1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

My active pickups die within 3 weeks..normal or not?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by MistaMarko, Feb 3, 2006.

  1. MistaMarko


    Feb 3, 2006
    Hello..I'm new here, and I'm just really desperate to find a solution to my problem without going to the guitar shop and wasting money.
    I recently purchased a Cirrus BXP-5 bass, about 3 months ago. It's like heaven. Plays perfect and everything, but my pickups are acting a little weird, and I'm not sure if its normal.

    These 2 links are just sites that I got my guitar from...it has the specs and everything so that if you have questions about the specs you can see them here:



    In my guitar instruction manual, it says something about that this particular bass is different from most, since it has more internal pre-amp action going on. My bass has treble/mid/blend/and on/off pickup knob + volume for total of 5 knobs. It has 2x VFL Peavy pickups, that are like huge. It required 2 9-volt batteries. After about 3 weeks of regularly gigging and practicing, I'll just notice a distorted, quieter, fuzzy sound, and then soon later my batteries die. Everyone I've asked has said that they should last like years, and like never die. Is there something wrong? I have no idea, and I've been dwelling on this problem for awhile. I just don't want them to die in the middle of a gig or something, because that'd be a big problem. If anyone could help I would gladly appreciate it. If you have any questions, just ask; I'm sure I left out something important.


  2. fookgub


    Jun 5, 2005
    Houston, TX
    It could be wired wrong. Make sure the jack is stereo, and that it's wired correctly. It should be hot to tip, battery (-) to ring, and ground to shield. This thread should be of some help: http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=190145. Many Yamaha RBX374's had wiring problems along these lines, so searching TB for that model could be useful.
  3. MistaMarko


    Feb 3, 2006
    I looked at that thread you posted, and that little drawing of the electronics in a bass. My bass requires 2x 9 volt batteries. The black wire from one of the batteries comes out from the battery, coils up in a bundle with a bunch of wires to which I cant keep up with the wire, but all of those wires are attached to a black rectangle thing with 4 white outlets, and there are 3 black wires, so I'm assuming thats where the black wire of one of my batteries goes. The black wire from the 2nd battery goes all the way to my input jack..is that wired correctly?
  4. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Are you unplugging the bass when you are not using it? Plugging in the bass usually turns on the preamp.
  5. MistaMarko


    Feb 3, 2006
    Yes, at first I left all the knobs turned up and the chord plugged in all night, and they died. Then I realized that leaving it plugged in messed it up, so I always unplug when not in use, and turn knobs all the way down. Doing so maybe made the batteries last a little over a week longer...So. Like, is it possible for their to be some short in the wiring to cause battery power to constantly bleed 24/7 or something? It just gets annoying replacing the batteries all the time.
  6. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    It could be the output jack on your bass or it could be an internal short somewhere else in the electronics.

    All the active basses I've seen use a 3 conductor jack. When the cord is plugged in it pushes a contacy over that connects the battery. When the cord is removed this contact is supposed to move back to where it was and disconnect the battery. Sometimes these jacks are faulty and need to be replaced. You can look at the jack with the electronics cover removed and see what happens when you plug and unplug the cord.

    Sometimes it's hard to get a close enough look if the electronics cavity is crammed full. It might be best to take it to a qualified tech and have it checked out and repaired. If it's the jack it shouldn't be an expensive job. If it's something else it may be.

    Your battery should last at least a few months even with a lot of playing as long as you unplug your bass when not in use.
  7. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Turning down the knobs should make no difference. It does sound like you have a short or at least some sort of leak to ground.

    How hard is it to remove the battery? Unless you are comfortable trying to find the short just remove the battery every day for three weeks. If the battery is still good at the end, it is a short. I wouldn't recommend this as a long term fix.
  8. MistaMarko


    Feb 3, 2006
    Well, I have to take two screws out and pull them off the little 9 volt connecter. I don't think it would be hard, just time consuming.
    Would it be possible to use those things that test for shorts?..Eh..I forget that theyre called..Ohm or ion or something little meter?
  9. MistaMarko


    Feb 3, 2006
    Ok, I went to some forums specializing in my bass's actuall brand, the Peavey forums. I searched for some threads about battery life, and I found some guy saying this to a guy who had the same problem as me. FYI, I also have the 'VFL' pickups.


    I think what you are talking about maybe a "feature" for the Millenium BXP AC series.

    I had the same concerns. I think it is down to is the "higher" than average current drain of the Millenium electronics.

    I did my own investigation on my Millenium and found that the VFL pickups draw 4mA each whilst the active preamp consumes around about 8.7mA. Add this up and you've got around 16.7mA drain on the batteries (when the cable is connected).

    This means with a pair of 200mAh batteries (rechargeable in my case) you get around 12 hours of playing before you need a change.

    On a good akaline battery you may get more like 20 hours or so but it's not massive.

    If you are the sort of player who does 1 hour gig a week and 1 hour prctice then it's not such a problem. If like me you play 1-2 most nights then you get busy swapping batteries!

    FYI, EMG pickups and electronics typically run on a 10th of the current so swapping batteries becomes a 6 monthly thing.

    Oh well! It's a good job that I like the Millenium AC sound!

    Simon B."

    Does that sound reasonable maybe?
  10. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Does it sound "reasonable", no. But it is probably correct :( That is a huge battery draw for an onboard preamp.

    One guitarist I know has a DSP on his acoustic guitars onboard preamp. The batteries are good for 1 to 3 gigs :eek: His batteries go dead on him all the time. He puts up with it. In his case I would replace the preamp and use a pedal. I think he gets delay or reverb and compression from the DSP.

    I your case, you either have to put up with it. Or replace the pickups and preamp. Or replace the bass. Depends on how much you like the feel and tone. And how much you are willing to spend.
  11. That explains it! :oops: I had to switch to passive today when I started practicing, about 3 weeks after getting my new bass. Guess I'll take the extra 5 seconds to unplug after each session. This forum has already paid for itself! :bassist:
  12. ToS


    Mar 4, 2014
    Few years later and Peavey hasn't got the solution to this design. My Millennium 5 AC BXP draws 18.5mA on a set of fresh batteries. I'm not happy exchanging the batteries after 20 hours of playing.