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Main :: Variax Guitars / Bass / Workbench



Variax Crackling
by brue58ski on 2011-10-21 01:02:55

I'm not guite sure how to describe this sound but lately my Variax gets a crackling noise  when using the CAT-5 cable.  It doesn't happen all the time.  When it does happen it just keeps getting worse and worse if left alone. It is a steady crackling.  I can still hear model when it happens but it eventually overwhelms the models sound.  Switching to different models doesn't help.  Sometimes switching the product (X3 Live or Vetta II) off and then back on gets rid of it but not always.  More often it doesn't fix it.  Shaking the cable doesn't effect it for the better or worse.  Have tried different cables (I have three) and doesn't correct it.  If the CAT-5 contacts are dirty i.e. doesn't contact properly, would that cause it?  Or could it be I need to reseat my connectors?  Would that cause this.  Any thoughts?  I haven't tried cleaning the contacts because I know how fragile they are from personal experience and don't want to risk damaging them.  Has anyone else experienced this phenomenon?



Re: Variax Crackling
by JellyWheat on 2011-10-21 10:02:38

I used to find that my Variax 300 would "crackle" during the dry winter months if static electricity built up on the scratch guard. It was not, however, constant. I used to keep an old Bounce sheet in my pocket to dissipate the charge on the pick plate, BTW.

If you use a quality, non-lubricated contact cleaner on the VDI connector and simply spray it on/in the parts, you may clear any lint or debris that may be a contributing factor. This should not cause any damage. While you're at it, why not clean ALL the connectors, pots and switches, and don't forget the bridge saddles, either.

[The Great, All-Knowing One will interject any steps I have missed when he descends from the mountaintop later this evening.]

Regards,

J/W



RE: Variax Crackling
by Line6Tony on 2011-10-21 10:50:27

Another thing to try is compressed air in the guitar's receptacle. If all cleaning techniques fail, you may need to have a service center look at it. They can be found at http://line6.com/service_centers/.



Re: Variax Crackling
by deekayman on 2011-10-21 21:53:35

Man, I've got the same problem as you and it drives me crazy.

I got my Variax 600 used  and when I got it, I could only play it through the Line 6 XPS-AB box with the TRS cable and output it to the powered speaker (XLR cable) and to my amp (1/4" jack). I didn't have any of the POD's to plug it with the VDI cable.

I got so pissed off when the crackling came along that I thought I got problem either with cables, power supply, XPS AB box...all those  were replaced with new but problem was still comming and going as it pleased to, convinsing me that issue is inside the Variax.

I describe the noise as similar to changing the stations on the old radio (by turning the wheel knob) and you just leave it in between the two stations.

I found out, if I take the guitar TRS cable, out and then plug it back into guitar, stops the problem for a few minutes/up to half an hour and also that action helps to show that there's something wrong with the guitar...cause people don't beleive when I tell them problem exist.

Sometimes I can plug in and play for a 5/15/30 minutes and problem wouldn't show up, so all I need to do is plug out/plug in the guitar cable few times ...and here it is, problem will eventually show up after few of those yanks.

I sprayed the contacts too, thinking that dust is causing problems and checked the basic connections /soldering on the guitar input jack but it didn't help.

Later on I bought HD500 (yesterday) just to see if the problem disappears when using the VDI cable (CAT-5)...but you guessed it, it's still there.

I read something on the forum about "similar" problem with the volume drop.

To highlight it, they needed to plug out/in the cable from the guitar jack.

Unfortunatelly it seems that their problem could permanently be fixed only by replacing COFFIN CASE ASSEMBLY, which can cost a lot of money.

I'm not sure if those two above problems are connected but there's definitelly similarity with the problem going away for a while when unplugging/plugging guitar cable.

I hope that I'm wrong and someone can clear it up how to get rid of the problem.



Re: Variax Crackling
by JellyWheat on 2011-10-22 06:41:15

deekayman wrote:

Man, I've got the same problem as you and it drives me crazy.

I found out, if I take the guitar TRS cable, out and then plug it back into guitar, stops the problem for a few minutes/up to half an hour and also that action helps to show that there's something wrong with the guitar...cause people don't beleive when I tell them problem exist.

Sometimes I can plug in and play for a 5/15/30 minutes and problem wouldn't show up, so all I need to do is plug out/plug in the guitar cable few times ...and here it is, problem will eventually show up after few of those yanks.

  • This sounds exactly like a static buildup problem to me...

I read something on the forum about "similar" problem with the volume drop.

To highlight it, they needed to plug out/in the cable from the guitar jack.

Unfortunatelly it seems that their problem could permanently be fixed only by replacing COFFIN CASE ASSEMBLY, which can cost a lot of money.

  • You don't REPLACE the coffin assembly, you REMOVE it completely and fasten the circuit boars directly to the guitar body using nylon stand-offs: = CHEAP FIX

I'm not sure if those two above problems are connected but there's definitelly similarity with the problem going away for a while when unplugging/plugging guitar cable.

  • I still say it could be one of three things: static, static, or static...

Good luck,

J/W



Re: Variax Crackling
by amx05462 on 2011-10-22 12:36:59

on the  static  thing......    i have  no doubt about  the possibility  of  static  buildup. having been zapped    at many  a light switch   over the  years in  winter.  my question is this... shouldnt the grounding  system of the  guitar discharge any  static that has built up  when  hooked up  either  through the 1/4  out  or the  vdi out?

if im right  then  these  guitars  that are   collecting  static  electricity  may have a ground  fault?

i know  in the  3  and 6  hundred  there  are  wires on eother  end  of the  coffin case that  ground to the body.  the question i have is this  could  that  ground  to the body be drawing  in that static  electric  charge?  if so  there  is a danger to the main chip.

inwhich case   the   removal of the coffin case  is a valid thought.also  using  a  non metalic  standoff  of some kind  or and  insulator  between  the   boards  and  the  body  is also a valid   thought.

when transplanting  my 300 i removed  all but the   very  tiny bit  of  the case   that mounts the main board  .. and  it was   epoxied  to the back side  of a  danelectro pick guard. i can tell you  thet a masonite body   does  not build up static.

anyhow  ...i might look into all ground  connections.    your  obviously not gonna get any help  from the  company    with a schematic so  youll have  to look it  over   with what knowledge  you may have.



Re: Variax Crackling
by JellyWheat on 2011-10-22 13:04:10

O Great One, the scratch guard is not grounded to anything... it is just a piece of non-conductive plastic that picks up a surface charge that is diffused across the whole surface randomly. I'm not sure how you could set up a path to ground for static, since it is not flowing anywhere on its own.

J/W



Re: Variax Crackling
by amx05462 on 2011-10-22 13:29:03

yes  i know  what your  saying   and  plastic   normally being  non conductive .... should  not  build  up static  electricity..  but for some reason  it  must be....so...  if i wanted  to ground  the  top of the pick guard and that must be  where it is building up because  the bottom of the pick guard  is  directly on top of  the  coffin case  id   be sure there  was   a  good connection where  the   pots come through.  there  metal   the coffin case  is metal  so there  should be a static discharge  when the  guitar is connected.  ergo. in my opinion there is a ground  fault.  for that matter  again  what do i know.  you should  be able to touch the  pick guard  and touch the  1/4 inch cable  when its  connected  to the amp  and  not the guitar  and discharge it that way. if not through proper ground  connections. or  for that matter  just touch the   1/4 inch cable to the pick guard... should  do the  same thing.

also   being a non conductive   substance    i might think that the pick guard  must have   picked  up some  coating  of  something   that would  conduct  electricity. its  quite possible that    the  bridge  plate  is  holding  the static    . it is  also  supposed to  be hooked  into the  ground  system.  either  way  if its the  pick guard    or the bridge  plate.   if there connected to the coffin case  id say the  static  is  working its  way down to the case  and  causing  a problem with the  main chip. either  way this  static  should  discharge to ground if all is  properly grounded.   the bridge  plate as i recall  doesnt  come in contact  with the  pick guard accept through the system  of grounds.  ...i could be wrong though but...  i believe  im on the right path as far as  static  discharge  goes.

again  it should ground  through the  controls  there  nuts  and washers  provide the contact.  that is if all ground connections  are correct

i might try cleaning  the   pick guard   with  some  windex to remove  any  residual  hand  oil that may be on there  for one  thing . as i said  above  we all get shocked   in  the winter  so obviously the   oils in your  skin.... conduct  electricity  

which kinda  makes  me  wonder  about  some of these  guitar polishes  and  just the motion of   polishing  possibly  creating  static  electricity...

but well  leave that for another time.



Re: Variax Crackling
by JellyWheat on 2011-10-22 15:52:18

O Great One, the scratch guard is not grounded to anything... it is just a piece of non-conductive plastic that picks up a surface charge that is diffused across the whole surface randomly.

  • Static electricity refers to the build-up of electric charge on the surface of objects. The static charges remain on an object until they either bleed off to ground or are quickly neutralized by a discharge.
  • Static electricity can be contrasted with current (or dynamic) electricity, which can be delivered through wires as a power source.[1] Although charge exchange can happen whenever any two surfaces come into contact and separate,
  • a static charge only remains when at least one of the surfaces has a high resistance to electrical flow (an electrical insulator).


The effects of static electricity are familiar to most people because people can feel, hear, and even see the spark as the excess charge is neutralized when brought close to a large electrical conductor (for example, a path to ground), or a region with an excess charge of the opposite polarity (positive or negative). The familiar phenomenon of a static 'shock' is caused by the neutralization of charge.

A ground wire does nothing for static electricity because - by definition - it is not flowing... the elctrons are just sitting there on the surface of a non-conductor going in no direction in particular. When you touch the surface with an opposite charge, you instantly neutralize the static and produce a spark. Otherwise, the electrons dissipate slowly on their own through ion-by-ion neutralization interactions with the air.

[The Wikipedia article on static electricity is pretty good...]

J/W



Re: Variax Crackling
by amx05462 on 2011-10-22 16:06:41

well i find it  hard to believe  to be honest with you that plastic  itself will hold any kind of charge  even static  electricity.  wikipedia  is info that  epople post  its  not the encylapedia britanica. and wikapedia  has been  known to be wrong.

anyhow  thos suggestions i made still stand in my opinion and so well have to agree to dis agree on this one  i guess. i have to say    this is a new  one to me  static  from plastic but hey who knows  it all.



Re: Variax Crackling
by amx05462 on 2011-10-22 16:12:19

http://www.electrostatics.com/page2.html

i stand corrected  to a point   by this article. read the conductivity section for a possible soloution to this problem.



Re: Variax Crackling
by deekayman on 2011-10-22 18:55:28

Great post by JW and amx05462 and interesting article to read!

Is there anywhere on the net (or can someone make a post here) pictures of modified guts inside the Variax, after the coffin assembly has been removed (and how is it done) and pcb board attached to the bare wood?

It would come very handy to all Variax owners to see how it's properly done.

I read somewhere that grounding problem inside the Variax was fixed by attaching aluminium sticky tape inside the guts( where the ground wires are normaly screwed into the body) and then reattaching those ground wires on to the aluminium tape. Apparently, that makes a better contact...right?

Anyone who knows about that? Any photos...links?

I guess that still wouldn't fix the problem with STATIC due to friction on the pickguard and that crackling hiss!?

Any ideas?

Cheers and thanks for the input guys!



Re: Variax Crackling
by JellyWheat on 2011-10-22 19:27:57

If anyone knows where to link to such a picture, it will be the All-Knowing One.

His Eminence, however, has retired to his bed of nails, having had a long day of kissing babies, hearing the confessions of Variax owners who have voided their warranties by installing GraphTech pickups, and drinking  (...ummmm. I mean) sprinkling Holy Water on orphans and widows...

Try him in the morning, and see what he can dig up...

Regards,

JellyWheat



Re: Variax Crackling
by amx05462 on 2011-10-23 03:11:15

oh i had  all  thos pics  but   the  last  computer  glitch wiped  all that stuff  out.   so im slowly collecting   it again. in the mean time  you may want  to look around  in here


http://line6.com/support/groups/variax-transplants

  theres  some references  to that stuff  and   myold  danelectro  transplant   you might  even see  some references  to  my project guitar in there. but some  of the pics  you seek  could still be there as well.



Re: Variax Crackling
by amx05462 on 2011-10-23 03:23:20

as to mounting   the  controls have there  respective  holes.  you can see that already.  as to the standoffs   well you can buy them at a local hardware store. or  you can make some.   when you remove the board   you need to find a wood  screw  that will  go throught the  hole  where the  original screw  went through  not the same  size  though   smaller in diameter   but longer inlength  youll need  4 of those.

then you get some  plastic  or rubber  tubing and cut  it to the  height  you want the board off the body.  simple  theres  your stand  off. cost  probably 10 cents  for the  4 of them  also cut  4   thin  washers  to go between the head  of  the screws  and  the board.     simple as  pie.   another  way is  you make  a paper template  of the  board shape  cut out the  holes.  transfer  there  places  to the  back of the  pick guard.  epoxy  4  machine  screws  in place.  once hardened  if you did them right   they wont  come  off then  put a rubber  washer   on the screw   first  then the board  then another  rubber  washer  then   the  nut.  voila    mounted   to the pick guard as it was before.

these things are very easy to do.



Re: Variax Crackling
by JellyWheat on 2011-10-23 08:58:28

What kind of sipping wine do you recommend when tackling a job like this, Excellency?

J/W

[...just wondering]



Re: Variax Crackling
by amx05462 on 2011-10-23 12:13:35

come  on jw  ....you know  what   i drink



Re: Variax Crackling
by JellyWheat on 2011-10-23 14:13:58

(8>*}... I was thinking about ...

..." Crackllin' Rosie "

Hnyuk, hnyuk, hnyuk!

J/W



Re: Variax Crackling
by amx05462 on 2011-10-25 12:03:19

arent cracklins  fried  pig  skin?



Re: Variax Crackling
by JellyWheat on 2011-10-25 12:28:28

amx05462 wrote:

arent cracklins  fried  pig  skin?

I dunno, Excellency, but I used to call my first wife...

..."Cacklin' Rosie"

[Mebbe that's why she ditched me for the RotoRooter guy!]

J/W

[...is this gonna be another one of them "Removed Posts"?]



Re: Variax Crackling
by amx05462 on 2011-10-25 13:33:24

no  you didnt   say the word   soit  should be a safe post.



Re: Variax Crackling
by amx05462 on 2011-10-25 13:38:58

btw  kinda  on the same  subject..... yer not textin from the  porcelin  throne  again....i hope ..  one  of these  days  you could  mess up that nice  new  phone....



Re: Variax Crackling
by JellyWheat on 2011-10-25 15:00:10

Mrs. JellyWheat has come aboard me with the cannons blazing, telling me I should have greater respect for my good friends than to e-mail them from the terlet, new iPhone or not!

I HAVE been TOLE!



Re: Variax Crackling
by amx05462 on 2011-10-25 15:35:44

listen  you  know i dont mind   where  your emailing  from  but if your  hands  get slipery  and your  legs   fall asleep while your texting  .. you  know  . im just concerned  that  if the phone  slips  . or if your in the middle  of a  wipe  or something    that    things  could  happen to your  phone is all.



Re: Variax Crackling
by amx05462 on 2011-10-25 15:36:26

much like the no texting while  driving  law  says.... well you know where im going with this...



Re: Variax Crackling
by JellyWheat on 2011-10-25 15:52:50

(8>z}... You really ARE trying to get me booted off this Forum, aren't you, O Great, All-Knowing Stirrer of the Trapazoidal Pot!

Hrrrmph!

J/W



Re: Variax Crackling
by amx05462 on 2011-10-25 16:01:41

well  if they boot you   im going  with you.    wouldnt  be the same  if you werent  here.



Re: Variax Crackling
by JellyWheat on 2011-10-25 16:17:01

(8,>)}... REALLY, Great One?

J/W



Re: Variax Crackling
by amx05462 on 2011-10-25 16:39:04

yep   the place  would be a great big bore...



Re: Variax Crackling
by airforceguitar on 2012-11-07 09:40:01

I've been xperiencing this problem... A LOT! and it is driving me and my bandmates CRAZY too! I had it on my Variax 600 with and without the VDI, and when I upgraded to a JTV-69 thought that all would be okay. Problem is... IT'S DOING IT AGAIN!

I've replaced the VDI cable, cleaned the contacts for the guitar, cable and POD X3. Purchased an new POD X3 and compressed air dusted the JTV-69 insides, and it still happens on the gig! I wish Line6 would come up with a definate cause and solution, because I'm about convinced that Line 6 only produces consumer products unfit for professional use!




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