Red stripe up—wtf?

The good news is that my Stages survived being plugged in wrong. But why is it designed this way? There is a “red stripe” lettering on the top side, but so small that I need a magnifying glass to see it. But there is also a white minus sign on the bottom side, which is big enough to read, and which I assumed signified negative voltage. Why violate the eurorack convention? And what does that white dash signify?

There is both a “red stripe” marking and a large minus sign at the top, along with an illustration of the connector in the manual.

The little mark at the bottom comes with the footprint of the connector.

The connector is oriented this way so that a normally constructed power cable flies over Stages’ board, and not the adjacent one.

Which Eurorack convention is being violated here?


“Red stripe down” might be a convention for some manufacturers, but it is by no means universal. I would argue that any attempt at making it be a convention has been a detriment to the community. It would be far better (and result in far fewer damaged modules) if the only convention were “plug the -12V side from your busboard into the -12V side on your module”. No mention of red strip, no mention of spatial orientation, no reliance on shrouded headers. Teach everyone how to properly connect power to module from the very beginning.

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Seriously? I have probably 100 modules. I’d estimate that at least 85% are red stripe down, probably more. The rest are sideways. This is the first upside down one I’ve owned. It’s not the most poorly marked though; some aren’t marked at all.

I take great care with plugging my modules in. When I saw the white dash on the bottom edge of the connector, it seemed to be conforming to the -12v down norm and also visually indicating negative. As an experienced user I shouldn’t need to consult the manual simply to move a module from one rack to another. Usually I can safely expect impeccable design and performance from my Mutable modules, which is why this one surprised me. Thank you for including the safety diode that saved me, though. Hopefully I don’t fuck this up again!

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Doepfer published an orientation guide as part of the A-100 FAQ, some time ago, so that’s some sort of standard - with an exception though:

Orientation of bus connection cables

…“At the module side the colored wire has to show to the bottom if the orientation of the 10 or 16 pin male connector is vertical. If the orientation of the of the 10 or 16 pin male connector is horizontal the colored wire has to show to the left (rear view to the module), except module A-111-5 !. The document A100_bus_orientation.pdf shows the different versions. In addition the installation of modules is described in the A-100 user’s manual on pages 4 - 6 (see MANUALS for details).”

My only problem with that, was understanding which way was up. I normally have modules oriented with their panels horizontal, and their knobs facing up - which is not what he meant.

I never disconnect the power cable from the module itself and just connect and disconnect it from and to the bus board. It’s more work, but better safe than sorry.

The power connector situation in Eurorack as a whole is kind of a mess. Kudos to @pichenettes for going the extra mile and putting reverse power protection into every module.