Wiring harness for testing different pickups quickly - Jemsite
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-24-2013, 05:10 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 365
Wiring harness for testing different pickups quickly

I'm all but inept when it comes to wrapping my head around electronics. If I can't visualize something in my head it just doesn't make sense to me, I'm also not great at soldering. So trying out different pickups and wiring schemes always ends up being a huge waste of time for me. Also, I have a ton of old unmarked pickups that it would be nice to be able to test quickly.

Is there any kind of wiring harness out there that makes this easy and uses connectors that don't require soldering? That way I could actually try out different stuff without spending hours getting a new pickup installed.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-24-2013, 05:24 PM
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Oxford, UK
Posts: 2,781
Re: Wiring harness for testing different pickups quickly

Yep:
http://www.seymourduncan.com/product...s/liberator-1/

But really, learn to solder. 30 mins with some old wire to practice and you'll be fine.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-24-2013, 06:38 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Canberra, Australia
Posts: 9,232
Reviews: 120
Re: Wiring harness for testing different pickups quickly

Definitely have a Liberator installed for you. I installed one in one of my guitars so I can quickly and easily change pickups out for reviews. I have my own blog, and I write for Seymour Duncan, and it just makes things so quick and easy for me.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-24-2013, 06:57 PM
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Saint Paul, Minnesota
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Re: Wiring harness for testing different pickups quickly

If you are testing them all in the same guitar, I would cut the old pickup wires an inch or so from the pot and then twist and tape wires of the pot to the pickups just to test it. I do this a lot actually
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-24-2013, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 365
Re: Wiring harness for testing different pickups quickly

Awesome, that's just what I was looking for.

It's no so much the actual soldering that's a problem, that I can do. It's more that I haven't bothered to invest in proper tools to hold wires in place, and I get frustrated working in such a small place like a guitar cavity, and if something isn't working right I don't know how to diagnose the problem so I have to disconnect everything and start over. I consider myself an intelligent guy, but for some reason electronics and my brain just don't mix, no matter how many times I try to learn. Luckily pickup wiring is on the relatively easy end of the spectrum so I can at least dabble with it, but anything I can do to ease the frustration is worth it!
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-25-2013, 10:59 AM
 
Join Date: May 2008
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Re: Wiring harness for testing different pickups quickly

I do all my soldering with a pretty cheap 25W iron that I got at a hardware store. I should invest in a more "pro" iron but up to now my cheapo has served me fine. To "hold things in place", I just move stuff out of the way by hand and then use a pair of very long, fine tip tweezers to hold the wires in place to where I'm soldering them. Here's a couple tips that have worked well for me:

1. Strip all the ends first, twist them together if necessary (ex: white+ black and green+bare on DiMarzio) and then "tin" the wires. Heat up the wire with the iron and then melt some solder onto it.
2. Use the finest solder you can find. It melts easier.
3. In addition to tinning the wires, make sure the place you're soldering them to has plenty of solder. In other words, you don't want to be adding solder to the joint when you're holding the wire there. You want as much as you need to begin with.
4. Plug in the iron only when you're totally ready to go. Start soldering as soon as the iron gets hot enough to work. This prevents things from getting too hot and possibly damaging things. If I do a couple things and then there's a break before more soldering, I'll unplug the iron in between.

About the harness to test pickups, I've been thinking about that myself. The main tool you need is a good multimeter. The two main things you're testing are DC resistance and output. You don't need the pickup in the guitar to test resistance. I'm not sure how output is tested, but this is an idea I had (assume DiMarzio colors).

1. Install the pickup in the guitar.
2. Twist together white/black and green/bare.
3. Leave white/black floating and attach green/bare to negative on meter.
4. Attach red to positive on meter.
5. Strum guitar and check output in mA.
Takin' a Ride is offline  
post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-25-2013, 01:00 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 365
Re: Wiring harness for testing different pickups quickly

Quote:
Originally Posted by Takin' a Ride View Post
2. Use the finest solder you can find. It melts easier.
3. In addition to tinning the wires, make sure the place you're soldering them to has plenty of solder. In other words, you don't want to be adding solder to the joint when you're holding the wire there. You want as much as you need to begin with.
Those two especially sound like they will help tremendously. Thanks for the tips!
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