously came to be one day and that’s all I know. Oh, also, there IS a little bit of extra room in there to where you can leave the battery leads slightly long-ish, but you’ll have to carefully roll them up into that void between the flat flex connector on the control panel and where they land on the power / radio board. There isn’t enough clearance between that shield can and the chips on the back of the control panel.
Oh, one more thing: those hex screws are English size – I think 3/32 inch. The tiny set screws on some of their connectors are 0.9 millimeter. Yes, an unholy blend of English and Metric. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!
But hey, I can think of worse ways I could have spent the late morning hours. Well I still don’t have to fix the couch, so bite me.