External Battery Supply made simple
It is very simple to change the batteries in some effects boxes: simply pull out a plate, or unscrew a couple of screws, and you're ready to go. On the other hand, some effects are more difficult to open up. Trying to deal with one of the latter when a battery goes bad in the middle of a set can be exasperating.
But - who says that batteries have to be on the inside of an effect? For those who have not already invested in an adapter, or have effects with different power requirements and don't want to buy a different adapter for each one, the solution is to make external battery connectors.
For the average wa-wa pedal with a 9 Volt supply, this is a simple enough operation. Wire a battery clip to the type of mini-plug that mates with the wa-wa's AC adapter, then plug this into the AC adapter jack. In most units, the red wire connects to the tip and the black to the shaft (see figure 1); however, this is not standard for all products so you might want to do some checking with a VOM to see what connects to what.
With the E-H Electric Mistress Flanger, you need two batteries in order to provide 18V at 20 mA. In this case, connect the batteries in series (see figure 2).
Now for something a little more difficult. Craig's "Spluffer" (active splitter/dual buffer... see 11/77 issue of Guitar Player) requires a 9 Volt positive and a 9 Volt negative supply. I used a stereo phone plug (I couldn't find a stereo mini-plug and besides, I didn't want to get this connector mixed up with the one for the flanger since they both use two batteries). Connect the negative pole of one battery to the ring and its positive pole to the shaft (ground). Connect the positive pole of the second battery to the tip and its negative pole to ground (see figure 3). Use a stereo phone jack at the effect. The terminal corresponding to the tip connects to the negative supply point of the board. Wire the ground terminal to the ground terminal of the input jack.
There's one more advantage to this system: when you're finished playing, it is no trouble at all to unplug the batteries and put them in the refrigerator for extended life. Also, for all those music stores out there who are always having batteries in their effects go dead, this approach represents a good solution. Make up a couple of these "battery packs", and plug them into the AC adapter jack whenever it's time for a demonstration. After the demonstration, put the batteries away. This way you avoid having batteries left on accidentally in an effect, which could cause damage from leakage if they're left in there for too long.
Feature by Paul Baltzegar
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