Idle power consumption getting more concerning

  • 29 September 2022
  • 24 replies
  • 1950 views

Userlevel 2

With the rising energy prices Sonos idle (standby) power consumption is getting more and more costly. With 3 Amp’s and a Play 5 I’m at 22,5 Watts or 197 kWh a year. At the October 2022 energy price in Holland this accounts to about € 149/Year or about € 12/Month. I'm seriously considering switching to Bluesound who seem to be able to build devices with seriously less idle power consumption. Please Sonos, figure out a way to solve this long standing issue.


This topic has been closed for further comments. You can use the search bar to find a similar topic, or create a new one by clicking Create Topic at the top of the page.

24 replies

It’s a reasonable question to ask.  Where do we find the official Bluesound figures for comparison?  I have been unable to track them down (although I haven’t spent much time trying).

Userlevel 2
Badge +1

I would like to second this!

 

It should be obvious that saving power is not just a feature request like any other.

The impact that Sonos can have here - on a global scale - would be gigantic!

So besides all ecological reasoning (which I also personally second) it would also have a significant marketing value for Sonos. On the other hand, missing out on this topic will very shortly turn into  no-go for an increasing number of customers.
 

From a technical perspective, I am pretty sure a bunch of skilled Sonos HW and SW engineers will be able to squeeze out a few watts from any existing designs standby power.

 

But even more important - make <1W standby power a design goal for every new generation device.

 

Sonos Management, anyone accepting the challenge?

Userlevel 3
Badge +5

The price of electricity is of course high now, but 52 US $ is right now the annual price in Denmark for having one single Beam 2 on idle standby without playing.

Most homes have many more Sonos products, so you can multiply this price.

Sonos is very expensive in standby power consumption.

I have written to Sonos several times over the years suggesting that they should introduce a deep sleep function on their products, but nothing has happened.

Personally, I also know people who do not want to buy a Beam 2 because of the high standby power consumption.

Userlevel 6
Badge +14

I switch the speakers off (using smart switches} when they aren't in use. 

Userlevel 2
Badge +1

I switch the speakers off (using smart switches} when they aren't in use. 

Of course that is possible.

But that does not change anything wrt to this topic, because:

  • how many people are aware?
  • how many are willing to do it?
  • how many use-case do not allow for completely switching power off?
  • etc etc…

Bottom line: this feature is something Sonos should be implementing, it is worth it. Worth for the customers, worth for Sonos, worth for the environment.

Userlevel 2
Badge +1

Also, trying a calculate a rough estimate to show the impact Sonos could have.

The combined standby power of all Sonos product (and derived, like Ikea) in the field, also counting power used during delayed going into standby, is in the order of magnitude of a complete nuclear power plant!

 

Meaning, Sonos does the optimization and we can switch one power plant off, completely.

Wow.

 

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +17

There are probably technical reasons for the fact Sonos can not further lower power usage on their current models. They have however vowed to cut down the use on future models: https://www.digitaltrends.com/home-theater/sonos-net-zero-2040/

I switch the speakers off (using smart switches} when they aren't in use. 

I do the same, without using smart switches:-).

Userlevel 2
Badge +1

There are probably technical reasons for the fact Sonos can not further lower power usage on their current models. They have however vowed to cut down the use on future models: https://www.digitaltrends.com/home-theater/sonos-net-zero-2040/


I am pretty sure there are no technical reasons. There may be challenges, but that what engineering is all about, pushing boundaries.

I mean, just look at standby power of your cellphone, also „instant on“ multimedia, <<0.5watts, easily!

Look at competitors of Sonos,<<half of Sonos, easily!


I have been designing and developing embedded devices myself for many years, I am very confident significant reduction is possible for Sonos, if they want it.

 I'm seriously considering switching to Bluesound who seem to be able to build devices with seriously less idle power consumption.

Leave aside any third party verification for this, but does Bluesound publish the idle power used, in its spec the way typical audio kit does these days?

Userlevel 7
Badge +22

Reducing power on existing equipment is difficult as they do not contain the hardware needed to manage power use.

For new equipment designs there is a trade involved, the more power is managed the slower the Sonos will be able to recover from sleeping and start playing.

I’d not mind saving a bit of power, but not at the cost of doubling my open the app to start listening time. Keep in mind Sonos is not like a TV, it is always active on the network keeping in sync and contact with other Sonos devices and controllers.

If Sonos did a “Wake on LAN” type setup it might reduce power on new designs but if it also caused the long wait powering on a Sonos with a smart switch does I’d hate it.

Userlevel 6
Badge +14

Reducing power on existing equipment is difficult as they do not contain the hardware needed to manage power use.

For new equipment designs there is a trade involved, the more power is managed the slower the Sonos will be able to recover from sleeping and start playing.

I’d not mind saving a bit of power, but not at the cost of doubling my open the app to start listening time. Keep in mind Sonos is not like a TV, it is always active on the network keeping in sync and contact with other Sonos devices and controllers.

If Sonos did a “Wake on LAN” type setup it might reduce power on new designs but if it also caused the long wait powering on a Sonos with a smart switch does I’d hate it.

Long wait???  My car takes longer to get started than a Sonos speaker.  Should I leave it idling 24 hrs a day for instant use?! 

You could probably setup a 3rd party voice control macro to “Power UP Sonos” and “Power Down Sonos”. With a little more work, there could be power control Groups and alarms.

If I am not mistaken the EU has a mandate on standby power use to be less the 0.5W for domestic audio kit, and I suspect for TV as well. 

Sonos must be exempt from that by virtue of what it is technically described to be, but if Bluesound is a lot lower - and I do not know that it is - Sonos certainly needs to move to that level, whatever it is in reality. 

And I agree that getting used to some time before the music starts is just a mindset thing. On the other hand, there is fusion power on its way now😁.

And I agree that getting used to some time before the music starts is just a mindset thing. On the other hand, there is fusion power on its way now😁.

Yes, but I suspect that we will be on S10 and series 10 by the time fusion is ready for prime time.

As a data point - Echo devices all tend to be 2 to 3 watts in standby mode as well. Far more than the 0.5.

Userlevel 7
Badge +17

Reducing power on existing equipment is difficult as they do not contain the hardware needed to manage power use.

For new equipment designs there is a trade involved, the more power is managed the slower the Sonos will be able to recover from sleeping and start playing.

I’d not mind saving a bit of power, but not at the cost of doubling my open the app to start listening time. Keep in mind Sonos is not like a TV, it is always active on the network keeping in sync and contact with other Sonos devices and controllers.

If Sonos did a “Wake on LAN” type setup it might reduce power on new designs but if it also caused the long wait powering on a Sonos with a smart switch does I’d hate it.

Long wait???  My car takes longer to get started than a Sonos speaker.  Should I leave it idling 24 hrs a day for instant use?! 

Yes. That’s what it was designed for. Turning them off and waiting for the system to start up is a choice though.

Userlevel 2
Badge +1

For those interested:

EU Ecodesign directive [1] regulations specify permitted standby power and impose 0.5W for some device classes, not for all.

Sonos is in so called “Networked Standy”, devices in this mode are (unfortunately some might say) currently not subject to the 0.5Watts limit but to much higher limits.

I say currently because 2022 a review is ongoing [2,3].

Chances are (looking at the drafts [3,4]), that the kind of equipment that Sonos is will be subject to a revised 2Watts Networked Standby limit in the future.

That said, it might be interesting to note that the draft annex [4] scrutinized the market and deemed best in class devices - available today - to be below 1W.

Well - Sonos - obviously not best in class but 1 Watt totally feasible. That is my conclusion.

P.S.: The quoted papers make some very interesting estimates about power being wasted in standby in general also.

 

[1]

https://commission.europa.eu/energy-climate-change-environment/standards-tools-and-labels/products-labelling-rules-and-requirements/energy-label-and-ecodesign/energy-efficient-products/mode-standby-and-networked-standby_en

 

[2]

https://rohs.ca/news/2022/03/20/eu-ecodesign-requirements-for-off-standby-and-networked-standby-modes/

 

[3]

https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/have-your-say/initiatives/1558-Review-of-ecodesign-requirements-for-standby-and-off-mode-electric-power-consumption_en

 

[4]

Annex - Ares(2022)112397

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +22

Long wait???  My car takes longer to get started than a Sonos speaker.  Should I leave it idling 24 hrs a day for instant use?! 

Tried my 2018 Honda, it is ready to drive in about 5 seconds from hitting the Start button.

My pair of Play 3s used for this test as they have a easily accessible switch and I can see the Status light:

From idle, opening the Sonos App, to playing an Amazon station about 7 seconds.

From switched on and Sonos App opened, to playing an Amazon Station, 93 seconds.

Enough difference I prefer the power usage to the wait.

Userlevel 7
Badge +22

For those interested:

EU Ecodesign directive [1] regulations specify permitted standby power and impose 0.5W for some device classes, not for all.

Sonos is in so called “Networked Standy”, devices in this mode are (unfortunately some might say) currently not subject to the 0.5Watts limit but to much higher limits.

That “Networked Standby” versus Idle is a key thing. Idle only needs enough power to run the remote control receiver and maybe a standby LED. While Networked Standby has to run the Ethernet (Sonos saves power by only supporting 100 but it does use a LED status port) run a CPU and memory to receive and act on network commands, power control hardware and maybe an LED.

It will be interesting to see how Sonos redesigns things to meet this rule.

 

Also noted that there has to be an option to disable the WiFi system if a network port is available. Might be one reason we users still have access to that switch?

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +17

These are all future (maybe even proposed) measures. I do hope they are technically feasible and do not interfere with my choices - the EU does seem want to limit peoples choices to get their agenda through. These measures might lead to the abolishment of larger TV’s screens for instance, because the limits for TV’s seem to be set with 2012 TV sizes in mind.

 These measures do not say anything about existing devices. What does Bluesound state about the energy consumption of their devices?

Userlevel 3
Badge +5

A link to a thread on the Bluesound Forum, about how they have implemented power saving.

https://support1.bluesound.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/8944828786967-Powersaving-not-working

 

And about the Vacation Mode Standby.

https://support1.bluesound.com/hc/en-us/articles/201823263-How-do-I-Turn-Off-My-Bluesound-Player-

Userlevel 2
Badge +1

These are all future (maybe even proposed) measures. I do hope they are technically feasible and do not interfere with my choices - the EU does seem want to limit peoples choices to get their agenda through. These measures might lead to the abolishment of larger TV’s screens for instance, because the limits for TV’s seem to be set with 2012 TV sizes in mind.

 These measures do not say anything about existing devices. What does Bluesound state about the energy consumption of their devices?

Sounds like FUD, sorry. Nothing will be abolished and (your) world will not come to an end …just because state of the art powersaving mechanisms become mandatory to implement.

As an Indian it is good to see that what Indians in India use for generating electricity has now become a first world problem😋. Not that there is any viable solution being offered.

The Chinese would agree, one of the few things they would do so with Indians.

End of digression.