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First experience with active electronics...

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by gtmattz, Sep 17, 2008.

  1. gtmattz


    Aug 23, 2008
    And I have had to replace the batteries 2 times in the week or so that I have had the bass?? When the batteries are low I can tell quite readily as if I have the volume anywhere abouve 1/2 with the low eq anywhere abouve 1/2 I get terrible distortion, replacing the batteries clears this up and restores the nice clean sound.

    The instrument in question is an Ibanez BTB570FM 4 string with bartolini MK2 pickups/3-band EQ which takes 2 9V batteries. I got about 3 days of playing out of the cheap batteries that came with the thing and replaced them with some fresh energizers and they lasted about 5 days. I am not in a band or anything, but I have been spending 2-4 hours a day playing. I made sure to read up on active electronics and have been unplugging the bass every time I finish playing, as I understand that will kill the batteries.

    I was under the impression that most active setups would last weeks if not months of playing on fresh batteries, not a matter of days? If it is normal then I guess I am going to get myself a set of rechargeables and always have a pair charged and ready, unless there is a problem with using rechargeables?

    Any advice will be greatly appreciated, as I really love the sound I get with fresh batteries, but really don't like the idea of spending $40 a month on 9V bricks, not to mention the environmental impact :scowl:
  2. LowBSix

    LowBSix Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 25, 2008
    818 ~ 805 ~ L.A.
    Endorsing Artist: GHS Strings
    Take the bass back...
    I've been playing active basses since 1977 and my batteries last a long time....
  3. Yeah, something definately wrong.

    Option 1

    The bass is bad. I'd get a bass checked up if the battery lasted weeks on end... cause as long as i've owned active basses, batteries last months and months and months.

    Option 2

    You aren't unplugging your bass between session. Keeping a cord plugged in on an active bass is a no no.

    Option 3

    Bad batteries. I've had the cheap brand of batteries(ingles brand) go bad in a few days in a pedal once. Went through 4 of them like they were candy. Buy good batteries, i prefer Duracell Ultras
  4. gtmattz


    Aug 23, 2008
    I will try some different batteries. After some thought, these batteries may not be that great. They are energizer, but I bought them from walmart, which (at least the one around here) is notorious for selling stuff that other stores determined was junk. The 'expiration' date on these batteries is 03-2013, but I have no idea what kind of conditions the batteries have been subjected to, so there is a good possibility they have been way too hot considering that I live in the desert where temperatures can exceed 110F in the summertime. I will try getting batteries at radioshack instead, as they keep a smaller inventory so should have some fresher product.
  5. most active basses use either a switching jack or a stereo jack to complete the power circuit.

    If it's a switching jack, it could be that the contact is staying closed even when there is no plug in the jack.

    If it's a stereo jack, it is quite possible that the battery negative is connected to the ring (nut part) of the of the jack instead of the sleeve (middle part).

    Either situation will cause your preamp to remain powered-up and draw power even when not in use.
  6. 7flat5


    Nov 28, 2003
    Upstate NY
    I think it's very unlikely that fresh 9V alkaline batteries were subjected to such abuse in the package as to render them bad. I suspect it's the switch in the jack on the bass that is not disconnecting properly. I'd certainly have that checked, especially if the bass is new or a dealer will stand behind it. It's a potentially very easy fix.

    Edit: dang, beat me to it!
  7. Mad Russian

    Mad Russian

    Aug 25, 2008
    Raleigh, NC
    This has got me in the past!
  8. cbass717


    Jun 30, 2008
    yea if you leave ur cabel in. say bye bye to the power. if u take it out after you play it should last u like months
  9. gtmattz


    Aug 23, 2008
    Well I am definitely unplugging the bass every time I put it down, so if it is draining while not in use it would have to be a bad switch. I will make sure to bring my fluke meter home from work tomorrow and check a few connections to see if there is any current draw while unplugged I guess. (Don't worry, I am an electronics engineer and know my way around a circuit, I'll be careful ;) ). I am a bit hesitant to send the bass back, as I bought it through musicians friend (I live in a remote area where there are no music stores within a 3hr drive), sending it back to get checked by them is a bit of an ordeal. Hopefully I can figure out the problem and it will be something simple. As for the batteries, well, lets just say that this walmart has a very very bad reputation for selling things that should have been circle-filed. It really wouldn't surprise me if these batteries were something that had been determined as bad that walmart bought for pennies and is re-selling for normal price. I am going to grab a fresh pack of the super duty batteries that I use in my fluke meter from Radio-Shack tomorrow and see how those fare.

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