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Battery saving switch


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I shall try and word this properly.

It's known that leaving an active bass plugged in effectively keeps the circuit open and drains the battery.  Is there any way to leave the bass plugged in?

Over the last few weeks all my basses have gone into hibernation except for a Spector.  Can't leave it plugged in, so I was wondering whether there was something like a kill switch that I could go through to just leave it plugged in.  Doesn't matter if it's a mini footswitch pedal with an in/out and a button.

 

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30 minutes ago, NancyJohnson said:

I shall try and word this properly.

It's known that leaving an active bass plugged in effectively keeps the circuit open and drains the battery.  Is there any way to leave the bass plugged in?

Over the last few weeks all my basses have gone into hibernation except for a Spector.  Can't leave it plugged in, so I was wondering whether there was something like a kill switch that I could go through to just leave it plugged in.  Doesn't matter if it's a mini footswitch pedal with an in/out and a button.

 

Assuming you don't want to fit a switch to the bass itself:

the connection is made by the sleeve connection of the TS jack plug.

If you had a TRS jack plug at the instrument end you could look at fitting a switch between the 'R' and 'S' connections.

Might be a bit trick / cumbersome though depending on your priorities. And I suppose you could build a box to do the same thing by running the TRS cable to it and switch there. With cable to amp running from the switch box to amp. Is it worth the bother ?

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It ought to be possible to hack something together from a standard jack plug and a little diecast box or something. Maybe someone who makes custom cables could knock up a prototype. 

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32 minutes ago, nekomatic said:

It ought to be possible to hack something together from a standard jack plug and a little diecast box or something. Maybe someone who makes custom cables could knock up a prototype. 

No it's not possible as far as I can see because the switching is done on the socket inside the guitar, if there's a plug in - it's on!

 

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28 minutes ago, KiOgon said:

No it's not possible as far as I can see because the switching is done on the socket inside the guitar, if there's a plug in - it's on!

 

True for a standard guitar jack plug is a TS. But if you use a TRS 'Stereo/Balanced' jack plug you can move the switching outside the guitar. I do think it's a bit inelegant though.

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The battery negative is connected to the ring contact of the jack, and the circuit ground to the sleeve. When you insert a mono plug it shorts ring to sleeve thereby connecting power to the circuit.

It's certainly possible there are other ways of doing it such as an isolated switch, but I think the above method is fairly standard

Edited by nekomatic
added a bit
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2 hours ago, hiram.k.hackenbacker said:

It seems like an awful lot of bother to go through to just to have the same effect as simply unplugging it. I like to have leave them unplugged as it’s one less trip hazard.

It's just a pfaff to be honest; especially as sometimes I just want to have a noodle for a few minutes.  I forget to unplug it the cable is on the floor.  

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7 minutes ago, KiOgon said:

How?

Basically what nekomatic said. The jack socket in the bass has three terminals - TRS - and so using a 2core + screen cable (ie a standard 'balanced' cable) you can effectively extend those connections and so be able to connect / disconnect the R+S connections to power (or not) the electronics.

I can see a possible issue in that you can't afaik get the 'low noise' type cable usually used for connection to passive instruments with Hi-Z pickups in a 2core/twisted pair format. This wouldn't be connecting to a passive instrument so it might not be a problem but the output impedance of an active bass might not be as low as we would want - depending on the electronics detail.

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9 minutes ago, NancyJohnson said:

It's just a pfaff to be honest; especially as sometimes I just want to have a noodle for a few minutes.  I forget to unplug it the cable is on the floor.  

I know what you mean. I've previously used a switch on the bass to switch on/off rather than the jack socket. But I had a spare switch position after changing the pickup to one that didn't have series/parallel switching. I don't suppose you really want to fit an extra switch to the bass ?

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11 minutes ago, rmorris said:

I know what you mean. I've previously used a switch on the bass to switch on/off rather than the jack socket. But I had a spare switch position after changing the pickup to one that didn't have series/parallel switching. I don't suppose you really want to fit an extra switch to the bass ?

Given the tech that's inside the Spector (or any other active circuit), the major stumbling block is battery life. 

Call me an old fart, but I love me a switch with a little LED; I suppose these things exist already in other basses, but really, how difficult would it be to have the bass wired for a two-way/three-way mini toggle, that's wired to light a small LED when the bass is active and properly off/circuit isolated when the bass is passive (or off)? 

Mini/micro-toggle switches are £10 for 12 on Amazon, mini-LEDs are pennies.

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13 minutes ago, NancyJohnson said:

Given the tech that's inside the Spector (or any other active circuit), the major stumbling block is battery life. 

Call me an old fart, but I love me a switch with a little LED; I suppose these things exist already in other basses, but really, how difficult would it be to have the bass wired for a two-way/three-way mini toggle, that's wired to light a small LED when the bass is active and properly off/circuit isolated when the bass is passive (or off)? 

Mini/micro-toggle switches are £10 for 12 on Amazon, mini-LEDs are pennies.

Does the bass have a 'Passive' option - as opposed to being either active(powered) or no sound ?

In any case the electronics is relatively simple.  I'm thinking physically fitting the switch and led would be the biggest thing to sort ?

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2 hours ago, rmorris said:

True for a standard guitar jack plug is a TS. But if you use a TRS 'Stereo/Balanced' jack plug you can move the switching outside the guitar. I do think it's a bit inelegant though.

Here's one I made earlier, after thinking it couln't work!

This works, but the housing won't fit on in one piece, (it could be butchered!)

As said already, remembering to switch it off is the thing 😊

Switch Jack.jpg

Edited by KiOgon
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Guess it depends upon the bass in question - but if you have a rear cavity cover, a little flush slider switch would suit the bill quite nicely. (Assuming that you don't forget to slide it to turn it off!)

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46 minutes ago, KiOgon said:

Here's one I made earlier, after thinking it couln't work!

Switch Jack.jpg

Nifty! I was thinking one could fit that in a small box with the plug bit sticking out, and secured with a nut of the same thread size as the jack plug cover. 
Unfortunately you can’t add a ‘power on’ LED to this design because when the bass is powered on there’s no voltage available to run the LED. 
The real answer to this would be a circuit in the bass that put the electronics into an ultra-low-power mode if you didn’t play anything for more than an hour or something like that. I’m sure that’s feasible but it would need to be pretty titchy, so probably a surface mount design not something one could knock up on some stripboard (unless there’s more space in an active bass than I realise)

Edited by nekomatic
coda
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I've thought of quite a cool solution - sometimes the most obvious ones are the ones that are overlooked. How about changing a pot to a push pull pot to break the circuit to the battery. Done.

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1 hour ago, KiOgon said:

Here's one I made earlier, after thinking it couln't work!

This works, but the housing won't fit on in one piece, (it could be butchered!)

As said already, remembering to switch it off is the thing 😊

Switch Jack.jpg

Excellent stuff. I knew someone in Sussex would be able to do it 🙂 Could maybe use a larger jack body  - Neutrik or Switchcraft ? I think Neutrik make one for speaker cable sized cable - it might be bigger internally. Not sure. and a cutout in the metal shell for the switch ?

Edited by rmorris
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32 minutes ago, EBS_freak said:

I've thought of quite a cool solution - sometimes the most obvious ones are the ones that are overlooked. How about changing a pot to a push pull pot to break the circuit to the battery. Done.

Yeah - why didn't I think of that option ! I had thought about the rear cavity cover option if the bass allows it. But this is better imo. Excellent stuff. Make it pull out to power off so you won't accidentally turn it off mid solo !

Now, of course there'll be the question of a suitable value / taper / mechanical size / shaft size and type...

Edited by rmorris
Completeness
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35 minutes ago, nekomatic said:

Nifty! I was thinking one could fit that in a small box with the plug bit sticking out, and secured with a nut of the same thread size as the jack plug cover. 
Unfortunately you can’t add a ‘power on’ LED to this design because when the bass is powered on there’s no voltage available to run the LED. 
The real answer to this would be a circuit in the bass that put the electronics into an ultra-low-power mode if you didn’t play anything for more than an hour or something like that. I’m sure that’s feasible but it would need to be pretty titchy, so probably a surface mount design not something one could knock up on some stripboard (unless there’s more space in an active bass than I realise)

Mmmm...this is getting proper complex now. And you'd need to reliably sense the bass being played - take a signal direct from a pickup ? MEMS device ?

At this rate I'll be suggesting Phantom Power 🙂

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2 minutes ago, EBS_freak said:

I mean, pulling a jack out of a socket is pretty radical, right?

It's 2021. We need Bluetooth connectivity, Retina Recognition and GPS on all basses at a minimum. Oh hold on - that's mobile phones.

I'll go with the push-pull pot switch...

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