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Panel XLR5 to Cat5 - low profile solutions?

Tom Baldwin

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Does anyone know of a good low-profile (depth) solution for terminating Cat 5 to panel mounted XLR5 connectors?


I'm aware of the Neutrik PCBs

but these are quite deep, and there's no way they'd fit in a standard electrical box, for example when fitted to something like these.


What I'd really like is something absolutely identical to the Neutrik Ethercons with IDC termination - except for an XLR5 instead of the actual Ethercon part.


The only way I could see of using standard electrical boxes would be:

- have custom plates manufactured (punched for A or B series Neutriks, not D series, because Neutrik only appear to make vertical XLR5s in A and B series, not the D series)

- make custom PCBs to take Vertical A or B 5 pin XLRs and 2x Krone 4 Way PCB Connection Modules (6048/1/001/04), all mounted on the same side of the board

 --    |    |    --
|  |   |    |   |  |
|  |   |    |   |  |

(that's a punchdown block, an XLR, and another punchdown block).


Which is possible, but a bit of a pain.


The cleaner alternative would be to use something like the Canford wall box range, although they seem quite large just for 2 or 4 XLRs.

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It's a difficult one, because you can get XLR3 with IDC straight on the connector (NC3FAY), screw terminals (NC3FD-S-1-B), and so on and so forth, but nothing less than the 47mm depth for the IDC/Cat5 socket XLR5s.


I've seen installations where standard solder XLR5s have had short 50mm-ish tails soldered on (presumably on the workbench), and joined with 3A (or smaller if you can find it) terminal block on site - so no soldering at the top of ladders needed. Not as neat as a custom PCB or IDC connector solution but not too bad - nice and cheap too.


Also, just to mention - Penn Elcom knock out punched D-plates for electrical boxes much cheaper than the canford ones - £2.40 compared to over £10 from Canford for the 2-gang one - link

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Germaine, when you say custom, do you mean asking Neutrik to create (say) an NC5MD-AY connector? Or something else?

Quantities are 12 of each sex, which I can't imagine would excite any manufacturer for a custom order.


Following on from the ideas here (and some other links found on the Blue Room), at the moment I'm leaning towards using Penn's 4-hole A series plate (seems to be a bit of an orphan in their product range - loads of D-series plates, and a solitary A-series plate), with vertical PCB mount connectors and Krone blocks on a custom PCB.


I also needed to make up some larger facility panels, with a mix of audio and DMX on them. This discussion lead me to look at Front Panel Express's pricing, and it seems that the money I save by moving from DL-series to A-series connectors is more than enough to pay for the custom panels from FPE. (Which also means that sound get IDC termination on their XLRs as well, so I think we can avoid any soldering on site).


Thanks for the help - I'll try to post pictures in a few months time once we actually get all of this installed.

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