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  3. Friday, 20 April 2012
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Hi Sheldon,

Last night, just because I was feeling nostalgic, I took my Afterburner-1 (circa 2005) to band rehearsal. Since getting the Rastaburst, it has stayed in its case 99% of the time, and I've only played it a handful of times.

I was really digging it last night...for about 20 minutes. Then I had some strange stuff going on. The overall volume dropped to a fraction of it's normal levels (actually, I could HEAR it fade on one song). The fade thing was odd, and made me think it was my amp, but I don't think it was... I did what I normally do, and tried a different cable, re-wired my whole amp setup, etc. And that didn't change a thing. I tested my rig with our guitarist's guitar and it was working fine with no signs of trouble.

I twisted each of the pots actively, and switched the bluEQube a bunch of times, plugged unplugged and got things to come back. Yet it happened a few more times during the evening. The next thing I noticed is that my tone pot has almost no effect along its entire throw. There's a very slight brightening at the full on position, but nowhere close to the range of tone as normal. A case of dead tone pot, or dead volume pot? Any ideas? Just play the Rastaburst?
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Spacecase Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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This is a bit of a long shot, but if the body or any internals of your pot has been plated with pure tin, it could be a short due to a "tin whisker." Whiskers can be seen with a bright light and a magnifying glass.

Do you have a multimeter? Plug your cable into the instrument and make a resistance measurement at the other end. If the value is below a 1k ohm, then I would suspect there's an internal whisker short. If you find your pot has whiskers, we have a place for it in a specimen case where I work.

Here's a link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tin_whiskers

Here are a couple of pictures of pots with whiskers:

http://nepp.nasa.gov/WHISKER/photos/pot ... r/pot1.jpg

http://nepp.nasa.gov/WHISKER/photos/pot ... eter-2.jpg

I should add that another possibility is a shorted pickup coil, but this can be confirmed if you have a series/parallel switch. In series, only one coil under two or three strings would be active; in parallel, both coils would be inactive.
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[quote="Spacecase":2is5wbbp]This is a bit of a long shot, but if the body or any internals of your pot has been plated with pure tin, it could be a short due to a "tin whisker." Whiskers can be seen with a bright light and a magnifying glass.

Do you have a multimeter? Plug your cable into the instrument and make a resistance measurement at the other end. If the value is below a 1k ohm, then I would suspect there's an internal whisker short. If you find your pot has whiskers, we have a place for it in a specimen case where I work.

Here's a link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tin_whiskers

Here are a couple of pictures of pots with whiskers:

http://nepp.nasa.gov/WHISKER/photos/pot ... r/pot1.jpg

http://nepp.nasa.gov/WHISKER/photos/pot ... eter-2.jpg

I should add that another possibility is a shorted pickup coil, but this can be eliminated if you have a series/parallel switch. In series, only one coil under two or three strings would be active; in parallel, both coils would be inactive.[/quote:2is5wbbp]

Hrrrrm. Interesting. I'll have to take a look. I'll also check the coils...they're the old FD-3 pickups and don't have internal switching, so I believe they're hardwired for parallel. I've been using the bass in series, and did switch it back and forth but didn't check each of the settings beyond parallel. My last meter was 'borrowed' and never returned, so it very well could be time for a new one this weekend.
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I suppose it could also be an open connection or a cold solder joint, but that doesn't quite explain some of the symptoms.

I'm eager to see how Sheldon responds.
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Sheldon Dingwall Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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I'd start by shooting a little contact cleaner into the pots and cycling them. Spray some on a Q-tip to clean the jack contacts. My gut says it's the jack, but it could be the pots and switch. It's not likely the pickups.
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[quote="Sheldon Dingwall":17vfz81w]I'd start by shooting a little contact cleaner into the pots and cycling them. Spray some on a Q-tip to clean the jack contacts. My gut says it's the jack, but it could be the pots and switch. It's not likely the pickups.[/quote:17vfz81w]

Thanks Sheldon. I'll pick some up today while I'm out and about. I used the Rastaburst last night with the same rig and there were no problems (minus the guy playin' the bass, and the fact that the stage power didn't have a ground).
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