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A rant about Line 6 / Line6 wireless (G50, G30)

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by John Bigboote, Mar 11, 2012.

  1. John Bigboote

    John Bigboote Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2005
    Portland, OR
    It pains me to do this, but...

    I bought a G50 here on TB a couple of months ago. I wanted a unit that the missus could use on her keytar, or I could use as a backup/replacement for my older (illegal) Sennheiser if/when that time comes.

    I was psyched about the Line 6 G series wireless systems because of the great reviews and the fact they use AA batteries instead of 9Vs.

    The unit came with a set of coppertops that the seller included. Those lasted through testing and my wife's first gig. I offered to let my gui**** use the wireless in our project as long as the missus doesn't need it, and he accepted. So before the gig, I packed up a freshly charged pair of eneloops and went to the gig.

    When setting up, I was surprised to find that one of the batteries slipped in easily, while the other (+ end out) went in about halfway before I had to push it into the slot. I panicked and whacked it against my palm to get it out, and put the other battery in that slot. Same problem. But it was 8:55, so I pushed it in, closed the compartment, and gave it to the gui****. First song, he launches into his first solo of the night... and nothing. Starts checking connections, making sure everything is lit up, then takes off the transmitter and whacks it. It works, and works for the rest of the night.

    Saturday I use hemostats to pull the battery out by its bottom. Seems that, by pushing the battery in, the spring at the bottom couldn't overcome the friction, and push the battery against the contact in the compartment door the way it's supposed to. I tried another set of eneloops, and Energizer rechargeables, same problem. I got a new set of Duracell alkalines, and they slid right in, as they should.

    So there's the scoop: one of the main advantages of the G series transmitters is that they switched from the X series' 9V design to AAs, but they're not rechargeable-friendly. The kicker: six months I bought a G30 from Guitar Center. Got home and couldn't close the compartment door with batteries in it. Took it back, and the guys from GC couldn't close the door with eneloops or *any other battery* without major effort. And they tried with my return and *three, brand-new* G30s they had in stock.

    So my rant to Line 6: You have a great wireless design, but WTH can't you design your transmitters with just a little more tolerance, so we can fit NiMH batteries in them easily? This is a major design/engineering screw-up in my estimation; there's no excuse for putting out a product that doesn't work with major brand rechargeable batteries.

    Oh, and some IEMs based on the same technology, at the same price point, would kill too... but only if they can use rechargeables.


  2. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    The problem isn't with Line 6, it's with the battery manufacturers not making their rechargeables the same size as disposables.

    For the record I've used Duracell and Energizer rechargeables in my G30, never had that problem.
  3. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    the powergenix NiZN AAs from greenbatteries fit my G50 perfectly.

    i like 'em because they actually live just above the nominal 1.5V, instead of like 1.2V like most other rechargeables.

    i can get a full night out of them, reading above 1.5V the entire time. (the tradeoff is that they stay above 1.5V right up until they die, which they'll do with no warning if you try to squeeze more than two gigs out of a pair on one charge.)
    Zooberwerx likes this.
  4. Ben Clarke

    Ben Clarke Liquidating to fund a new business. Buy My Gear!

    Jan 6, 2005
    Western NY
    I use two different brand NiMH in my G30. No issues with fit, though I do have to slide tha latch over to lock the compartment. Bought one type at Radio Shack years ago, bought the other recently.
  5. chrisp2u


    Aug 15, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    Yeah, no problems here with my G50 when using these.
  6. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab ACME,QSC,Fame/Hondo/Greco user & BOSE Abuser Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2004
    South Texas
    Use Eneloops here, we all have AA wireless units(guitar, bass, lead vocal).
    I've only had 1 Eneloop exhibit the "sticking" issue and it wasn't as bad as your case although I would never "whack" a AA into place. I'm responsible for charging and rotating about 12 Eneloops. We have the 8 colored ones(2nd Gen?, good for 1500 charges, dark blue and light blue) and, recently-acquired, 4 of the purple glittery high mAh ones.

    PS: Take the pesky 1 and use it in your digital camera(s)...
  7. John Bigboote

    John Bigboote Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2005
    Portland, OR
    Okay, just to be clear, I tried *18* eneloops in the G50 (most white caps, four gray caps); all failed to some degree (some got halfway in before binding, some got 7/8 of the way in) but all got stuck.

    I tried four Energizer rechargeables. All got stuck *badly,* like, they couldn't go in halfway without getting stuck.

    Two Rayovac Hybrids slipped in pretty easily. They got snug the last 1/8 of the way, but both came out with a gentle whack. There's my go-to pair.

    To those who say it's not Line 6's fault/problem, that it's the battery makers' fault, I ask you: If you were designing something that took batteries, wouldn't *you* measure a broad range of batteries to make sure they'd all work? When one of the main benefits of designing around AA batteries is cheap 'n' easy access to rechargeables, wouldn't you want to make sure all rechargeables would fit your product?

    And then there's my G30 experience: There's me, and *three* GC employees behind the counter, all trying to get the battery doors of four different G30 transmitters to close on three different pairs of batteries, before they finally threw up their hands and agreed that I had a refund coming.

    Hey Line 6? Major fail. The fact that not everybody has the same problems just means that your manufacturing tolerances/QC are as poor as your design and engineering.

  8. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Line 6 does recommend duracells. I bet that the rechargeable batteries would really mess up the battery life time on the display. They tend to be lower voltage than non-rechargeables and have much different voltage curves.

    But I can understand your pain. The use of AA batteries, and the long life, is the second best feature of the Line 6.
  9. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    oh, yeah!

    with my NiZNs (which put out more like 1.6V), the battery meter reads full charge right up until the moment they die, rendering the meter useless.
  10. John Bigboote

    John Bigboote Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2005
    Portland, OR
    The meter looks like a nice feature, but I'd never use it anyway. The wireless gets a fresh pair before the show, no matter what. Which is another reason they've got to be rechargeable; I hate the idea of tossing alkaline batteries that *might* have enough juice for another show, but I won't risk it.

  11. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I always use duracells and the battery scale seems to be accurate. The only issue is that at power on it tends to read way too high. Wait a few minutes after powering up.

    I can usually get three gigs out of a set of batteries; but I am very careful about turning off between sets and quite often do the last set with a cable.

    The fact that in all the line 6 wireless threads nobody has complained about rechargeable batteries gives me the impression not many people use them in this application. I don't gig enough for rechargeables to be worth it. We only gig about twice a month.

    I do have a twinge of guilt about it though. My gut feel is that rechargeables must be more environmentally friendly, although I have never seen a good study on it.
  12. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    i could give a damn about that.

    i use rechargeables so that my rig is "complete" as it comes out of the van and i'm never at the gig stuck because i forgot to buy an extra, expendable item* to make it work.

    the battery charger for the wireless batteries is mounted right next to the relay 50 receiver on a pedaltrain nano that sits on my amp, and the battery charger for the 9Vs that my IEM pack uses is right on my pedalboard. when i hook my rig up, the chargers are necessarily powered up, too.

    (*well, except for strings, anyway.)
  13. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    Ok, but the battery manufacturers are the ones making a product that doesn't conform to the universal standard measurements for that battery type.

    If you want batteries that will fit, get Duracells. You can get the kit with charger and 4 batteries for under $20 at Walmart, and they'll last for hundreds of gigs.

    Or you can just go on the Internet and complain.
  14. John Bigboote

    John Bigboote Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2005
    Portland, OR
    Thanks. I think I'll go to the Internet and complain. Because if a roomful of engineers are too stupid to realize that the "universal standard measurements for that battery type" really aren't universal at all, and if taking out a caliper to check the sizes of batteries from different manufacturers is too difficult, then maybe they chose the wrong profession.

  15. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    It's not really Line6's job to anticipate every possible use for their products. In this case, they made a recommendation for a specific battery that's guaranteed to fit and you chose to ignore that recommendation because you prefer a different brand. That's on you.

    There's also the possibility that the product was designed with proper tolerance but manufactured on the low side of the spec. These manufacturing variances could even change from batch to batch which would explain why others don't have this problem.

    And this may be slightly off topic but I would never use rechargeables in my wireless units. They are too unpredictable for professional use IMO.
  16. +1
  17. The meter was a selling point for me, seeing my guitarist use his. It indicates very accurately how much juice you have left.
    I used Duracell always, good for probably 8 continuous hours, and you can continue playing while you are on the red for a good hour, before it starts blinking.
    Never had an issue with it.

    I would hate to not be able to trust it. I buy batteries in bulk. Cheap. No hassle, always ready.
  18. I guess we have different ways.
    I keep spare batteries in my case. Always with me. Take up less room than a charger or two as well.
  19. :)

    It's a hard life, eh?

    Manufacturer recommends a particular brand, very common brand, easy to find brand that seems to adhere to what you'd expect regarding size...

    Complain all you want, but you are missing out on one of the best wireless units available if you just throw a tantrum rather than do what you can be sure to work.

    Your choice :lol:
  20. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I see all the wireless companies warning against using rechargeables in their systems. Not a single one recommends it. I think they design the compartments not to work easily with rechargeables to discourage it. They're too unpredictable. They might work, and then they might not. And the lack of accurate strength monitoring is a dealbreaker for me. I get not wanting to waste batteries and contribute more toxic goo to the toxic goo we already have, but I could never trust rechargeables in a wireless. If you can and they're working for you, then that's fine, but I couldn't do it, and I don't blame wireless companies for discouraging their use.