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HELP! TroubleShooting LED SideMarkers

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by MaddAnthony_59, Apr 10, 2010.

  1. MaddAnthony_59

    MaddAnthony_59 Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2006
    Columbus, IN
    I Channel Surf During Commercials. (Drives my Wife CRAZY!!!)
    I have an 87 Warwick NT Thumb that I recently acquired. It came with LED SideMarkers, which do not work. I looked at the Obvious, and Thought I had found something, as the RED wire connecting to the battery was seperated. I soldered it together, and no joy.

    So, I'm assuming that the Lights are engaged somehow by the Input Jack being inserted into the Instrument. But so far I haven't completely torn this baby down to Parade Rest to trace the wiring.

    Does anyone have any experience with LED SideMarkers? I would apreciate any suggestions.:cool:
  2. MaddAnthony_59

    MaddAnthony_59 Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2006
    Columbus, IN
    I Channel Surf During Commercials. (Drives my Wife CRAZY!!!)
    I got a little Adventurous today and took the bass apart. The original Warwick electronics were removed some time ago, and were replaced with an 18 Volt Status HyperActive HH pickup configuration, and a 303 Preamp.


    There are 3 battery compartments, 2 for the Status electronics, and 1 for the original electronics, which is only the LED side Markers at this point.


    There is a Blue Light on the body of the bass. It is lit when I plug the cable into the output, so the "Circut" is working from the original battery. I opened the control cavity to see the light, and there are only 2 wires going to it, the 2 wires from the battery. Okay, where are the wires going TO the LED's? I unstrung the bass, and removed the Neck pickup, and Lo & behold! There were 2 wires coming from the neck, taped off, and set aside!!! Any bets they are the wires for the LED Side Markers?

    I'm guessing I could put each wire on 1 end of a 9V battery and this would answer my question. I had to pack it up for the night, so tomorrow!

    So, my next "Quest" is to test the lights, and then wire them into the original 9-Volt power supply/Blue Light. I'll take some Pics as well...
  3. Keith Guitars

    Keith Guitars Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 25, 2004
    Woodstock, NY
    Builder: Martin Keith Guitars


    Before simply hooking up a 9v battery to the LED leads,
    you need to check and see what voltage they'll require.
    Depending on what they are, it might be possible
    to burn up all the LEDs immediately if you give them too much voltage...

    If there's any way to determine the installer of the LEDs (Warwicks are most often Sims LED systems, made more likely by the Status electronics that suggest a British owner at some point (guessing)), contact them and see what, if any, resistors are needed in line with the battery.
    They might be built into the system, but then again, they might not, and could possibly have been cut out along with the original battery connection.

    Best wishes,
  4. just as a side note, my status B2 takes 3 9v's.... i think they are running in series to power both the LED's and the pre amp. i really should pull a bettery or two and see if they change the operation :p

    im sure status has a simms licence (john entiwstles early modified buzzards had simms LED's same with mark kings basses) so they will probably be the same as warwicks (again john had warwick buzzards too with simms LED's).

    still best to send simms a quick email just to be sure. just a quick guess but im thinking with possibly 10 LED's on your neck that 9v may not blow them without any resistors but and its a big but, check first with simms :)
  5. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    Most of the led's Ive had in various led toys and mini flashlights use 1 or 2 button cells. Each being 3 volt. The batteries used in guitar and bass led systems I'm familair with use one 3 volt button battery. Though a lot of store bought leds like radio sells use 9-12 volts.

    Sounds quite reasonable to assume the same battery that powers the one working led is also meant to power the other leds. Chances are they arent lower voltage.
  6. MaddAnthony_59

    MaddAnthony_59 Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2006
    Columbus, IN
    I Channel Surf During Commercials. (Drives my Wife CRAZY!!!)
    I have contacted Sims. They told me that this bass had the LEDs installed by Warwick, not Sims. He said their systems were 9V - 27V. I tried hooking up both 9V & 18V to the lighs, and there was no activity. I'm guessing there is more wrong than just being disconnected. It may have been 9V, and the Modifier connected this to the 18V system and blew it up. Hard to say...

    I've contacted Warwick to see if they had any documentation or a schematic, etc...

    In the mean time I have used White Out to put "Dots" on the side of the neck.
  7. MaddAnthony_59

    MaddAnthony_59 Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2006
    Columbus, IN
    I Channel Surf During Commercials. (Drives my Wife CRAZY!!!)
    Has anyone ever replaced an LED in a neck like this? I think my options at this point are to Replace the LED's with a known rating, or live with the White Out as the Side Markers.

  8. Maybe a little info on LEDs and how they work would be helpful.

    LEDs are current operated devices; their brightness depends on the current. They can be run at almost any battery voltage with the appropriate current limiting resistor. So, you need to know the recommended battery voltage and resistor. From this, you can calculate the current they were designed for; you can then use a given battery with a resistor that gives you the rated current. Without a current limiting resistor, you can easily blow them out. The 9V vs 18V issue is not an issue - sounds like the current is the issue.

    The other issues with LEDs is the "D" part - they behave as diodes, so the battery has to be connected with the correct polarity. If you hook them up backwards, they block the current and no light is emitted.

    Hope this helps.
  9. MaddAnthony_59

    MaddAnthony_59 Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2006
    Columbus, IN
    I Channel Surf During Commercials. (Drives my Wife CRAZY!!!)
    Well, I've tried everything from 1.5 Volts to 27 volts, both polarities. No one will give me any information on these at Warwick. They probably don't know at this point. After installing their own until about 1990, they had Sims install LED side markers for them. Martin Sims was good enough to reply back to me with what he knew of the Warwick installed LED's. But Warwick won't even reply to say "Bugger Off!".

    That's why I'm considering Tearing out the Old ones, and starting fresh. I have a separate 9 volt power supply from the 18 volts for the preamp, so I'd be shooting for that voltage range. The trick now is how to get the Old Ones out and the new ones in without tearing off the finger board. Perhaps taking it to a Luthier is in order at this point.

    Thanks for the responses!

  10. No problem - don't know if there is much we can do here.

    Did you have a current limiting resistor in line with one of the LED leads? I don't know about your specific construction, but all LEDs require this resistor. Now the bass may already have one or more in there for this purpose, but it may not. You have to limit the LED current - the voltage isn't the big issue. OK, enough on the current. It is possible to fry the LEDs if there is no current limiting, even with a battery.

    Tearing out side marker LEDs would, in my view, require taking the fingerboard off, especially if you want new LED markers. The cheaper route would be to drill out the existing LEDs, leave the wiring, and fill the holes. Replacing them sounds like major surgery.
  11. MaddAnthony_59

    MaddAnthony_59 Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2006
    Columbus, IN
    I Channel Surf During Commercials. (Drives my Wife CRAZY!!!)
    It does sound like Major Surgery.

    It plays nice, and with the White Out Side Markers it plays fine, even in the dark! I'll just wait until I run across someone who has some experience with this type of issue. (does this person exist?!?)

  12. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    On some instruments they don't just send voltage to the LEDs, they strobe them quickly to make the battery last longer. Most LED displays are like that also, as are auto tail lights.

    So there might have been some circuitry involved with the original electronics.

    But that is just a guess. I don't know anything about the system.
  13. ric stave

    ric stave

    May 6, 2006
    Buffalo, NY
    The 2 basses I've owned with LED's (Warwick Thumb6 NT and Status Stealth 6) have both had switches (mini toggles) to turn the LED's on and off, and had nothing to do with the 1/4" inst cable jack. Totally seperate circuit from the bass' audio.

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