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pbahorich

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I just figured out how to make the Molex part easy and you don't have to buy a crimp tool:

These Molex P/Ns come from Digikey with wire leads already crimped in place so you can just solder splice the wires together (the way God intended) and avoid buying the crimp tool:
Cable Assemblies | Jumper Wires, Pre-Crimped Leads | DigiKey

I'm going to buy them now and cancel my order for the crimp tool. Too bad they only come in black and red. A white one would be nice for the balance lead.
 
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Wayco

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I got a package of small clear LEGO parts from Kevin and Tracy yesterday. There was one that fit the hole in my PRO case, but I have no idea what it's part # is. I installed it after a bit of work with a small rat-tailed file and fired my RX up. It's amazing how much a bit of clear plastic amplifies the light coming from that little LED. I glued it in with some thin CA, applied with a tiny screwdriver.

Big thanks to all that helped me with this project. Especially Tracy and her LEGO collection.

I'm also having a bit of trouble with the MOLEX connector, one of the leads that go through it is intermittent. I would like to remove it, but the tool that I have for that job not only didn't work, but broke in the process. I crimped all my wires with a small pair of needle nose pliers, but one must be a bad connection.

I appreciate all the work that pbahorich did to identify the part, but come on man, who are you really? I can see that you fly at launches I go to, but do we know each other?

And Secondly, does anyone know what tool I can use to remove the male pin from the MOLEX plug?
Did we all put the pins in backwards?

I'm glad that I started this thread, lots of good information posted up about building this wonderful device. Hoping that we can all work out the bugs we find as we are assembling it.
 

H. Craig Miller

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View attachment 497957
Well, I really like the Lego LED combo. So far so good except the molex connector really kicked my butt and I gave up on that part. Thus far this project has been a fantastic learning opportunity and has stretched my abilities.
It took me almost as long to do the molex connector as it did to assemble the receiver. I finally had to make a special tool to install the pins.

And, yes, I was one of those that got the male and female pins reversed. Luckily I had two cases (so extra pins) and realized it before I got too far.

I also soldered my pins… No intermittency.
 
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kenstarr

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I tried pins both ways, soldered a couple, wasted some more, then gave up. Seemed way too delicate to me. Also, other wires I used for the various and sundry parts requiring wires, were way too heavy duty but it was what I had on hand.

What gauge wire would experienced builders recommend using?

My experience begins at "seems good enough for electronics applications" and ends at 310.15(b)(16)
 

kenstarr

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I got the transmitter built today. Everything works, the first time! Thank you Wayco for starting this thread. It has been immensely helpful! I'm much more confident in my electronics assembly skills now and I've learned a little about the operating principles as well. Tomorrow I'll take it easy and build a Quark. Maybe I'll tackle the Proton as well.
 

pbahorich

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I tried pins both ways, soldered a couple, wasted some more, then gave up. Seemed way too delicate to me. Also, other wires I used for the various and sundry parts requiring wires, were way too heavy duty but it was what I had on hand.

What gauge wire would experienced builders recommend using?

My experience begins at "seems good enough for electronics applications" and ends at 310.15(b)(16)
Although I typically use 20 gauge, I bought the 18 gauge wires with Molex pins/sockets already installed from Digi-key. The thicker wire made it easier to seat them in their sockets, since it is a bit stiffer to push than 20 gauge.
 
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pbahorich

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The wires with Molex pins/sockets installed finally arrived from Digi-key (after a USPS delay for 8 days in Grand Forks, ND!).
It took me about 10 minutes to install them all into the plug and receptacle. I performed a continuity test and all 5 connections are working.
Remember the sockets go into the smaller connector plug, which provides power from the charger. The pins go into the larger receptacle, which mounts on the case.
Next I'm going to wire them into the Black Aero case. I'll let you know how it goes.
Molex wires installed.jpg
 

BLKKROW

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I understand crimping pins might be a new thing for most builders, but there is quite a bit of information and guides online. On the product webpage I include the the wire gauge recommended by Molex, this doesn't mean that a larger gauge won't work. I also include ten pins, when you only need 5 so you can practice.

Removing the pins from the molex housing requires a small flat head, again plenty of Youtube tutorials and knowledge online. Did I also mention this is the "Pro" kit, meaning it was designed to provide more functionality than the standard case, but requires a little more finesse.

Also, I am always here on TRF or through email if you need assistance or more pins.
 

cerving

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Crimp pins require the exact crimping tool that's made for them. Besides making the crimp look really pretty, they fold the tabs over to exactly the right size and position so the pins can be inserted into the housing. You just can't do that with pliers, or by using the automotive crimp tool that you got at the dollar store. BTW, they also make pin-extraction tools too... I've got plenty of experience with both tools and RS-232 "DB" type pins and housings.
 

pbahorich

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I understand crimping pins might be a new thing for most builders, but there is quite a bit of information and guides online. On the product webpage I include the the wire gauge recommended by Molex, this doesn't mean that a larger gauge won't work. I also include ten pins, when you only need 5 so you can practice.

Removing the pins from the molex housing requires a small flat head, again plenty of Youtube tutorials and knowledge online. Did I also mention this is the "Pro" kit, meaning it was designed to provide more functionality than the standard case, but requires a little more finesse.

Also, I am always here on TRF or through email if you need assistance or more pins.
Hi Kyle,
I haven't had issues crimping pins and sockets for D38999 connectors on aircraft (I'm an aerospace engineer) or terminal lugs for other applications. And I've built 9 boards from Eggtimer so far including the most complex and they've all worked at first power up. So I think the general word "Pro" shouldn't scare me off nor do I think lack of "finesse" is the issue here. I would consider Cris Erving a "pro" even if he hasn't mastered crimping the undefined Molex connector supplied. I haven't worked with Molex before and these small ones that came with the v3 pro are giving all of us problems. I might be the first one on this thread (besides yourself) to make the Molex work, and that only by using the pre-pinned leads from Digi-key.

There are all types of Molex connectors out there, so I would recommend you provide some crimper recommendations. I ordered one from Amazon that works with Molex, but not the type of Molex you are using so I had to return it. Youtube tutorials tell you how to work with Molex, all kinds of Molex, but not necessarily the Micro-fit 3.0 Molex you are using. I think you should specify this in the instructions as well.

My Email request for help sent January 5th did not receive a response. I do understand this a side business and not something you can dedicate tons of time to.

In summary, I think you would have far fewer struggling customers if the instructions are modified to:
1. Specify the Micro-fit 3.0 is used. Molex is not descriptive enough to find the correct tutorials, etc.
2. Recommend an affordable crimp tool for the pins.

or, just provide the pre-pinned leads like I've identified in my post above.
 

kenstarr

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I fault no one for my inadequacy to handle the crimp on pins. I swear I've used them in the past and crimped them with small pliers and had success but I got my butt kicked this round. Oh well.
Edit: I do agree with what pbahorich said though.
 

BLKKROW

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Hi Kyle,
I haven't had issues crimping pins and sockets for D38999 connectors on aircraft (I'm an aerospace engineer) or terminal lugs for other applications. And I've built 9 boards from Eggtimer so far including the most complex and they've all worked at first power up. So I think the general word "Pro" shouldn't scare me off nor do I think lack of "finesse" is the issue here. I would consider Cris Erving a "pro" even if he hasn't mastered crimping the undefined Molex connector supplied. I haven't worked with Molex before and these small ones that came with the v3 pro are giving all of us problems. I might be the first one on this thread (besides yourself) to make the Molex work, and that only by using the pre-pinned leads from Digi-key.

There are all types of Molex connectors out there, so I would recommend you provide some crimper recommendations. I ordered one from Amazon that works with Molex, but not the type of Molex you are using so I had to return it. Youtube tutorials tell you how to work with Molex, all kinds of Molex, but not necessarily the Micro-fit 3.0 Molex you are using. I think you should specify this in the instructions as well.

My Email request for help sent January 5th did not receive a response. I do understand this a side business and not something you can dedicate tons of time to.

In summary, I think you would have far fewer struggling customers if the instructions are modified to:
1. Specify the Micro-fit 3.0 is used. Molex is not descriptive enough to find the correct tutorials, etc.
2. Recommend an affordable crimp tool for the pins.

or, just provide the pre-pinned leads like I've identified in my post above.
I have no email from you on 01/05/2022, maybe double check the email address? I wasn't here to argue, just offer some advice. In my memory I have had two individuals reach out regarding the Molex connectors, one who used all their pins and they received a replace out of my own pocket. The other complimented my choice of connectors and wanted Digikey links to the connectors/pins as they wanted to use them for their electronics. Comparing this number to the total number of orders, the percentage of people I perceive to have issues, is minor.
 

FredT

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I finished my Pro case with Molex connector last week. It took hours to figure out how to get the first good crimp, but just a couple of minutes to get the last and the quality of the crimp improved along the way. I jotted down the process because I knew I'd forget by the next time.

I use the IWISS crimping tool mentioned in post #30 and 22 gauge stranded silicone wire. The IWISS tool has a sidedness and if used correctly will hold the uncrimped pin in place while you insert the wire. I like stranded silicone wire in all my rocketry application because of its flexibility. Unfortunately, its flexibility makes inserting the crimped pin in the housing a bit of a challenge. Here's my notes:

1. Strip about 3/16 inch from the lead and tightly twist the exposed strands.
2. Ratchet the crimping tool down two clicks, then insert the pin from the left with its wings toward the bump inside the crimper. This will hold it place while you insert the wire.
3. Insert the lead such that insulation is just barely inside the pin and not so far that the strands touch the business end.
4. Crimp tight and release. You should get a perfect crimp.
5. If necessary, use a small screwdriver to seat the crimped assembly in the housing.

I am looking for an inexpensive insertion and extraction tool. Does anyone have a source?

...Fred
 

Wayco

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I also sent an email to [email protected] on 12-30-21 and received no reply. I did manage to crimp four out of five of my pins with a small needle nosed plier, but can't seem to get the faulty one out to replace it. I'm monitoring my thread here in hopes of a valid method of removing that pin, but so far, I think that pbahorich and his idea of using pre-pinned leads from Digi-key is the easiest solution.
Anyone who thinks this is an isolated issue hasn't been following this thread very well.
 

pbahorich

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I have no email from you on 01/05/2022, maybe double check the email address? I wasn't here to argue, just offer some advice. In my memory I have had two individuals reach out regarding the Molex connectors, one who used all their pins and they received a replace out of my own pocket. The other complimented my choice of connectors and wanted Digikey links to the connectors/pins as they wanted to use them for their electronics. Comparing this number to the total number of orders, the percentage of people I perceive to have issues, is minor.
Here is a snapshot from the Email I sent. Is the email address correct?
1642699985137.png


I agree with the last sentence of the previous post.
The one who used all their pins obviously had issues.
 

pbahorich

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I finished my Pro case with Molex connector last week. It took hours to figure out how to get the first good crimp, but just a couple of minutes to get the last and the quality of the crimp improved along the way. I jotted down the process because I knew I'd forget by the next time.

I use the IWISS crimping tool mentioned in post #30 and 22 gauge stranded silicone wire. The IWISS tool has a sidedness and if used correctly will hold the uncrimped pin in place while you insert the wire. I like stranded silicone wire in all my rocketry application because of its flexibility. Unfortunately, its flexibility makes inserting the crimped pin in the housing a bit of a challenge. Here's my notes:

1. Strip about 3/16 inch from the lead and tightly twist the exposed strands.
2. Ratchet the crimping tool down two clicks, then insert the pin from the left with its wings toward the bump inside the crimper. This will hold it place while you insert the wire.
3. Insert the lead such that insulation is just barely inside the pin and not so far that the strands touch the business end.
4. Crimp tight and release. You should get a perfect crimp.
5. If necessary, use a small screwdriver to seat the crimped assembly in the housing.

I am looking for an inexpensive insertion and extraction tool. Does anyone have a source?

...Fred
I'm glad the IWISS tool I found worked out. Your instructions will be very helpful to future builders. Silicone wire is normally a great choice as you say, but whether one buys the leads from Digi-key or successfully crimps theirs, I would recommend 18 gauge non-silicone for these Molex. With this stiffer 18 gauge, I had no trouble inserting all 10, once I had the pins or sockets oriented correctly.
 

BLKKROW

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I dug into my email, and it appears my hosting domain has been doing weird things with email the last month, not forwarding the emails to my personal email. I will fix the email address on my website to my personal email until I get things sorted with my hosting domain.

So yes, I have missed emails from both Wayne and Pbahorich and I apologize for that. Please understand it was not intentional and having spent time with Wayne at various launches, I hope he can speak for my character. I also check TRF daily for messages and the vendor section in case someone has issues with my products.

In the instructional video I do mention you need a molex crimping tool, but I do not provide a recommendation because I have used ratcheting to non-ratcheting and everyone works for me.

Wayne: To remove the pins both wings on the pin have to be pushed down and the pin can be removed from the molex connector. This is the official tool: LINK

I have had success with a tiny flat head screw driver and being gentle. If you try this and it doesn't work send me a PM or an email at the new email address on my website and I can get you a replacement.
 

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