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What size tele. Cable to wire console?

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  • What size tele. Cable to wire console?

    Another question re our electrified 1875 Erben pipe organ. We have no console but wish to adapt a single keyboard for temporary testing purposes. I’d wire the keyboard contacts to a connector plug and run multi-strand telecommunications cable from the spreader board (inside organ case) out to the temporary keyboard, connecting to the temporary keyboard with “opposite gender” connector plug. I’d like the multi-cable going from each division on spreader board out to a temporary keyboard to be more or less permanent, so when we finally get an actual 3-manual console I can plug each division into newly-terminated wires inside the console. So what size color-coded telecommunications wire typically is used today for each keyboard on a pipe organ? Standard sizes seem to be 6 pair/12 strand; 25 pair/50 strand; 50 pair/100 strand. I’ve not actually counted yet, but it seems that the last tech to work on this organ c. 25-30+ years ago used 50 pair/100 strand and bundled up the many unused strands. Is this standard practice today? Or is it more customary to use 25 pair/50 strand PLUS 6 pair/12 strand (which would seem less wasteful). If the latter option, then does begin with the 25 pair, then start the color pattern over again with the 6 pair? Does it matter which "gender" connector terminates the cable coming from spreader board versus which "gender" connector is at the keyboard? Thanks for your help.

  • #2
    I've just been through this, and this is my practice, which I've also seen used by others.
    Start with low C using white/blue and a 25 pair/50 strand. When that runs out, start again with white/blue and a 6 pair/12 strand.
    50 + 12 = 62 giving one spare which is left coiled up should it be needed.
    BTW, we use Peterson 61 note connectors. They're very rugged and versatile since both "genders" are available.
    These connectors should work well with any future console.


    • #3
      Thanks, John. BTW are the Peterson items available to non-professionals? I know Organ Supply Co. www.organsupply.com in Erie Pennsylvania only sells to professional organ repair techs/builders (although I know of people who have gotten around that by creating a fake company). At some point I also am going to need some new pallet springs--and probably much more!
      Last edited by myorgan; 02-16-2021, 10:40 AM. Reason: Repair link.


      • #4
        While companies like Classic Organ and Syndyne will happily sell to individuals, Peterson does not.
        I like their products and they have always been most helpful. I have access because I do the electrical and electronic work for a local organ builder, even though we are both "retired."

        I have sometimes used these connectors
        10 Set 6-Pin 5.08mm Pitch Male Female PCB Screw Terminal Block
        from Amazon and quite like them. They mount neatly on standard 1/10" pitch prototyping boards by using every other hole.

        You mentioned you may need pallet springs which makes me curious about the original action and how it was electrified in 1923 ?
        You may need to befriend a local organ builder.


        • #5
          these 5 photos show how the tracker action was electrified. All leather seems to be in good condition. I replaced motor control/starter and last week turned on the [rebuilt] blower motor for first time in c. 30 years. It runs beautifully and there are minimal wind leaks, only 2 ciphers. Restoration was on-going when then-pastor shut everything down and sold console. Many of the pallets are sluggish to return, or don't unless manually pushed back up, so I'm thinking the springs need replacing. I think the last tech was replacing them piecemeal, since a number of old pallet springs were left scattered about inside the case. Of course we're going to need a professional at some point, but currently we have no money. (I'm funding materials used so far, e.g. $300 for new Square D 3-phase motor starter, $150 for new Start-Stop button and 3-conductor metal clad cable.)


          • #6
            My family's slogan: "You can learn to do anything on YouTube". ha ha


            • myorgan
              myorgan commented
              Editing a comment
              That wainscoating is just like in the school where I teach, and in our kitchen at home! I am puzzled, Christopher. Why would someone electrify a tracker organ? Did they think it would fix ciphers?


          • #7
            myorgan In the 1920s use of electricity in organs (and everything else) was a novelty and considered a way to "improve" a mechanical action organ. A more recent trend is to reverse this and re-tracker-ize such instruments. Perhaps a future generation will do that to this organ, but I don't see that happening in my lifetime.


            • #8
              Thanks Christopher for the images. This is a fascinating project you have started. Good wind and good leather means you are half-way there. Bet you can't wait to hear this organ sing again.
              Are those pneumatic motors I see under the pallets? They seem a little small for the size of the pallets. But the pneumatic motors seem to have their own air channel. Could they possibly be running directly off unregulated blower air to take advantage of the extra pressure?
              Other Erben organs did use tracker action but might this one originally have been tubular pneumatic? Reason enough for electrification.
              I assume these are slider chests. How is the stop action managed? Does it have large pneumatic motors to pull/push the slides?


              • #9
                Yes the pneumatics have their own box mounted below pallet pull-downs (see second photo) with air supplied with 3 inch galvanized pipe (see fourth photo). No this did not have tubular pneumatic. Yes they are slider chests. The stop action is pneumatic but I've not yet opened up one of the boxes (mounted next to end of sliders and connected where wood lever originally attached) to see just how it works. Have you ever worked on an organ with pneumatic stop action? I assume it must have some sort of double action: one that pulls, the other that pushes and, unlike key action, it must be a momentary action.


                • Coenraads
                  Coenraads commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Sorry, I'm not an organ builder and my knowledge of organ construction is only of the general kind.
                  My specialty is wiring up switching systems, combination actions and MIDI consoles.
                  Re the pallet springs: Have you thought of measuring their tension using a kitchen scale to see how the troublesome ones compare with the ones working fine so that you can be sure it is not friction somewhere causing the problems?
                  But you seem to know what you are doing, so I'm sure you've already checked for that.

              • #10
                No I've not yet checked spring tension, but I had thought the problem also could be friction. I'm currently focusing on a way to wire up a temporary keyboard for testing each division. Will post update when I've accomplished this.