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Old August 22nd, 2010, 03:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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9 volt to 12 volt pedals?

Is it safe to run 9 volt pedals (crybaby, arion, bbe, etc) at 12 volts to get more... well... oomph, out of the pedals? Or is it not something I should try? These arent digital effects that have a processor (of sorts) in them.

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Old August 22nd, 2010, 04:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I've always heard pedals sound better with blown fuses.

Sarcasm aside, this doesn't sound like a good idea. Maybe those 3 extra volts won't hurt it too much, but in the long run you will be buying another pedal. A good example is an LED. Let's say said LED is rated at 3.5v. If you connect it to a 9v battery it will burn out rather quickly.

But if you must run 12v into your pedals, you would have to change the resistors to compensate for the extra 3 volts. Which would essentially have the same tone as before.
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Old August 22nd, 2010, 04:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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It shouldn't blow the fuses (actually less current should flow...), but the pedals probably won't work as effectively as with a 9V supply, and then theres possibly the life of the components, if they're rated at 9V their working life will be reduced.

Think of the voltage as pressure, if something is made to contain 9lb/sqin pressure, and you pump in 12lb/sqin, you would expect trouble, same thing with voltage, depending on component tolerances.
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Old August 22nd, 2010, 05:22 PM   #4 (permalink)
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You'll get more headroom out of them. All of the caps in a pedal will generally be rated at 16V so you'll be fine. You'd only really have to worry if you're going up to 18V, at which point you'd have to upgrade to 24V caps. You'll also want to check the rating of any op-amps in the pedals. Something like an LM741 is rated for a max of 18V, so you'd be fine there as well.
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Old August 22nd, 2010, 08:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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If someone is selling a pedal with parts rated at 9 V in them, they're an idiot. There should be margin. Any op-amps in most boxes would be fine to 12 V. Lowest-rated caps would probably be 16 V, although it is possible there could be 10 V electrolytics or tantalums, which would pop at 12 V.

As far as burning up the LED by running at 12 V, well, not likely. If an idiot designed the LED to be running at its max current or thermal limit with 9 V supply, then yeah, 12 V would be bad. But that shouldn't be the case.

As to an effect drawing less current at 12 V, nope. These analog effects are not constant power loads. The dc supply will see constant current loads from the op-amps and resistive loads from all the resistive paths to ground. Total current draw will be higher at 12 V.

So, in summary... most effects will be fine at 12 V (18 V is a different question). However, there could be the rare stupidly-designed part that doesn't have enough margin. Unlikely, though. If you have anything that uses FET buffers or gain stages, I'd take a closer look before trying 12 V.

Why use 12 V? As someone already said, it's all about headroom. Most commonly, you might see higher voltage used to power compressors or overdrives.
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Old August 22nd, 2010, 10:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
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So it should be fine to plug them into a 12v supply for a few min. to see if its any better then? I figured it would be fine but I wanted to make sure (on a side note, a crybaby sounds really weird if you plug the amp into the instrument side and vice-versa)

I'm wondering about this because I found my distortion pedals and crybaby turn into totally different beasts at lower voltages, so I was wondering if I could get a different sound with more voltage (hey, it sounds like reasonable logic right?)
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Old August 23rd, 2010, 05:59 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Callaway, most LED's won't be able to take 12v without burning up unless you have a resistor. But if you have an LED that is common in pedals that can take a 12v load I would very much love for you to show me it.
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Old August 23rd, 2010, 06:30 AM   #8 (permalink)
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There should already be a resistor in series with the LED. Who designs any circuit without one in series, even at 9 V? That would just be silly.
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Old August 23rd, 2010, 07:03 AM   #9 (permalink)
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LEDs are current operated, not voltage operated. LEDs are a moot point in this debate. ICs should take the 12 Vdc supply. I doubt if you would hear a detectable amount of increased volume or headroom.
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Old August 23rd, 2010, 07:26 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Birdmankustomz View Post
So it should be fine to plug them into a 12v supply for a few min. to see if its any better then?
The truth be told, many power supplies (like the actual Boss PSA's) will typically read 12VDC until you put a pedal with a load on it. Just try measuring the jack tip of the power source to see...

Unless it's really old, I can't remember the last time I saw a passive component in a pedal that was rated under 16VDC. And even if you go close to the rated tolerance, I haven't seen anything fry because of it, either.

And most transistors and such are typically rated at 12VDC or higher, because they were actually either designed for equipment that has that as a standard/nominal value, or the voltage is dropped at the power in to get it to a safe level.

I've never seen an LED burn out from just a few more volts. In mass produced pedals there is oftentimes a zener diode in the path that keeps the voltage from exceeding a number, anyways.

The more important thing is to double check that your power source has the right polarity and is indeed D.C. power and not A.C. That is what typically fries the pedals that I see.

Many pedals are going to get a negligible (if any) effect from the add'l 3 volts - time, modulation, etc. type effects that are already fixed at unity gain typically have no benefit.

Even dirt boxes will typically not yield much different tones at 12VDC either, unless they start clipping very early in the drive dial. It typically takes a jump up to 18VDC to give you the voltage supply to keep pedals that clip to stop clipping (only for more of the drive range on the dial).

...But I would exercise caution with 18VDC, since there are some IC's and such that cannot handle that voltage. They are rare, but what a terrible way to find out.
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Old August 23rd, 2010, 07:48 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by callaway View Post
If someone is selling a pedal with parts rated at 9 V in them, they're an idiot. There should be margin. Any op-amps in most boxes would be fine to 12 V. Lowest-rated caps would probably be 16 V, although it is possible there could be 10 V electrolytics or tantalums, which would pop at 12 V.

As far as burning up the LED by running at 12 V, well, not likely. If an idiot designed the LED to be running at its max current or thermal limit with 9 V supply, then yeah, 12 V would be bad. But that shouldn't be the case.

As to an effect drawing less current at 12 V, nope. These analog effects are not constant power loads. The dc supply will see constant current loads from the op-amps and resistive loads from all the resistive paths to ground. Total current draw will be higher at 12 V.

So, in summary... most effects will be fine at 12 V (18 V is a different question). However, there could be the rare stupidly-designed part that doesn't have enough margin. Unlikely, though. If you have anything that uses FET buffers or gain stages, I'd take a closer look before trying 12 V.

Why use 12 V? As someone already said, it's all about headroom. Most commonly, you might see higher voltage used to power compressors or overdrives.
Wow, what an ego!

You must be a world class designer to be able to call people idiots who make stupid designs.
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Old August 23rd, 2010, 08:28 AM   #12 (permalink)
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While I am most definitely an idiot, I can't seem to pick the others out of a lineup. In this case "it takes one to know one" doesn't appear to apply.I can,however, say that I have been throwing 12v at pedals for a number of decades. With some it makes no discernable difference and with others it's night and day. I have never had a pedal fail due to the higher voltage.
Does anybody out there have an old ProCo Rat? Does it collect dust because of that raspy nasty top end? Hit it with 12v and make room on your board for it.
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Old August 23rd, 2010, 03:03 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I use 12v on my pedals with no probs, the boost pedal sounds better (cleaner) with 12v rather than 9v imo.
The only time I fried a pedal was when I accidentally put the adapter from a Johnson J station (9v AC) into a beloved 25 year old Vox comp, sad day.
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Old August 23rd, 2010, 10:21 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Wow, what an ego!

You must be a world class designer to be able to call people idiots who make stupid designs.
The first few replies were basically saying "you're going to blow everything up with 12 V!" I was just trying to over-emphasize the fact that 12 V will be fine nearly all the time. At the end, I offered some good advice on what types of effects you might run at 12 V. I did caution about FETs because I've seen a few designs somewhere that used 10 V FETs. Can't remember off the top of my head what effects those are.

If you must know though, I design high-reliability class K electronics for military and aerospace. I might understand a thing or two about ratings, margin, and good design practice.
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Old August 23rd, 2010, 11:26 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Does anybody out there have an old ProCo Rat? Does it collect dust because of that raspy nasty top end? Hit it with 12v and make room on your board for it.
Better yet, sell it. The rasp and growl are what make the LM308N so special to many folks. Or socket the op amp and throw in a NE5534, and you won't need 12VDC.

It's the old 6 of one, a half dozen of the other type of scenario. IMO.
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Old August 24th, 2010, 03:43 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Good advice on not needing to worry about it much. Very few pedals are critical.

There are a few. The ones with the Maxim 1044 voltage doubler are very fragile. You'll find those in the Klon, MojoVibe and a few others. They are not tolerant of overvoltage supplies. They are also pretty rare. So for the pedals mentioned in the OP, no problems.
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Old September 14th, 2010, 08:59 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Anyone have specific experience running a Seymor Duncan twin tube classic at 18 rather than 16volts? I'm also wondering if I can run a T.C.E. Nova Delay at 9 or 18 rather than the 12 volts recommended. I recently bought a furman pedal board that only has 9volt supplies. Of course I can use the wall warts for those goofy 12 and 16 volt peddles, but would like to simplify my settup without cooking my tone or my pedals. By the way I'm new, so forgive me if I'm butting in on a thread, I don't yet know how to start my own, and this seemed relevant enough.
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Old September 14th, 2010, 09:06 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Anyone have specific experience running a Seymor Duncan twin tube classic at 18 rather than 16volts? I'm also wondering if I can run a T.C.E. Nova Delay at 9 or 18 rather than the 12 volts recommended. I recently bought a furman pedal board that only has 9volt supplies. Of course I can use the wall warts for those goofy 12 and 16 volt peddles, but would like to simplify my settup without cooking my tone or my pedals. By the way I'm new, so forgive me if I'm butting in on a thread, I don't yet know how to start my own, and this seemed relevant enough.
No such thing as butting in, its related to my original question. To answer yours though, I don't know if the Nova would work right with a lower voltage since (IIRC) it has a processorish unit in it. Might be wrong though, lol.
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