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Best Answer ozbadman , 07 September 2013 - 03:35 PM

It takes 3.5 - 4 hours the first time. It'll go constant red when charging. Pressing the battery test should have shown you something after 3 hours though. You might have a bad battery. Leave it charging overnight and if still nothing the next day, send the battery back.

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#1 sozeg

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 02:51 PM

Hi, when charging the variax battery, using the separate charger, what is the sequence of the red light? Does blinking red mean charging and does it go green or constant red when fully charged? I've charged the battery for about 3 hours and it has been blinking red the whole time. When I put the battery in my variax though I got nothing when I hit the battery test light. I had a 1/4 inch jack and vdi lead in. Have I just not let it charge long enough?
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#2 ozbadman

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 03:35 PM   Best Answer

It takes 3.5 - 4 hours the first time. It'll go constant red when charging. Pressing the battery test should have shown you something after 3 hours though. You might have a bad battery. Leave it charging overnight and if still nothing the next day, send the battery back.


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#3 snhirsch

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 05:00 PM

Mine shows solid red while charging and starts blinking when complete.


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#4 Charlie_Watt

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 05:53 PM

Blinking when almost complete is what the instructions say.  Leave it on for a while after it starts blinking to get a full charge.  Solid red during most of the charge cycle.


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#5 spmartin

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 06:48 PM

snhirsch and Charlie_Watt are correct.

 

BTW, in my quest to be frugal, I began wondering where to get some backup batteries cheaper than $50 each. This one looks suspiciously like the Line 6 version. Almost identical specs, shape etc. 

http://goo.gl/lUTLkF

 

I am sure they did not pay to design a proprietary battery for their guitars. Probably just found a reliable source in China, and built the guitar around it. At the price of the one linked above, I should just get it and see if it fits. No much downside if the electrical specs are correct.


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#6 Charlie_Watt

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 05:56 AM

Sure looks like the right battery.   Not sure why it's so cheap. 


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#7 spmartin

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 07:09 AM

It's because batteries have such a high retail markup. I remember last year I had to buy little CR2032 button batteries for my dog's invisible fence collars. At Wal-mart they were sold in a 3 pack by Duracell for $5.87. I went online and found a bulk pack of 100 for... get this, less than $10 plus shipping, so under $15 total. All of the batteries were brand new and perfectly charged. Ah, the internet. I am not in any way opposed to a company making a profit, but when you know an item costs $5 to buy and you up the price by 10 times, well then you should be riding the high seas with an eye patch!


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#8 Charlie_Watt

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 12:17 PM

Lithium batteries are more expensive than most.  I agree that $50 is a little much but the price quoted in that EBay is way under cost.  My guess is that they obtained a bunch of batteries on the cheap and that they are unloading them also on the cheap.  They should be a good deal and I would be surprised if they did not work fine in a JTV.  The JTV battery life is pretty good but I would like to have a spare.  My old 500 battery life isn't all that good and I always keep a spare battery pack charged up and ready to go.  I use 2500mAH NIMH rechargables in that.


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#9 ozbadman

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 03:54 PM

snhirsch and Charlie_Watt are correct.

 

BTW, in my quest to be frugal, I began wondering where to get some backup batteries cheaper than $50 each. This one looks suspiciously like the Line 6 version. Almost identical specs, shape etc. 

http://goo.gl/lUTLkF

 

I am sure they did not pay to design a proprietary battery for their guitars. Probably just found a reliable source in China, and built the guitar around it. At the price of the one linked above, I should just get it and see if it fits. No much downside if the electrical specs are correct.

 

Not identical, but the voltage and mAh looks good, but there appears to be a difference in the packaging in the back. Not sure if it would fit a JTV or not. Plus, one would want to test the connections before plugging it in to anything.


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#10 snhirsch

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 04:55 PM

Not identical, but the voltage and mAh looks good, but there appears to be a difference in the packaging in the back. Not sure if it would fit a JTV or not. Plus, one would want to test the connections before plugging it in to anything.

 

The ones on eBay have a slightly higher current rating, although I doubt that will amount to noticeably longer run time.  One bit of caveat emptor: Lithium battery packs with manufacturing defects have started fires in a number of major brand laptop computers, so it's probably smart not to leave one unattended in the charger - at least not for the first few cycles. 

 

And, yes, the markup on batteries is enormous.  I'd be surprised if Line6 was paying more than $8-10 in quantity for their branded batteries.  The only item I can think of with higher markups would be an HDMI cable at a big-box store.


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#11 Geekydaddy

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 05:17 PM

 That is not the same battery.

 

The  specs may be close but the under carriage is slightly different...not sure that it would "slide in".


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#12 spmartin

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 06:01 PM

Geekydaddy,

You're right that the undercarriage is different, but I do not see anything on the charger that would prevent it sliding in. I may have to bite the bullet and experiment with one!!


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#13 sdunmire

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 08:20 PM

I wouldn't.  Sure, it *might* work, but it might not.  And the "not" might cause issues with a thousand dollar guitar.  Not to put too fine a point on it, but  you're going to feel pretty sheepish if the unthinkable happens.  (and there would certainly be ethical issues raised by attempting to engage warranty service on your JTV after such an action.

 

There are also considerations other than voltage, current and chemistry.  Lots of cell phones have chips in the battery cells that the device needs to "see" in order to start drawing power from the battery.  I don't see this as being likely, it's just more my way of saying that I wouldn't bother.

 

That being said, I would make sure the voltage is a match and chemistry is a match and the battery is capable of the same or higher current draw.  Also, don't forget to buy a charger...

 

S.


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#14 ozbadman

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 08:40 PM

That being said, I would make sure the voltage is a match and chemistry is a match and the battery is capable of the same or higher current draw.  Also, don't forget to buy a charger...

 

S.

 

I've checked the voltage. They're both 7.4. The current draw is not really relevant for batteries. The mAh is similar so it will be fine.

 

That being said, I wouldn't try it without checking the electrical connections are the same on both. But it is plausible that this may work.


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#15 sdunmire

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 08:50 PM

The other thing I failed to mention is there is a pretty wide range of quality standards for rechargeable battery cells.  Most higher-grade electronics ship with Japanese made cells, while lower-priced products ship with the far cheaper Chinese-made cells.  It would be a bit of an unfair generalization to say that Chinese cells are the ones that cause fires, but I wouldn't be the first to make this correlation.  

 

(Disclosure:  I buy rechargeable batteries buy the hundreds of thousands every month in my line of work)

 

S.


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#16 snhirsch

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 04:09 AM

The other thing I failed to mention is there is a pretty wide range of quality standards for rechargeable battery cells.  Most higher-grade electronics ship with Japanese made cells, while lower-priced products ship with the far cheaper Chinese-made cells.  It would be a bit of an unfair generalization to say that Chinese cells are the ones that cause fires, but I wouldn't be the first to make this correlation.  

 

(Disclosure:  I buy rechargeable batteries buy the hundreds of thousands every month in my line of work)

 

S.

 

That's why I posted the warning advising folks not to go out for a long lunch during the first few charge cycles :-).  The energy density in an LI battery is fairly high and that can easily translate into pyrotechnics.  My sense is that a catastrophic failure would be more likely to appear earlier in the battery lifetime than later.  Is that your experience?


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#17 Charlie_Watt

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 06:01 AM

I would try it if I had one (very carefully).  It's only a battery - same voltage looks like same connections on the end.  If it mates up it will work.  If not, I would rig it up to work in my old 500 instead of my 6 cell NIMH pack.  (It would get same run time as my 6 cell NIMH pack which is also 2500mAH and approximately 7.2V)  By the way, most of these are made in China anyway now.


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#18 TheRealZap

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 06:08 AM

I do know, from a ways back that the original intent was to use a common sony camcorder battery.

I understand that there may have been licensing reasons that prevented this, or other business reasons...

I'm not sure what exactly they changed, or what they moved to to alleviate whatever the specific reasons were...

but it would not surprise me if the ebay battery is a possibility.

the risk is minimal as long as it fits... IMO*

 

(*DISCLAIMER: my opinion is only my opinion... any actions  taken on your part are at your own risk)


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#19 spmartin

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 08:08 AM

Or, we could encourage Line 6 to drop the price so they make just a reasonable markup. They could price them at $20 and still make a profit. I hate companies that nickel and dime you to death after you've purchased their product!


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#20 Charlie_Watt

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 10:10 AM

You are far more likely to find an alternate source than to have Line 6 drop the battery price.


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#21 sdunmire

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 10:43 AM

Or, we could encourage Line 6 to drop the price so they make just a reasonable markup. They could price them at $20 and still make a profit. I hate companies that nickel and dime you to death after you've purchased their product!

 

 

I'm quite sure that they would be losing money if they sold a battery for $20.


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#22 ozbadman

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 01:04 PM

I'm quite sure that they would be losing money if they sold a battery for $20.

 

Highly doubtful they'd be losing money given Chinese companies can sell similar batteries for $6. Obviously they're making a profit, or they wouldn't do it. And it's not like Line 6 has brick-and-mortar costs for their online battery shop. Nope, a tidy mark-up is in play here.

 

That being said, $50 seems to be around the going rate for Genuine Sony Batteries for their camcorders, so it seems like this is the price-point that the market will sustain for these things. Mind you, I haven't bought a second battery due to the cost so I guess they missed my price-point (plus I use either the HD500 or the power-pack generally, with the battery there in case I can't get power).


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#23 sdunmire

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 01:51 PM

I'm going to respond and see if we can keep this breezy and fun.  That being said...   :)

 

You operate from a handful of incorrect assumptions:

 

1.  "...similar batteries"  Naturally, this is debatable.  There is a VERY wide range of quality in cells.

2.  "Obviously they're making a profit, or they wouldn't do it."

      a.  I think they *are* making a profit.  At $50.  I was speaking to them quite possibly losing money at $20

      b.  You assume a profit motive.  I assume a support motive.  They are not an accessories company.  They don't need to make money on this.  

3.  "Line 6 has no brick-and-mortar costs for their online..."

      It's complicated, but they need to compete with their own channel partners "fairly."  Meaning they can't ask Sweetwater to stock the battery and then undercut them.  Sweetwater probably buys the battery from L6 for around $25 and expects to make their margins.

 

As I've pointed out elsewhere, my comments are not driven by ego or "blow-hardness" but by real-world experience.  I run product marketing for a company (known brand) that sells devices that run off similar batteries.  I probably am personally responsible for a couple of miliion batteries out there in the world.  (ouch)   If you were local, I'd buy you a beer and proceed to bore you with tales about things that might surprise you--like how expensive an accessories business is to run, etc.  

 

Again, just providing a friendly voice of insider knowledge, not trying to be rude or a know-it-all.  Hope that's helpful.  If not--well, click "thumbs down" and move on.   ;)

 

S.


Edited by sdunmire, 09 September 2013 - 01:57 PM.

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#24 ozbadman

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 03:18 PM

I'm going to respond and see if we can keep this breezy and fun.  That being said...   :)

 

You operate from a handful of incorrect assumptions:

 

1.  "...similar batteries"  Naturally, this is debatable.  There is a VERY wide range of quality in cells.

2.  "Obviously they're making a profit, or they wouldn't do it."

      a.  I think they *are* making a profit.  At $50.  I was speaking to them quite possibly losing money at $20

      b.  You assume a profit motive.  I assume a support motive.  They are not an accessories company.  They don't need to make money on this.  

3.  "Line 6 has no brick-and-mortar costs for their online..."

      It's complicated, but they need to compete with their own channel partners "fairly."  Meaning they can't ask Sweetwater to stock the battery and then undercut them.  Sweetwater probably buys the battery from L6 for around $25 and expects to make their margins.

 

As I've pointed out elsewhere, my comments are not driven by ego or "blow-hardness" but by real-world experience.  I run product marketing for a company (known brand) that sells devices that run off similar batteries.  I probably am personally responsible for a couple of miliion batteries out there in the world.  (ouch)   If you were local, I'd buy you a beer and proceed to bore you with tales about things that might surprise you--like how expensive an accessories business is to run, etc.  

 

Again, just providing a friendly voice of insider knowledge, not trying to be rude or a know-it-all.  Hope that's helpful.  If not--well, click "thumbs down" and move on.   ;)

 

S.

 

I'm going to try to keep this short: the only reason I disagree with you is you keep making statements as fact that are simply not so. (And it's derisory to say "I operate from a handful of incorrect assumptions". I don't operate from any assumptions at all. You use this as a way of establishing yourself as the arbiter of truth).  "I'm quite sure"....well no, you're not. You have no idea what their cost basis is. Or maybe you are quite sure, but you shouldn't be. You are not the only one with real world experience, nor the only one with product management experience. I too at least have both (although admittedly, not in the battery space). If you didn't present your opinions as fait accompli then we wouldn't need to have these chains. I'm not trying to be argumentative, but when you make statements of opinions as facts, and I disagree with the so-called facts, or incorrect representation of models, then I feel I have no choice but to try to provide a dissenting voice.

 

If something is an established fact, then I'm happy to accept those, but everything else is opinion and should be presented as such. But I wish us both, and everybody else well. I'm just trying to keep the discussion balanced and absent of mis-information to the extent possible. I value everybody's opinions, but get irked when anyone says "well, just believe me: this is the way it is" (not that you quite put it like that).

 

I'd happiiy have a beer with you anytime, although I'm more of a wine drinker. :)

 

Peace my brother.


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#25 sdunmire

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 05:41 PM

Agree that saying that you "operate from a number of incorrect assumptions" was derisory.  At minimum, it's annoyingly condescending.  I am always irritated at people that use such language on forums (the anonymous factor, I suppose) and what do I do but go ahead and do the same thing!  Lame me.  Sorry.

 

IIRC, the comment where I used the term "quite sure" was in reference to your comment about them losing money if they sold it for $20.  The truth of the matter is I *am* quite sure.  Naturally, as you point out, this is my opinion but I sorta thought that we were all giving opinions.  Like what is stating that they should go to a more "reasonable markup" but an opinion?  

 

So I typed this whole explanation of the cost basis that I had in my head, verified the numbers against my own company's metrics

and came up with about a $19 cost per unit.  I deleted it because it was too boring for even me to read...  :)

 

So maybe they make a little bit at $20.  But not enough to pay for setting up the program in the first place unless they sell 10-20,000 units of the replacement battery.  Which I would doubt, but I don't have market sizing numbers for the Variax to consider so I'll just have to wonder on that.  Sure, replacement battery sales will increase as time goes on, but to what degree is anyone's guess.

 

As to whether they should sell it for $50 or not, well, that's not my call.  I don't like paying vast markups any more than anyone else.  But there are ALWAYS costs that don't pop out in these sorts of online discussions where most people prefer to judge for themselves what a "reasonable markup" should be.  (not picking on you--just attempting to make a point)  I actually had an employee once who chafed at the idea of paying a markup of this sort on another item he was buying and i found myself laughing.  You see, I had justified the creation of that headcount a year earlier based partially on the need for someone to set up and run the accessory sales program that would support one of our core product lines.  What he saw was that we were making a ton of profit, but the $60,000 per year that he was making along with the $8K that it cost to provide medical, dental and life insurance for him and his family was still a sea of red ink that he never thought about.  

 

Irony.  


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#26 sdunmire

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 05:44 PM

 

I'd happiiy have a beer with you anytime, although I'm more of a wine drinker. :)

 

Peace my brother.

 

Me too, actually.  Wine is easier on the waistline and pretty tasty.  Plus I'm in Oregon and we're known for our yummy Pinots so I guess I'm a victim of my environment.  :)

 

Send me a note if you're ever in Portland.  Peace.


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#27 ozbadman

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 05:50 PM

Indeed Sir,

 

And one thing I learnt early on in my career is that the final price has more to do with what people will pay then it does on manufacturing cost. God knows I pay a huge mark-up every time I buy coffee (a friend of mine started a small coffee shop and is astounded at the mark-up he can charge customers).

 

Oregon: I must get there some time. I live in L.A. at the moment, and have not made it as far as Oregon so far, but I have heard it's beautiful. I picture lots of trees, but that may be just in my head.

 

Now, where did I put that wine?

 

ps: I can't believe I just mis-spelled Oregon twice. Apologies.

pps: just to clarify, some of those comments you quoted were actually by spmartin, not me.


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#28 sdunmire

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 06:02 PM

Indeed Sir,

 

And one thing I learnt early on in my career is that the final price has more to do with what people will pay then it does on manufacturing cost. God knows I pay a huge mark-up every time I buy coffee (a friend of mine started a small coffee shop and is astounded at the mark-up he can charge customers).

 

Oregon: I must get there some time. I live in L.A. at the moment, and have not made it as far as Oregon so far, but I have heard it's beautiful. I picture lots of trees, but that may be just in my head.

 

Now, where did I put that wine?

 

ps: I can't believe I just mis-spelled Oregon twice. Apologies.

pps: just to clarify, some of those comments you quoted were actually by spmartin, not me.

 

Yeah, I just paid almost $4 for a drip coffee today.  Nuts.  

 

Lots of trees is area-specific, but we do have them where I am (out of the city a bit) and it's quite beautiful.  I used to live in LA and miss the weather but if I moved back I would miss the green of here.  So maybe the grass is greener at home?  :)

 

I worried that I was misquoting you and forgot to go back and check prior to clicking "post."  Oops.  My bad.  


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#29 sozeg

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 11:07 AM

Just checked back on my post. The topic seems to have drifted somewhat from my original question but good stuff all the same. I had only used my battery once before but when I tried it the led's on the guitar showed blank. When I plugged it in to charge it was blinking straight away which made me think it was almost fully charged. Anyway I charged it for about 11 hours and when I put it back in the guitar it was showing four led's.

I'll keep it in until its drained and then start fro scratch but I reckon maybe my charger just blinks all the time!

No biggie I suppose, as long as it works.

Thanks for the responses
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#30 rchibnik

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 04:17 PM

I took a chance and got ordered one of these - it arrived today.

http://www.ebay.com/...a-/261197047245

 

The battery came fully discharged, but slipped into both the guitar and charger without issue despite the difference in tracks beneath it. Currently the battery is in the charger with the light lit solidly and no unexpected heat or aromas. I'll probably leave it on overnight and test it out in the morning, so stay tuned and keep your fingers crossed.

 

I'll let you know how it goes.


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#31 TheRealZap

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 04:19 PM

awesome! you may have just sold all that guys inventory! :)

 

I took a chance and got ordered one of these - it arrived today.

http://www.ebay.com/...a-/261197047245

 

The battery came fully discharged, but slipped into both the guitar and charger without issue despite the difference in tracks beneath it. Currently the battery is in the charger with the light lit solidly and no unexpected heat or aromas. I'll probably leave it on overnight and test it out in the morning, so stay tuned and keep your fingers crossed.

 

I'll let you know how it goes.


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#32 rchibnik

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 06:10 PM

After several hours in the charger the light started flashing indicating that charging was complete, or nearly so.

 

I removed the battery from the charger and put it into the JTV but, alas, pressing the battery test button yielded no lights. The Line6 battery showed lights when I replaced it. The Mavica battery feels a little loose in the body of the guitar - not as good a fit as the Line6 battery.

 

I plugged a 1/4" cable into the guitar but could not get the electronics to start - model lights remained dark. The line6 battery and 1/4" cable produced the expected function - lights, etc.

 

Therefore, I can conclude that the batteries are incompatible. I knew it was a gamble going in, and I'm only out 8 bux so I guess I'll bring lunch to work for one day.


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#33 Charlie_Watt

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 07:03 PM

That's a bummer.  It sure looked like it might work.  Did you read the voltage on it after you charged it?


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#34 ozbadman

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 11:19 PM

DId you check the electrical connections were the same on both batteries? Same positions, same sizes, same voltages?


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#35 snhirsch

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 06:49 AM

The Variax models appear to have some logic built in that relies on the third battery contact (on bottom).  I don't think it will be rocket science to figure it out, but I'm not planning to pursue it until my warranty expires next month.  Standby.


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#36 rchibnik

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 07:31 AM

DId you check the electrical connections were the same on both batteries? Same positions, same sizes, same voltages?

The position of all three electrical connections appear as close to identical.

 

That's a bummer.  It sure looked like it might work.  Did you read the voltage on it after you charged it?

In my office move I seem to have misplaced my multi meter, so I am unable to test it. The labels are similar. Both say 7.4v with the Mavica having slightly more mAh (300) and sligtly higher Wh (~2.25) When I find the meter I'll measure the voltage and post.

 
I suspect there may be another Mavica battery that matches. I'll probably keep hunting now. In for a penny, in for a pound.

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#37 Charlie_Watt

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 07:37 AM

The third battery contact does not make a connection to the Variax!  Only The Plus and Minus.


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#38 snhirsch

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 08:50 AM

The third battery contact does not make a connection to the Variax!  Only The Plus and Minus.

 

Really?  Interesting.  Mine is off getting the neck Plek'd, but I'll take a close look at it when it gets back.  Since the battery voltage of the replacement is identical, there must be some mechanism for id-ing the unit.  If you get a chance, mind posting a sharp closeup of the battery compartment?

 

Update:  Just did a bit searching on the interwebs.  All the battery identification schemes I can find require a third connection to the battery.  I suppose it's theoretically possible to do this with only two wires, but such a scheme seems a bit impractical.  The bad news is that these "protection" systems (designed to protect the vendor's cash-flow, not you) largely rely on cryptographic methods similar to those used in ink-jet printer cartridges.  Not so simple to work around.  For the techically curious, see the Maxim and TI websites.  Both firms make chips for this type of application (although there are likely to be many others).  A number of Chinese companies have reverse-engineered the schemes used in mass-produced camcorders - thus the batteries on eBay - but I doubt the potential sales volume from Variax owners would be of interest to them.

 

Philosophically, I hate the idea of being held hostage to one supplier for a consumable product like a battery.  Let's hope Line6 gives the community fair warning if they intend to discontinue these packs.


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40 years of Rock-n-Roll and proud of it!

 

PRS Custom 24 (1990) w/ GK-3 Hex PU

James Tyler Variax JTV-69(k) w/ Strat Neck

Roland GR-55 Guitar Synth

QSC K10 FRFR

 


#39 Charlie_Watt

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 10:02 AM

I would like to hear from rchibnik about what voltage he measured at the terminals of the battery.  My guess is that the pins in the battery box are smaller than the holes on the battery and they don't make connection.  I doubt that Line 6 has any mechanism to sense what kind of battery is inserted.  The bottom of that battery is slightly different and maybe the terminals are too. 


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#40 snhirsch

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 10:28 AM

That would be the best outcome, wouldn't it?  Let's hope it's that simple.


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40 years of Rock-n-Roll and proud of it!

 

PRS Custom 24 (1990) w/ GK-3 Hex PU

James Tyler Variax JTV-69(k) w/ Strat Neck

Roland GR-55 Guitar Synth

QSC K10 FRFR

 





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