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Preventing power supply related disasters

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  • Preventing power supply related disasters

    This thread got me thinking about just how easy it is to plug the wrong adapter into the wrong pedal and accidentally damage something.

    For example, you could accidentally plug an AC adapter into a pedal's DC input jack and fry it... or you could accidentally plug a 18V adapter into a pedal's 9V (max) input and kill it that way... so how do you avoid making a costly mistake? Do you have your power adapters clearly marked in some way, such as with a silver Sharpie? Do you use red heat shrink tube to color code the plug ends for higher voltages? Do you keep everything wired on a pedalboard so that you don't have to constantly re-connect them (and thereby avoid making a mistake)? Or are you just extra-careful about making sure you've got the right power adapter before you connect things?

    You get the idea... if you have found a way that helps keep you from experiencing a power supply related disaster, please share it with us!

    "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."
    - George Carlin

    "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."
    - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

    "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."
    - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

  • #2
    I try to mark all with what it goes to..


    • #3
      Its not the voltage that does the damage its the current.

      18Vdc 500ma isn't much different then most 9VDC 300ma adaptors and allot of pedals have diodes to protect the inputs.

      The 12V adaptors seem to have the greatest current variances and a 12V adaptor does not fit into a 9V jack. The center pin on the plug is a different size then the 9V. There are several different types of 12V plugs too depending on the current levels.

      I would agree a better standardization could be adopted by manufacturers but that would only be good moving forward. Its not going to address the pedals built in the past. At least the polarity wars seem to have been quelled. I suspect manufacturers like Ibanez finally discovered guitarists aren't stupid and they only reason they used a reverse polarity supply is so they could rip people off and make them pay double on an adaptor wired backwards. Musicians can be reasonable when there is a good reason for something but they aren't sheep. Its bad enough they get ripped off on people making 1000% markups over cost but they will dump gear that is too much of a hassle to deal with and given the fact many gear manufacturers rely on word of mouth to sell their products its best they get on board with the standards that develop through common sense.

      Fixing the issue? Colored heat shrink or colored tie wraps can work. I buy the tie wraps at a dollar store and always have a bunch of colors available. I also have a label maker which is even more handy.

      On my studio pedal board I only have one oddball supply for a Rocktron Pedal. It runs on 13V AC 1.5A supply. Everything else is a standard 9V so I'm not worried about getting pedals wired wrong. The whole idea of having a pedal board is to avoid having to plug and unplug pedals all the time and avoid mix up's. Seems like the best cure to me. If you have some oddball pedals print some labels and stick them to the ends of the wires with the pedal types they plug into. If that isn't enough to make it idiot proof then you might want to rethink becoming a musician.


      • #4
        I don't use a board and only lay out what I'm using at the time. I do power everything with one BBE Supacharger. though. This thing has 8 outs. 6 are 9v or 12v and 2 are 9v or 16v. These are switched with tiny dippies under the unit so I check carefully before each use.
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