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Oooh Look at All the Pretty Lights!

Also: This transformer looks like a 111C, but is it?

Feed the tip jar! Workbench submissions are encouraged and qualify for SBE recertification credit. Email [email protected]

[E³] is a developer and manufacturer of programmable RGB-backlit LCD push-button switches for control panels in broadcasting, military and industrial applications. Its name stands for Engstler Elektronik Entwicklung GmbH.

At the NAB Show, the company introduced three series of LCD key technology switches that include MSC Multi-Segment Color, the ability to utilize different RGB background colors in the upper and lower segments of the LCD. 

Power consumption is only 25 mA at 4.5 to 5.5V. 

Examples are shown. Can you imagine the visually striking control panels you can design with these lighted switches? Browse

A sample of multi-segment RGB backlit switches from [E3].

Identify it

I’m still getting positive comments about Western Electric 111C transformers. Glad to bring back such great memories!

Can you identify this “mystery” transformer?

Ken Lundgren wrote that he inherited several items from the late Bob Seaberg, who had been a Tektronix sales rep for 25 years, worked at broadcast organizations like WBBM and HCJB and was a frequent attendee to the NAB Show.

One of Bob’s treasures now in Ken’s possession was the transformer shown here. It’s obviously an audio transformer, but any markings are obscured by tape residue. Interestingly, the orange text reads “Special Services Section.” That sounds sinister, but years ago, when you needed to set up equalized audio lines to connect a studio to a transmitter or a remote broadcast location to a studio, you dealt with the phone company’s Special Services Division.

Ken says this transformer is a little taller than the one we showed in April. So readers, any thoughts? Email them to me at [email protected].

Shrink it

Rolf Taylor, principal of Rocket Engineering and Consulting, saw our recent mention of heat shrink. He has used DYMO Rhino shrink for several projects and finds it handy.

Imagine the possibilities with 4:1 heat shrink!

He says most heat shrink has a 2:1 ratio, meaning it will shrink by about 50% in diameter, though 3:1 heat shrink is also available. The latter is especially useful when you want to slide the shrink over a connector but still assure a snug fit. Search “3:1 heat shrink” for sources. If you have a Micro Center store nearby, look in its hobby department. (Rolf says that’s also a decent Radio Shack substitute when you need emergency parts.)

Another heat shrink source is the website CTAM, properly called Cable Ties and More. It carries several brands; it even has some with a 4:1 ratio. Visit

Put a plug in it

Dan Slentz has heard broadcast equipment manufacturers express concern about allowing dust into the unused USB ports on their equipment.

Keep dust out of your USB ports with these inexpensive, colorful plugs.

Well, for 80 cents, why not buy a pack of 16 colorful silicon USB port covers at the online marketplace Temu? The name stands for “Team Up, Price Down.” (Today’s our day for supplier acronyms.)

At, type “anti-dust plug” in the search field. Dan says the funky colors will make the ports stand out. Each pack includes a variety of sizes for different types of ports. 

They also have plugs for computers, smartphones, tablets and other devices. Dan says his family loves the crazy stuff you will find at Temu.

Filter it

Dan also has heard a few horror stories about cell companies lighting up 5G in certain markets either unannounced or before the local broadcasters were ready. If you still find yourself in need of information about 5G filtering for C-Band satellite receivers, he recommends a free, archived SBE WebXtra video featuring John Joslin of Dawnco and hosted by Kirk Harnack. It’s titled “How and When C-Band Repack Impacts You.” Watch it below