Checking Batteries inside an 18 volt Bass ??????

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Eddie LeBlanc, Jun 21, 2018.

  1. Eddie LeBlanc

    Eddie LeBlanc

    Oct 26, 2014
    Beaumont, Texas
    Don't create no problem, won't be no problem.
    Does anyone have any idea of a process to check the batteries inside the bass that is set up for 18 volts???? Dual 9 volt batteries wired in series.

    I have 18 volt systems in my Spectors and would love to find a way to check them, without having to remove the batteries. The system uses a 3 way 1/4 inch Stereo Phone jack that turns the system on when a normal guitar cord is plugged in. (In fact most all active systems function this way)

    Seems to me, there ought to be a way to use a 3 way 1/4 inch phone plug and check voltage with a multi-meter to check. Such a pain in the butt to get to a sound check, and then find out you need to change batteries. On a Spector, that means using a screwdriver to get to them. And then finding extra batteries.

    There is a company that makes a device that can test 9 volt system (nice and even checks pedals easily), but it won't work on 18 volt systems.

    Any ideas??????? Be great if some one built a device that can do this, since many active basses are going to 18 volt systems.
  2. Thornton Davis

    Thornton Davis

    Dec 11, 1999
    I have 2 x 9 volt batteries in my Schecter Hellraiser Extreme-5 and I find the best was to check them is to remove them and put them on a battery tester. That way I know I'm getting accurate results as to how much life they have or don't have left. I don't know of any other way to check them.

    Good luck.

  3. ddnidd1

    ddnidd1 Supporting Member

    Insert a bare stereo plug (without a shell) into the bass jack. With a multimeter measure the DC volts between the 'sleeve' and 'ring' wire connectors of the bare plug.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2018
    Eddie LeBlanc likes this.
  4. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    Yeah, you could always buy a cheap little multi-meter to keep in your gig bag. Then get a 1/4" Stereo Plug, and permanently connect it to the test leads that came with the multi-meter. The red wire goes to the ring terminal and the black wire goes to the sleeve lug. At the gig, plug it in and turn the meter on (on the DC Volts range). It won't tell you which battery is bad, but it will quickly tell you if both are good.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2018
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  5. mikeoso

    mikeoso Acoustic Curmudgeon

    Feb 14, 2014
    eastern Iowa
    If it was me, I'd be doing that check about two hours before leaving for the gig. Call me OCD, but I don't think my bandmates want to see me taking my bass apart backstage.
    Bob_Ross likes this.
  6. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    Well, Yeah, I agree. As an obsessive engineer-type, I'd make sure my bass was ready before I left for the gig. Probably even a week before the gig. I consider it a personal embarrassment to have my own bass fail at a gig!
    But I'd still take the meter, so that if something did happen, at least I could quickly diagnose it and fix it. The worst thing is to be scrambling around at curtain time, not knowing what's wrong. The ultimate embarrassment for us technical types.
  7. mikeoso

    mikeoso Acoustic Curmudgeon

    Feb 14, 2014
    eastern Iowa
    Until I retired, I was an historian, non-technical type...but my father was an engineer, and he taught me that Murphy never sleeps. Have you ever heard of a tapewound string breaking? Me neither. But I still keep an extra set in my gig bag.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2018
  8. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Use a calendar.
    Change the batteries every 6 months.

    They'll never go dead in that length of time unless you leave the bass plugged in. If you accidentally do that replace them the next day.

    I've been doing this for 20+ years and have never had a battery die on a gig.
    gebass6 and Bob_Ross like this.
  9. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    ^^^This. The basses that I use most often get changed on New Year's Day and the Fourth Of July. The ones that get less frequent use still get their batteries changed on New Year's Day.

    If I'm going into the recording studio they get new batteries a couple days in advance (at the same time that I put on a new set of strings)...and unless that session was in December, I'll still change them again on New Year's Day.

    Oh, and all the used batteries that I take out of the basses every 6 or 12 months... I give them to my guitarist friends. :roflmao:
    KeithAlanK and mech like this.