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Active basses with built-in lithium battery (e.g. Warwick Master Builts)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Taustin Powers, Sep 19, 2017.

  1. So I got a new Warwick Thumb NT and was surprised to find a mini USB jack on the back plate to charge the electronics. Turns out there is a lithium battery built in there, with the option to reroute to a normal 9V battery if you forget to charge.

    Does anyone have experience with that? How long does a fully charged lithium battery last compared to a throw-away 9V battery? Is it sensitive to temperature changes? Any problems with drained batteries when driving to a gig in freezing winter?

    I have had issues like that with a wireless system with built-in lithium battery, so I am curious whether this can happen here as well.


  2. Rechargeable batteries seem to be catching on. I use a shure glxd wireless system with a rechargeable battery with a similar deal with a mini usb jack for charging and it works for about 17 hours which is way longer than any wireless I’ve used that used 9v or AA. Actually really happy with that wireless. You can probably check the output of the battery whenever you want with a voltage tester. I’m sure being a new thing there’s going to be some lemons which is why I rarely buy anything new until the bugs have been worked out. I change the 9v batteries in warwicks about once ever 6 months. So I’d like to think it would last a very long time.

    As far as swapping it out for something else. Personally I recommend upgrading the electrics eventually anyways. If you play the hell out of your Warwick you will have issues eventually. I ended up replacing the jacks in all 5 of mine, replaced the pots and pre on the thumb NT5 and when I bought my thumb NT6 all the electronics had already been swapped. I know no one wants to spend additional money for stuff like that after buying what is an expensive instrument to begin with but for those of us who gig a lot it’s just basic maintenance to deal with those types of issues when they do come up. Getting sweaty onstage doesn’t help, playing outdoor shows doesn’t help, I’m sure there are some people who baby their high end warwicks and bring a beater bass to gigs like that but I didn’t buy mine so they could sit at home. It can be frustrating sometimes but no basses put a smile on my face like my thumb basses so I just deal with any issues that come up. And really it’s not like it’s bankrupting me. Even over ten year periods of owning some I still haven’t spent more than $200 on repairs for a Warwick yet. Which isn’t that much compared to what I paid for them.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2017
  3. Right now I am just using the 9v battery. But one of these days I'll give the lithium one a full charge and see how long it lasts. Just not when playing gigs with it, I don't want any surprises on stage! :laugh:
  4. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    I had a Masterbuilt SSII 6 with the new rechargeable battery preamp. Mine must have been defective, because it would only stay charged for a day or two. It went dead on me at a couple gigs. After that I ripped the entire system out and replaced it with a Nordstrand preamp.
  5. Axstar


    Jul 8, 2016
    East of Eden.
    Nice that they are embracing new technology, but that image is giving me the fear. I've babied LiPo batteries for an RC helicopter, and I messed them up. I had a charge protection circuit in place with mine, otherwise you can overcharge them. If I used them too quickly after charging then they swelled up and became less efficient. They could also get a bit hot... and never puncture one unless you want some fireworks.

    I want to say that the technology just isn't there yet. Lithium batteries seem a wee bit sensitive. Should I be flying with one of these Warwick basses? How many times can I recharge the Warwick battery before the performance is cut in half? Bass gear is meant to be hardy, and charging something off a micro-USB connector sounds too fiddly and fragile to be worth the grief.

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