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Active Pickups going Bonkers on Spector

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by mancefine, Jan 9, 2014.

  1. mancefine


    Jul 7, 2013
    Endorsing Artist: Orange Amplifiers and Spector Basses
    So...I really need some help here. I posted the other day that I thought my battery in my Spector Euro 4lx was going down way too quickly, as I play the bass plugged in maybe 8 hours per week and was having to change the battery every 1-2 weeks to keep the tone sounding good. I had also had some issues in the past with the jack going in and out. After several TB'ers advise that I get a new input jack, I took the bass to Guitar Center yesterday and got a new jack put in. The tech, who I happen to know is very competent, put in the new jack, cleaned some pots, etc, no issues. I put a fresh battery in while he had it open (Just to clarify I'm using good duracell batteries), he plugged it in and it worked fine and I went to band practice. Plugged it in, played for maybe 2 minutes and then the volume of the bass just dropped off and it started making this crazy crackling noise when I would move the bass and especially the jack around. I tried it with two different cables and it did the same thing, and I also tried another bass just to make sure it wasn't my rig. It wasn't.

    I took the bass back to GC and told the tech what happened and he seemed pretty surprised as he said that normally an input jack would be either bad or good, not inbetween. Of course, he plugs the bass in and it works just fine and went out just a bit. He checked and said all the connections looked good, but for giggles re soldered a few wires, as well as a ground. I pulled up the Spector wiring diagram for the 2006 euro, which I think mine is, and when he looked he noticed a discrepancy with the ground cable and re soldered that. Took the bass and played it for a sec and it worked.

    Got back to practice, played for about 25 minutes and it starts up again, volume dropping, crazy hissing sound etc.
    We had a show in a few hours, so desparate to see if I could fix it, I took the back cover off and poked around at the wires while it was plugged in to see if I could isolate the problem. I took the battery out of its home in the velcro sleeve and when I moved it around the hissing got worse. So I grabbed an old, already used 9 volt and swapped them out. My tone wasn't nearly as strong as it's been, but with the used batttery the hissing stopped and the bass was playable. I then put a DIFFERENT new battery in, and the hissing went crazy again. So, I put the older battery back in, headed to the show and tried to play the bass for a few songs but noticed my volume dropping off, so I finally switched from my $2000 Spector to a $170 Squire I picked up a few weeks ago. Bummer.

    So, does anyone have any semblance of a clue as to what could be going on? I'm taking it back up there at 5, but I'd like to have some suggestions. Sorry for the novel.
  2. Crater


    Oct 12, 2011
    Dallas, TX area
    No clue on what's causing the hissing...

    But the cutting in and out, crackling and low volume problems could be due to an exposed wire or terminal (like on the output jack or a pot) making contact with the edge of the control cavity. I presume a quality bass like a Spector is shielded, and if any exposed terminals touch the inside of the cavity, they'll be connected to ground. So make sure none of the terminals on the jack or pots can touch the sides of the control cavity. I've even slipped pieces of paper and cardstock in control cavities and inside effects pedals to stop "shorting out" problems.
  3. Technotitclan

    Technotitclan Lurking TB from work

    Mar 1, 2012
    Rochester, NY
    Exposed cable or a break inside one of the cables. I'm thinking one of the leads from the batt terminal has a break inside of it.
  4. mancefine


    Jul 7, 2013
    Endorsing Artist: Orange Amplifiers and Spector Basses
    Yes, I'm really hoping it's the battery connector, that's what the tech said when I called. I just think it's way too coincidental that it would start doing that after never having done it before after he changed the input jack. I don't think any wires were touching, he looked it over very thoroughly after the first time it messed up and I looked at it too and saw nothing noteable.
  5. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    1) Output jack.
    2) Any kind of wiggling around of the wires while changing a jack could make an intermittent problem with a loose or broken wire become worse. It'd almost be worth fully rewiring everything instead of having to track down the one wire that has a problem.
  6. Technotitclan

    Technotitclan Lurking TB from work

    Mar 1, 2012
    Rochester, NY
    This is what I do when I have issues like this.
  7. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    Post a link to this in the Spector club - maybe one of them has been thru something similar...

    - georgestrings
  8. RobbieK


    Jun 14, 2003
    Yeah sounds like the battery clip to me. If there's still a prob, then test all the pots. Anything electro-mechanical (switches, pots, jacks etc) can develop intermittent faults - fine one minute, dodgey the next - these can really be a PITA to track down, so be patient with your tech. :)

    Pus there may be more than one problem. A high hissing sound maybe a dodgey treble pot or a problem in the preamp itself. A loss in tone and output would point to the same things...

    Failing that, if the preamp isn't all potted up, then I'd start looking for dry solder joints.
  9. mancefine


    Jul 7, 2013
    Endorsing Artist: Orange Amplifiers and Spector Basses
    Just to update, took it to GC and rewired eveything, issue still occured so we deduced the tone pump pre amp was going bad. No one had any in stock so he re-wired everything to bypass the tone pump and problem solved, though my tone is not at 100% right now. So, the issue was caused by a failing tone pump pre-amp.
  10. Technotitclan

    Technotitclan Lurking TB from work

    Mar 1, 2012
    Rochester, NY
    Post in the Spector club. Someone there may hook you up with a fair deal on a used replacement.

    Having a bypass on an active system is always a good idea so when you replace your tone pump id recommend keeping a bypass switch. I have a push/pull volume on my active Ibanez for just this reason.