I have a Warwick bass that is both active and passive. For the active mode it requires a battery, while for the passive mode it does not. While I have the instrument plugged in and on the passive mode, does it consume the battery the active mode uses?

  • Is there a switch for active/passive modes? If so then the only way to be sure is to follow the wiring and see if this switch disconnects the battery, as well as switches over the signal connections from the preamplifier. (Requires opening up the bass though.) Passive mode could still drain the battery unless the battery is actually disconnected.
    – Andy
    Sep 7, 2015 at 12:19

2 Answers 2


Working in passive mode with the battery removed does not necessarily prove it does not use any battery when the battery is inserted. It may still leak current if the circuit is not completely broken by the switch.

If you want to know for sure, connect up a multimeter to the battery on the ammeter setting (Google how to measure current with a multimeter). It should read 0 in passive, and xxx mA when being used (actual consumption may be in your Bass manual)

By the way, also note that batteries internally lose their charge over time. And temperature extremes have a big effect too.

Or, you could just carry a spare battery...


Best way to check is take out the battery, try to use it in passive mode. If it works, obviously it doesn't need or use the battery. Some guitars have separate jacks, some have a led that shows it's on active. Mine don't! They just suck the battery when I forget to take out the jack!

  • 3
    It doesn't need the battery when it's on passive mode, that I know, but the question is whether it consumes it Sep 7, 2015 at 10:46
  • No, it shouldn't need it. If it works passively without a battery in, then that says to me it wouldn't use current whether the battery's there or not.
    – Tim
    Sep 7, 2015 at 10:52

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