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Thread: (Godin A8) Pickup battery runs out very quickly

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    Registered User Sevelos's Avatar
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    Default (Godin A8) Pickup battery runs out very quickly

    I have a Godin A8 mandolin.
    When I just received it, 4 years ago, the pickup battery lasted for over a year. I was playing it amplified very often then, through all rehearsals, at least 5 hours a week.

    These days I use the pickup seldom. Only 2-3 times a month, on performances.
    On rehearsals I play unplugged.
    For some reason, the pickup battery now runs out already after 3-4 months. Yesterday at a performance, my signal was extremely low. I measured it today at home - only 1V left!!
    I have changed to this battery only 3 months ago. It is a 9V GP Ultra Alkaline battery.

    I doubt somewhat that the battery manufacturer is to blame. The battery I used before this one was a Grundig battery, which also did not last for very long.
    My current cable is new - about 3 months old. The previous one was also new, from about 6 months ago. The cables are different (length and materials), from different manufacturers. Therefore, I doubt the cable is to blame.

    What could be the problem? Is there any way I could check for it myself?
    Going to a luthier is kind of a big deal here.

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    Default Re: (Godin A8) Pickup battery runs out very quickly

    Forgive me (all!) for being a bit over-simplistic but... I trust that, even if not amplifying, you ARE un-plugging from the instrument when not performing? In most cases, the jack itself serves as the on/off switch for the on-board electronics.

    FWIW, I play a specific guitar amplified for usually 2 hours per week, and batteries tend to last well past a year, maybe closer to two.

    Follow-up thought: Is there a built-in tuner that you're leaving on while performing? Many of those need 3 or 5 minutes of no signal to automatically turn themselves off if you don't do it manually.
    - Ed

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    Default Re: (Godin A8) Pickup battery runs out very quickly

    Most batteries have a date for expiration. If it is close of past that date it will not last as long. Other than having something plugged in or a change of value of a component on the board, especially a capacitor, I don't know what else it may be.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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    Default Re: (Godin A8) Pickup battery runs out very quickly

    In the past couple of years, I've noticed a lot of variability in quality and life of batteries. There are people selling "old" batteries (that is, approaching their expiration date) as new. My best luck lately in pickups, test instruments, etc. has been with lithium batteries. They have excellent longevity, and they don't vomit up their guts and ruin your equipment when they fail. So that's one angle. (And check the date on the packaging.)

    Another possibility is that something has caused your input jack to stop completely opening the circuit when the plug is pulled out. If the battery is still lasting 3-4 months, that would mean a really minor short, if that were the case. A way to check that is to snap only the negative terminal of the battery into the snap connector, and then connect an ammeter between the positive terminal on the battery and the positive terminal on the snap connector. Current flow with the pickup unplugged should be zero. You can compare the difference by plugging a cord into the jack and noting the corresponding increase in current flow. If you find there's a short, taking the components apart and cleaning them thoroughly can often fix the problem.

    I make a point of removing the batteries from instruments and many other pieces of equipment when they're not in service. That avoids problems from any low-level passive current drain.
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    Default Re: (Godin A8) Pickup battery runs out very quickly

    Quote Originally Posted by EdHanrahan View Post
    Forgive me (all!) for being a bit over-simplistic but... I trust that, even if not amplifying, you ARE un-plugging from the instrument when not performing? In most cases, the jack itself serves as the on/off switch for the on-board electronics.

    FWIW, I play a specific guitar amplified for usually 2 hours per week, and batteries tend to last well past a year, maybe closer to two.

    Follow-up thought: Is there a built-in tuner that you're leaving on while performing? Many of those need 3 or 5 minutes of no signal to automatically turn themselves off if you don't do it manually.
    I keep my mandolin always unplugged unless I am actually performing with it, about twice a month for a few hours. The previous battery (which I changed today), lasted for only 3 months with almost no usage (and went down to 1V), has an expiration date of Jan 2025.
    There is no built-in tuner.

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    Default Re: (Godin A8) Pickup battery runs out very quickly

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan Ward View Post
    Another possibility is that something has caused your input jack to stop completely opening the circuit when the plug is pulled out. If the battery is still lasting 3-4 months, that would mean a really minor short, if that were the case. A way to check that is to snap only the negative terminal of the battery into the snap connector, and then connect an ammeter between the positive terminal on the battery and the positive terminal on the snap connector. Current flow with the pickup unplugged should be zero. You can compare the difference by plugging a cord into the jack and noting the corresponding increase in current flow. If you find there's a short, taking the components apart and cleaning them thoroughly can often fix the problem.
    Thank you Jonathan,
    I measured it per your instructions, and the meter shows 1.1 ma whether the cable is connected or not, mandolin volume on 0 or max.
    Note, that the mandolin sounds fine when I connect it to an amp. I don't hear any noise when I don't play, and nothing is heard when on volume 0.

    Probably it is the pre-amp that is eating the current whether the mandolin is connected or not.
    If it is indeed a matter of cleaning dirt or similar, do you have perhaps an advice how I could try to fix this first without disassembling the instrument? I am afraid of this.
    If I do open the instrument, should I just clean the PL (cable) input jack?

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    Registered User mandolinstew's Avatar
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    Default Re: (Godin A8) Pickup battery runs out very quickly

    Quote Originally Posted by Sevelos View Post
    Thank you Jonathan,
    I measured it per your instructions, and the meter shows 1.1 ma whether the cable is connected or not, mandolin volume on 0 or max.
    Note, that the mandolin sounds fine when I connect it to an amp. I don't hear any noise when I don't play, and nothing is heard when on volume 0.

    Probably it is the pre-amp that is eating the current whether the mandolin is connected or not.
    If it is indeed a matter of cleaning dirt or similar, do you have perhaps an advice how I could try to fix this first without disassembling the instrument? I am afraid of this.
    If I do open the instrument, should I just clean the PL (cable) input jack?
    When my battery goes dead it makes a distorted sound.What about different brand batteries.Do you check the battery before installing.Installing backward ?

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    Default Re: (Godin A8) Pickup battery runs out very quickly

    Quote Originally Posted by Sevelos View Post
    Thank you Jonathan,
    I measured it per your instructions, and the meter shows 1.1 ma whether the cable is connected or not, mandolin volume on 0 or max.
    Note, that the mandolin sounds fine when I connect it to an amp. I don't hear any noise when I don't play, and nothing is heard when on volume 0.

    Probably it is the pre-amp that is eating the current whether the mandolin is connected or not.
    If it is indeed a matter of cleaning dirt or similar, do you have perhaps an advice how I could try to fix this first without disassembling the instrument? I am afraid of this.
    If I do open the instrument, should I just clean the PL (cable) input jack?
    BTW - as far as I understand, most active pickups use a stereo jack in order to determine when a mono cable is plugged in. A mono cable shorts out two of the three stereo connections, and thus the battery circuit closes.
    I inserted a stereo cable and checked the connections on the other side, but they are not shortened (infinite resistance all around).

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    Registered User Sevelos's Avatar
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    Default Re: (Godin A8) Pickup battery runs out very quickly

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan Ward View Post
    Another possibility is that something has caused your input jack to stop completely opening the circuit when the plug is pulled out. If the battery is still lasting 3-4 months, that would mean a really minor short, if that were the case. A way to check that is to snap only the negative terminal of the battery into the snap connector, and then connect an ammeter between the positive terminal on the battery and the positive terminal on the snap connector. Current flow with the pickup unplugged should be zero. You can compare the difference by plugging a cord into the jack and noting the corresponding increase in current flow. If you find there's a short, taking the components apart and cleaning them thoroughly can often fix the problem.
    So... the problem was fixed, at least temporarily (tfu tfu... hope it stays "fixed"). Thank you very much Jonathan!

    I used Jonathan's method to test whether I have current flow when no cable is plugged into the mandolin. There was a steady current, regardless of cable.

    I first tried spraying some contact lubricant on and inside the cable socket. This did not help.
    I gathered some courage, unscrewed the cable socket and pulled it out.
    With all my love and respect to Godin, I was surprised to see that the socket wires were a bent mess and the soldering looked quite bad. I bought this mandolin new (at the time) on Amazon and never had the socket unscrewed before, so I guess the mandolin was just made that way.
    I tried spraying contact lubricant on the wires and the socket, but this did not help.

    So... I turned the socket 180 degrees in its hole (stretching the cables) and then turned it back, trying in this vulgar way to bend the cables a little differently than they were.
    This seems to have "solved" the problem.

    I know that resoldering the plug (and possibly changing it to a new one) would have been a better solution, but it is a bit too much for me to deal with at the moment, especially with the complex built of the A8.
    Hope the "fix" holds...

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    Default Re: (Godin A8) Pickup battery runs out very quickly

    I had a very similar problem with a Fishman Rare Earth guitar pickup where the battery went flat in a matter of days (not months) with nothing connected to it. I suspected the socket and this turned out to be the case. Bent wires and jack socket metalwork in confined spaces can easily lead to short circuits. Make sure everything is clear and free and protect suspect bits with insulation tape. My, little used, Fishman batteries now last for years!

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    Default Re: (Godin A8) Pickup battery runs out very quickly

    @Sevelos, You're most welcome, and good going! Any successful repair that requires no effort on my part is a victory .

    So many of these problems come back to quality control during assembly.
    "And the days that I keep my gratitude higher than my expectations... Well, I have really good days."

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    Default Re: (Godin A8) Pickup battery runs out very quickly

    i also have found sloppy workmanship on the godin I have had two, one , one brace was not glued , I was able to get it through the battery compartment and the 1/4" jack , I have moved on to an acoustic .rigel plays a whole lot better.

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