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! :)

When do you change your battery?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by The Ryantist, Feb 21, 2014.

  1. I just checked some brand new 9V batteries and they are about 9.6 volts. The battery in my bass is about 8.4 volts and it still sounds fine. I guess all preamps are a little bit different, but is there a typical voltage where a battery should be changed?
  2. BluesWalker

    BluesWalker Supporting Member

    Jun 17, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    When the preamp in my bass stops working, i.e., no sound comes from the bass when innactive mode, or 6 months; whichever comes first.
  3. Yes. My Audere warned me the other day and then started to break up a bit. 8.4V
  4. remainthesame


    Sep 24, 2008
    i change my batteries the same time i do the smoke detector batteries. i figure i gotta buy 9 volts anyways.
  5. Sid Fang

    Sid Fang Reformed Fusion Player Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2008
    Which I find amusing, because on my Steinberger, which has a damaged-but-functional battery door, I use 9V long life lithium smoke detector batteries. They cost about 2x the top of the line Duracell/Energizer alkalines, but they're usually good for two years or more. Normal alkaline 9V batteries seem to last me 9-12 months in my other active basses.
  6. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    If you're just using a standard multimeter, you're not getting an accurate measure from the battery, just FYI.
  7. Standard multimeter? What, you want a load tester or something? Dc volts should be accurate.
  8. M0ses


    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    Never. Oops. I'm in the wrong thread.
  9. remainthesame


    Sep 24, 2008
    i change them twice a year whether they need it or not. both the bass and the smoke detector. ill have to try those batteries
  10. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC

    I am also curious about this comment. I have used all kinds of voltage measuring equipment over many years of R&D and have not seen significant discrepancies with multimeters. You can of course get into some electrochemical nuances that occur under different loads; but those are nearly irrelevant to assessing the viability of a healthy 9 volt battery. Just curious.
  11. dabbler


    Aug 17, 2007
    Bowie, MD
    Not sure if 9 volts are different, but I have definitely seen differences when measuring AAs with a battery tester vs multimeter! Load matters!
  12. lyla1953


    Jul 18, 2012
    My amp tells me when the batt is getting weak and I'll generally throw in what I can find (repurpose) at the moment.
    My observations are;
    -I can't really tell (hear) it's getting ready to happen - it either works acceptably or it doesn't, that quick.
    -Being diligent about unplugging when not in use, I get roughly 4.5 months of use with daily playing.
    -My bass generally eats batteries about a third faster as compared to what I read on TB - but again I've been know to use whatever batt I can scrounge.
    -21 year old Alembic with Anniversary Electronics.
  13. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    A multimeter will in general be close, but yes - since it does not place a load on the battery, you don't get a true measure of it. You're simply measuring the terminal voltage. As the amp-hours of charge in the battery decay there is a voltage depression which moves along a curve - this curve varies with the type of battery (and, even brand).

    Think of it like this, as I'm sure we've all done this a time of two. You have a device with a battery that is nearly dead. The device can't be powered by the remaining juice in the battery, so it turns off. If you let it sit powered off for a time, you can almost always at least get it to somewhat turn back on.

    For real life, using a multimeter gets you enough in the ballpark for what we do. When I want to really know, I bust out this:

    And usually test a battery for at least 10 seconds to see what the final readout is. I've seen some pretty big swings on batteries.

    TL;DR - Multimeter is likely close enough for our application, but I've seen enough deltas of multimeter vs load test to only really trust load testing.
  14. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I'd say 8 volts would probably be the lowest you'd want to go - your bass may stop working before then anyway. And a standard multimeter will work fine for your purposes. There's a bit of hair splitting going on around here.
  15. experimental bassist

    experimental bassist

    Mar 15, 2009
    Even a bad battery can show good voltage when there's no "load".

    And by "load" I mean when there's current flowing out of the battery to do "work", such as to power a preamp.

    A multimeter by design is not going to put much of a load on a battery to test voltage.

    Change them once or twice a year, especially if you are gigging.

    No reason to have them die on you in front of an audience, because you know that's when it will happen! ;)
  16. Geri O

    Geri O

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    This is an excellent post on battery life and testing. I knew that your first post would raise some comments was waiting to see if you were going to explain further before I responded and you did, and perfectly, I might add..

    I like that you commented on the real-life needs of most of us. And I appreciate that you provided a link to that particular meter. For the very most of us, a Bb (basic) battery checker will suffice as long as we are reasonable about how low we let the batteries get before we replace them. Me, personally, I change the battery in my Music Man Stingray when it's at 8.5V, but I've experimented with batteries as low as 7V at the house and I'm amazed that the bass sounded fine. I wasn't interested in how low it would work below that. At work, in our wireless mics on shows and events, we'll use new batteries regardless of the age or voltage, but we'll use them for rehearsals and run-throughs until they reach 9.25V.

    I'm not going to tell folks when to change batteries. That's one of those "your cross to bear" areas. Do some experimenting and see what works.

    Good stuff, Selta, thanx again!
  17. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    Do any of your electronics wizards have a battery brand that you would endorse above all others? I've often wondered if there was a diff when I'm in the store aisle staring at Duracell vs Energizer, among others. All things being equal of course ... standard 9v. If it's not breaking any TB rules, I would like to hear opinions on this.
  18. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    I have a number of active basses, some of which are used infrequently, so it's nice to know how long the battery has been installed and its date, so if a proactive changing of the battery pre-gig is a good idea. I use my ears to judge when it's change time on my more frequently used instruments, when lower notes are squashed or distorted.

    For your consideration: I have been using the little removable 1/2" x 1-3/4" Avery 05422 (or preferably, Staples' cheaper equivalent) labels to write the date I changed the battery and its expiry date, and stick it to the back of the headstock. Also another label with the last strings used and change date. Being removable there's no damage to the bass. And I use them for lots of other purposes around the house, and also on effects pedals, etc...

  19. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    We'll agree to disagree on this point. Sure, if I am designing deep discharge rechargeable Li+ based cells or something; sure I'll use cyclic voltammetry to understand how my cell behaves in a lot of challenging situations.

    A 9 volt alkaline cell in my bass. I'll check it with my Fluke meter, thank you very much. If you want to use a sledge hammer to kill the mosquito because you feel better about it, that's great. But, doesn't mean the rest of us are stupid.
  20. waynobass


    Feb 27, 2008
    From the Music Man website:

    "Average battery life is 6 months. We recommend Duracell batteries as replacements mostly due to size inconsistencies between battery manufacturers. Do not leave your bass plugged in when you have finished playing, as this will drain your battery faster. Battery life of course depends on how often and how long you play. When the sound of your bass becomes distorted, it's ready for a new battery."