Musicians who are newcomers to the wild world of gears and gadgets often wonder if they can use any 9 volt adapter on these guitar pedals. After all, batteries are not that reliable when it comes to powering your equipment since they can fizzle out real quick onstage.
Plugging your pedals into an unlimited power source can ensure that your 2-hour long live performance won’t be interrupted by battery drainage. However, you also have to make sure that your power supply or adapter is a reliable one that will not cause any issues during your gig.
Although any brand of 9 volt adapter may work with most guitar pedals, it is important to check first if they are well-suited with your gadget. Aside from voltage, there are other factors that contribute to the compatibility of a power supply and a guitar pedal.
List down and double check if the parameters indicated on the adapter and the pedals are suitable with one another. Do this before proceeding to connect anything to your pedals to prevent any damage on your gears.
Guitar pedal power parameters
Here are the power parameters that you need to check on your guitar pedal and adapter to see if they are compatible:
Measured in volts (v), voltage refers to the pressure that pushes electricity.
Most guitar pedals are 9v, but others also come in 12v, 18v and 24v. If the guitar pedal states that it can accommodate 9-18 volts, that means you may use any voltage within that range.
Majority of guitar pedals need a power supply with negative (-) polarity. This means you must only use a power supply with a corresponding negative polarity. Avoid using a positive (+) power supply with a negative (-) pedal because your guitar pedal will not turn on and in some cases, it could even ruin your gear.
Pedals and power supplies have polarity diagrams printed on them so you will know if they can be used together.
Measured in amperes (A) and milliamperes (mA) in most gears, amperage refers to the rate of the electrical current.
The usual amperages of guitar pedals are 10mA, 500mA and 1.7A. The power supply that you will be using should meet or at least exceed the guitar pedal’s amperage requirement to prevent irregularities and equipment damage.
Can you use any 9 volt adapter for guitar pedals?
You may use any 9 volt adapter for guitar pedals, just remember that if your gadget has a higher voltage requirement, 9v won’t be enough to power it. Using 9 volts to run an effects pedal that needs 18 volts will not necessarily be bad for your gear, but the equipment will definitely fail to function.
The only time you should use varying voltages is when the gadget indicates that it has more than one voltage option. Some guitar effects, such overdrive pedals, are designed to accept 9 volts and 18 volts, with the headroom increasing upon use of the higher voltage selection.
Popular brands like Boss, encourage their customers to use only their 9v adapters since those are the only ones that the company has tested. A lot of guitar players believe that this is just a marketing ploy for you to purchase more Boss products, since 9v adapters are fairly simple devices that many electronics companies are manufacturing. However, it won’t hurt if you can grab a high quality 9 volt adapter from one of the most reputable effects pedals companies.
How to use one 9v adapter to power multiple pedals?
You don’t have to buy another 9v adapter to power other pedals on your board. The adapter can spread out power to other pedals by using a method called “daisy chaining,” which requires a connector lead that you will use to plug multiple guitar pedals into your 9V adapter.
Jot down the power requirements of all pedals, then get the total current draw by adding up the amperages. The sum will be the maximum current draw from all of the pedals combined.
Any power supply that can match the total current, or higher, will work well in this setup. For safe measure however, most guitar players prefer using power supplies that are 100mA higher than what is needed by your gears, for extra allowance.
Do all guitar pedals use the same power supply?
Whether you are using a battery or a power supply, a vast majority of guitar pedals can run on 9 volts. But not all gadgets have the same voltage, polarity and amperage requirements.
Always take caution in using power supplies that provide higher voltages as this can blow up your gear. As for mismatched polarities and amperages, your effects pedals will certainly not work under these circumstances and you also risk creating long-term issues for your gadgets
While some power supplies can provide adjustable settings to accommodate various voltages, amperages and polarities, there are those that have fixed settings. These adapters are only meant to be used for a specific line-up of guitar pedals.
Adapters or power supplies are a crucial part of your guitar rig and will impact the performance of the guitar pedals in your setup. Aside from the peril of trashing your gears, incompatible parameters can also cause some humming and other sorts of unwanted noise.
Generally, it is safe and efficient to use a 9v guitar pedal adapter, just make sure that the voltage, polarity and amperage of your gear and power supply are perfectly matched.