Help! Have I f***ed my Pickup?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by Beernuts, Mar 14, 2019.

  1. Beernuts

    Beernuts Member

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    I bought a brand new set of 51 Nocasters and immediately wired them to a push/pull for series switching. I followed some tutorials online showing how to prepare the neck pickup. I carefully removed the wire connecting the cover to the ground wire eyelet and added a new lead to ground the cover.
    I finished the job and the neck pickup was very noticeably quieter than the bridge - not even close in terms of output. I then rewired the standard way (first reconnecting the cover to stock), because I thought it might be faulty push/pull. The neck is still very weak. It doesn't sound out of phase, but the bridge pickup is a lot more powerful. Have I damaged the pickup, or is this how Nocasters are supposed to sound?
    Thanks
     
  2. jvin248

    jvin248 Member

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    .

    Do you have an ohm meter? Can you get to Harbor Freight and buy a <$10 ohm meter?

    The kohms should read 6k-8k, most likely 7k on the neck pickup. You can check your scale against the bridge pickup first to make sure you're measuring right and on the correct scale and that will be in the 6k-9k range.

    Check to the pickup leads when the switch is set to the other pickup. You may need to unsolder one leg of the leads and verify (if there is other wiring issues it may ground it out.

    If the neck pickup is reading low/nothing on the ohm check then reheat the eyelets carefully. The bobbin wire has a coating and sometimes poor contact is made or when messing around a cold solder situation happens. Add just a little new solder when you reheat. Look for broken bobbin wire between the eyelet and the wrap, that's the next problem area -- it's weak and easily broken with handling.

    .
     
  3. Tootone

    Tootone Member

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    Pickups are passive...

    There's a good chance you #$%@ed up the wiring, but not the pickup.

    First thing to do is disconnect bith pickups completely (just the lead wires disconnected from pots, switches etc) and put a multimetre across the two leads.

    First Test
    - Set multimeter to "continuity" or "bell"... Red Probe on one wire, Black Probe on the other wire. If you hear a beep... it means there is no "break" in the pickup coil wire.

    Second Test
    Set multimeter to Resistance Kilo Ohms. Probes on each wire. Write down the results for each pickup and report back here.
     
  4. Beernuts

    Beernuts Member

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    I don't have a multimeter, but I will go and get one tomorrow and report back. There is a clear signal from the neck - just seemingly less output. Very bright with not much bass frequency.
     
  5. vortexxxx

    vortexxxx Member

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    Maybe it's out of phase.
     
  6. Beernuts

    Beernuts Member

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    Can a pickup be out of phase by itself? I thought that referred to two p/u in combination.
     
  7. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Member

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    If it's a hum-bucker it can have one coil out of phase with the other.
     
  8. Beernuts

    Beernuts Member

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    I tried with a multimeter and there was no reading at all. I had a close look at the coiled wire and it appears that there is a break.
     
  9. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Member

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    Make sure the leads on your meter are working. Put them together & the Ohms measurement should be zero.
    Also, make sure your meter is set to the kiloOhms range for measuring the pickups.
     
  10. Beernuts

    Beernuts Member

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    I tested the meter with another set of pickups just to make sure. The meter is fine, so I guess it must be a problem with the pickup.
     
  11. Sweetfinger

    Sweetfinger Supporting Member

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    You broke the coil wire. The low output thin sound is the signal that's passing through capacitance in the windings. It's time for more online tutorials, this time, how to repair a broken coil. Essentially, figure out if you can repair the break. If it's on the outside of the coil you can unwind the coil til you hit the break, then resolder the floating end. If it broke on the lead coming from inside the coil, hopefully there's enough wire protruding to extend it to the solder eyelet. If not, it's rewind time.
     
  12. Beernuts

    Beernuts Member

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    Thanks for the info. I am curious as to how I broke the coil wire. I applied just enough heat to remove the jumper between the eyelets. Is that hot enough to break the wire?
     
  13. Sweetfinger

    Sweetfinger Supporting Member

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    Pulling a lead wire through the eyelet can snag the coil wire that's wrapped through the eyelet and break it. The other ends of the leads or tools, whatever, could poke into the coil just right and break or snag the winding. You said you saw a break. If there wasn't one visible, I'd also say there's a chance of a bad solder connection on one of the eyelets. Sometimes the insulation on the magnet wire doesn't get "broken through" very well when the leads are soldered into the eyelets and will lose continuity after leaving the factory, or when rework is done, like separating the ground, for instance.
     
  14. Beernuts

    Beernuts Member

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    I saw a break on the other side of the pickup, or what looked like a break. I didn't remove the cover, but I peeked inside and there was a wire that was standing up from the coil. It is possible that it was already like that, but doesn't matter now. Thanks anyway.
     
  15. Beernuts

    Beernuts Member

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    You can see a strand of wire hanging down. I didn't touch that side of the pickup at all.
     
  16. Multi Angle Vise

    Multi Angle Vise Member

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    Does the possibility of returning that pickup still exist?

    I realise since you've touched the solder eyelets this might be difficult, but you've not had the cover off, and given the photo, the break may be under the cover.

    While it would have been easier if you'd found the break before installation, I think you've still a case.


    If you do end up stuck with this pickup, after removing the cover, you may be able to carefully unwrap the outer coil back to the break and then reconnect the new end to the eyelet - as noted earlier in the thread.
     
  17. Beernuts

    Beernuts Member

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    I've sent it back. I should have checked as soon as I opened the box, so that's a lesson learned. If I am stuck with this pickup, there's nothing to lose by trying to fix it myself. If I can't, I will probably go the Esquire route!
     
    Multi Angle Vise likes this.

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