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Strat VG on/off switch?

Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by Withnail, Sep 23, 2008.

  1. Withnail

    Withnail New Member!

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    Hi I'm new to this forum and wondered if anyone can advise me.
    I have a strat VG which I usually play in standard mode - because the batteries are usually flat, (neither I nor my kids can ever remember to pull the jack plug which is the only way to switch it off- daft design).
    Has anyone any experience of fitting a switch to turn the battery off when not needed, if so how? Is it a simple job?
     
  2. tylerangle1990

    tylerangle1990 Strat-Talk Member

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    You could put a toggle switch in line on either ground or hot side of the output jack, that way it would effectively make it as if nothing was plugged into it and therefore off. Of course no sound would come from it either until the toggle switch was flipped on. Another way might be to put one in line on the hot side of the battery box...there should be a (red?) wire from the battery box to whatever electronic stuff that is in there, if you were to put a switch in there to switch the power off but still (in theory) have the normal strat mode functional that would probably work too. By the way these are just my shot in the dark guesses because I don't actually have the VG strat that I can go look at for reference.
     
  3. Withnail

    Withnail New Member!

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    Thanks, sounds like I'll just have to do some taking apart and have a look, it will have to be the battery box to maintain normal mode.
     
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  5. thaus

    thaus Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    From looking at the electronics, there is a whole wack of wiring connected to the jack so I know I wouldn't touch that stuff. I use rechargable Panasonic (2600ma) batteries and they last fairly long but sometimes I leave the jack in by mistake too!! I have two sets that I interchange all the time. Welcome to the VG club.......there's not too many of us around it seems even though it is a great guitar! (just way over-priced IMO!!)
     
  6. Withnail

    Withnail New Member!

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    Only had a quick look, but it will have to be done, battery box wiring looks to be the obvious place. Even when playing in normal mode the batteries are running down pointlessly. A neat little switch somewhere just makes sense to me. I wouldn't have bought a VG but for a trip to the USA and a very weak dollar, still pricey, but I quite like some features, and it's too good for my ability anyhow.
     
  7. thaus

    thaus Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I'm sure that if you're competent with electronics, a simple on/off toggle shouldn't be too hard. I still love my VG strat......especially after a great set-up , it plays as good as any MIA strat that I own. Versatile to the hilt!!
     
  8. Withnail

    Withnail New Member!

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    Thanks for the advice, finally got round to doing the job, switch in battery box hot circuit as suggested, now I like my VG and the battery lasts.
     
  9. thaus

    thaus Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Excellent! Could you detail with pics your modification? Would love to try that one myself!!
     
  10. GilJanus

    GilJanus Strat-Talk Member

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    Good day - I too would like to see that mod - even thou I have 2 sets of Kodak 2500s for my Blizzard Pearl VG, I have forgotten the cord once or twice and it didn't make me a happy camper.

    Gil 8)
     
  11. Satchfan

    Satchfan Strat-Talk Member

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    Sorted!...I wanted to add a switch to the battery pack in a non-destructive way, so I thought about unscrewing the bright blue LED & dropping it below the scratchplate & placing the SWT in the hole left by removed LED, only problem is the LED is nutted up from the back with the two wires going off down the cavity.
    So I bit the bullet & drilled a 5mm hole in the S/P & added a Micro Switch...Result! I can now use the guitar as a standard strat without draining the battery pack :D

    Steve
     

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  12. car43jam

    car43jam New Member!

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    steve,

    Nice job! Would you mind providing a few more details...where did you connect the switch, did you connect the switch to the battery wires??? Any drilling on the back side?

    I am thinking maybe a microphone style slide switch on the back side into the battery compartment housing/cover that would be flush. However, your switch looks great!
     
  13. Satchfan

    Satchfan Strat-Talk Member

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    Cheers, yeh I connected the swt. to the positive side of the battery compartment & no drilling (other than the S/Plate for the microswitch) on the back side there's plenty of room in the cavity to place it where I have, however I did have to extend the '+' battery wire.

    HTH Steve
     
  14. car43jam

    car43jam New Member!

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    Excellent...thanks so much my friend! I have the switch and will be taking off the pick guard to install!
     
  15. Satchfan

    Satchfan Strat-Talk Member

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    Just take care & check everything twice before drilling any holes....Good Luck ;)
    Let us know how it goes!

    Steve
     
  16. Algynon

    Algynon Strat-Talk Member

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    VG Strat Integrated Battery Power Switch

    Here are the details of the mod in follow up to my post on the "What has happened to the VG Strats" thread. (As a Newbie I didn’t see this thread at the time). Grateful thanks to Thaus for offering to help me upload it :D.

    In the absence of detailed schematics from either Fender or Roland, I modified my VG Strat to overcome the problem of battery drain by installing a switch on the mode control so that it automatically turns off the battery power when "N" [normal strat] is selected.

    An advantage of this mod is that it doesn’t change the guitar cosmetically. The switch operates with the mode control and the blue LED comes on only when the VG modes S, T, H or A are selected.

    The work involves soldering and it’s quite fiddly with a tiny micro-switch to be mounted beneath the Mode control. But all is hidden under the scratch-plate and, once finished, it works like a charm!

    There's a slight pause in output when changing from "N” to the modelled sounds but I've not found it a problem as I don’t need to change settings during a song and there's no pause when changing back to "N".

    Parts Required

    Apart from soldering iron, solder,and a short piece of twin light gauge wire,, the main item is a micro-switch and a very small nut and bolt (or glue – see below) to attach it. Some shrink wrap insulation is also best if you want to make a tidy job of the soldered joints – but insulation tape would do just as well.

    Beneath the scratch-plate, the Mode control knob operates a rotary switch that has a flat-sided cam holding a spring-loaded ball bearing that produces the ‘clicks’ as the control is turned. The cam is used to press against the micro-switch to disconnect the battery power.

    The micro-switch used is the Cherry DH3CB1LA - Google it to find a supplier in your area. I got mine from Camis Electronics Ltd in the UK. It’s only 8mm wide and 2.7mm thick and when pushed, it switches off and when released, it switches on.

    Step By Step

    1. Start by de-stringing and removing the scratch-plate.

    2. Remove the mode switch ("M") from the scratch-plate by first gently removing the three wire clusters/connectors - see pic 1. You don’t have to worry which is which ‘cos each one is a different size and can only fit in its matching socket.

    3. Prise off the control knob and loosen the mode switch securing nut to completely remove the component from the guitar – see pic 2.


    4. Line up the actuating blade of the micro-switch so that it is pressed shut when the flat cam under the control is fully counter-clockwise (ie when the control knob corresponds to the “N” position) – see pic 3. It must be secured in place in just the right position. . I used a small nut and bolt (see pic 3) but perhaps epoxy glue might be just as effective.

    5. The micro-switch needs to be secured in this position and it’s important to check when the control knob is turned clockwise to the first “S” position, that the blade of the switch is released (the cam moves away from it) so that it switches on and remains on while the switch travels clockwise to the other modes T, H &A.

    6. To fit the small nut and bolt you will have to drill a small hole in the top frame of the rotary mode switch – see pic 4. This was the fiddly bit and after some trial & error; you can see that I ended up drilling and extending more than one hole before I got the micro-switch to operate just right. To keep the micro-switch positioned parallel to the cam, I used a small washer between it and the mode switch frame. Also, you can see (pic 4) that there is only just enough room for the micro-switch, the packing washer and a single nut so, after tightening it, I applied a drop of (Uhu) glue to the nut, switch and the screw (bolt) ends to stop them from working loose over time. If you have one, it’s helpful during this stage to use a multimeter to check the micro-switch works just right – otherwise wait ‘til the hook up stage (9. below) before finally securing with nut, bolt & glue.

    7. Next, remove the cover of the VG circuit on the back of the guitar – see pic 5. and make a suitable break (cut) in the white wire of the black & white pair that is connected between the VG unit and the guitar output jack socket. On Pic 5 it is next to another black &white pair connected to a blue plug & socket on the VG unit. The new micro-switch is to be wired in series with the switch on the jack socket that switches on when the lead is plugged in.

    8. Cut into the white lead and solder your short (new) piece of twin wire to the two cut ends. Make sure you cover up/insulate the bare soldered joints before threading the other end of the twin wire through into the control cavity at the front of the guitar.

    9. Finally, solder the other ends of the twin wire to the two pins on the micro-switch that, by now, should be attached to the Mode rotary switch. On the Cherry DH3CB1LA micro-switch, the two wires connect to the two outside pins (doesn’t matter which way round); the middle pin is left unconnected. Insulate the soldered joints as before. Test again that the switch works as intended before re-fastening the mode switch to the scratch-plate and putting everything back together again. Pic 6 shows the completed switch installed on the guitar but as only 5 attachments allowed, I'll send it later.
     

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  17. Algynon

    Algynon Strat-Talk Member

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    VG Strat Integrated Battery Power Switch - Pic 6

    Last pic (6 of 6) of my post above.
     

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  18. Satchfan

    Satchfan Strat-Talk Member

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    Another great way of solving the problem, & very neat.... Well done!
    On a similar theme I was thinking of some sort of magnetic reed swt. placed under the 'N' knob that would turn off the battery pack, but didn't have time to develop this method.
    But whatever way it's done, to me it wouldn't have cost Fender much to have designed this into the VG in the fist place....I think a little more research & development was called for!:rolleyes:

    Steve
     
  19. car43jam

    car43jam New Member!

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    Great job Algynon! I think your method will become a "standard" for the VG battery switch upgrade. Thanks for the research and hard work! Steve, i went with your idea and put in a microswitch very similar to yours using shrink tubing after soldering for a professional look! Thanks for your help! I will post pictures as well.

    I guess we can always replace the pickguard and put it back to "stock" condition if need be. For the life of me, I don't know why Fender didn't do this in the first place. I'll tell you what, it's the little things in life that count...like being able to turn the battery pack on/off on a VG strat!

    Be good!
     
  20. Satchfan

    Satchfan Strat-Talk Member

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    I guess we can always replace the pickguard and put it back to "stock" condition if need be. For the life of me, I don't know why Fender didn't do this in the first place. I'll tell you what, it's the little things in life that count...like being able to turn the battery pack on/off on a VG strat!

    Be good![/QUOTE]

    My thinking exactly!.... I'm glad to be of help & happy it worked out for you!

    Steve
     
  21. cjag

    cjag New Member!

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    Hey, great job on the VG switch. Can you tell me the make/model number of the switch? Thanks!
     

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