During a load in last week, I had a pedalboard casualty. The moral of the story: don’t let your power cable extend beyond the edge of your pedalboard.
While loading in for a gig last week, my hand truck rolled over a rock, causing my amp to topple over the edge. I was able to keep the amp from hitting the ground too hard, but my gig bag and pedalboard fell to the pavement. To add insult to injury, after stacking everything back up and swerving around the rock, I immediately hit another and the same thing happened again. I paused to look around at my surroundings and noticed a large number of these rocks scattered all over this section of the parking lot. I opted to carry everything to the curb at this point.
I didn’t think much of it at the time since there was nothing of consequence in the gig bag, and the pedalboard bag is pretty well padded. Once I had set up, however, I noticed that my tuner wasn’t getting any power. I swapped plugs and cables on the power supply, but nothing worked. I remembered that the tuner came with a wrapped up battery in the battery compartment, so I tried that. It worked! I was good for the show, but hadn’t put together why it suddenly stopped working.
The next day, I unpacked my pedalboard to inspect the tuner and saw that the DC in jack was dislodged. It wasn’t until then that I realized this was likely the result of the pedalboard hitting the pavement once or twice.
I have a Pedaltrain Nano+, which happens to be the same depth (if not a little deeper) as the Peterson StroboStomp HD. It might be difficult to tell from the above photo, but the DC line going into the jack protrudes past the edge of the pedalboard. I assume the pedalboard hit the ground right at that connection, breaking the solder joints on the DC jack and pushing the jack inside the chassis.
At this point I figured I could file a warranty claim, or attempt to repair it myself and completely void the warranty. I have a lot of gigs coming up, and I assumed it was just a cracked solder joint or two, so I opted for the latter.
The first problem I ran into was that the threads of one of the screws or taps on the chassis were stripped—possibly as a result of the fall as well. I considered giving up, but I ended up just muscling it apart. My curiosity about how this was put together was also a big factor in my decision to take the destructive rout. I wasn’t disappointed. This is pedal is well-designed, and done so to be serviceable (provided you are comforable with surface-mount components)!
Notice how the input and output jacks are on separate PCBs connected by a socketed cable array. Simply disconnect the socket from one of the boards, remove 5 screws and the nut on the input jack, and you can slide the larger PCB over enough to move the input past the hole in the chassis. Very clever and easy to understand at a glance!
When I flipped over the board, I saw that all of the solder joints were still intact but the negative terminal was bent and the positive terminal had broken off completely. I don’t stock this part, and I was disappointed that this wasn’t going to be a quick fix.
I weighed my options while I desoldered the lugs from the board, and ended up damaging a few solder pads in the process. I reconnected the cable socket and tried powering it up with the battery again, but got nothing. I’m hoping the DC jack just needs to be in circuit for the battery to connect, but I’m not sure this will be the case. Either way, I need a tuner and can’t wait for a replacement part that might not do the trick, so I chalked this up to the cost of doing business and ordered a new StroboStomp. This time I will take care to add extra support to my pedalboard bag, or at least remove the power cable each time I put it in the bag.
As for the old tuner, I’ll add a replacedment DC jack to my next component order and see if I can bring it back to life. If I can, I’ll post an update here.