When switching out heating coils for your e-nail
The most important thing to do is make sure that the heat coil pin wiring order matches your controller. If you don’t then your enail probably won’t work, and you might end up with a hot mess!
Just because the XLR plug fits does not necessarily mean that it is compatible. Some enail makers came up with their own proprietary heat coil pin wiring order on their plug in hopes of gaining repeat buyers. This often causes more headaches than anything, so get that face out of those palms and read on for some remedy options if you have a suspicion that this is your culprit.
How do I know if I have a mis-match?
There are a variety of malfunctions unfortunately with the huge number of combinations that the 5 wires can be combined. You can be certain however that you have a mismatch if the enail controller screen reads EEEE. This is the classic error message that basically means the sensor went bad or disconnected inside the heating coil. The heater needs to be changed for a new replacement coil that has the same wiring order as the last.
The easy way to find your heat coil pin wiring order:
The first and easiest way is to message the company you bought your original gear from. Just ask “Will you please tell me what the wiring order is for the pins 1-5 on the XLR plug? They understand what you mean. E-nail companies are generally responsive, upfront, friendly and transparent with this information. There’s not much reason to guard this information, unless they are really trying to keep their wiring type proprietary. It’s not like it’s Coke’s secret ingredient or anything, though! (:
Your right to know:
It’s for your safety’s sake that you know, so it’s pretty reasonable to be asking. They should comply because it’s a safety concern for the customer if they buy mismatched replacements. It’s not like you are asking Coke for the secrets to the recipe or anything! In reality proprietary wiring for coils don’t do much for brands except confuse and frustrate customers. They may get a few repeats from certain customers but overall it’s more of an annoyance than anything. It would be much better if we all stuck to the same wiring order “standard”.
Online sellers disappear
Your online seller may be unresponsive. If you don’t get a response then take the bull by the horns and find out for yourself! A “quick diagnosis” on the heat coil plug is not as hard as it sounds. You will come out with the information you need to replace your gear as well as a new skill.
How to find your heat coil pin wiring order (the manual way):
First, unscrew the plastic housing from the metal housing on the plug’s end. See the pictures below for an illustration of where to twist. Now, pull the plastic piece back with the protective sheath to reveal the inside. You will see a plastic guard that goes around the soldered pins. Carefully pull the whole piece out of the metal housing and remove the plastic guard. Note: the plastic guard can be stiff and tricky. If you break it just use one thin layer of electrical tape to wrap around the pins once. Note: too much tape will make it hard to replace inside the metal housing.
Exposed Thermocouple Wires
Now you should be able to see 5 different wires connecting to metal pins. Some of these wires vary in thicknesses and/or in color (hopefully). Look to find the two wires that are thinner than the other three. If you see a pair of thin red and black wires, they are probably the TC’s. We’re more than halfway there!
Ground and AC Power Lines:
Try to see if you can spot one odd wire that is not like any of the others to single out the ground first (it’s easiest). The two remaining thicker wires are probably AC power, which are normally interchangeable (since AC is non-polar). DC power runs to the TC’s (which do have polarity) so positive and negative need to be connected to their matching spots on the controller.
Polarity: Which is TC+ and TC-?
Next, you will find out which of the TC’s is positive and which is negative. Normally the red is positive and the black is negative. If you are sure that you have the TC lines and not the AC lines, you can safely do a trial and error test. You can be reasonably sure of this if there is one set of thick wires and one set of thin wires. This one (below) is an easy one to judge the two thicker black wires from the thinner wires. Those are the AC power lines. The odd (green and yellow) wire is usually the ground, and black and red are the thermocouple sensor wires.
Heating or Cooling
You will know if the TC’s are backwards when the temperature display falls instead of climbs as the coil heats up. Temperature readings will quickly fall below zero and start reading negative temperatures. Now you also know how to make a DIY fridge or freezer using these controllers to maintain cool temps as well! I can’t recommend doing a DIY on this if you are not experienced with electronics or the safety precautions of electric work. If you are experienced, however, keep reading for more instructions!
Measure Twice, Cut Once!
Before you cut any wires it’s a very good idea to label any with tape to keep things straight. You’ll thank me later! If your wires are all the same color/size and you may easily lose track of which is which. That’s why if the wires are not distinct enough to differentiate, it’s best to label first before cutting. Cut on the plug side of the label rather than the coil side, so the labels stay on the on the coil side wires. These are the ones that you may lose track of if too similar looking.
Quick Sketch Makes It Easier
After you find the first connection, make a quicklittle sketch with two columns showing the pins #1-5. One column represents the enail controller and one column represents the heating coil. Then draw and connect the appropriate connections to make sure everything is clear and easy before you re-connect.
Twist or Solder
After you find and label and/or diagram your pins for both ends on a piece of paper, snip and strip some insulation from the wires. Look at the chart/diagram you made and re-connect appropriately. After re-connecting, use a very thin wrapping of electrical tape or very thinshrink tubing for protection.
It’s best to cut the wires in different spots just to minimize any future chance of short curcuits. This also makes it easier to get the cable sheath to slide back over the wires later on.
RCCtools Compatible XLR Pin Wiring Order/Configuration
Here is a short list of coils & controllers that are compatible as of 8-21-2019 (you are responsible to make sure that no changes have occurred since then)
Auber (RDK-200 and RDK-300)
Max Vapor Nail
HighFive (only with their adapter)
Pulsar Elite Series Mini