The Connector Dilemma

First 35mm Camera

Although the SV7510 Instant Printer was no longer in the lineup, EPD was still pursuing the other Still Video products. In 1986, there was the SV9600 Transceiver (which sent and received video images over phone lines), the SV7500 SVF Multidisk Recorder (random access playback from multiple still video floppies), the SV6500 Color Thermal Printer (6 x 4" full color prints), the SV5035 Slide to Video Carousel Device (transfer your slides to video) and a single disk SVF player/recorder by Matsushita. A major problem I saw as a systems person, was that each of the four Kodak devices was using a different RGB connector than each of the other devices. Andy asked me to do a connector survey and report back. He also asked me to come up with a good image for the cover of the report, something that would catch attention. An instruction which I thought was a bit unusual but I did as I was told.

After researching connectors, I was asked to make a recommendation for the connector to be standardized on. This was not well received by the various project managers, because it meant some of them would have to change the back panel configuration of their product to accommodate different connectors. I picked an excellent solution, or so I thought. One cable with a 6 pin DIN connector, instead of using four cables with BNC connectors. However, we ended up going with my second choice, the EIAJ 8 pin, because the SV7500 already had a plastic housing designed for those connectors. Retooling would have been cost prohibitive. Unfortunately, when it came time to have the cables made, they picked the cheapest place they could find to manufacture them. They were horrible, constantly breaking or not working because the soldering was so poorly done. As a result, many people blamed the connector I selected, not the cable manufacturer, or worse, they panned our products in general. A number of first generation products would fail due to cost cutting on crucial components, for example; a cheap lens on an expensive film scanner.

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