Humbucker from Hell help- faulty or weak?

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Offline Rooch

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Humbucker from Hell help- faulty or weak?
« on: January 25, 2021, 12:21:00 pm »
Hey folks, I have a question for anyone who has tried the humbucker from hell.  I'm wondering if it's faulty or if it's just much lower output than I would expect. 
I'm a lifelong electric guitar player but I'm new to the forums here, and not very tech savy, so I would appreciate any advice.  I recently installed a humbucker from hell in the neck of an HSH ibanez prestige with a basswood body.   I was looking for a bright, articulate pickup and thought this would fit the bill.   
The pickup seems incredibly underpowered though.  I have an H3 in the middle position, and the H3 is way louder than the HFH, even though the height of the H3 is lower.  If I adjust the pickup height so that the HFH is even with the fingerboard,  the H3 single coil is still louder.  I can verify this by looking at the waveforms in my DAW.
 Notes fade off really quickly.  There is also this weird sound that sounds like fret buzz or two notes being played at once, but it's not present when I use the H3 or the bridge pup.
The wiring seems to be okay, it's not wired for parallel or anything.  Could this be a problem with the pickup?  Or some some faulty wiring? Or is this just the humbucker from hell?   Thanks!

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Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: Humbucker from Hell help- faulty or weak?
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2021, 01:18:57 pm »
Hi and welcome to the forum!

If the HFH is significantly lower output than the middle single coil, this is definitely not normal - I would have expected it to be louder than the single coil. So it is either a wiring error or a faulty pickup. BTW do you notice more hum than in the other positions? If yes, the pickup could be wired out of phase with itself.

Do you have a multimeter? If so you can check the DC resistance of the coils whether they are in line with the published specs. If you get an open reading (infinite resistance), the pickup is broken.

Then check the wiring. Di Marzio's color code is red to switch, white and black together, green and bare to ground for the series operation.

In addition, I heard that the Ibanez switches are different from the ones used by Fender and others. But if you put the wires where the old ones were, it should work in principle. Difficult to tell however without having the guitar before me and with a multimeter by my side.

Good luck,
Stephan
Area 67, Area 58, Area 61, VV Pro 54, Injectors, VV HB2, Virtual Solo, SDS-1, Area T, Area Hot T, Area T 615, Virtual Hot T, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, Super Distortion, DLX+, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, DP168, VHPAF, AT-1, Norton

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Offline Rooch

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Re: Humbucker from Hell help- faulty or weak?
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2021, 06:13:08 pm »
Hey Stephan.  Thank you for your response.  The DC resistance reads 5.42, which is close to the 5.89 listed by dimarzio.  Wiring seems to be the same as where the last pickups were wired, and also the same as my other ibanez - red to active, white and black together and green and bare to ground.   There is a little more hum than the other pickups, but not an extreme amount. 

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Offline greenlion

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Re: Humbucker from Hell help- faulty or weak?
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2021, 10:36:13 pm »
Your notes are dying off quickly and you are hearing note warble because you have the pickup too close to the strings. If you get a pickup too close to the strings the magnetic field begins to interfere with the free vibration of the string.
The Humbucker from Hell is underpowered compared to most other modern neck Humbuckers. Looks like yours is underwound on top of that, so it may be even weaker than most. It should not be underpowered compared to an HS-3 single coil though. What wires do you have going to hot, ground, etc? Have you turned the amp on, switched to the neck pickup, and tapped both rows of polepieces to make sure it is running in full humbucker mode?

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Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: Humbucker from Hell help- faulty or weak?
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2021, 03:05:00 am »
DC resistance of 5.42 is an OK reading as measurements vary with temperature, and the multimeters are not always calibrated exactly. Also, if you measured the pickup while in circuit the volume control is in parallel with it, so the reading is lower than with the pickup disconnected.

And if there is only little more hum we can exclude the out of phase in itself wiring - that would give lots more hum, in particular with overdrive.

Your description of the wiring is also correct - that is in line with the published DiMarzio color code.

Try the following, with all controls turned up and the pickup selector switch to neck position:

Measure from the switch terminal where the neck PU's red lead is connected to the input of the volume control - you should get zero ohms. If not, the switch is miswired or there is a break somewhere.
Then measure from the input of the volume control to the output jack terminal (put a cable in it and probe at the tip) - again you should get zero ohms.
Then measure at the cable from tip to shaft - you should get the reading of the neck pickup - if you measured the neck pickup disconnected before your reading should be a little lower as the volume control is in parallel with it).
Let's see if this gets us anywhere, then we'll take it from there.

Good luck,
Stephan
Area 67, Area 58, Area 61, VV Pro 54, Injectors, VV HB2, Virtual Solo, SDS-1, Area T, Area Hot T, Area T 615, Virtual Hot T, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, Super Distortion, DLX+, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, DP168, VHPAF, AT-1, Norton

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Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: Humbucker from Hell help- faulty or weak?
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2021, 03:06:31 am »
And BTW - when you said "White and black together" - are they connected to anything?
Area 67, Area 58, Area 61, VV Pro 54, Injectors, VV HB2, Virtual Solo, SDS-1, Area T, Area Hot T, Area T 615, Virtual Hot T, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, Super Distortion, DLX+, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, DP168, VHPAF, AT-1, Norton

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Offline Rooch

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Re: Humbucker from Hell help- faulty or weak?
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2021, 06:40:41 pm »
Thanks for the replies and the advice. White and black are connected to the corresponding parts of the pickup selector where they were connected on previous pickups, and corresponding to my other ibanez.  (I think it's the third terminal from the right?) 
Anyway, now the pickup doesn't get any sound at all (or maybe very faint).  0 resistance reading from the pickup (While still in the guitar).  Thanks Stephen for suggesting the other measurements.  They all came back 0. It's a 15 year old guitar, I wouldn't be surprised if there were some faulty wiring somewhere, but now I'm wondering if it's the pickup.  Admittedly I don't know a tremendous amount about soldering and wiring.  Maybe I should just take it in somewhere?
« Last Edit: January 26, 2021, 07:07:11 pm by Rooch »

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Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: Humbucker from Hell help- faulty or weak?
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2021, 02:43:08 am »
Try lifting the black and white connection from the switch and isolating it from any other connection. We need to check if it works as full humbucker.

Good luck,
Stephan
Area 67, Area 58, Area 61, VV Pro 54, Injectors, VV HB2, Virtual Solo, SDS-1, Area T, Area Hot T, Area T 615, Virtual Hot T, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, Super Distortion, DLX+, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, DP168, VHPAF, AT-1, Norton

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Offline Rooch

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Re: Humbucker from Hell help- faulty or weak?
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2021, 06:14:15 pm »
Thanks Stephan.  No luck.  I removed the black and white wires and didn't get any sounds or DC readings.  The DC meter works for the other pickups so it's not that.  The red active wire seems intact, but could that be damaged?  I might try taking the neck out of my les paul and seeing if it'll work in there to see if it's the guitar or the pickup. 

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Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: Humbucker from Hell help- faulty or weak?
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2021, 03:41:37 am »
Looks like the pickup is indeed faulty.

If you measure between red and black/white, what is the reading?
And between green and black/white?

You should have something close to 3k for each coil. Where you don't the coil is open (=broken).

Cheers Stephan
Area 67, Area 58, Area 61, VV Pro 54, Injectors, VV HB2, Virtual Solo, SDS-1, Area T, Area Hot T, Area T 615, Virtual Hot T, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, Super Distortion, DLX+, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, DP168, VHPAF, AT-1, Norton

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Offline Rooch

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Re: Humbucker from Hell help- faulty or weak?
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2021, 04:39:00 pm »
Hey Stephan,
Now that the pickup is out, between red and black and white reads 3.22 and green and black and white is 2.22.  I connected a liquifire to the same terminal, but it didn't get any sound either.  Nor does the 4th position that's supposed to be split between the middle and the humbucker.  I suppose somehow the terminal or the wiring is selector itself is screwed up, maybe I should just replace the thing
« Last Edit: January 30, 2021, 08:46:46 pm by Rooch »

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Offline buddroyce

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Re: Humbucker from Hell help- faulty or weak?
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2021, 05:49:49 pm »
What kind of guitar and switch are you using? It sounds like for some reason were only getting half a coil or something.

I would test the HFH alone connected to the input of the volume pot first. Green to ground, black and white soldered together and the red wire to the input of the volume pot. If it sounds the same as what you were hearing as before, then it's most likely a faulty pickup. However, since it's also happening with the Liquifire you tested with, I'm starting to think it might be the wiring or the switch itself.
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Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: Humbucker from Hell help- faulty or weak?
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2021, 02:52:20 am »
Indeed - it is very rare that two different pickups are faulty. Check the pickup directly connected to the volume control. If it works then, the switch is bad.

Cheers Stephan
Area 67, Area 58, Area 61, VV Pro 54, Injectors, VV HB2, Virtual Solo, SDS-1, Area T, Area Hot T, Area T 615, Virtual Hot T, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, Super Distortion, DLX+, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, DP168, VHPAF, AT-1, Norton