Why not pedals that use AA batteries? If they could put a man on the moon...

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by Thoughtfree, May 18, 2020.

  1. Thoughtfree

    Thoughtfree TDPRI Member

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    Double As and triple As are cheap and plentiful. 9 volt batteries cost a lot, are sometimes hard to find.

    There must be a good reason you don't see AAs in guitar pedals. Something to do with 1.5 volt vs 9 volt transistor circuitry?

    I'd love to use a fuzz that took one or two AAs, for when I don't want to plug in the pedalboard.

    And don't get me started about 9 volt batteries in piezo-acoustic guitars.
     
  2. Campsquire

    Campsquire TDPRI Member

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    There are inexpensive converter itegrated circuits that will step up 1.5 to 9v. Perhaps you would need two to get the same life as a 9v battery. It may be simply lack of innovation is the reason.
     
  3. scottser

    scottser Friend of Leo's

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    batteries are a nonsense in this day and age. all amp makers should put a 9 and 18v tap from the amp to power a pedal board. sorry, i'm a bit ranty today.
     
  4. Bob Womack

    Bob Womack Tele-Afflicted

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    Here you go:

    [​IMG]

    Heathkit Distortion Booster. I had one in the 1970s. It used single AA batteries.

    Bob
     
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  5. beagle

    beagle Friend of Leo's

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    You would need six batteries, just like my Micro Cube. Easy enough to make a convertor.

    Some pedals don't like power supplies at all. My Tone Bender didn't.
     
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  6. Chupacabra

    Chupacabra TDPRI Member

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    Did they 'really' put a man on the moon?...#fakenews
     
  7. 440mhz

    440mhz Tele-Meister

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    Zoom G1Xon expression pedals use 4 AA batteries, but, they only last 2-3 hrs playing time. What's need is some type of Lithium batteries, like a miniature version they use for electric bicycles and cars>
     
  8. thankyouguitar

    thankyouguitar Tele-Meister

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    YES! I have also thought this and made some unsuccessful DIY stabs at it in my teen years. Thankfully I (and my amps!) did not get hurt. But yes, regulated 9v and 18v would be a feature I'd be excited for!
     
  9. rand z

    rand z Friend of Leo's

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    Batteries are such a waste!

    I've always (for many years) heard that they could make batteries that would last a LONG TIME.

    But, like a lot of things, they don't because they want to keep making them, and keep you buying them.

    Also, they're terrible to dispose of and dangerous, too.

    So, I always use an array of wall warts to power pedals... which is a pain.

    But, more dependable and way cheaper than batteries.

    However, the ww could/should be re-designed to be smaller, easier to use, etc.

    (Lately, I've noticed many things that are way antiquated and need to be re-designed for more efficiency.)

    There's a lot of opportunity out there for some peeps with observant, and creative, sharp minds.

    IMO.
     
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  10. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

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    The vast majority of pedals have a jack to provide power.

    You can actually build your own little adapter to externally supply power by whatever types of batteries you want. I actually have a couple that are simply external 9V battery connections.

    So with AA or AAA, you'd actually need 6 of them, to supply 9V of power.

    Even if it's an older pedal that doesn't have a power jack, you could still rig up an adapter to the internal battery clip.
     
  11. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

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    I still like any OD pedal I own to take a 9V battery.
    Sometimes for a quick one set situation or open mic, and don't need a board.

    ( btw a 9V battery is a pretty efficient design- it is 6 stacked 1.5 V cells, so you'd need 6 AA's to replace, right?)
     
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  12. TeleBluesMan

    TeleBluesMan Tele-Meister

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    I think the point of the original post is: why can't pedals be designed to work with 1.5 volts instead of 9 volts.
     
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  13. beninma

    beninma Friend of Leo's

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    You could make pedals that ran on lower voltage if you wanted to, but the issue with running the transistors and such on a lower voltage would be that for analog stuff you would reduce headroom.

    A lot of modern digital stuff runs at very very low voltage, most of your high end computer stuff is < 1V internal to the chips. But tends to draw a lot of current. It seems like a well selected digital pedal would be the one you could theoretically run on AA, but it would have to be designed to sip power as well and not use too much current. I'm trying to remember, it's been a while but IIRC I have run my arduino on 2xAA before.

    If you used AA and stepped up voltage you'd have reduced battery life AFAICT. If you tried to stick 6 x AA in a pedal to get it up to 9V you'd need a big enclosure.

    It mostly has to do with the voltage range early transistor (BJT?) based circuits like(d) to run at. Classic circuits seem to bias the transistors around 4-5V, but using the 9V also allows us to get to our small modern enclosures.

    A lot of modern transistors I've been fooling around with making my own stuff will handle much much higher voltages than pedals run at, but lower voltages won't work right as the transistors start cutting off and you lose all your gain.
     
  14. Matthias

    Matthias Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I've known people wire their own external battery packs. There are a few options you could concoct, plus Pedaltrain and probably others do a lithium Ion pack, which must be cheaper over time.

    As a side note, I was once at a party where a girl was drunk enough to ask me:

    "If they can put a man on the moon, why can't we go back in time?"

    I think I was drunk enough to explain in lengthy scientific detail...
     
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  15. Skub

    Skub Poster Extraordinaire

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    Think of all the different tonez available with all the different battery brands. :)
     
  16. radiocaster

    radiocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    The original Maestro fuzz and Kay effects had an AA.
     
  17. Engine Swap

    Engine Swap Tele-Meister

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    No free lunch. Circuits need voltage to work and more voltage = longer runtime.
     
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  18. telel6s

    telel6s Tele-Afflicted

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    I have no clue as to electrical engineering for using AA vs 9v. Some posts above have addressed it nicely.

    I do have 9v rechargeable batteries that I got to run a small Behringer mixing board. Two of them last about 8 to 10 hours of use in that which lets me do two outdoor (no AC power) gigs on one charge. I have used those batteries in a couple of pedals. Since my pedals are on a board with power supply, having the rechargeables makes it easy to take one or two pedals with me w/o worrying about the rest of it. No clue as to total run-time since I've never tested that. In theory, they'll run longer than a regular disposable. I hear no difference compared to power supply or disposable 9v. I do not have a vintage-type fuzz but understand that there could be a difference in some of those (just like some will never use a fuzz via power supply).

    Also, I started using regular cell phone USB portable chargers with a 5v to 9v step up converter through a daisy chain. That works great. Even a small 5000mAh battery lasts several hours with 8 pedals on a board. I only have one digital pedal (rvrb) so my total power draw is pretty minimal, but if you have several high draw pedals there's a limit to what these batteries can provide (usually around 1 amp). Additionally, some pedals now come with a 5v USB input that can provide power (I had a Zoom G1x-Four that had this - it could run off 5v usb, 9v center negative power supply, or 4 AA batteries). What I like about this solution is I already had the portable chargers and continue to use them for phones, GPS devices, bicycle lights, a ZOOM H2 recorder --- anything that can run off 5v or 9v power. Less waste all around.

    In other words -- and just my opinion -- AA batteries for pedals may have been a nice idea a decade ago but I think there are better solutions today.
     
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  19. Twang-ineer

    Twang-ineer TDPRI Member

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    You can absolutely build a pedalboard, as big as you want or as small as you want based on AA batteries. A little soldering and a bit of math is required. I know, I have done it a few times. The 6XAA battery holders on Amazon are great. I hate using extension cords on stage as I grew up with simple 9V pedal rigs as well.

    With that being said.... It is NOT cheaper in terms of cost to use throw away batteries. Rechargeable .... Yes. But that means at least two full sets of AA batteries (one set to play, one to charge) So that is 24 total for a board of small to medium size (any digital pedal? they kill batteries fast) If you balance the load carefully, I easily get 3+ hours out of a fully charged set of batteries. So for $100 I bought batteries and a charger that I expect to get two or three years out of..... Its not bad, but it hurts a bit up front.
    Using cheap AA bulk batteries, I get less than 3 hours and it costs on average $5 per set of 12 batteries.

    Most Recent battery based pedalboard was wah-route 66-Mojotone-xtomp-zoom g3 and digitech crossroads.
    Currently disassembled...

    So 3 analog pedals and 3 digital, all 9V native PS
     
  20. Mark the Moose

    Mark the Moose Tele-Holic

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    I’m thinking a ryobi 18volt rechargeable system is the way to go...
     
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