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How can I save batteries? Or my sanity

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by noi5emaker, Sep 7, 2017.

  1. noi5emaker


    Jul 18, 2017
    I have an Ibanez SR505 with active pickups. Love it. But as hard as I try, I keep forgetting to unplug the thing and I end up draining the battery. It's not that big a deal, and I have resorted to exchanging two rechargeables to compensate for my stupidity.
    But I was wondering if there is a way to have it turn off automatically, or install a light somewhere? Perhaps something like a knob with a light that reminds me to do the obvious thing that anyone else with an ounce of common sense could do anyway?
    Am I the only twit who can't unplug a bass when he's finished playing, or has somebody devised something ingenious to aide memory and bypass the forgetfulness?
    Lefty no more likes this.
  2. mikewalker

    mikewalker Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2017
    Canada, Eh!
    "you can't have it both ways..." ;)
    Aqualung60, gebass6 and noi5emaker like this.
  3. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    An on/off rocker switch with a led would be easy to implement on any bass.
    jfh2112, Honch, Andre678 and 3 others like this.
  4. noi5emaker


    Jul 18, 2017
    Doh. I hate reality.

    Interesting. If I could find a small, discrete one I might be happier.
  5. noi5emaker


    Jul 18, 2017
    LED thing got me thinking. Could I, I mean would it be possible to wire an LED inline with the battery so when I unplug the light goes out? I would only then need a hole just big enough for the LED to poke out
    ObsessiveArcher likes this.
  6. I wouldn't use rechargeable batteries. They don't put out 9 volts, but I could be wrong. It is 2017.
    jfh2112, mrcbass, SLO Surfer and 3 others like this.
  7. BusyFingers


    Nov 26, 2016
    rechargeables do not typically last as long as a new duracell would. i agree that a rockerbwith an led indicator would light up when in use would be an easy mod to place between your jack and the preamp. then you would hVe to train yourself to rocker off.
  8. Don't use recharcheable batteries. They are designed for high drain applications, and deplete their charge faster when just sitting there than ordinary batteries do under load. They also (generally) put out much lower voltages than they are rated for.

    Adding an LED to a bass would cause the battery to drain quickly. An LED draws a significantly larger amount of current than your active components, so your battery life will be significantly reduced.

    Unplugging a bass after use is the proper thing to do. I suggest working on methods to remember to do it, rather than searching out complicated solutions to a problem that shouldn't exist.
  9. noi5emaker


    Jul 18, 2017
    Hmm. I haven't measured them, but what effect would that have?

    No, these don't last long (even if I Unplug!) but I have two, so it's not a big deal.
    The tricky bit now is finding a rocker that's small enough to not look like a mechanic has hacked up my bass. And then of course the training...
  10. noi5emaker


    Jul 18, 2017
    Cor, what a killjoy. Just kidding! No, you're absolutely right. I hadn't thought about the drain the light would be on the battery. I think I would like a complicated answer - more fun! - but I think unplugging remains the way forward.
  11. Underpowering a preamp leads to decreased headroom, as the transistors cannot conduct higher voltage signals without distorting. It also means that the battery life is decreased, as you reach the lowest usable voltage much quicker, as the charge depletes.
  12. noi5emaker


    Jul 18, 2017
    Good to know, thanks Line6man.
  13. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    Just use the cheap two for a dollar ones from the dollar store. Many years ago before we had one-spots we figured out that the then-new expensive alkaline batteries didn't last any longer than the cheapies - they almost always died an early death by not being switched off :( .
    noi5emaker likes this.
  14. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Tennis ball on a string. Tie it to a thumb tack over the door frame of the room you practice in. Put it about 18" down and right in the middle of the doorway. Write "UNPLUG" on both sides with a Sharpie.

    When you get ready to walk out of the room you will.....
    Best case - notice the tennis ball and UNPLUG your bass
    Worst case - bonk your nose on the tennis ball and UNPLUG your bass.

    The simplest solution is usually the best one. Hacking up your bass for memory training is just silly.

  15. Low84

    Low84 Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2014
    I recommend a big piece of gaffers tape stuck to the back of the body with, "HEY, DUMMY -- UNPLUG ME!!!" written on it.
  16. Ant Illington

    Ant Illington I'm Anthony but I'm only illin' Banned

    Pick up your bass
    Put your bass on
    Plug in the cord
    Unmute your bass
    Play 30 seconds
    Mute your bass
    Unplug the cord
    Take your bass off
    Put your bass down.
    Repeat 3-5 times
    Go away
    Come back and rinse and repeat a few times today
    Then do the same tomorrow
    That should do it
  17. ThePresident777


    Oct 6, 2013
    My guess is that a DPDT kill switch will fix this problem for you as long as you remember to use it.
    Herrick and Kice like this.
  18. kurth83


    Mar 28, 2016
    I work in (amateur) sound, we use EBL 9v rechargables for all our sound needs. They hold as much as a duracell (~600 mah), and put out 8.6v which works fine for all our stuff. Battery meters on remote mics think the battery is slightly low on some of them. I use those in all my 9v music stuff too (pedals, guitars, basses). They don't self-discharge, so they work fine for low and high current draw applications (cordless mic is a high-current draw @ 250+ma). After EBL's hit the market, I never bought a duracell again. Previous 9v rechargables were 200mah, yucky, useless. EBL's work fine for smoke alarms too (charge once a year for me). In our sound booth we throw out all the batteries once a year preemptively, since they are recharged constantly. We have never had one go bad (we have about 10 of them in constant use). For home, my original set of 12 EBL's are going strong.

    WRT led indicator lights, yeah they draw about 15 ma, so you would burn a battery in 40 hours with just the light, maybe that's ok for you, if so then yeah, I would do it. There are blinker circuits, like what you see in car alarms that can reduce that a lot, but not sure it is worth the trouble.
  19. Bodeeni

    Bodeeni Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2010
    I have the same problem. I run all my active basses, active/passive with a battery kill switch or push/pull pot. Then I run them passive at home or use the switch. for some reason I am more likely to hit a switch than pull the cord. It has worked for me. The bass will make as pop when you go to battery.
    noi5emaker and ThePresident777 like this.
  20. If you sit down to practice, just wrap the cord around your chair a couple times. When you're done and stand up, POP. Unplugs itself!

    Yep, I'm a problem solver...
    rtav, diegom, okcrum and 14 others like this.

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