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Color-matching knobs, banana jacks, wire etc.

Discussion in 'Electronic Components' started by [email protected], Oct 13, 2007.

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  1. Guest

    I have a somewhat-odd request:

    I am looking for color-matched knobs, banana jacks, binding-posts,
    banana plugs, etc. Matching colored wires would be really cool too.

    Having at least eight distinct colors available would be really nice.
    I know that last one is difficult because I'm a very typical male who
    cannot name more than four different colors off the top of his head.
    But I have no problem looking at any color-coded resistor and having
    the value and tolerance immediately register in big shining numbers in
    my brain, so I don't think the problem is my eyes, I think it's just
    that I'm male :).

    I believe that HH Smith etc. used to do stuff like this and while
    they're still around I don't see any colors but red and black in their

    Looking in the Digikey catalog they list "Emerson"/"Johnson" as the
    maker of some banana plugs and jacks available in ten colors. If I
    could get matching colored knobs and maybe even test lead wire, I
    would be so so happy.

    Any leads (including just "how to paint random knobs in matching
    colors") would be greatly appreciated.

    In case nobody else has figured it out yet, this is for a super-duper
    bench tube tester that currently is just a bunch of stuff scattered
    across my bench but which in my head I could turn into one mega-super
    tube tester/curve tracer. Black would of course be ground, and I
    suppose the two filaments should be green, and maybe the cathode can
    be black, but I still need three other colors (plate, grid, screen)
    and at the moment can only name two, so seeing a catalog page with a
    color-coded lineup of everything would so make my vision come true!
    Many decades ago I saw a picture in a magazine of what to my juvenile
    eyes looked like what must be the ultimate tube tester of all time,
    and while I do not remember the model or make I do clearly remember
    row after row of gleaming colored knobs and jacks. Does this
    description ring a bell with anyone?

  2. Scott Dorsey

    Scott Dorsey Guest

    I believe Kilo sells anodized knobs in a few different colors, still, and
    that Pomona Electronics should have a few colors of banana jack.
    Go to the auto parts store and get cans of automotive lacquer. It gives
    a nice even finish on generic aluminum knobs and comes in more colors
    than you can imagine.
    Filaments are brown. Red is plate. Grid and screen are orange and
    yellow but I forget which is which. There's a RETMA standard for all
    this stuff somewhere.
  3. Jim Mueller

    Jim Mueller Guest

    AES,, has knobs in 8 colors. Click on "Knobs"
    in the left hand column. In the next screen click on "Chicken Head".

    I've never seen test lead wire in more than 4 colors. If you can use
    ordinary wire, colors shouldn't be a problem.
  4. gb

    gb Guest

    I have seen test wire in more than 4 colors. It is actually in the Belden
    catalog I have -- BUT the minimum order (in feet/spool) for any color other
    than red or black is high (at least 1000 feet, as I remember)

    It does look cool when properly set-up. Old EF Johnson and HH Smith banana
    jacks did have several colors. Needs any in blue? I have several panel
    mount banana jacks in that color.

  5. Ecnerwal

    Ecnerwal Guest

    Not really (the one at the local Radio Shack (way in the back in
    1970-something when I was getting an old Hallicrafters up and running)
    was more boring - blue and white with brown sockets and black knobs, as
    I recall), but I suspect that certain auction sites probably have
    exactly the thing you were looking at available from time to time. All
    the other old junque shows up there.

    Not to deny you the joy of building, or anything like that - but if it
    was made, there are probably examples out ion the wild to buy, if you
    look for them.
  6. Guest

    In fact, following the lead of Alan Douglas, I think in my head the
    unit I had seen in a picture was the Weston CA-1630. Nice pic here:

    At circa $5000 I think I'll have to pass, but it's a beaut.

    I think in my mind I want even more color matching than in the
    original - I just see black and red binding posts there, in my head
    the posts should match the knob should match the element. So it looks
    like the decades have elaborated the original, to the point where I
    desire something more than the original :).

    Like Scott Dorsey suggested, probably the way for me to go is to get 5
    or 6 or 7 different color banana jacks and paint the knobs to match,
    as it seems increasingly unlikely I'll get much match in "raw" knob
    color, but still thanks to the others who posted about the multi-color
    chickenheads available from AES (I had actually bought them in the
    past!) and the knobs from Small Bear.

  7. Scott Dorsey

    Scott Dorsey Guest

    Pomona Electronics plugs! Nine colors available! Stocked by Allied!
  8. Actually - it's all ten of the "standard" color code colors - I have a
    couple of the kits... for a project "someday".

    best regards...

    A Tender Tale - a page dedicated to those Ships and Crews
    so vital to the United States Silent Service:
  9. Tim Shoppa

    Tim Shoppa Guest

    Actually, ten colors available! 0-9 is ten, not nine. Sometimes I fall
    into FORTRAN mode too so I won't blame you for being off by one :).

    I don't know if the Pomona parts are 100% identical, but I just
    ordered a few sets from Digikey sold under the "Emerson/Johnson" name.
    I'm guessing they're all made in China by the same company:

    Using color-coded Banana plugs/jacks seems preferable to having
    massive crossbar wiring, at least in my head.

    Question for anyone who has used the Weston CA-1630: Am I correct that
    there are pushbuttons in many of the knobs and this is somehow related
    to either removing the function of the knob (pin selection) or
    selecting that knob's function for stepping during curve tracing
    (grid, plate, screen)?

    Really wonderful link to a big pic (may not work!) showing the CA-1630
    set up to test a 300B:

  10. Guest

    Guest Guest

    With wonderful toys like this available, made in China, the lead content
    should be checked!
    Please, please do not put them in your mouth.

    Mike W5CHR
  11. Tim Shoppa

    Tim Shoppa Guest

    Hey, I grew up holding 60/40 solder in my mouth while plugging
    krypton-85 filled regulator tubes in my left hand and turning knobs
    just inches away from radium-filled meters with my right hand. None of
    it made in china. And I'm perfectly normal!

    Joking aside, it's pretty obvious that a test set with 1000V B+
    running around obviously won't be in my kids' hands much less in their

  12. Scott Dorsey

    Scott Dorsey Guest

    I suspect the lead content on them is much lower than it should be. The
    Chinese are not exactly big into making quality phosphor bronze and most
    of these sorts of parts coming from China tend to be made from cheap and
    gummy cartridge brass. That's okay for the socket, not so good for the plug.
  13. t.hoehler

    t.hoehler Guest

    Nice pic - shame they didn't power it up when they took the pic.
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