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Main :: Variax Guitars / Bass / Workbench

Variax 300 VDI Port Died suddenly
by codamedia on 2013-02-02 07:49:14.9630

The VDI port on my Variax 300 seems to have completely quit on me. I've been using it without issues up until last evening when I fired up my studio and the guitar was not connecting to my X3 Live.

  • I own two X3 Lives, one for live and one for studio. The VDI connection from the guitar is not working with either X3.
  • Monkey and Workbench cannot see the Variax through the X3 Live devices, although Monkey and Gearbox can see both X3 live devices.
  • I have tried a Line 6 VDI Cable, and 3 standard cat 5 ethernet cables (I usually use the VDI cable live, and the ethernet cables at home or in the studio). All cables I tried have worked in the past.

Based on the above attempts, I have ruled out a problem with cables and my X3 Live ports. Leading me back to the Variax.

  • Using AAA Batteries, the guitar works fine
  • Using the XPS-Mini and the Line 6 TRS Cable also works fine.

Based on that - I believe I have a problem with the VDI port on the guitar itself. Although the guitar works fine with batteries or the XPS-Mini, I really want the VDI to work.

I use VDI in live performances to change patches on the guitar automatically via the X3 but more than that - I am uncomfortable that I cannot backup/restore and/or edit any patches on the guitar.

If anyone has any suggestions for troubleshooting I have not tried yet - I am open to suggestions.

EDIT TO ADD: A while back I forgot the power supply for my X3 Live at a practice. I loaded the guitar with AAA batteries and went direct to an amp, but I never removed the battery pack when I went back to the VDI connection. I have read on these forums that you should not have batteries installed when using the VDI or XPS. Those batteries still work fine now, but could this be a source of my problem? For the record, I did remove the battery pack when doing all the tests listed above (except when I tested the battery pack of course).

Re: Variax 300 VDI Port Died suddenly
by amx05462 on 2013-02-02 08:18:36.6450

you have eliminated the  guitar having a problem by  both cases  where it  does  work fine  by what you said.  id  say its  the power   connection from your pedal.  look in that connector  for  one of the  connector  wires  to be lower than the rest.   if so your not getting power  from your pedal. theres a couple of fixes  for that   on here.

Re: Variax 300 VDI Port Died suddenly
by codamedia on 2013-02-02 09:32:11.0470

Thanks for the quick response. I just want to make sure I understand what you are suggesting!

Are you saying to look at the Connection on the guitar for a fault in the connector? Such as damage or "lowering" of one of the pins? I doubt the problem lays with the X3 Live devices, as both are not likely to go down at the same time.

I did take the Variax apart and reset all the ribbons and connectors, but I am getting the same results. I'll take a closer look at the connector.

Re: Variax 300 VDI Port Died suddenly
by codamedia on 2013-02-02 09:36:40.0280

@amx05462: I am curious as to why you believe the guitar is fine?

Would the VDI not go through it's own circuit - separately from the 1/4" TRS. Is it not possible that a componant has died in that section?

I hope that question doesn't come across wrong. I am not trying to argue with you, as you may know a lot more than me about the Variax. I'm just curious

Re: Variax 300 VDI Port Died suddenly
by amx05462 on 2013-02-02 09:45:21.8150

when  you said  it  works fine  on batteries  and also with the  xps mini  and   its cables   i thought  you meant  you were  sending  sound  through  that to your computer  or amp  or pedal.   what im getting    now  is that   its  just powered  through  either  batteries   or the xps. power  supply. in which case   then it could be at the guitar .  if  your saying  you get sound from  the  1/4  output  but not the  xps   then it could be the  guitar connection.     but  i based   my conclusion  on whatyou originally said.  either  way  the compressed   connector   on either  the  guitar  or  on the  pedal  seems  to have been a common problem a few  years  back. so  id  look into all those connectors.  . all it  ever  was     was  one  wire  that was  stuck  low  and didnt  connect.  id  check every  one  that you  have   .. just to be   sure.

Re: Variax 300 VDI Port Died suddenly
by codamedia on 2013-02-02 10:59:53.9730

Thanks for clarifying and your suggestions. I think there was a little mis-understanding. I'll try to be a little clearer.

  • The guitar works when I use batteries and a 1/4" cable.
  • The guitar also works if I use the XPS-Mini with the TRS cable (Line 6 TRS)
  • The guitar does not work with the VDI through 2 different X3 live devices. (it has always worked in the past, so this is where it appears to be failing now)

I have checked the connections, and they are good. I verified each pinout using a multi-meter. The connection seems quite secure.

I am not sure where in the VDI it is failing. The Power, The Audio or the MIDI - or any combination of the those.

I would be happy if I could simply find an alternative way to connect to the computer so I can use Workbench and create various patches. Right now I'm just stuck with what I have loaded

Re: Variax 300 VDI Port Died suddenly
by amx05462 on 2013-02-02 11:11:47.6720

well if  you have verified  all connections  with a meter..   and  they all verify from the  main board  to the  other  end  of the plugged  in  vdi cable....  its not the vdi socket at all.  if you cant  go from the  socket to  the other  end  of the plugged  in cable  then its  the socket. if you can go from the main board connector  to  the outer  end  of the plugged  in  cable  its  not the  socket  so from that pount  you have to look at the  connections  on the main board   possibly a resistor.  i recall  someone  with a burnt  resistor  at one time..  i believe  that  had  to get sent  out  to the company..    but thats  what id do next . unplug  the vdi connection to the main board  and  check from that connector to the  other  end of the plugged  in vdi cable

Re: Variax 300 VDI Port Died suddenly
by codamedia on 2013-02-02 12:04:37.2540

Thanks for all your suggestions - I appreciate it.

When I get a chance I'll take the guitar apart again and pull out the coffin to test the internal connections, and see if there is anything obviously wrong (resistor, cap, etc...).

Once again - thanks for your help!

Re: Variax 300 VDI Port Died suddenly
by codamedia on 2013-02-02 12:27:39.2170

Well - all is not lost!

Using the info on this post I managed to piece up a RJ-45 > MIDI cable that allows me to connect to the guitar with Work Bench on the computer.

This would indicate to me that the audio portion of the VDI connection is not working properly.

I get power to the guitar, and I get MIDI IN/OUT. At least now I can still manage the guitar, and even re-flash if I ever need to.

Re: Variax 300 VDI Port Died suddenly
by amx05462 on 2013-02-02 12:46:56.4100

well best of luck with it. btw  while your in there  you  might  want to  insulate that coffin case  from the main board   alot  of people  had problems  in that area  as well. you can  either  get some  of that liquid  electrical tape  and  paint the inside  with that or  just spray it with a couple of coats  of nonconductive paint.   i dont  think this is  part of your problem  but again while your in there  why not  kill two birds  with one stone.. theres a bunch of past posts  on that issue    on this  site..  you might find them under  the dreaded  coffin case  problem or something  like that as i recall.

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