How often do you change batteries?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by MichaelK, Sep 6, 2005.


  1. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Another thread got me thinking...

    How often do y'all change batteries in your active systems? I do it after roughly 10 hours of plugged-in use (I'm guessing), or every two gigs or so, or when I'm changing strings or if it feels like it should be time. So far I have never had a problem, never run out of juice mid-show.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. waxnsteel

    waxnsteel Member

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    No way?!?!? WHat kind of system do you use? I have a bunch of Fishman on-board blenders, and it's more like 50+ hours of plugged in use. In fact, I just changed the battery in my 614. I change it when the Lo Batt light comes on, and I've also never lost power mid tune. I think the last time I changed the battery was like halfway through last year. That 614 is the only guitar I play every show, and I gig 2-6 nights a month. 4 hour gigs, 3 sets, two 15 minute breaks.
    The Baggs system in my 914 gets similar results. If I could only get similar results out of wireless crap!!!

    While we're on the topic, if anyone with K&K pickups has any battery life info to share, I'd love to hear.
     
  3. therealting

    therealting Member

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    I try not to replace batteries more often than I have to because I don't think batteries are particularly friendly to the environment... I have also experimented with rechargeable batteries and have found that sometimes it even sounds better than regular alkaline, so I use that when possible.

    Hence my other thread about a backup battery, so I can eke every ounce of juice from a battery. :)
     
  4. Gazza

    Gazza Member

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    My acoustic is plugged in for at least 4 hours every week. I only change about every two months.
     
  5. Chiba

    Chiba Gold Supporting Member

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    I usually only change batteries before a big gig or a recording session. I'm pretty good about taking them out when I know it's going to be a long time before I play that bass again.

    --chiba
     
  6. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Thanks for the input.

    I use a Baggs dual system, no indicator light or anything so convenient. I'm just paranoid. Probably using twice as many batteries as I need to.
     
  7. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    You're not just throwing them out are you? There are loads of things that use 9V batteries that don't need a minty fresh one...

    If you're changing every 10 hours you could be changing twenty times too often, not twice... I don't really know, but the battery life is probably in the hundreds of hours. I can't remember when (or if) I changed the battery in my Taylor - I bought the guitar in 2002 and it's been my only electro-acoustic since then, and I've done plenty of gigs and practices with it - like waxnsteel says, I'll change it when the red light comes on, you've got at least a song's worth of warning... it's probably the original battery. I can't imagine that the Baggs system will be that much higher consumption than the Fishman.

    Even the Takamine Cool Tube system - with a TUBE in the preamp - claims 24hrs battery life.


    FWIW, this is one of the things I hate about acoustic systems with no external battery access - until they became common, I would not use an internally preamped guitar at all, just a pickup only and an external preamp. No way I want to have to loosen the strings and fish around inside the soundhole in the middle of a gig.
     
  8. clarkram

    clarkram Member

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    I gig 4 times a month on average (when things are going well), plugged in 3 1/2 to 5 hours a week. I usually change at about 125 hours or more on my Taylor/Fishman. Never had a loss in power.

    My Martin OMC Aura is another story. Owner's manual puts battery life at approx 36 hours. There is a low battery indicator, easy access. I've used it on 4 gigs and a band practice so far and expect to replace the battery soon.



    Clark
     
  9. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Well maybe I'll keep it in longer. Now that I use an Intellitouch tuner I'm never plugged in except on stage. I could see changin it every few months or so, but 100 hours of playing time seems a bit like pushing my luck. I know it's not a huge power drain but still.

    Swapping out the battery on my Santa Cruz is not half as easy as a Taylor. I have to loosen the strings, pop 'em out of the bridge and reach deep into the body cavity, doing it by feel 'cause my arm blocks my line of vision. That's why I do it when I change strings, but I didn't choose it for convenience.

    Maybe I'll do it every two changes... but I'm a paranoid S.O.B. I like knowing the thing is fresh. WTF, it's just a fricking battery.
     
  10. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Well, that's why I change them out so frequently. But I'm not going to sacrifice tone for convenience. I get the right guitar for the gig first, then figure out how to amp it. I'll be damned if I'm going to use a guitar I dont like with a second-rate pickup system just because it's easier to change the battery.
     
  11. olectric

    olectric Member

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    On my Collings C-10 Deluxe, I've got a non-invasive Fishman Acoustic Natural Matrix 1 that runs on a 9V. I've had the guitar for 3 years and changed it once. I don't play it plugged in that much because I use it more for studio than live stuff, and I'd rather mic the thing, obviously. I'd mic it live if it were more plausible.
     
  12. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    I wasn't suggesting a second-rate guitar or pickup system - just not mounting the preamp inside the guitar. I honestly can't see why you would want to do this unless you're going to fit a full side-mounted preamp with controls, which these days tends to mean an easy-access battery too (in fact, I wouldn't pick a system without).

    An internal preamp with a battery but no controls strikes me as the worst of all possible worlds for exactly this reason - poor battery access, lack of convenience (no controls within easy reach), reliability (not just battery failure - the inability to quickly bypass or replace the preamp if you ever need to) - and always has. I have no idea why this type of system seems to be popular.

    I can certainly see the point in a full on-board system with controls, for maximum hands-on convenience, which is what I'm using at the moment; but if you don't want that I would go for a passive pickup - even a dual system, there's no reason why not with a TRS endpin socket - and an external preamp, so you can still have your full control... which is what I've used in the past.
     
  13. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    OK, I see.

    I like having external controls too... but in truth, I haven't changed them since I installed the system five years ago (Baggs dual system, essentially what they now call "iBeam"). The only external controls are two small wheels mounted in the soundhole: Volume and Blend. They have dust in the corners 'cause they're untouched. I run mono out, Gain and EQ just the way the guy who installed it set it up, volume around 7, a blend of mostly pickup with just a little bit of mic. It works perfectly going into a DI, the right tone, the right level, right amount of air, everything just right. Unlike electric, I don't change settings on acoustic.

    I wouldn't want anything mounted outside the box more than what's already there, or G-d forbid some hole cut out of the side.

    Interestingly, the preamp and velcro battery pocket added a little bit of bass response when they were mounted inside. Not much, but not in a detrimental way. The guitar still has all the air and openness it ever did.
     
  14. Dr. Jimmy

    Dr. Jimmy Member

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    When they get down to around 8.5V I change them.
     

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