Saving the Adret Electronique CS201 Frequency Generator Synthesizer

So I salvaged an Adret Electronique CS201, but I wasn’t able to test it owing to the fact that the power connection was made by an odd connector. One could always give in now and just throw it out or scrap it for parts.

Of course, I wasn’t going to let that stop me. So I went to make my own substitute. The first thing was that the connector was fairly hefty and boxed in on the inside of the unit, so I wasn’t going to disassemble the unit and just patch in a new cord by removing the socket – the more elegant solution. The rotting foam didn’t help either.

So I was going to have to work with the connector already there. It definitely didn’t help that the spacing didn’t coincide with a figure 8 or cloverleaf cable. Instead, it’s quite a bit smaller.

Warning: Whatever you do, you’re on your own. I won’t be held responsible for anything – don’t attempt anything you’re not confident with, and don’t complain to me about it either. There’s risks involved – risks which I’ve judged to be acceptable to me. Technically, it is illegal to wire up mains unless you’re an electrician … but I’ll just turn a blind eye to that … it’s not my first time around mains.

I judged the pins to be around the same diameter as that used by the four pin molex connector commonly used in computers. So it was molex to the rescue – this from an old dead power supply’s wiring loom – I chose the terminal connector for obvious reasons.

Terminal Molex

So, the wires may be a bit thin but it should still be good for the 2A or so requirement of the equipment. Another thing to check is the insulation withstand voltage – marked as 300v – just sufficient.

Wire Insulation Rating

Using a stanley knife, I cut through the plastic block, and peeled back some of the shroud to release each individual pin. If you have a molex de-pinning tool, that would be handy. I then tightened the pins ever so slightly by deforming them, and then fitted them over the connector to verify they have some slight friction indicating good contact … like so. I’ve chosen to use different colours for all three connections to make it easier to distinguish, but they are non standard colour.

Pins in socket

Of course, like this, it’s not exactly safe. So we’ll have to mechanically support and insulate these pins – and here’s another one of my favourite materials – hot glue.

Pins Glued

That keeps it all nice and sturdy. Why don’t I wrap it up in some Nitto tape to keep it all together? Now we have to use a cannibalized plug and lead and join it up to these wires. I would have used terminal connector blocks to be quick and dirty – but I had none, so I had to solder … and then cover them with at least two layers of Nitto.

Wire Joins

Okay, lets neaten it up with a full-wrap of Nitto around the whole deal so that nothing slides off and nobody gets electrocuted …

Full Nitto Wrap

Perfect! Now we can apply power and test it.

CS201 Power Up

It’s alive! The crystal oven light is on, and there’s no smoke!

I also hooked a radio to the output through a batch of attenuators and confirmed that FM modulation with an internal frequency source works just fine, but AM seems a bit broken, it’s more as if it does SSB rather than AM – but I’ll work that out another day with my SDR. The frequency is a bit off, but that’s expected as it hasn’t fully warmed up yet.

I left it on for another hour – no smoke, but the oven light dimmed, which suggests that the temperature regulation system is working just fine.

It lives! Another piece of ancient equipment lives!

About lui_gough

I'm a bit of a nut for electronics, computing, photography, radio, satellite and other technical hobbies. Click for more about me!
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2 Responses to Saving the Adret Electronique CS201 Frequency Generator Synthesizer

  1. Denis Bélières says:

    Wow ! I throwed away some female connectors some monthes ago … Too old to be usefull ! Now replaced by normalized CE connectors nowadays !
    By the way … i am an old engineer who worked in Adret electronique, but not on the CS 201 !

    • lui_gough says:

      Nice to hear! I’m quite surprised, but this unit works relatively fine after a warm-up period, and I was able to get AM/FM modulation working as well, so it’s definitely been made of high quality. Its former life was in a university’s lab, so it was likely a harsh life as well.

      – Gough

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