Strat-Technical

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by Platefire, Apr 10, 2018.

  1. Platefire

    Platefire Friend of Leo's

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    Got a strat with an intermittent short issue. The neck pickup cuts off and goes dead. I have had the guitar apart several time trying to find the short checking continuity between points with a multi meter and also re-flowing solder joints but still the short persist.

    One clue to the issue is that when it goes dead I can tug or push on the pickup with my fingers and it will come back on. I'm beginning to think it is an internal short in the pickup windings. I want to sell this guitar but need to solve this problem first.

    Any suggestions in nailing this issue down. Platefire
     
  2. corliss1

    corliss1 Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    Isolate the issue. Connect that pickup directly to a jack and see what happens - does that work okay when wiggling/pushing/poking the pickup around? If so, pickup issue. If not, maybe the switch connection for the neck pickup is getting weird.
     
  3. DavidP

    DavidP Friend of Leo's

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    Got a DMM handy?? I'd open up the hoods and check the lead wire connections at the coil solder points and apply some pressure to see if you get a dead short. At least then you know which direction to further troubleshoot...
     
  4. sjtalon

    sjtalon Doctor of Teleocity

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    Check that the underside of the pickup isn't touching the cavity.

    Re-flow the solder in the flatware eyelets.
     
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  5. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    +1 to ^^^. The eyelet soldering is a common failure mode. Don't just heat them up but add a little new solder.
    Look at the thin wire threads off the bobbin and see if they got broken somehow. or a ding in the bobbin wire coil.

    Sometimes unwrapping 10% of a coil and resoldering to the eyelet uncovers a break on the outer layers. Be careful in there or you'll need to buy some wire and rewind the pickup. Remington wire brand on ebay is about the best option, half a pound of 42AWG will give you enough for a pickup plus a few mess-ups.

    .
     
  6. gkterry

    gkterry Tele-Holic

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    I have an Elite Tele that had that same problem. I tried all the above and then some. Eventually, it totally quit. Turned out to be the pickup went blooey. I bought a new replacement and all has been well since.

    It is my understanding Fender had some issues with the Noiseless Gen 4 pickups doing this - perhaps others too??

    I would disconnect the pickup hot wire from the circuit and put an ohm meter on the pickup hot wire and one on a ground. Then do your tugging and pushing on the pickup to see it there is a change in your ohm reading. If so, it is a bad pickup.
     
  7. Platefire

    Platefire Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks so much for your input! As much as I hate to, I must tear down this strat again and either repair that PU or install another. Don't think I want to get into undoing the windings to find a break but an internal break in one of the connector wires or faulty solder joint at connector wire/winding terminal would may be manageable.

    These are Artec Alnico 5 pickups so this neck PU is at about 6K Ohms. So a replacement shouldn't be too bad$. I will try a repair first once I verify for sure it
    Is the pu by checking with a MM kinda like gk Terry indicated to find the short. Platefire
     
  8. Platefire

    Platefire Friend of Leo's

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    Well I opened it up again and doing some checks with my Multi-meter(MM). First
    Checked continuity on neck pu windings to leads, leads to switch, switch output to volume and volume to output to jack. All good. PU Ground wire to pot good.

    One thing I noticed was on the switch the neck PU terminal sticks down below pick-guard an 1 1/4" and the route is 1 1/4", so the neck PU switch term is probably touching the body. The only insulation between the body and term is some electrical tape that I stuck to the body in the route---see black area in picture. So I'm not totally certain if this is a point of short out but I can't see where just tugging on the neck pick up would effect this point in a total other location???? Could the switch neck term be poking through the tape making contact with the body? If you look close at the picture you can see I also got elec tape wrapped around middle and neck hot wire pu terms on switch to help prevent contact to body.

    Another test I did was hooked a patch cord to my output jack and connected my mm to the patch ground and hot set on Ohms. The Pu is 6.05K. So I moved the Pu as much as possible still mounted in pick-guard. The Ohm readings were going all over the place!!
    Would even go into a complete short but wouldn't stay/hold. The only off reading I could get it to hold was 215.2K as shown in picture. I think this may be a good sign the Pu is not stable.

    So I guess the question is???---is the switch shorting out on the neck pu term to body cutting off the neck pu or???--- is the neck pu just shorting out internally? or maybe both?
    Platefire
    IMG_20180410_204546.jpg
    IMG_20180410_204345.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018
  9. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

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    Disconnect the pickup from the switch and check the pickup again. It could be either of the two. Is there any grounded cavity shielding that the switch terminal could be touching?

    I thought that it could be a wire with a few strands broken causing a in/out of working condition, but you mentioned the short also happening, so it's gotta be in the switch or pickup.
     
  10. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Doctor of Teleocity

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    You need to isolate the problem. If it was mine, I'd swap in a known good pickup. That way you would know for sure whether the problem is the pickup or something else.
     
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  11. Platefire

    Platefire Friend of Leo's

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    That is USA CRL Switch installed in late 2015, not used much, but I guess it could be bad. The thing is the existing route cavity was fine for for the smaller Asian parts but with the larger USA switch is crowded right against the bottom. There is no insulation material in that location and that's why I put the electrical tape there. The wall of material left is really thin on the body, so I don't think there is any more room for a deeper route. The tape is thin I was hopeful it would provide some insulation between the electronics and body at the bottom of the switch.

    On the other hand, previously when the pickup was cutting out I sprayed Deoxit down in the opening for the switch lever, worked it back & Forth several times and it started working again. Sometimes the Deoxit works and sometimes it don't? So sometimes I wonder if there is more than one thing contributing to all this??

    So I guess the next thing is to disconnect the pu from the switch and see have it behaves with the mm connected to moving things around.
    Wondering if I should disconnect the ground lead also. Platrefire

    BTW-I have been looking at replacement pu that would be close to the one in there and
    Guitar Madness(GM) one was the closest one I could find being Alnico 5, staggered poles and 6.3K Ohms. Anybody had any experience with GM pickups? Here is a link to one I'm watching
    http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-5...0001&campid=5338148343&icep_item=273144897706
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018
  12. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    Try testing it before you screw the pickguard down. I have had problems with wires shorting when it's down and not when it's up. A wire somewhere is grounding on something. Also had an issue with an oddball switch or body, cant remember, grounding on the shielding as the switch was too deep for the body.
     
  13. Platefire

    Platefire Friend of Leo's

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    Update: I first did a test on pickup output Ohms to the Output Jack for the neck pu. I wiggled the neck pu wires while watching the MM and the Ohm levels went all over the place when wiggling the white hot wire. Wiggling the ground wire all was stable.

    Ok, I de-soldered the leads of this pu and pulled it out of the pick guard. I then did a test on the hookup leads alone with it set on continuity. So this test is from the end of the hook up lead to the pu solder joint. On each lead no matter how I wiggled the wire, no break in continuity. OK, then I hook the MM to the ends of the leads opposite pu terms and set the MM on Ohms reading 6.05 K Ohms. I then started wiggling the ground wire with no change. Then on the white/hot wire the Ohms again going all over the place even into cutoff/short.

    OK, the strands of wire going into the hot side solder joint to winding and ground lead to winding looks ok. Nothing visibly wrong with the solder joint. So I guess the next step seems to me is to re-float the hot side solder joint to see if that changes anything. I've never worked on pu's before, so does this sound right? Platefire
    IMG_20180411_130110.jpg IMG_20180411_125839776.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018
  14. Platefire

    Platefire Friend of Leo's

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    Another update: I re-floated the hot side solder joint of the neck pu
    and added a tiny bit of of solder to my gun tip that was added to the joint. Guess what? Now with the MM hooked up to both leads I'm not getting any movement on the Ohms readings. They are staying steady.
    Also the Ohms of the pickup has increased for 6.05K to 6.24K.
    So I hope this is it!!! Platefire
     
  15. Platefire

    Platefire Friend of Leo's

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    Status Report: I fittle fattled around with the pickup for a while with the MM and it seemed to holding it's Ohms in all cases, no crazy jumping number anymore. I became satisfied that it was fixed so I began to put it back together. Even double checked after I soldered the connections back to the circuit. Still holding true after moving the wires around, so I installed the pickguard and put the strings back on.
    So far, no more cutting out. So I will do further playing on it to see if it continues to act well. Not going to shout victory quite yet. Platefire
     
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  16. sjtalon

    sjtalon Doctor of Teleocity

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    [​IMG]
     
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  17. Platefire

    Platefire Friend of Leo's

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    I'm going to call this a victory after playing it three separate times with no problem when previously it was doing it constantly. Also by what I've seen on the MM Ohms readings. It was previously reading going all over the place with you moved the hot hook up lead as to after the re flowing the solder joint on the pickup--a continuous Ohm reading of 6.24K. So putting those two together, I think we're there! If fact it is sounding so good and clear it's starting to make me regret I'm selling it. I do have a five strat limit, so this 6th one will go. It's got tremendous quack tone!

    Thanks all of you who contributed your insight and experience. I wouldn't have thought that re flowing that solder joint would have done it but it did! I think jvin248 suggested that---Thanks! I couldn't have done it without you. Platefire

    iAxe393 002.jpg
     
  18. Platefire

    Platefire Friend of Leo's

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    Well it's been almost a week now and the electronics/pickups are working fine. Took the stock string trees off yesterday and put some roller string trees on it. I think it's ready to put up for sale now. Platefire
     
  19. corliss1

    corliss1 Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    Glad you were able to get it figured out! Logical steps led to a good outcome.
     
  20. Platefire

    Platefire Friend of Leo's

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    I'm thankful it's finally fixed. I had been putting up with that cutting out about a year now but just never would buckle down and trouble shoot it. I finally decided to start this thread and get some outside help---it worked! Now I'll have to remember that next time I get a guitar issue where I don't know what to do. You guys know some stuff! Platefire
     
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