Help me figure out which wire in my 4-pin XLR connector is the positive wire please.
May 3, 2008 3:48 PM   Subscribe

I bought one of these xlr connectors to hook up to a video light I have. However, I needed to change the connector on one end to a set of spade terminals. Unfortunately, I can't figure out which wire coming from the XLR connector is the positive one. The only thing I have to go on is that one of the wires has writing and a dashed line imprinted on it. Does that tell me something about its polarity? I also tried looking at XLR pinouts online, but they all seem to be different. I know that the wire with the writing on it is going to pin 1.
posted by J Parker to Technology (5 answers total)
If the video light is an incandescent, polarity doesn't matter.

If it's LED or something with an electronic ballast, it does matter.

Can you just put a meter on the socket it plugs into?
posted by tomierna at 3:54 PM on May 3, 2008

Response by poster: It's a halogen light. For reference, it's this model.

If it didn't have a dimmer knob and circuitry inside, I wouldn't be so afraid of getting it wrong. However, I'm afraid of frying the dimmer if I choose the wrong wire.

I don't think I can meter it because of the setup. The light has an XLR plug on it. Then, there's the extension cable I got with an xlr on one end that the light plugs into. The other end used to have an XLR connector as well but I cut that off and put the spade terminals on both wires so it can plug into the battery.

So, if I hook the extender onto the battery and test the resulting output from the other end (the xlr), it doesn't tell me much as I still don't know what the light's xlr pins are expecting... Hope that makes sense.
posted by J Parker at 4:15 PM on May 3, 2008

That specific light claims to have a solid state dimmer, so polarity probably does matter.

We had a light similar to this, and I built a similar 4-pin XLR cable for it, and got the polarity wrong initially. It worked in one orientation, but not in the other. Hooking it up (briefly) backwards didn't seem to affect the light. YMMV!

To be sure, wait until Monday and call Lowel's support line and ask them which pin is supposed to be what. I'm sure they will have a ready answer for you. The online specs didn't seem to say though.

Finding out which pin of your extension cable is which interior wire is up to you and a continuity tester.
posted by tomierna at 6:02 PM on May 3, 2008

Sorry to double post, I just wanted to mention that the similar light we had was NOT a Lowel, although it was halogen and did have a solid-state dimmer.
posted by tomierna at 6:02 PM on May 3, 2008

The standard wiring for 12VDC 4-pin XLR power connector in professional video applications is
Pin 1: Ground
Pin 2: + 12V

That is the wiring that powers every piece of 4-pin pro video equipment I've used.
posted by sycophant at 4:16 AM on May 4, 2008

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