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Fostex FR2 modification

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Rob DunfordFostex FR2 modification
by on Aug 4, 2012 at 12:41:25 pm

I found a couple of posts here on modifying the FR-2 for a more secure power connection and also using RC style batteries. I'd like to connect with anyone who has done this to find the best way forward.

I already have the RC battery packs, but with the original style push plug connection. I don't like the security of this and the Hirose tip used by SoundDevices seems a good solution.

I have had a look inside the FR-2 and it seems fairly simple, but would be good to find out other user's experiences.

Thanks

Rob Dunford, UK



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Siôn RobertsRe: Fostex FR2 modification
by on Sep 18, 2012 at 11:13:03 pm

Hi Rob,

I'm thinking of doing the same thing to my FR-2. Did you go ahead with the modification?

Thanks,
Sion


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Rob DunfordRe: Fostex FR2 modification
by on Sep 24, 2012 at 1:13:50 pm

Hi Sion, It's at the shop now. I was going to do it myself, but I found my soldering skills and eyesight not up to the job.

So basically, I bought some Hirose plugs and socket (same ones they use on Sound Devices kit for power). They are very secure plugs/socket.
Removed the timecode panel and drilled a hole in there for the new panel socket.

The repair shop is soldering in a couple of wires from the old 12v socket terminals to my new Hirose socket.
The rest I have to do here. I bought a new PSU that had a simple twin wire supply from the PSU (the Fostex version uses a single core surrounded by a braid and not really suitable for wiring to small contacts in the Hirose). I also have NiMh battery packs for RC use. I'll make up a connector for this as well.

I'm confident this will be a good modification and provide a more secure connection when I'm on location.



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Paul McCannRe: Fostex FR2 modification
by on Mar 10, 2013 at 3:24:53 pm

hello Rob i have a fostex FR2 which i hardly use as i wanted to resolve the battery consumption issue with some sort of external battery that i have heard about and people have just been using velcro to attach onto the recorder inside the bag. Anyway my fostec fr2 has a timecode card and i wanted you advice after reading you post regards what to do in order to have more recording time in the field without the batteries going quickly. Also i would like advice as to what mixer to buy to supplement the fr2. would really appreciated some advice on this thanks Paul


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Rob DunfordRe: Fostex FR2 modification
by on Mar 10, 2013 at 3:48:38 pm

Hi Paul, I'd like to help you where I can.

I recently bought a SoundDevices 552 mixer/recorder to replace my FR2/SD302 combo, I'd recommend the 552 but I realise it may be out of your reach.

I loved my old combo, the 302 is the top mixer for small productions. The FR 2 is also a very useful recorder but as you say the battery life sucks. If you have the time code card fitted, I'd recommend unscrewing the cable holder just above the 12v input and drilling that out to take a Hirose connector, using same as that SD recommends as that is an excellent connector for this purpose. I've seen it done this way before.

I used a company called Component-shop.co.uk for the battery. The battery is terminated in a Tamiya connector, this interfaces with the charger as well. Then I had made up a Tamiya to Hirose cable for the final connection. Also put a short blow fuse inline, the battery can put out 35amps if shorted, so you must have protection for the fostex.

I actually had a case made up for the Fostex and 302, with a outside pocket to take the battery. This worked very well for me and I got about 7/8 hours out of a 4500mah battery, battery cost about £25.

All in all and compared to the bespoke RC battery setup you can buy online, I am very happy with it. You could even have a more powerful battery and run the 302 of that as well......or use another smaller battery for the 302.

If you live in UK, I have the 302 up for sale in the not to distant future......



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Paul McCannRe: Fostex FR2 modification
by on Mar 10, 2013 at 4:08:22 pm

hello i am based in the UK in the northwest but would be interested in the 302. The drilling out and fitting of the connector seems a bit too involved for me as i am as confident as yourself. do you have contact details and have you any advice of where i can view this set up which has been done before seen as i have got a sound card? sorry but i appreciate your patients as my field isnt specifically audio but i want to start using the FR2 which i have had for some time now but got disheartened by the consumption of battery power. look forward to hearing from you regards Paul


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Rob DunfordRe: Fostex FR2 modification
by on Mar 10, 2013 at 4:23:18 pm

I saw the mod at a hire company called Bettersound in London. It's definitely not a mod for the average DIY'er, but find a local PC shop that does repairs and I'm sure they can sort out the FR2....that's what I did for mine. It's not that difficult, you take the positive and ground connections off the 12v input up to the Hirose. You can PM me and I'll send you my details. Don't especially want to put my email here.



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Rob DunfordRe: Fostex FR2 modification
by on Mar 10, 2013 at 4:26:40 pm

looks like PM isn't available. 01761 471 355



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Paul McCannRe: Fostex FR2 modification
by on Sep 12, 2013 at 2:19:07 pm

hello Rob I can not find the part number for the item which is suitable for the Fostex FR2 on the sounddevice website can you please help as i am desperate to get my fostex sorted
once again thanks Paul


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Rob DunfordRe: Fostex FR2 modification
by on Sep 12, 2013 at 5:15:56 pm

http://uk.farnell.com/hrs-hirose/hr10-7p-4p-73/circular-connector-plug-4-wa...

On the same page is a panel socket to mate with the plug. Does that help?



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Paul McCannRe: Fostex FR2 modification
by on Oct 24, 2013 at 3:52:15 pm

Thanks Rob for your help and patients :) i am about to look for a place to get the fostex modified in with the hirose pin and socket which i have emailed farnel about today so i got my fingers crossed. is there any chance you could post me a photo of your modification? i know this might sound odd but just so i myself have a clear idea and can show the prospective audio shop. also i am looking to purchase a 302 mixer so i am not sure if you have any advice of the best place to look for one and also can you send the link for the place that makes the bags. Very much appreciated in advance for all your assistance it is very much appreciated!!


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Rob DunfordRe: Fostex FR2 modification
by on Oct 24, 2013 at 5:26:42 pm

Hi Paul, TBH I didn't install my Hirose in the best place. I drilled a hole in the Timecode cover plate, so that kinda makes it tricky to install T/C now. I have seen a better place on another modified FR2, this is the hole left behind when the plastic cable holder is taken off. Not 100% sure of the dimensions etc, but the hole may just need some filing out to take the Hirose socket. Then ask the shop to wire it in to the 12v power socket just below. That way you keep both power sockets....
Maybe we can do some deals.....I want to sell my FR2 and my 302, but I was going to sell the units separately along with their cases. Maybe if you are interested I can sell you the cases and the 302. Then you would have a nice package for both items. My FR2 case has a battery compartment and a velcro strip to take the 302 case. If you are interested maybe we can talk about prices. Whereabouts in the NW do you live? I have a mate in York, he could act as a go-between if York is not that far from you.
My number 07895643372.



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Paul McCannRe: Fostex FR2 modification
by on Oct 24, 2013 at 8:00:24 pm

Thanks Rob really appreciate your assistance :) going to order the bits i need tomorrow. Regards the 302 i will check tomorrow as my colleague got funding to buy it so got to check if i can buy a piece of used equipment so will keep you posted :) if i can i may need some sort of receipt but i got a feeling that it may be stipulated that the funds are spent on a new piece of kit with a warranty. but i will let you know either way. As regards the fit of the hirose socket i have already got a timecode card fitted so i guess that makes the decision to put it where the plastic cable holder is my only option then anyway. once again thank you for your help if it wasnt for you i'd still be working out how many batteries i would need to field record so i hope this option works for me. Will let you know how i get on regards Paul


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Rob DunfordRe: Fostex FR2 modification
by on Oct 24, 2013 at 8:07:05 pm

bags from KT Systems near Southampton.



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Paul McCannRe: Fostex FR2 modification
by on Oct 30, 2013 at 11:19:38 am

Hello Rob hope your well and i spoke to my colleague and she told me we have to purchase a new 302 with warranty which is a shame otherwise the option to get it from you would've been good as i couldve spent the money saved on other parts of my kit :( but just wanted to ask you another quick question regards the BNC-XLR adapter as i have found two on the farnel site and i am not sure which one to go for could you please advise Farnell part number for BNC ­XLR adapter is # 4169402 (NA2FBNC) or #4169414 (NA2MBNC) thanks in advance paul


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Rob DunfordRe: Fostex FR2 modification
by on Oct 30, 2013 at 2:46:36 pm

Shame about the 302....can't offer a warranty anyways.
Not sure what you are asking about the BNC to XLR, where is it being used and why? One is male XLR and other is female.



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Rob DunfordRe: Fostex FR2 modification
by on Oct 30, 2013 at 2:47:49 pm

not sure what you are asking about the BNC to XLR, one is female, the other is male. What is this for?



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Paul McCannRe: Fostex FR2 modification
by on Nov 1, 2013 at 11:15:16 am

i remember you explaining to me that if i got an adapter BNC to XLR i could use the time code card wirelessly and as i have a timecode card fitted to my fostex fr2 i wanted to looking into that. but i want to ask your advice on that. so i need to know what adapter to buy and how to i set it up wirelessly to sinc with other equipment. i hope this makes sense? regards Paul


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Paul McCannRe: Fostex FR2 modification
by on Nov 1, 2013 at 11:22:56 am

this is the time card i have got with fitted in my fostex fr2 The 8347 internal card provides timecode interface via a standard RCA phono socket, is configured though FR-2's front panel display and provides all standard frame rates including 23.976 and 29.97 drop; pull-up and pull-down and jam sync. The generator can work in 24 hour, Rec Run, Free Run or external, with output being set to repro or gen.


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Paul McCannRe: Fostex FR2 modification
by on Nov 11, 2013 at 10:17:39 pm

Rob have you had any other thoughts on the bnc to xlr question? as there is a limited spend on the farnel site and the hirose stuff doesnt cover it so was waiting to maybe purchase something else along with it to but all the stuff. let us know your thoughts thank you for your help much appreciated!!


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Rob DunfordRe: Fostex FR2 modification
by on Nov 11, 2013 at 10:50:49 pm

sorry, I thought I sent a reply a few weeks back.....must have been dreamin'
My guess is that you could use a regular Sennheiser wireless mic setup but with TC instead of audio (TC is basically an audio track) But this whole area is not something I have dealt with and I think it would be better to ask a question to the whole CC audio forum. There are guys like Ty Ford who have MUCH more experience in this field than me.
But Farnell are not the only place to buy the Hirose. If you google the Hirose part number, several companies come up and I'm sure some will have a smaller minimum.
check this out....http://www.timecodebuddy.com/default-splash3.asp

But seriously, ask this forum, tell them your gear, tell them what you want to do and someone will give you the best solution!



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Rob DunfordRe: Fostex FR2 modification
by on Nov 19, 2013 at 10:01:28 am

I saw this today.......http://vimeo.com/34393303 never thought that this would be possible!



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Paul McCannRe: Fostex FR2 modification
by on Jan 20, 2014 at 4:16:49 pm

Hello Rob i called the component shop and they asked me to ask you what fuse did you buy what type of fuse was it which was fitted in the line for the battery pack.
Also (please forgive me for not being knowledgable on this) how does the line from the battery pack fit into the hirose?
if you could get back to me asap i would really appreciate it :) and i also found out that to take advantage of the fostex wireless card i need an RCA/PHONO to XLR adapter and i have also ordered the hirose from farnel so i am nearly there ..... your help is much appreciated!


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Rob DunfordRe: Fostex FR2 modification
by on Jan 20, 2014 at 7:18:43 pm



This is how I do it, this allows you to connect the battery to the charger using the white plug/socket and charge battery. What component shop need to do is make up a separate lead with a white thing on one end and the Hirose on 'tother. I would suggest they use much finer wire for the Hirose, since the 32amp stuff out of the battery is too fat! You could use a more petite connector instead the white thingy, ask their advice. The fuse is from Maplins and is bog standard in line fuse holder, I think I set it as a quick blow 800milliamps, that should protect the FR2 circuitry, but not blow when all the systems are on full.

So now you see half of me! Plus a bonus of my office....enjoy



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Paul McCannRe: Fostex FR2 modification
by on Jan 20, 2014 at 10:16:20 pm

Thanks Rob for the photo it has helped a lot i can give them a clearer idea of what i want. So what you are saying is that i need to send them my Hirose i bought from Farnel? and get them to fit it onto a line? i will contact them again tomorrow. their main question was what fuse i wanted as they mentioned barrel shaped fuses flat car type fuses etc etc...i fear by the time i get this fostex up and running it will be obsolete :( maybe an idea to get the hirose line done at the same place whos fitting the hirose into the fostex maybe?


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Rob DunfordRe: Fostex FR2 modification
by on Mar 9, 2014 at 1:09:55 pm

Did you get the Component Shop to fit your Hirose? I have a job coming up and thinking to use the RC batteries for long life.



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Paul McCannRe: Fostex FR2 modification
by on Mar 10, 2014 at 11:24:55 am

Hello Rob i have just emailed the component shop now as i sent them my hirose connector and instructions of what i wanted to purchase. this is what they said to me and what i am waiting to get back from them.
I would recommend going for the 7.2V 4600mAh SC pack. These are priced at £22.30 and we can fit the inline fuse holder for you for an additional £1.00. It would be a 20mm fuse holder so you could probably buy an 800mA fuse locally to fit it. As I'm not familiar with your equipment I'm not entirely sure how sensitive it is. We have a 1A/2A charger priced at £14.99 which would be ideal for this battery.
I did take my fostex fr2 to a city centre electrical repair audio retail unit in liverpool and the guy there was hesitant to do the job until i got the component shop to wire up the hirose so that they could check the polarity of the connector before they wired up the hirose socket into the fostex. The guy in the shop asked me why i didnt just put a connector on a wire from the battery to the dc to save all the messing which i did think about but then realised that the hirose would be a more secure connection and wouldnt fall out etc is this the reason you chose the hirose? Anyway the upshot is i will let you know when i get an email from the component shop but i am not filled with confidence that the repair shop guy was hesitant over a small job like this :( all the best Paul


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Paul McCannRe: Fostex FR2 modification
by on Mar 10, 2014 at 6:59:21 pm

Hello Rob can you please help!!!! the component shop have got back to me after sending them an email and here is what they said........Hi Paul,
I did try to get hold of you last week as we need to know how the hirose connector is wire. i.e. which pin is positive and which pin is negative. Can you get back to me and let me know please?
Best Regards, Kyje Randall. Component-Shop..... i can not believe they sent me this!!!! have you any advice please as i am at the end of my tether with this epic...regards thanks in advance Paul


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Rob DunfordRe: Fostex FR2 modification
by on Mar 10, 2014 at 7:10:48 pm

Hi Paul, sorry about your problems....have to admit the pin connections totally escaped me. I believe it's 1 and 4, but not sure about + - you will find the info on sound devices website in the 302 manual. Go to support, downloads, 302 user guide and fact sheet.



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Paul McCannRe: Fostex FR2 modification
by on Mar 10, 2014 at 7:15:34 pm

Hello Rob thanks for your reply...i bought the hirose from Farnel so maybe i better contact them? as the hirose i am talking about is the one fitted to the line attached to the battery which you then attach to the hirose which has been fitted in the fostex fr2...what you think?


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Rob DunfordRe: Fostex FR2 modification
by on Mar 10, 2014 at 7:29:19 pm

Big sorry, my mind was all on sound devices......so for the fostex it can be any pin, so long the pins used are consistent through the chain. I suggest pin one is negative and pin four is positives, they are on opposite sides so less chance of short circuit. 800ma quick blow fuse is fine for fostex, it never draws that much current, but would blow in the event of a short circuit.
Does that help??



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Paul McCannRe: Fostex FR2 modification
by on Mar 10, 2014 at 7:39:44 pm

Thanks Rob... so can i get this clear ....the Hirose connector to be used attached to the line of the battery would be one and four and on the hirose fitted to the fostex one and four also.....i ask this as the guy in the electrical repair shop wanted me to get the hirose in the wire fitted first so he could then check the polarity of the hirose attached to the battery to give him an indication of which way to fit the hirose socket in the fostex....i hope this makes sense......it is the guy from the component shop who has sent me an email and asked how the Hirose should be wired.....i shall send him your explanation but i have also asked him to call Farnell technical department....i am surprised people who fix electrical items are not savvy to all of this>??? so its safe to say to wire the hirose connector pin one negative and pin four positive regards paul


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Rob DunfordRe: Fostex FR2 modification
by on Mar 10, 2014 at 9:44:45 pm

In the case of the battery to Fostex connection, I recall my repair guy did one and four.
But I don't want to confuse you to much.
In reality it is the Fostex repair guy who would decide which to connect to plus and negative. He can chose any of the four pins, but the opposite pins ensures better isolation.
Then once that is decided, you simply maintain the pin assignation to the other connectors.
Farnell will not be able to say anything, since you can use any pin.
I think the confusion is that the hirose plugs only start at four pins and no less. They go up to seven. So any two pins can be used so long you maintain the pin config throughout the chain.
The whole point of using hirose is the security of the connection, not possible to disconnect by a tug on the wire. So four pin hirose was selected because it was the hirose with the minimum pins.
If you like call me on 01761 471355 and I can talk you through it.



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Paul McCannRe: Fostex FR2 modification
by on Mar 10, 2014 at 10:02:12 pm

Thanks Rob i will write another email to the guys in component shop and give them this information. I guess if the guys there wire one and four and let me know i can then give this information to the guy who is fixing the fostex and hopefully that will be that :) I really dont know what i would do without your help Rob thank you very much its really appreciated!! and i went down stairs to make some dinner thats why i am just replying now. but if i could call you if i have any more issues that would be great as i am losing the will to record anything at this rate :( with the complications of sorting this out. kind regards Paul


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Paul McCannRe: Fostex FR2 modification
by on Mar 10, 2014 at 7:45:57 pm

can i also ask do you power your sound device with 3 AA batteries? or do i have to get another battery pack with another hirose configuration to power that also??? sorry for all these questions regards Paul


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Rob DunfordRe: Fostex FR2 modification
by on Mar 10, 2014 at 9:53:41 pm

Three AA rechargeables work fine with the 302. It sips batteries. Only if you were driving three phantom power mics all at the same time would the batteries run flat quicker. My experience was on an 8 hour day, I still had power in the batteries. SD mixers are renown for their power saving.....
I have the much bigger 552 and that takes only four AA, it lasts all day.....



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