Thursday, January 14, 2021


 by Mark King


Why remove your 9-volt batteries? The simple answer is; to save your pedals from being ruined by leaking battery acid.

Every 9-volt battery (even pricey ProCell brand) will leak at some point in it's life and it could happen to you cause it happened to me. If it happens inside your pedal the battery clip will likely be corroded, ruined and need replacement. Sometimes the battery acid can escape on to the circuit board which spells almost certain death for stomp boxes. 

If you're looking for a magic repair solution for a precious damaged pedal friend I'm sorry to disappoint you. Mitigating battery leakage is like fighting cancer with surgery, you've got to remove the affected components and replace them if possible. There is no spray cleaner, no filing or sanding, no offsetting the acidic destruction by adding some base compound like baking soda. There is nothing you can do to stop the cancer once a component is contaminated with battery acid.

In the case of a damaged battery clip that is a relatively simple procedure but tricky to execute due to confined space. For damaged circuit boards true geek repairmen create external circuit board traces to replace acid damaged printed circuit boards in vintage pedals. This is some of the most tedious and expensive electronic restoration work and even finding someone to do the work is challenging.

I have over 200 pedals that can run on 9-volt batteries. If I populated them all with 9-volt batteries it would cost a lot and require vigilance to replace them before they leak. What's a pedal geek to do?

External 9-volt batteries are the practical and "Green" solution. No more wasted batteries going dead in pedals that are seldom used. 


I keep half-a-dozen 9-volt batteries in a box and have them outfitted with these battery clips that allow them to be plugged into the external power inlet on any pedal.


No more wasted batteries. The external battery clips allow me to use every 9-volt battery fully before replacing it. When it is time to replace the battery it is easy, just unplug one and plug in a fresh one. No more looking for a screwdriver or complicated procedure opening up a pedal. External battery clips are versatile and make it easy to put a fresh battery on your favorite pedal. 

If you play live it may be inconvenient to use the external battery clips because they leave the battery hanging out and flopping around, that is up to you to decide. I just wire-tie the external battery to my pedal board, problem solved. For studio use external battery clips are convenient and have lots of positive benefits, the most important of which is not letting your pedals be spoiled from leakage. 

Almost every Caline pedal comes with an external 9-volt battery clip. You can also order external 9-volt battery clips from Amazon, that's where I got them. 

Since going external with my 9-volt batteries I have had zero damage from leaking batteries. I have some Boss pedals from the 70's which I would hate to lose to battery leaking damage. I have a few of the expensive Waza versions of Boss pedals, external battery power protects these from leaking batteries and damage. 

For less than $10 you can buy six of these battery clips. Quit wasting batteries and potentially damaging your pedals. Remove the internal batteries from your pedals and go green with external battery clips. 


I put a label on every pedal with the date that I removed the battery. I still find an occasional pedal that has a battery I overlooked. 

A quick way to test a pedal to see if it has a battery installed is to plug a guitar cord into the pedal input and cycle the ON-OFF pushbutton. If the LED lights up then you've got a pedal with an internal battery that needs to be removed. 

While writing this article I discovered this expensive Waza Dimension pedal still had the original factory provided 9-volt alkaline battery installed. I removed the battery and tested it. My trusty Fluke volt meter told me the battery was shot, just sitting there waiting to leak. Problem solved, it's now powered by external 9-volt power. 

I hope this simple and inexpensive 9-volt solution saves you headaches, wasted batteries and damaged gear. 

Thanks for reading High on Technology, Good music to you!

This review is copyright January 2021 by Mark King, it's not ok to copy or quote without written permission, thank you.

To read more High on Technology gear reviews click on the label 01 GEAR REVIEWS in the right column. 


Want to learn about powering your pedalboard from an external power supply? Check out this HoT series about pedalboard power.

Part One, What is 9-volts DC?

Part Two, What are mA?

Part Three, What are Pedalboard Power Supplies?

Part Four, Pedalboard Power Cables and Connectors

Part Five, Pedalboard Noise, Hum, Hiss and Whirrrrr

Thanks for reading High on Technology.

Good Music to You!