1. Mats Eriksson
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  3. Monday, 02 March 2015
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Hi folks!
I've searched this forum and googled about it but it is a hard find.

I know that this may or may not have been a Dingwall thing to probe deep into since their ingenious magnetic battery cover lid. But I've always wondered why some (most) makers of active basses makes a separate battery compartment with a hatch? I think it would be more cost effective to put the battery in the same place as the rest of the electronics. Now, this means that you have to unscrew a lot of screws (at least 4) to get to "just" changing battery, but wouldn't it be a lot better if it looked something like this (NS design):

[img:2cdk6xqw]http://www.harmonycentral.com/images/uploads/radius7-f737a0a2.jpg[/img:2cdk6xqw]

Or this, perhaps a stretch, since it is a guitar (Crimson Guitars):

[img:2cdk6xqw]http://crimsonguitars.com/workshop-diary/images/stories/food/041211/24.jpg[/img:2cdk6xqw]

I can't think of that it is cheaper than to have any CNC route channels for the wires of the battery, so I wonder if such kinds of covers exists as 3rd party out there? It is especially of interest to those who converts their already passive basses to active, and skipping to have to use all screws to get under the cover in order to reach batteries.

On some basses, one can wonder if you haven't got the "CHAMBERED" body instead, due to all cavities carved up! As one could guess, the first pic above is from a Steinberger Radius CR-5. [b:2cdk6xqw]Ned Steinberger[/b:2cdk6xqw] again with his NS design.

What you say? Does such covers exists or you have to build one for yourself?

EDIT: Those in both pics, are for two batteries, mind you! They don't need to be that large in usual cases. One battery would be enough.
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It is certainly a feature worthy of consideration. Though having a separate compartment for the batteries isolates them from the rest of the electronics which will protect them if the batteries leak (which has happened to me).
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I don't know how much that is true. It can just as well leak onto/into the wood or finish if it is placed isolated. I mean if you have a passive bass already with no compartment, the only option if you decide to go active on that particular bass, is to put the batteries inside were the rest of the electronics are anyway, under an already existing cover. And having to unscrew it whenever changing batteries. And on top of this, there are a couple of manufacturers that hides the batteries in there anyway (Spector et al).

Also, you can isolate so the plastic casing surrounding the battery will prevent it to leak out. Coming to think of it I think it's better that the "leak" happens there inside the electronics cavity, where it's more possible that shielding and painting prevents the leak to creep into the wood. Electronics can always be sprayed. However, electronics can get short-circuited.

Leaking has occured on my basses too. But since I've started to use 2 9v lithium batteries, and wired them to prevent changing them that often (9v pararell, not 18v) , they make the 7th (!) year in a row now, without them leaking or losing voltage, they're still at 8.85 V when I changed strings and did a regular yearly check a month ago. Enough to drive two EMGs. I don't use the 18v wiring, that is possible too. I have them under the regular cover, so I have to unscrew 6 screw (Not that Dingwall bass though, they have separate battery dept). And that was the reason I wired the two that way. So I don't have to change that often. PLUS going for expensive lithium batteries. Playing this bass daily, forgetting ever so often the cable plugged in, but nothing but to my own chagrin. Maybe, if such a cover was present as 3rd party, I would've stuck with regular 9v batteries, ONE only, because it's easier to change batteries.

I don't think it is that serious to having to "de-gunk" the residue that leaking batteries leaves. It's a bit icky, though. If one change them often they don't leak. I am just thinking that from a manufacturers point it would be much cheaper than having the CNC router make tunnels for the battery wire, and another cavity. And they can outsource that cover manufacturing.
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I think there's enough room anyway underneath that cover, so mounting any battery there will not touch any pot or electronics inside. Provided they're mounted on the flat side and not upended. Most bass bodies are that thick so they can house a 9v battery in there without problems.

One more thing. This is just useful on backloaded cover basses, a regular Fender with pickguard electronics loaded "front" will not be suitable for this feature of course.
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Maybe having a separate compartment also helps to reduce body weight by removing extra wood? It's probably not enough to make a huge difference, but everything counts!

Actually, my best guess is that they are usually kept separate so that there is more room for assembly (soldering, etc…) and it is easier to keep the control cavity neat and tidy.
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Guess it's good food for thought.

But, if there's one thing I don't want to - especially on any headstocked bass - is that it has a body that is lightweight or more lightweight than it's already. On the contrary. Since about 90 percent of all headstocked basses neckdives seriously and has poor balance, I've been seeking to find means and things to actually make the body heavier. Such as a metal or iron back plate instead of a plastic one! I think - by and large - there's ones reason they call it SOLID BODY don't you think. A Solid Body isn't a bass (or any instrument) filled up with holes regardless of necessitiy or not. It's a chambered body! Although I don't think a small compartment for battery is that crucial, I do not think for a second that it is CHEAPER in manufacturing to make them like that, as opposed to having the hatch mounted on the cover from the start on.

As for soldering and room there's plenty. When battery is removed anyway (You have to remove the cover dont you?) Just take a look at all passive basses that has been converted to active without having to carve up anything or enlarging any cavity. Of course, if you should add another preamp or active EQ inside there, it will turn out very crowded, but I still think it would be a feature worthy of consideration. If not for something else, than manufacturing price alone.

Also, when talking about leaking batteries, I would rather prefer them being inside that cavity. The wood and finish are too close to the battery if the battery compartment is separate. And the leaking will stain the wood/finish making it harder to clean up later on. Inside the electronics cavity there are enough room and space for any leak to be able to creep into the wood, since the sides/walls may be coated with shield painting or whatever, and at a greater distance from the actual wood. Also, the enclosure of the battery would be sealed too, so that any leak residue would stay in there. Anyway, it's easier to clean out electronics from leak gunk than trying to restore any stained finish/wood from it.

One last thing. Lithium batteries wont leak as much. As they are recommended for 8-10 years use in a domestic smoke detector stuck into the ceiling, well... havent seen anyone leaked so far. The current draw from these are just one tiny bit over the draw they make from just laying on any shelf.
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OK then, as I said, the most usable area is in with those basses that have

a) Been passive
b) Has a back plate cover anyway (Fender jazz and P basses will not be eligble for this, then)
c) Turned active
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It would be interesting to read Sheldons answers to it. There must be something else to a separate battery compartment that we've missed, for sure. Something that we'll end up "Ahhhh..blimey, didn't think of that!".
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Remember that AB-IIs are hollow body and balance perfectly. In my experience at least. Adding weight to the body doesn't really help that much if the upper strap pin is not extended sufficiently. Moving that strap pin towards the headstock even half an inch would improve balance more than removing a bit of wood that can fit a couple of batteries and magnets. Especially if this wood is light in itself, and on Dingwalls, it is.

Not that I have anything against the idea, it's very worth considering. I am just not convinced by the benefits you proposed. Remember that the Dingwall magnetic cover has those nifty finger holes and, as such, doesn't suffer from plastic wearing out. Not that that's a big consideration, but it is one reason I'd prefer it over a plastic battery compartment that Combustions come with.

Magnetizing the plastic cover over the electronics compartment, with some form of finger holes to easily grab this cover, and such that everything is nice and grounded (probably grounding the battery compartment itself) may not be easy to fabricate, compared to some additional CNC work on the body that is being CNC'd anyway. This one magnetic compartment, I assume, takes no time to CNC and insignificantly wears tools compared to the rest of the body.
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No, but I think the consideration for carving out battery cavity for body weight is quite moot. I don't think there's any kind of wood of the same area that has the same weight and density as of a 9 v battery. The 9v battery makes it heavier even! No one's going to tell me that there is some kind of wood of the same size as a 9v battery that weighs as much as any 9 v battery.

On the balance. I like to sit down and play my basses from time to time, WITHOUT strapped on. I prefer that basses should rest and balance on my knee/lap and release both hands from the bass and it doesn't tip over neither neck side or body side.
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OK, but I think it would be worthwhile considering on - say - a Combustion. And say that you had a passive bass from the start on (any). Then all you would do is to change the back cover for one, after you've installed the battery. [b:2vza3u3m]Note that this is lazy time saving nitpicking,[/b:2vza3u3m] of NOT having to spend time unscrewing four screws, so it's a pretty luxory problem. And if you ever needed to run 2 9v batteries you could change the cover accordingly, see NS designs, and Crimson guitars solution above. Those ones seems to be able to house 2 9v batteries. I think they do, because NS Design has one for driving the Piezos, and oen for the the active EMG pickups and preamps. Crimson guitars has active pickups, just as well they seem to have hex pickup for midi driver, and piezos. I even think Crimson guitars has these sustainiac systems were a pickup acts like an e-bow or sustainer circuit. Those are not happy with outside current at all, but is best driven with batteries.

It would be simples for the user/player to have an option. And no matter how little cost or time spent for CNC to carve out this (remember you have to drill the tunnel for the wires from battery to electronic dept too) I think it would turn out cheaper still to do it "all included". As if plastic can weat and tear I think it's cheaper to change out that one later on anyway, if it resides mounted on top of that cover anyway.
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On a Combustion, theres plenty of room for it, I am sure. I've looked into it.
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[quote="Bocete":2jx8awcy]Remember that AB-IIs are hollow body and balance perfectly.
.[/quote:2jx8awcy]

And speaking of hollow bodies, I think that ... well... you just have to an electronics cavity anyway don't you? Having perhaps calculated into the design that you have to have a battery compartment somewhere else on the bass body may interfere with the rest of the hollow bodied or chambered design. Granted, that you could place the battery anywhere were these hollow cavities are, but I doubt it. I don't know how much an extra battery cavity changes the characteristics on any hollow or chambered body at all. Probably neglible from a timbre point of view. I mean, if not that magnetic thing, if they're going to uses the regular battery compartment I would prefer it mounted on the cover anyway. Can't be that much in the way.

Mind you it's all hairsplitting and nit picking from the players point of view. But I wouldn't doubt it if any japanese or Asian bass company who are prone to cut costs whenever they can, would benefit from this.

And I repeat again, as I already said in the first post. That thanks to - or due to - Dingwall ingenoius magnetic solution, this is not a wish on any Dingwall bass, but of general consideration of the rest of the manufacturers out there... (well, at a stretch the Combustion).
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The battery compartment is for the convenience of the player, not to reduce costs (and I'm pretty sure any other benefit is secondary as well). Sheldon doesn't seem to be about reducing costs on his bass (at least not at the expense of quality). I've seen electric basses (if you can call them that) as cheap as $100, but Dingwalls are multiple orders of magnitude better.

On the combustion (a current owner can correct me, I sold my gen 1 a long while ago) there is a standard battery hatch. On these basses Sheldon seems more concerned about getting the tone, quality and playability out to an audience that can't afford a $5000 bass. Thus the lack of Dingwall-exclusive batter compartment.

On the topic of balance, I've spoken to Sheldon personally about this and it is definitely a consideration when he designs a bass, or even modifications and options (such as the third strap pin). Like was mentioned before, there are more effective options than adding weight to the back of the bass. Neck material, strap pin location, scale length, body weight, etc all affect balance. That's what makes Dingwalls so awesome: Sheldon is very detail oriented and works on these issues.
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I only mentioned the chambers to counter the argument that removing the dedicated compartment would add body weight, therefore improving balance. That is not a real concern or a way to solve it.

But yeah, the Combusion might benefit from this. It's worth considering.
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