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Sanyo Pedal Juice review

The Sanyo Pedal Juice

Normally I say “no, thanks” to review offers because the products look sucky I’m extremely hard to please, and life is too short to waste time finding tactful ways to explain to innocent and well-meaning manufacturers that their product kinda sucks is not up to my impossibly high standards.

HOWEVER, the Sanyo Pedal Juice looked like a quality product that would actually help me solve a real-life problem I was having, so I agreed to have Sanyo’s kind representative send me a unit to evaluate. Here is the info that piqued my interest (bold text my emphasis):

One Pedal Juice battery can provide up to 50 hours of continuous, stable power for a single analog pedal or up to 20 hours of continuous power to three digital pedals. Because the eneloop 9V rechargeable lithium-ion battery eliminates the need for AC power, the output voltage is more stable for longer periods of time without the possibility of AC ground looping noise. The battery can be recharged hundreds of times, thereby eliminating the waste and inconvenience of disposable 9V alkaline batteries. With two DC outputs, Pedal Juice can power multiple devices including pedals, multi-effect units, and portable recorders. Pedal Juice provides portable battery power to a single pedal or can be used to power several pedals at the same time.

So what is this problem I’ve been having? Well, space is at a premium in my practice room because it doubles (quadruples?) as my business office, my computer room, and the headquarters/packing station for the official store. It’s a pain to keep in any kind of order, particularly when things get busy — like during an album release cycle. So anything that can help me keep my work and practice area tidy is good in my book! As you can see below, I was in dire need of help in that department:

Ugh - Mess!

For me the main appeal of the Pedal Juice was that it might help clean up the demotivating MESS of cables in my practice space by eliminating 2 unwieldy AC adaptors. The Pedal Juice did not disappoint — behold the new pristine tidiness:

Order is restored

The Pedal Juice can be charged hundreds of times (it takes about 3.5 hours for a full charge) and colored LEDs tell you the charging status. It automatically stops charging when the battery is full, so you can just plug it in to charge and then forget about it. With other “non intelligent” chargers I would have to set a timer to remind me to unplug the charger once the charge cycle was complete (lest much badness ensue). I’m happy for any chance to reduce the things I have to remember to do, or that I have to program my phone to remind me not to forget to do. Seriously.

When you’re using the Pedal Juice, its 3-stage LEDs tell you how much power you’ve got left to play with: green at 60 percent power remaining, yellow between 30 and 60 percent, and red at under 30 percent. (I think you clever readers can figure out what happens at 0 percent power remaining.)

The Pedal Juice has an on-off switch — if you just switch it off when you’re done playing, you don’t need to unplug your effects like you do when you use normal 9-volt batteries. This may seem like an inconsequential feature, but when you’re in a massive creative slump (like I have been since 2007) you’re thankful for every little thing that reduces the hassle factor by even a nanosecond.

Another useful feature is that the power level of the Pedal Juice remains consistent at all charge levels. So you never need to throw away batteries that still have life in them because you don’t want them to run out midway through an important playing event. And if you’re one of those tone junkies who think you can hear the difference between a fresh 9-volt battery and a not-so-fresh one, then the Pedal Juice removes at least one source of “tone anxiety.” You can then go back to worrying about how much the solar flares and current barometric pressure are messing with your tone.

The unit is also shockproof and water/coffee/beer/blood-proof, which is a bonus if you’re playing in the kind of environments where your pedals might encounter water, coffee, beer, or blood (the first two are all that apply in my case). It’s got a solid, robust construction that feels decidedly sexy (in a gadgety kind of way, if you’re into that kind of thing). All in all, the Pedal Juice is a well-made piece of gear that does an excellent job at what it’s designed for. At first glance it may seem rather pricey, but if the features appeal to you I would not hesitate to say that it’s money well spent.

Disclosure: I was sent a Pedal Juice free of charge for the purpose of review. However, had I not liked the Pedal Juice and found it useful, I wouldn’t be writing about it.

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