Replacing a Broken Power Jack on a DBX 266XL Compressor

I recently bought a DBX 266XL audio compressor/limiter on eBay. The seller described it thus:

Has light scratches, small amount of rack rash, in perfect working condition- no issues whatsoever. Has been used in my guitar rig for the past several years with no problems.

Broken C-14 power jack on DBX 266XL compressor

It arrived oddly but adequately packed and … as you can see, not in perfect condition. I would go so far as to say it had issues. I suspect had I tried to use it, I would have had problems.

Well … I could complain to the seller, who would tell me it was damaged in shipping, and then I could try to deal with the USPS who I don’t think broke it, and I could spend a lot of time and frustration and maybe get some money back and probably end up with no compressor. Or I could just fix it myself and have a little fun in the process.

Inside of a DBX 266XL compressor

There’s not much inside modern rack equipment — it’s all about room on the front for controls and the back for connections; the depth is determined largely by the placement of the power supply. And maybe by needing to be large enough to make consumers feel like they got their money’s worth.

Broken C-14 power jack on DBX 266XL compressor and two replacement candidates

The compressor had a snap-in C-14 connector with spade terminals. I had a snap-in connector from a floor wart, but it had narrower terminals that the DBX’s spade connectors wouldn’t engage securely. I had scads of C-14s from PC power supplies, but they were all screw-mount instead of snap-in and I didn’t feel like modifying the DBX quite that much.

Boxes of electronics surplus and supplies

Okay, back to the source. The first two dead power supplies I pulled out of my boxes had snap-in C-14s.

Broken C-14 power jack and replacement

The donor jack has spade terminals the same size as the broken original and even had a ground wire already soldered on. Sweet!

Replacement C-14 power jack in DBX 266XL compressor

Reassembly is the reverse of disassembly. Piece of cake! It worked great this afternoon at Ron’s studio.

Bent Rack Ear

Bent rack ear on DBX 266XL compressor

And by the way, is this the light scratches or the rack rash? I’d love to be generous and write it off to shipping damage, but I really think it was packed well enough to avoid damage in transit so I have to believe it started that way.

Again, it felt like a better ROI of my time to fix it myself than complain. I pulled all the knobs, unbolted the panel, wrapped it in card stock to protect the finish, and straightened it in the bench vise. It’s all good.

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