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Variax 300: Fadeout/in until warmed up ; possible Coffin Issue??
by hurrells on 2012-02-13 11:25:55

Hello.

I am the proud owner of a used Variax 300 that sort of works as follows. I'm posting this looking for best, next steps to get this working 100%.

I was aware that the guitar had the problem below when I bought it and it was reflected in the price. I was also told by the initial owner that he had not worked to fix or repair the guitar, and that it is stock. I have read many posts about coffin issues, connector issues, etc. I'm just looking for any new input people may have for me to go forward to fix this efficiently.

Good News:

I have a Variax 300 and Pod xt live. The Variax 300 works perfectly using the PodXt and digital cable all the time. Every time and right away. I can unplug/plug to my hearts content and get solid signal all the time.

Bad News:

The problem(s) occur with the analog connection when I goto practice. I have the line6 XPS? (black box) power supply. Power supply appears to be fine w.r.t a digital multimeter. YMMV.

What happens is that:

  1. I plug everything analog together: Variax 300 -> (*plug*) ->  special analog planetwaves/line6 1/4" "stereo" cable ->  XPS powersupply unit -> Marshall amp.
  2. Variax 300 plays fine (any mode/setting) for about 30 sec and then fades out. ....sometimes there is a static sizzly sound....  and fades back in again ~2min later....
  3. But if I unplug the guitar from the cable (*plug*) and plug it straight back in again it works right away again.. Usual amp pops, static, etc from amp when unpluging.
  4. I repeat step#2 & step#3 for about 30 minutes and then the fadeout just stops happening. It seems to warmup...
  5. Guitar now works fine for several hours... time and time again. Really a pain for practicing...

At this point I was able to use a Variax 700 A/B pedal power supply and different analog cable. The problem happens as well. Can's say it's as bad.

I also tried to look at the (*plug*) but really can't get it to come more than 1/2" from the case so I can't really see anything wrong there...

I think it's a "static" buildup type of issue. a.k.a the coffin issue. Possibly a dying cap on the board. Any other ideas?

Next Steps:

  1. Take it to the local luthier, who is also an electronics tech, along with my various printouts about coffin issues, connector issues, dissassembly notes, etc.
    a) Have him look at it. b) Have him do the coffin fix anyways, c) replace plug. d)?????
  2. Discuss with him his ability to a) do the coffin fix, with liquid insulating paint, b) also replace 1/4" jack, ????

Anybody have this exact type of problem(s). Any other solutions?

Cheers

STephen



Re: Variax 300: Fadeout/in until warmed up ; possible Coffin Issue??
by hurrells on 2012-02-13 11:33:49

Hello.

I just wanted to add that I will swap out the XPS power and try a 9v battery & normal 1/4" cable tonight and report back what happens.

Steve



Re: Variax 300: Fadeout/in until warmed up ; possible Coffin Issue??
by amx05462 on 2012-02-16 15:53:33

i doubt  it  is  the coffin   problem   also  there  is  nothing  in this  guitar that needs  to  warm up.    you  probably  have  a  bad   resistor.  or  a bad  solder  joint  somewhere.



Re: Variax 300: Fadeout/in until warmed up ; possible Coffin Issue??
by silverhead on 2012-02-20 19:04:25

hurrells wrote:

..

Next Steps:

  1. Take it to the local luthier, who is also an electronics tech, along with my various printouts about coffin issues, connector issues, dissassembly notes, etc.
    a) Have him look at it. b) Have him do the coffin fix anyways, c) replace plug. d)?????
  2. Discuss with him his ability to a) do the coffin fix, with liquid insulating paint, b) also replace 1/4" jack, ????

....

I had (have) exactly the same problem with a Variax 300. I did exactly what you suggest in Steps 1 and 2. My luthier made no promises, but took on the job. He was unsuccessful but to his credit took it as a bit of a learning experience to gain familiarity with Variax guitars, and he only charged me for less than half the time he spent on it. Still, it was enough $$ to no avail and I haven't tried to get it fixed again. Like you, I have the VDI option with a POD device and that's all I use now.

Your luthier may have more success - and of course there's always the Line 6 service centre option........but I think they are more likley to simply replace the whole coffin assembly rather than try to debug anything, and that is very costly.



Re: Variax 300: Fadeout/in until warmed up ; possible Coffin Issue??
by hurrells on 2012-03-01 07:48:29

Hello Folks.

I wanted to report that my Luthier was able to repair the V300 by basically resoldering many suspect traces on the board.

Each time I use the V300 I start with using the analog connection and now have no drop-outs or fizzle-outs anymore.

Digital still works great. Having lots of fun now getting my HD500 and XTLive programmed up now.

Thanks for all the posts, especially amx05462 for the solder tip.

STeve




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