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Barrel jack that lasts.


lemmywinks
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Been through a few stereo barrel jacks on my Cort C5 backup bass, branded (switchcraft) and generic (eBay UK/Chinese source) they just seem to be the proverbial chocolate teapot and fail for no real reason. Installed the last one just before packing my gigging stuff away at the start of lockdown and it was fine, seems to have self destructed just by sitting in the case. All soldering is fine and all my cables have Neutrik jacks.

 

Am I just being unlucky with bad batches or has the overall build quality slipped over the years? Never had a problem with them before, is there any brand I've missed?

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Similar experiences here; barrel jacks just don't last.

Genuine Switchcraft seem the best of the bunch.

Pure Tone do one BUT I don't think it's multi-contact like their fancy open jacks...

 

One thing I have noticed is that the jack's rotational position relative to the pull on the cable makes a difference - a pull in one direction causes signal loss but the other three cardinal directions do not.

If you're getting signal drops from cable wiggles try rotating the socket 180 degrees.

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29 minutes ago, Bigguy2017 said:

One thing I have noticed is that the jack's rotational position relative to the pull on the cable makes a difference - a pull in one direction causes signal loss but the other three cardinal directions do not.

If you're getting signal drops from cable wiggles try rotating the socket 180 degrees.

 

Good call.

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3 hours ago, Bigguy2017 said:

Similar experiences here; barrel jacks just don't last.

Genuine Switchcraft seem the best of the bunch.

Pure Tone do one BUT I don't think it's multi-contact like their fancy open jacks...

 

One thing I have noticed is that the jack's rotational position relative to the pull on the cable makes a difference - a pull in one direction causes signal loss but the other three cardinal directions do not.

If you're getting signal drops from cable wiggles try rotating the socket 180 degrees.

 

The one on there at the moment only makes contact if quite a bit of pressure is applied on one direction, to get a signal I had to rest it on my knee and push down while playing. 

 

Literally broke while sat in the gigbag with nothing plugged into an it!

Edited by lemmywinks
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Barrell Jacks are literally a barrell length that encloses all of the Jack plug. Type in barrell jack to Google and pics will come up.

Commonly used for instruments with active electronics to ‘un switch’ the battery when not in use…..or in instruments where the instrument cable jack plug is inserted on the edge of the instrument. Fender type instruments usually use the ‘normal’ jack.

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1 hour ago, Happy Jack said:

So for those of us of the non-luthier persuasion, it looks like any other jack once it's installed?

 

 

Yeah the visible bit is the knurled part, the rest is internal. Everything is enclosed though so whereas on a regular front mounted jack you can bend the pins to fix them you're kinda screwed with these. Never been much of an issue on the past (gigged Warwicks, Corts and a Zoot for years with them in) but only seem to be getting a few months out of these.

 

Just found one in my parts box and soldered it in, will order a switchcraft one in preparation for the inevitable crackles.

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2 hours ago, A.G.E.N.T.E. said:

I have never had a problem with mine. I Only use Switchcraf and IME they last. 

I would double check the soldering conections making sure they all have a mechanical contact between wires and poles, not only solder joints. 

 

 

Me neither up until the last 3 years, had a switchcraft one fail. Just wondering if I'd been unlucky

 

Was definitely the jack as I put a different one in and it's fine (for now). 

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On 14/11/2021 at 11:08, mybass said:

Barrell Jacks are literally a barrell length that encloses all of the Jack plug. Type in barrell jack to Google and pics will come up.

Commonly used for instruments with active electronics to ‘un switch’ the battery when not in use…..or in instruments where the instrument cable jack plug is inserted on the edge of the instrument. Fender type instruments usually use the ‘normal’ jack.

They are usually seen in active instruments but in order to 'un switch' they must be stereo output Jacks. 

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I replaced the output jack on my P Bass with a Switchcraft Stereo 1/4" jack - got the tip from Ben Shepherd (Soundgarden).  Basically, the jack clicks twice and is extra sturdy, even tho you'll obviously be running in mono.  Working a treat so far!

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46 minutes ago, acidbass said:

I replaced the output jack on my P Bass with a Switchcraft Stereo 1/4" jack - got the tip from Ben Shepherd (Soundgarden).  Basically, the jack clicks twice and is extra sturdy, even tho you'll obviously be running in mono.  Working a treat so far!

 

Unfortunately it only clicks twice if you use a TRS jack plug. Otherwise it's no more secure than a normal socket.

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I've replaced loads of these barrel jacks, particularly on Warwick basses, which are otherwise very well made instruments. It's a neat and clean design feature but they do seem to fail fairly regularly (2 to 5 years) regardless of which make is used. It's also impossible to open one up to see what's going on, but peering inside with a good light it looks like the contacts are very small, narrow strips so I suspect over time they loose some of the required springiness needed to maintain a good connection. An intermittent connection is a real pain, especially on an active bass that's inclined to pop loudly as the power is applied when the jack is inserted!

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1 hour ago, goingdownslow said:

My '90 and '91 Thumb basses are still on their original sockets.

 

That was my experience with Warwicks, never had a socket fail on me and I was doing at least 4 full shows a month with Warwicks as my main basses for years. Had a push/pull volume pot fail and the usual plastic Just-a-Nut disintegration but no jack sockets.

 

Maybe just luck of the draw.

Edited by lemmywinks
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On 14/11/2021 at 11:08, mybass said:

 

Commonly used for instruments with active electronics to ‘un switch’ the battery when not in use…..

Yes, but the battery switching function is not intrinsically associated with the barrel form. Any TRS socket has the same switching functionality.

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