Active bass is dead

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by antipopp, Nov 23, 2022.

  1. antipopp


    Nov 23, 2022
    I've tried to look for a better thread title but I literally have no idea what is going on with my bass, a Cort Artisan B5 with Bartolini pre/pickups. It was bought used so I can't say what year is it. Definitely pre-2015.

    When I plug the jack in it doesn't make any sound. I've changed the battery with three different brands but nothing changes. Sometimes, when I rattle it hard, it makes some static/clip sound but I haven't found anything in the electronics that could reproduce it.

    Could it be a bad 9V battery clip? When this problem started if I rattled the battery it used to work, but now it doesn't make any difference.

    I have a cheap multimeter but I have no idea how to use it (it was bundled with something else).
    EatS1stBassist likes this.
  2. Gabbs


    May 15, 2010
    Boulder Creek, CA
    Google "cold solder joints" and see if you have some on the board. A little heat with a soldering iron might fix this.
  3. 4StringTheorist

    4StringTheorist Supporting Member

    Most likely scenario, a solder joint inside has (partially) failed. Should be a simple fix with the right equipment and knowledge.
    nanbanpapa and Dominic D like this.
  4. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    That's a pretty big clue, right there.
    It looks like the B5 has one of those swing out battery compartments. I've had the contacts in those weaken over time and start cutting out the power. You might be able to take the box out & bend the contacts back from the other side. Or source a new one here:
    Guitar Parts Factory - Battery Boxes
  5. antipopp


    Nov 23, 2022
    I'm trying to understand what a cold joint is, should I look for them on the main board?
    For the battery box, I took it out but it doesn't really do much waggling it.

    I'm attaching pictures for the main board and the battery box, maybe you can see something.

    IMG_20221123_200235.jpg IMG_20221123_200216.jpg IMG_20221123_195252.jpg IMG_20221123_195323.jpg
  6. Those have a stereo barrel jack socket.

    No idea why companies use those things as they're a poor design. The socket fails over time and unlike the spring type socket you can't do anything except replace it.
    scuzzy, Hectobar, fdeck and 2 others like this.
  7. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    I’ve run across this. The spring-esque copper contacts go sproing and no longer make firm contact. I bend them back into shape with a dental probe.

  8. Post 6&7 are the 2 most likely culprits. The contacts in the battery box are no longer making good contact and/or the barrel jack has failed. Could be both.
    EatS1stBassist and Reedt2000 like this.
  9. Plain Old Barry

    Plain Old Barry Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2018
    Is the battery backwards?
    PhatBasstard likes this.
  10. Zoffy

    Zoffy Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2020
    Sacramento CA
    How invested are you in having an active bass? I had a newly purchased active bass that was having similar issues continually and I swapped out the active pickups with passive EMG Geezers. To paraphrase Robert Frost, "and that has made all the difference." :thumbsup:
    totalnoob and EatS1stBassist like this.
  11. red_rhino

    red_rhino Artful Dodger Gold Supporting Member

    I’m pretty sure the Bart pickups are passive. It’s the EQ tone circuit that’s active. But unless there’s an active/passive bypass switch there’s no way around a dead battery or a faulty circuit component. I think what the OP needs to focus on is the EQ, not the pickups themselves.
    Spidey2112 and PsyDocHill like this.
  12. Darn, I thought this was going to be a spicy post claiming the supremacy of passive basses. Grabbed my popcorn for nothing.
  13. Jeff Hughes

    Jeff Hughes

    May 3, 2020
    I thought this was some kind of Nietzschan post about active basses.
  14. Sharko


    Jun 18, 2009
    Washington, DC
    I came here for this
  15. The bass has active/passive switch. In passive mode, it should sound even without battery. Does it work in passive mode? If not, the problem will likely be somewhere else. Check whether the input jack or some pot had not gone loose. When it does, the loose part starts to turn, and eventualy some cable gets pulled out from the joint. The cable can get pulled out from the battery case as well - generally everything that moves in the bass can get hurt. I'd download a schematics of the electronics, and checked whether everything is connected.
    Spidey2112 likes this.
  16. antipopp


    Nov 23, 2022
    AFAIK the passive switch on this Cort is more like a bypass, it doesn't cut off the active electronics and it won't work without batteries.

    I've noticed the volume knob is a bit loose, I'll see what I can do this afternoon. How do you tighten knobs? I don't see screws or anything. The input jack looks fine, it doesn't move or wiggle.

    I've been looking for the schematics, but the Cort website doesn't have my model (anymore?). I've looked at some similar options like the Artisan "Element" but they do look different from what I have.

    I don't care about active/passive sound, bass guitar has been a hobby for the last 15 years and other than playing for myself I didn't really do much with it. But I don't want to spend the extra cash for a bass that is worth the same as some new preamp. If you have suggestions for something below 100€ and that is available in Europe I'll look into it.

    Next week I'll look for some workshops in the area if I can't get it working by myself, hopefully they won't charge much for a troubleshoot.
  17. Marc DLarosa

    Marc DLarosa Supporting Member

    May 29, 2017
    Or upside down?
    Plain Old Barry likes this.
  18. s-l400.jpg
    You need to remove the pot top - if there's not a screw from the side, then just by pulling it off, likely using some smart thin tool like a tough plectrum (don't scratch the finish). It might need some force. Then you need to tighten the nut. You don't need to buy the tool on the pic - any right size or adjustable spanner will do (12mm?). But first, check whether the cable has not gone out from the rear side. If it did, you'd likely need to turn the whole pot so that the cable would reach its connecting place.

    I found schematics on their website, see attached. It should be reasonably the same, even if your model is a bit different. If not, browse through bartolini schematics and find what's looking most similar to what you see when you unscrew the rear cover of the bass. You will see the pattern in a while.

    If a cable went out, it would have to be soldered. If you never did it, find someone who did. Doesn't have to be a luthier, any guy experienced with soldering machine can do it. Good luck!

    Attached Files:

    Nebadon2000 likes this.
  19. Pops OB

    Pops OB

    Nov 4, 2016
    Sell. Buy passive.
  20. From the thread title, i thought this was going to be a Nietzsche type philisophical post about enlightenment around passive pickups
    ravelax, ctmullins, Jefenator and 2 others like this.