Leaving my pedalboard plugged in a long time (days/weeks)

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by BtaylorTheRogue, Feb 7, 2019.

  1. BtaylorTheRogue


    Nov 14, 2016
    Oh lords of the low end, I call upon your knowledge once again.

    up front edit: when I say plugged in, I mean to the wall socket AND with the instrument cable

    Sometimes I leave my pedalboard plugged in for quite a while. And I'll be honest, I don't always practice every day.

    Sometimes stuff sounds bad. My volume will be wonky. I'll have some buzz. Certain effects won't be pronounced.

    When I unplug and replug (my power supply), everything is right as rain. Can anyone explain?

    I'm running an y-adapter from my wall here in the US to a Onespot CS7 and CS12, which in turn power a mix of digital and analogue pedals.

    Edit: also, if anyone knows off hand (please don't do math on my account), how much money am I wasting by being lazy and not unplugging?
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2019
  2. When the problem is fixed by plugging out, then - for me - the cause are the digital pedals. It wouldn't make sense with the analog circuits. If they behave weirdly (because of heat) then the problem wouldn't go away with them being shortly unplugged.

    There are ac cables with a switch for your feet. Easy and simple solution. Saves energy too... you know... only one planet and stuff...
    DrThumpenstein and nolezmaj like this.
  3. crguti


    Feb 14, 2011
    maybe because you don't practice everyday that your pedals 'sound bad'.
  4. Nick von Nick

    Nick von Nick Supporting Member

    Oct 29, 2014
    I use something like this: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01KZBFONQ/ref=psdc_3236443011_t1_B01HGNN30M

    Cheap and simple ON/OFF switch. I was willing to fork out the $10 for the peace of mind.
    ~Nick von Nick
    Berme and cosmicevan like this.
  5. ProfFrink


    Jan 16, 2015
    I usually try to turn stuff off as much as I can when not at home but it has nothing to do with the quality of the sound or the cost, but simply because of the fire hazard. Yes, it's probably relatively low risk, but I have heard of people's houses getting burnt down due to electrical wiring (e.g. my former boss's house burnt down almost completely) and why risk it - it's easy enough to turn most stuff off when not in use.
  6. chadhargis

    chadhargis Jack of all grooves, master of none Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    I run a tube preamp so I always shut off my gear to extend the life of the tube. It’s all on a power strip so I click it off with my foot when I’m done.
  7. cosmicevan

    cosmicevan ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Inactive

    curious what's best practice if you are playing on and off over a span of a few hours. Better to turn on and off or leave on?
  8. @cosmicevan,
    switched mode PSU's (wall warts) don't really like being switched on/off too frequently. The 'warm up, cool down' does for them eventually.
    @BtaylorTheRogue ,
    It should tell you on your electric bill how much you're paying for each unit(1kiloWatthour). Add up the mA figures on your pedals or in the manual. Multiply that by your supply voltage to get a Wattage figure:
    Watts = Volts * mAmps
    Say 1 unit of electric is $10. Divide your Watts figure into 1000(1kiloWatt). Say it's 50Watts, that gives you 20. So you can run the kit for 20 hours before it costs 1 unit.
    Yes I know that's a bit rough 'n' ready, but
    TL;DR - costs?, not a lot.
  9. CapnSev


    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    I’d just leave it on.
  10. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    Guitar player in my friends band leaves his plugged pedals plugged in and on for months at a time. Only time he unplugs em is when they gig to transport near monthly, but even when they're not booking shows for awhile they're on ... and they normally only get together weekly to write or rehearse. Seems strange to me, like what's so hard about unplugging? It's not like he'll forget to turn em on before rehearsal next week :meh:
    westrock likes this.
  11. Jack


    Sep 6, 2003
    Northumberland, UK
    Meh, if you turn them on and off all the time the continued power cycles will wear them down. If you leave them turned on all the time the capacitor aging will wear them down. Probably best to keep them turned on if you're going away for a bit but turn them off if you'll be away for a lot.

    If I turn my rig on, I'll leave it on for the rest of the day usually then turn it off if I leave the house or go to bed.
    cosmicevan likes this.
  12. cosmicevan

    cosmicevan ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Inactive

    I have little kids so occassionally they get busy and want their own space and I get 15 to 20 mins to jam...which usually ends by them making their way to "jam" w me - aka twist knobs on pedals and bang on instruments until the mrs cant take it anymore or its homework time or something like that. I can usually come back to playing agin within 2 hours. I have some tube gear and my power amp does get hot after being on for a while so my inclination is to power off, but maybe I should just power down the amp and tube stuff and leave the board on? Or would it not really even matter for the tubes to leave them on regularly in an idle state?
  13. Jack


    Sep 6, 2003
    Northumberland, UK
    Power cycling is actively bad for tubes, that's why tube amps have standby switches. If I was leaving a tube amp for a few hours I'd leave it on for sure. The board won't really care either way.
    cosmicevan likes this.
  14. cosmicevan

    cosmicevan ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Inactive

    Appreciate the input from everyone here. Maybe Ill just switch off the poweramp going forward. Leaving that idle and on for hours seems like a bad idea or am I wrong there as well? Like I mentioned, it does get reasonably hot - I use a stewart world 1.2