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XPS-AB Failure
by nigelend on 2009-11-14 08:45:28.3970

Hi All

The XPS-AB Power Supply for my Variax 700 has just failed (Bought the guitar May time). It cut out whilst playing and made a horrible noise! There now is no power supply light lighting up on the box but the XLR and 1/4" jack lights are working which says to me that there is power coming from the transformer. Have tried unplugging and plugging in transformer plug and the power light pops on for a moment and then cuts out.

I have spoken to retailer how sold me the equipment but they were muttering something about how the distributor in the UK had changed and they were not sure if they could help. (I know that as the retailer they are responsible for the sale under the sale of goods act and must sort it out). The retailer is ESE Music in Maidstone.

What should I do? Can Line 6 replace it directly?

Please advise.

Re: XPS-AB Failure
by Nick_Mattocks on 2009-11-15 02:44:36.6420

I may be mistaken, but I thought Line 6 being based in the UK as well as the US, was/is/are the UK distributor directly, and as such I thinkl Line 6 deal directly with authorised Line 6 dealers.  I don't know ESE Music myself, but are they an authorised Line 6 dealer?  They have links to Line 6's site and a Pocket POD listed on their home page, which could indicate they are an authorised dealer, but not necessarily. The links on their homepage don't all work - particularly the link to GUITARS

You may already have covered this, and I don't mean to tell you how to suck eggs, but before progressing, you need to be as sure as you can be that the XPS box is faulty and that the problem doesn't lie with the TRS cable or the guitar itself.  Try the guitar with batteries only and a standard 1/4" jack straight to an amp to verify the elctronics in the guitar are OK.  If you can and have access to the necessary kit, also try connecting the guitar through an XT Live or X3 Live using a digital VDI cable (you can try a standard computer network cable (NOT cross over!!) for testing purposes with an XTL or X3L) - this will double check the electronics in the guitar and is not an altogether absolutely necessary step in testing - it would just be an additional confirmation that all is well or not.  If all that works OK, the guitar is almost certainly OK.

Ensure that the XPS PSU is OK, you are using the correct PSU and that it is delivering 9V AC at 2000mA - it's relatively easy to mix up PSUs from other kit, most of which will be 9v DC units - done it myself on occasion (fortunately I've spotted my error before plugging in - and now I make a point of clearly labelling all PSUs as soon as I buy a new piece of kit

Try the XPS-AB box with the guitar and a different TRS (stereo) 1/4" jack-jack lead and make sure that it is fully plugged in at both ends with the lead plugged in to the XPS box first as voltage is passed along the cable and you need to be certain that power is getting to the intended part of the guitar rather than into the signal output section, which could potentially result in a failed guitar if it were possible.  Mechanically the tip (signal) of your jack lead will touch the ring connection (power) at the guitar end inside its jack socket, so it should be OK to plug into the guitar if the lead is already plugged in to the XPS box, but if you have plugged into the guitar first BEFORE plugging in to the XPS box, the tip of the jack plug could and probably would brush the ring contact in the XPS box and send voltage up the wire to the guitar's signal output, which is not particularly desirable.   I hope and believe that there is some electronic protection against this causing damage at the guitar end but I don't know that with 100% certainty as I've not dismantled my 300 or 700 Variaxes to that level.  I don't recall having seen it explicitly written down in any documentation provided with the Variaxes I own to connect the TRS lead to the XPS box before connecting to the guitar, but it seems to me that doing it this way would be less risky - if indeed there is any risk :-) I normally use my Variaxes with an XT Live or X3 Live and VDI cable anyway.

If you have a test meter, you could test the TRS lead you have for shorts and signal continuity using the resistance (Ohms) setting.  At each end of the lead, you should get as close to zero resistance between the two jack plugs tip to tip, ring to ring and sleeve to sleeve with the only resistance being the resistance of the wire in the cable.  There should not be any connection with the cable fully unplugged from everything between the tip, ring or sleeve at either jack plug as this would indicate a short circuit within the jack plugs or the lead itself.  Presuming the lead is OK, you cold then plug it in to the XPS box and take a voltage reading at the other end of the lead between the ring and sleeve on the jack plug where with the negative probe attached to the sleeve and the positive probe attached to the ring of the jack plug you should see DC voltage of about 7.5 volts (I've just done the test using a moving coil rather than digital multimeter)  - you can get a reasonable digital multimeter from Maplin or similar for about £5 GBP which would be good enough for this kind of simple testing.

Your reseller should be able to get this resolved for you with the minimum of fuss, and as you say, the reseller is responsible for sorting it out for you under UK law.  If the retailer can't or won't help, maybe Line 6 would step in to help you out, but your local Trading Standards office might be more appropriate if you can demonstrate that you've given the retailer a fair opportunity to sort out the issue.  You can try contacting Line 6 by phone or standard mail:

Line 6 - International

Line 6, Inc.
4 Sopwith Way
Drayton Fields Industrial Estate
Daventry, Northamptonshire
United Kingdom, NN118PB

Telefon: +44 (0) 1327 302 700
Fax: +44 (0) 1327 302 702

Or by raising a support ticket through the Web site.  This forum is really for mainly user to user support, but is monitored by Line 6 staff and as such they are more likely to chip in if you post as a question.



Re: XPS-AB Failure
by bnels on 2009-11-15 05:01:30.8650

Good troubleshooting procedure, nickmattocks!

I would add just 1 more simple test.  Check the transformer output.  Put the voltmeter on a low AC scale, and the connector should read at least 9 volts AC, probably a little higher when not plugged into the xps.

A cheap multi-meter is a good tool for any serious guitar player to have, and not too complicated to learn.

Re: XPS-AB Failure
by nigelend on 2009-11-15 05:24:12.5190

Hi Nick

Have done what you have asked and I have come to the conclusion that it is the guitar itself and not the power supply after all.

I have hooked it up to my Workbench and the midi devices window is saying no device detected (see screen shot). I have hit the refresh button, it scans but doesn't pick up anything.

The workbench has work fine before.

It looks as though the guitar will not talk to the computer.

Any other suggestions?

By the way, thank you for your help.  Also ESE is on the Line 6 website hence why I went to them originally.

Re: XPS-AB Failure
by Mr_Arkadin on 2009-11-15 08:32:45.4000

When the E string on my V300 guitar died i took it back (Music Connections in Oxford St - long gone) and asked for a replacement. As it is within one year of purchase they have to replace it - do not accept a repair (that can take time - and my philosphy is if tech breaks it will break again). i love UK statutory laws.

Re: XPS-AB Failure
by Nick_Mattocks on 2009-11-15 08:47:49.0170

Oh s**t!  Sorry to hear that.   Bad news.  The 700's are usually pretty good as I understand it - mine has been fine as has my Acoustic 700.  Even my 300 has been good.   The most common fault across the board seems to be the piezo pickups, but it sounds like one of the boards inside your 700 isn't working for some reason.  The guitar is under warranty as you only bought it in May, so really your only option is to get it serviced.  Your first port of call should be ESE as the supplier, but it might be quicker in the long run to get it seen to directly by Line 6 - especially as it could take a couple of weeks or so once the guitar is back with Line 6 for them to resolve the problem.  However as a Line 6 dealer (I wasn't sure they were), ESE should be able to arrange things for you or maybe just give you an exchange guitar which would be better (the Sale of Goods Act outlines what the retailier must do depending on the age of the goods, and at six months old, they are not necessarily obliged to replace the instrument straight away and have a right to attempt repair, but most retailers worth anything will usually just offer a replacement up to the end of the first year to save hassle all round.  Unfortunately the SOGA is not as clear cut as having to replace something that's faulty straight away - here's a link to the facts:  The manufacturer's warranty may be more clear cut up to what happens in the first twelve months in the event of a fault, but the SOGA gives you rights up to six years after the date of purchase to register a claim in England & Wales (five years in Scotland).  Whether you talk to the retailer or Line 6 to arrange something, you'll need to find proof of purchase either way, but in any event remain reasonable with whoever you talk to as you will probably get more mileage than if you shout a lot :-) Personally, I'd feel as you probably do (livid that the guitar stopped working and inwardly ranting), but remain calm at all costs and be very clear about what you want/need to happen and by when.  The tone of your posts to date doesn't give any indication that you are anything other than calm BTW :-)

If you are running 64 bit Windows, that could explain why your Workbench interface isn't working, but from the nasty noise you said the guitar made before things stopped working and the fact that Workbench used to work OK -  it does sound as if it's something a bit more worrisome.

It may be something simple like a ribbon cable has come off inside for some reason - it can happen, or it may be something more serious.  Give Line 6 a ring tomorrow and see what they suggest as the quickest way to get your guitar sorted.  I've only had to call them once when I first got my Spider Valve amp and a couple of the knobs broke for no good reason.  They were very friendly and very quick.  I know a guitar issue such as yours is a bit more serious, but I'm sure they'll give you good advice and tell you whether they can help you directly.

If you live within striking distance of Daventry it *might* even be possible to take it there in person, but you'd have to ask Line 6 about the feasibility of that.

Re: XPS-AB Failure
by nigelend on 2009-11-15 11:35:45.8560

Hi Nick

As I exclusively use Apple Macs it does sound as if I do have a problem that I can't solve.

Unfortunately it is bit of a trek from Kent to Daventry

So, off to the retailer tomorrow.

Thankfully I do not need the guitar at the moment and have other axes I can use for work.

Thank you again for your advice.


Re: XPS-AB Failure
by amx05462 on 2009-11-15 13:20:23.5350

if your  running  snow  leopard   check the  faq section.  snow  leopard   isnt  supported  but  supposedly  theres  some  beta  stuff  to get it to work. but  like  nick  said  since  your  getting  some  nasty  sound  its  probably  the  guitar

Re: XPS-AB Failure
by Nick_Mattocks on 2009-11-15 23:31:24.3940

In that case, I'd ring ESE first and speak to someone who has a bit of clout.  Explain the diagnostics you've carried out and check that they are willing to take a look and possibly/hopefully replace the guitar whilst you wait if you take the trouble to take it in.  If not, then talk to Line 6 on the phone and see what they might be able to do to help.  With Christmas not too far away, if the supplier doesn't act quickly on your behalf or arranges for their own tech department to sort out the problem, you could end up with unnecessary delays and potentially be without the guitar until after the holiday if parts have to be sourced.   Personally, if I were you, the only way I'd be happy with a repair is if the guitar went back to Line 6 themselves, and I'd be happier still (and more confident) if the guitar was replaced with a new boxed one.  The 700 range is the current flagship range and it isn't a cheap guitar at around £800 GBP, so with that in mind you should expect it to last without fault for a year at minimum with relatively heavy usage and probably four to five years at least if you take good care.  Six months usage - and I'd guess 'moderate' usage at worst given you have other guitars is not enough to warrant any kind of failure, and would indicate to me that your particular guitar has an an inherent fault from day one (unusual for a 700) and isn't fit for purpose.  Had it been one of the Strat-like clones that ASDA (supermarket chain in the UK - for the benefit of non UK residents) were selling a couple of years ago for £50 with bag, stand and pitch pipes it might be a different story - and FWIW for the money, I have to say they were OK and usable once set up albeit if a bit roughly assembled.   From what I see on this forum, the 700 series Variax doesn't show up generally as being unreliable, so you've been unlucky in my opinion.  As long as you haven't abused the guitar (except perhaps verbally in the last day or two LOL a la Basil Fawlty with the car and sapling), I have every confidence in Line 6 that they will assist you in sorting it out quickly if ESE are at all reluctant or slow.    From what you have said I think you have reasonable grounds for claiming a straight replacement from ESE provided they have stock (very hard to tell as their Web site doesn't have links to any guitar stock and their eBay shop only seems to have about three 'normal' guitars listed), and that's what I'd be asking them for in your shoes.

Good luck



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