UPDATE September 30 2012
Shortly after I posted this review I went from playing mostly solo gigs to trio gigs and started been using more and more pedals to create a variety of sounds throughout the evening. I’ve been using the same Pedal Juice unit on most of my gigs since the initial posting of the review in late 2010 and have found that it is capable of running several pedals for 3-4 hour gigs. I usually power off the pedals in between sets but it doesn’t seem necessary. I change out pedals a lot. Below is an example of one configuration I often use. (Yes, I really, really like TC gear.)
The Eneloop Pedal Juice is a rechargeable 9V power supply for guitar effects. It is available from most major music retailers. Retail price is $199.00, street price $149.95. Eneloop Pedal Juice Rechargeable 9v Power Supply
How it Works
The Sanyo Pedal Juice is a simple but ingenious power source for 9V effects pedals. The unit is about the same size as a standard Boss pedal and features only a recessed single power button and LED light. Connect your compatible gear, power up, and you’re ready to roll. The LED changes color to indicate how much power is remaining. Depending on the gear you’re using you can expect to get anywhere from 20 to 50 hours of playing time from the Pedal Juice. When the power starts to run low it should only take about 3.5 hours to fully recharge. It’s very simple to use, though you’ll want to check the power requirements and polarity specifications on all of your equipment before plugging in.
What You Get
The Pedal Juice comes with an AC adapter for recharging the unit, two cables for powering pedals, and one polarity conversion cable for devices that have reversed polarity. There is also a little black bag for keeping all of your accessories together. Although there are only enough cables included to power two pedals, additional cables can be purchased to power many more effects.
At first glance the Pedal Juice may seem like a difficult purchase to rationalize especially since it costs as much as some other pedals you’re probably drooling over. However, for musicians who play out regularly and have a number of 9V pedals the Pedal Juice can make life a lot easier and will end up saving you money over the life of the unit. If you’re currently running your gear on batteries it will mean no more stocking up on batteries or visiting WalMart for spares before the gig.
Pappy’s 5th Fret Blog points out: “…an Energizer 9v is on sale at $3.76. That’s $11.28 to power your three pedals and if you gig once a week (or change them out once a week) to make sure the batteries are strong enough to get through a gig every week for a month, that’s about $56.40. You can see how quickly the cost adds up and how much this will save you in the long run. If you kept on going at it every week for a year, you will have spent $586.56 and even if you changed out your batteries once every TWO weeks in an effort to save yourself some money you’ll still be paying almost a hundred bucks more at $293.28.”
Also, because this is a rechargeable battery rather than a AC source you’ll be able to place your effects anywhere and you won’t have to worry about ground loops or other noise that is sometimes introduced by external power sources. One other small convenience is that you’ll be able to leave patchcords plugged into the inputs of the pedals without having to worry about running out of power – assuming you turn off the Pedal Juice, of course.
There are very few limitations to the Pedal Juice but here are a things you might want to consider: You cannot charge the Pedal Juice while powering pedals so you’ll want to make sure you have a full charge before a gig or rehearsal. It will be difficult to know exactly how long the pedal juice will last with your specific combination of effects. Analog effects are said to last for about 50 hours of performance time while digital effects may only last half as long. Even though you shouldn’t have any problems running out of power it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a couple of spare batteries on hand. Lastly remember that the Pedal Juice is specifically for 9V devices. It will not power the many 18V devices that have become common in recent years, so check the specifications on all of your gear before buying to know what will work with the Pedal Juice and what won’t.
My main pedal board currently has a lot of 18V TC Electronic devices on it so the Pedal Juice wasn’t too handy there. However, I play a lot of solo gigs where all I use is my Ibanez AF120 archtop into a Tech 21 Blonde pedal and a Boss RC20XL Loop Station. In this situation the Pedal Juice worked wonderfully. After a a few gigs the Pedal Juice still indicated that it was over 60% power and I had absolutely no issues using the unit. I was especially thrilled that it played well with the Loop Station. The Loop Station requires six AA batteries! I was always running an extension chord to an outlet for that pedal but now I can leave the AC adapter at home! The only question that I wonder about is: how many times a Pedal Juice will successfully recharge? Only time will tell, but it’s touted to be rechargeable hundreds of times. If that’s true, it should get most casual players and weekend warriors through years of gigs and rehearsals.
For small pedal boards that are largely 9V setups the Pedal Juice is great investment. Just remember to recharge between uses! If you need more info do a quick Google search. There are many other reviews out there and I haven’t seen a bad one yet!
Below is a pic of my modest setup for solo jazz gigs using the Sanyo Pedal Juice. It’s hard to see, but the power is on!