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Everything posted by cbrillow

  1. Impossible for me to guess due to the unknown variables involved, but here are a couple of comments: * The version that I built was designed for a Variax 600 that used a nominal 9Vdc source in the form of a cell holder containing 6 AA batteries. (or an FPS footswitch, with which I never used it) I replaced the cell holder with the DC-DC buck and fed it from a 5Vdc power bank having greater capacity and runtime. * An alternative power source for the circuit could be a phone charger ‘wall wart’, but I didn’t want to be tied to a cord. * I have played the 600 very, very little since purchasing it. After sitting in the case for several years untouched, a couple of acoustic models produced noise that made them unusable. (This long predated the use of my battery replacement scheme, so it cannot be blamed for the failure.) Basically, my 600 was an all-around disappointment because of this and its tuning instability due to the whammy bar. So it became a practice guitar at this time of year when I like to play a couple of Ventures Christmas songs in my exercise room while riding a stationary cycle. If I were trying to track down the source of the noise you mentioned, I would try several things. 1) If possible - it would be for me, using the cell holder and 6AA batteries - revert temporarily to the original power source and see if there is any hiss in the signal chain. 2) Power the circuit with a 5Vdc power bank, or conventional battery pack supplying 5Vdc to the converter. Does the noise appear with this configuration? 3) Power the circuit from a 5Vdc ‘phone charger’ like everybody has several of. Does the noise appear with this configuration? Since there are a lot of cheap supplies like this, try to use one supplied with brand you trust, not a cheap generic device that you got for cheap on the internet. Try 2 or 3 different ones. These different scenarios may point to the source of the noise, which could be in the DC buck or or the 5Vdc power it’s being supplied with. If you find something, please let us know!
  2. With respect to tunings, all the models, starting with the original 500, can accommodate them. But the oldest generation Variax guitars are now nearly 20 years old. My original 500 still works fine, but that's pretty old technology now, and isn't going to last forever, despite the fact that you might be able to pick one up for a very good price. (300/500/600 series models) There are far fewer 700 series guitars available, and they nearly as old, despite being 'upgraded' instruments. I'd definitely stay away from them because of age and rarity. A minimum for your search, I'd think, might be a Korean James Tyler Variax. (JTV). There was a significant upgrade to their alternate tuning capability, with several tunings already available at the touch of a switch, and just about anything you'd want could be programmed and saved into a program slot. And there's the virtual capo, allowing easy key changes without hanging anything on the neck of your guitar. They're also running an HD update on the original guitar 'models', although some have expressed preference for the older models! One disadvantage -- the first run of the JTV is now around 10 years old, or older, with few firmware updates -- the last of which was a long time ago. The batteries were also problematic. There's no reliable source for a 3rd party replacement, despite ads on Amazon claiming to be just that. And it's even getting hard to find an expensive ($49) original equipment battery from Line 6, Sweetwater, Sam Ash, etc. I'm not the owner of the newer Yamaha-made Variax standard, but it has the latest electronics and I imagine the tuning capabilities are similar to the JTV (or maybe even better?) The power box would certainly be a plus, especially in cases where you can't rely on the battery. One alternative is to power it through a VDI cable connected to a compatible Line 6 device, but that ties you to an expensive floor-mounted effected unit. Cool? Yeah. EXPENSIVE way to power a guitar, though... If you're leaving behind some vintage amps, it could be a good way to go to get some cool sounds. Lastly, If you're purchasing used, you could build your own external power supply. Beware: It's not supported and a warranty killer, but it's quite easily accomplished. The power requirements are known. Unless the thread has been removed, you can reference it and see what some of us have done to create such an alternative voice. It was allowed to exist for a time, with the appropriate warnings about not being supported. Take a look for the thread in the JTV section. It's not difficult to build, and mine has been working without incident for 3 or 4 years.
  3. Happy to try to help. There's still the question whether it's a 500 or a 600. I suppose it's possible that yours may have been modded. I've attached an image of my 600, showing the bridge & tremolo. The set screw has been replaced with a longer one. But the end of the bar inserted into the collar definitely is smooth, and rounded at the end. No threads at all...
  4. Sure you don't mean Variax 600? To my knowledge, the original Variax, later dubbed the '500' was only sold with one body style, and it was a hardtail. And the 600, which did have a tremolo arm, had one that snapped into a collar and was stabilized with a tiny allen set screw. The bar, itself, didn't screw in. Not sure how to help you on this one - don't see anything with a 5-6mm thread.
  5. Surprised that nobody's touched this. Yep, I used to do it with a power bank. Worked just fine. Of course that all ended when the transmitter battery was effectively neutered by the firmware safety upgrade...
  6. Looks like a couple of the posts have been infected with some spam links. I wonder if this is a user issue or a flaw in the forum software that allows this. The user comments appear legitimate. Suggested that you avoid clicking on the links, though...
  7. Good info, velocis -- may help out someone one of these days! Congratulations on solving your problem.
  8. Wow -- look at that cheesy, thin, non-adjustable (in terms of string-length) bridge with no piezos! Amazing that somebody'd try to pull this off!
  9. I have a JTV-59 and use the mag pickups almost exclusively. IMO, They seem to have a hotter output and more realistically represent expected sustain and decay characteristics when playing live through an amplifier. The models include these characteristics of the guitars modeled, which may or may not be quite what you'd want. But it's a matter of personal preference. Another reason I use the mag pickups so much? Poor performance from my original JTV battery, and the expense of replacing it.
  10. Nice that you can toot your own horn, but I'll bet other users would be interested if you could make a comment or two about your experience in achieving this. Did you have to jump through any hoops to get all the pieces in place, hold your tongue 'just right' in the corner of your mouth, etc? As it is, your post comes off as "Nyah, nyah, look at me"...
  11. This may or may not be something in which I'm interested at some point, but I heartily commend and thank you for following up and presenting the solution to the problem that you encountered. Wish everyone were so helpful and considerate!
  12. Thanks for your kind comment. I enjoy sharing my experiences - and experiments! - with other Line 6 users.
  13. It's interesting that you'd make this distinction, which implies that these later models have a different DC voltage requirement than the 300/500/600/700 models of yesteryear. That may in fact be technically true, given that the 1st generation models used 6AA cells for a nominal 9Vdc for their battery supply vs the labeled 7.4Vdc lithium battery used on the JTV. (and, probably, the Shuriken and Standard models as well -- I don't own one of them, so I don't know for sure...) As we know, battery/cell voltages drift downward as they discharge during use, so there's really a range of acceptable voltages that can be applied without damaging the instrument. I'd not be afraid to apply 10volts to my Variax 500 or 600, feeling fairly confident that the circuit would handle the slight overvoltage. That said, I've adjusted my adapter board to output 9 volts, to simulate a battery. When powered by a battery, there's also a Vmin cutoff voltage, below which the guitar onboard processor will not function. I have a pretty good idea what this range is, in a general sense, but won't throw out numbers that I'm only making an educated guess about. But getting back to your comment about adjusting the modified circuit in a box designed to replace an XPS A-B box, I would guess that the XPS, given that it's designed to work with any of the Variax models, doesn't know or care if it's a 500 or a JTV that is connected to it. So what appears that a safe thing to do would be to adjust the output of the DC buck converter used in these projects to the voltage that is output by an XPS A-B box. (In my opinion, it's probably not really required to take this precaution, but it certainly wouldn't hurt to do it!) So to take this safe approach, we need to know what voltage an XPS supplies to the guitar. I have two XPS switch boxes, and they're slightly different. The Line 6 logos are different and the operation of the power LED is also different. One of the boxes came with my original early release Variax 500. The other one was supplied with either the 600 or my JTV 59. I think the documentation refers to the XPS supply as optional, so it most likely came with the 600. I've never even plugged that one in until today, to run a voltage check... What I found is, the output from these two XPS boxes appears to be a well-regulated, nominal 7 volts DC. Specifically, the output of one of them is rock-solid at 6.98 volts, and the other one is 7.01 volts. That's pretty darned close... So my recommendation to anyone considering using this adapter scheme to supply power to any model of Variax via the TRS cable, would be to set the output to 7 volts. The guitar shouldn't know any better, and will thank you for it.
  14. JTV power options, at least at the time that this was written. See page 7. James Tyler Variax Pilot's Handbook I can confirm that my JTV-59 works with the XPS footswitch/power supply.
  15. The post in which I first proposed using a DC-DC converter to power my Variax 600 discussed an onboard solution that replaced the Variax 6-cell battery holder, and was, indeed, targeted for the original Variax 300/500/600 guitars. But the original circuit can easily be modified with a few additional components so that it can sit on the floor and provide guitar power via the TRS connector, along with the guitar signal, which is passed through from the Variax to an amplifier. (XLR connection and functionality are not included.) But it works reliably as a power source, as testified to by Westryder, who wrote Although I defer to psarkissian's official forum voice and expertise, I would expect that it would also work with other Variax guitars that use the XPS box. Here's a quote from the JTV Pilot's Guide that discusses powering the JTV without a battery: "Note: There are two ways to supply power to Variax without a battery. When connected to VDI Digital Input equipped hardware, such as a POD X3 Live, power is supplied via this connection. Or, use the optional XPSDI direct box/power supply and TRS cable. With this box you can power your Variax and it also works as an A/B box to send your signal out of a DI to go direct to a board or acoustic amplifier with certain models." Variax external power supply (corrected).pdf
  16. Hi,


    Read your post on the alternate power source for the Variax thread, and have a comment or two. I'm the guy who created the original construction project that's discussed in the thread, and may be able to help.


    Best way is via email, when I can send you a diagram that I made to help out the user called Westryder.  If you wish to have a direct link with me, you can do it via, with cbrillow being the first part of the address. 

    1. scott4est


      Sorry, just saw your email. That would be great! Thanks so much! I will email you now.

  17. Consider yourself lucky, Ryder. This forum is littered with posts from unhappy Amplifi owners whose amps turned to doorstops or boat anchors from failed updates. I bought a used 150 in 2017, and it crashed & burned while trying to update it to the latest firmware. I tried several times under the guidance of Line 6 tech support, who confirmed that everything I had done was 'by the book', yet it still failed. Line 6 fixed it for 'free' after I spent over $100 to have it returned to California -- the only place that could do the repair. And they didn't even bother to let me know what they had done to fix it. I had to ask. The answer: reloaded firmware. Yeah, uh huh. I'd recommend using this thing for a bedroom toy, and not rely on it as a gigging amp. It will fail at the most inopportune time.
  18. "We're"??? Do you have a frog in your pocket? You don't appear to be a credentialed Line 6 representative and your only two posts here, while being readable, don't seem to be based upon anything of substance that you have to offer. What are you trying to pull?
  19. I'd say that, unless there's a significant difference in what you're expecting to read and what you see, you'll be in good shape. My experience has been that the output of AC supplies, such as the ones for your XPS mini, is generally not that close to the rated value, and is often a little higher. (not in your case, though...) More significantly, it usually goes into the first stage of an on-board power supply -- almost always into a full-wave or bridge rectifier to convert to pulsating DC, then filtered and regulated by a semiconductor device to create the actual operating DC. The raw ac voltage from the transformer can also be somewhat dependent on the incoming voltage from your house wiring. Very unlikely to be a problem unless it's way out of whack. Battery voltages are nominal, depending upon type and age. NiMHs are different from Alkalines and nicads. A tenth of a volt is not unusual to see, and it's certainly not a problem. Again, the first thing that an incoming voltage -- ac or dc -- sees is often a voltage conversion or regulation circuit. The actual operating range for consumer equipment is very likely to be + or - a volt or more. They have to account for sagging voltage from batteries before the performance starts to degrade or cut off entirely. Good that it zeroes on your resistance ranges, but even it being off a minor amount there doesn't indicate a significant problem. I'm betting that it will be just fine to perform your testing!
  20. Guessing that you bought this 'used' - was it from a reputable dealer, online auction or private individual? Were any claims made with regard to its working condition? psarkissian has helped you out with a link, so that's one problem solved... Good information. Let's simplify your connections to see if we can find where the problem is. Since you have put in fresh batteries, remove the XPS footswitch and Helix from the equation. Plug your regular 1/4" mono cable into the Variax output jack and connect it to your guitar amp. If you have sound, this will verify the output of the Variax, and we can take it from there... Yes, this is the VDI connection, a digital interface that permits some Line 6 devices to power and control Variax guitars. The pinout is the same as a Cat-5 ethernet cable, but it's advised that a regular Cat-5 not be used, even though it will work. The reason that it's not advised to use a Cat-5 cable is that the correct cable for making this connection has a metal shell (made by Neutrik) that looks like an XLR microphone connector, and it provides protection and proper pin positioning in the jacks. In a pinch, you could try the Cat-5 connection, but be very careful, and avoid moving around a lot... You're on radar -- keep listening to the control tower!
  21. In my mind, the answer is pretty simple: 'Volts is volts'... In other words, as long as you're supplying the guitar with the clean, regulated, protected and AC-line isolated voltage that it wants to see, it shouldn't care if they're coming from a battery or Mr. Fusion... I would advise checking out the converter board very carefully to verify that it works as-advertised when you receive it. Sometimes 'imported' products can be dodgy. You should be able to verify its functionality with a simple voltmeter. Take your time, double check all your connections and -- have fun!
  22. Hello, Hope you don't mind my 'butting in' on your conversation with westryder, but this is a topic in which I'm very interested. The board you've linked to looks like a good match for your project! It appears that it's very versatile in terms of both input and output voltages. The only thing I would be hesitant about would be if you were trying to use it near one of the limits of either the minimum or maximum input or output voltages. But you'd be using it comfortably in the middle of the range for both input and output, so it looks like a very good choice. Good luck with your project - keep rocking!
  23. If you wish to have a direct link with me, you can do it via, with cbrillow being the first part of the address. I'm always happy to keep in touch and was very pleased to hear that your project worked well! Yeah, that works too, and is easier than using separate parts! My gosh, I guess my first Variax is around 18 years old, or so. I ordered it before they actually started to ship to music stores! The one that I built the power supply for is a 600 that I bought in around 2007 or so. (and probably have played it for less than a couple of hours, total...) Don't have any idea about the newest line of the Variax, those made since the sale to Yamaha. Maybe they have eliminated use of the XPS? Take care, my friend, and drop me a line via email, if you'd like..
  24. Yes, I do remember that English wasn't your native language, and the other details of your message make it clear that it was you that I'd been in contact with! I did have a different diagram, similar to this 'final version', but think there was a wiring error on that one. It's also possible that I send something cruder before this one. At any rate, I've often wondered if you'd managed to put together your project, but as crazy as the world has been with Covid the past year, wasn't surprised that we've lost contact. I'm delighted to know that it's you! If I were a couple of years younger, I'm sure I would've immediately recognized your forum ID. I THOUGHT it might be you, but my memory isn't as sharp as it once was. Have fun and may you and your Variax enjoy many years together!
  25. Very happy to help, my friend! Some time ago, I drew up a wiring diagram for someone who wanted to use the board the same way you have - in a box, as a replacement of the XPS Footswitch. I didn't post that diagram in the forum, I sent it to him via a personal message. I looked for that message and can't find it! It looks like direct messaging may have been removed from the forum's functionality. Booooo! But I did find the attachment, and I'm including it here. Obviously, you don't need this, because you figured out all the details yourself. But it may help someone else looking to do the same as you. Variax external power supply (corrected).pdf
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