Diagnosing Pedalboard failure

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by ohiomatt33, Mar 23, 2015.

  1. ohiomatt33

    ohiomatt33 Member

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    Need some help figuring out what might be wrong with my pedalboard/chain. This weekend at a gig my amp started making a terrible fuzz/dying tone. It was unplayable. Because of the way the cables were routed on stage, it would have been really hard to just plug in straight to the amp (I tried, to no avail.) So I kicked my board a few times, and it fixed the sound. Then it would come back the next song, but when I would kick the left side of my board, and hold the cable in with my foot, everything was fine. During an acoustic song break, I ripped the pedal out at that position (Carbon Copy) and everything was fine after that.

    Now I'm at home trying to figure out what exactly is wrong, and can't get the problem to happen again. Everything sounds fine. At the gig it seemed like the Carbon Copy went kaput (it's always made a low rumbling sound, but was never an issue. Just something I heard when it was on but I wasn't playing.) I've used a multimeter to check the cables on my board, and they seem fine.

    Here's my board in order:
    Pedaltrain PT JR
    Voodoo Labs Pedal Power 2 Plus
    Planet Waves or Hosa cables

    Line 6 G50 wireless
    Boss TU-2 Tuner
    Walrus Deep Six comp
    Walrus Mayflower drive
    EHX Soul Food boost
    MXR Carbon Copy
    Strymon Flint

    Any ideas as to how I can troubleshoot this would be greatly appreciated. I searched around at the usual troubleshooting threads but didn't find much applicable that I hadn't tried. I just want to know what needs to be fixed!:huh

    Thanks
     
  2. Godspeed64

    Godspeed64 Member

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    You have six pedals. It's not that big of an issue.
    Your tuner will be the first line to check if it's the guitar to the board.

    After which, since you don't have any other pedals that can indicate (eg. Comp with metering, or strum tempo) that could show what is working or not, you have to unplug to test one by one.
     
  3. ohiomatt33

    ohiomatt33 Member

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    I've checked every pedal individually, and checked every cable by themselves, and everything is operational. As a whole the board is working fine, and I even tightened up all the jacks on the Carbon Copy just to be safe.

    I guess I'm hoping someone will jump in with something like "Oh yeah, the output jacks on Carbon Copy's are rubbish" but from searching I haven't been able to find anything of that sorts for my chain.
     
  4. Coda11

    Coda11 Member

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    There are different possible explanations.

    First, maybe one of your cable is faulty. Cables on pedalboard can easily break due to torsion and usure. Try to test all the cables individualy : put a cable between two cables and see whether you have sound or not in true bypass. Dont forget to check your instrument cable (guitar -> pedalboard and pedalboard -> amp)

    Another solution which I experimented is the buffer of the soul food which is switch dependant. Are you using the buffer ? Sometimes it block the signal when the switch is not tightened enough. I do not know why. Try to tighten the screw of the switch of the soul food, it fixed the problem for me. To test it : when your sound is cut, try to play with the footswitch of the soul food (soft pressure without activating the switch), you can see sometimes that the sound comes back.
    Try to inactivate the buffer

    Do you have other buffered pedal in your board ? Are you sure that your power supply has enough power to power everything ? Sometimes, a buffered pedal that do not have enough power supply just stop working and cut your sound.

    Hope that it helps
     
  5. tubetone74

    tubetone74 Supporting Member

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    Easiest way I find the faulty pedal is to work backwards. Start at ther cable running from the amp to your last pedal in the chain. Unplug the jumper cable in its input and test for signal ( tap for the familiar hum sound). If there move on down the line till it faults. I dont take time to go further at this point playing. I will just take the offending pedal out of the chain and do without or sub a like one if available.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2015
  6. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    What kind of cables and connectors are you using? I find that, sometimes, by George L's aren't the most reliable connection scheme and have to retighten the connectors or start fresh by cutting the end off a cable and starting again.

    Sorry, there's no magic silver bullet when it comes to troubleshooting. All there is is a methodical approach and process of elimination.
     
  7. ohiomatt33

    ohiomatt33 Member

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    Thanks, I had not thought of the buffer on the Soul Food. I will get in there and check things out. The only other buffer on my board is the TU-2, that seems to be doing ok. The VL PP2+ should be enough to power everything, it's got the correct power for the Strymon pedal as well.

    I'm using Planet Waves & Hosa standard patch cables. I'm thinking about going with Lava Tightrope's though, just to clean everything up, as some of the cables are definitely getting a good stretch on my board.
     
  8. TheoDog

    TheoDog Silver Supporting Member

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    My guess is you have a faulty patch cable. Do you have a cable tester?
     
  9. the_Chris

    the_Chris It's All Been Done Before Gold Supporting Member

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    Hmm, Hosa are really cheap patch cables. You say you've got a multimeter, so throw it on ohms and check the mono plugs from tip to tip and ring to ring on them and make sure they're very low resistance. Make sure the tip and ring aren't shorting to each other with flex and that the tip to tip and ring to ring connections aren't opening up or changing their resistance.

    Of course, it may have been something as stupid as you stepping on one of the cables the right way during the gig and having it start to back up out of a jack on one of the pedals.
     
  10. ohiomatt33

    ohiomatt33 Member

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    I'm beginning to wonder if it was this. I did the multimeter testing of all my cables, and couldn't find any shorts. I gig fairly often so I wouldn't be shocked if some of the hosa's were finally starting to crap out too though.

    I'm thinking I will go with a tightrope kit, after doing some searching on the board here about solderless cables, seems like they're the best choice for what I need.
     
  11. olejason

    olejason Supporting Member

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    The Hosa cable quality would be just as high, if not higher, than the Lava's. I'm not a fan of solderless cables but it wouldn't hurt to replace everything once in awhile.
     

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