Power consumption - Power off / Deep Standby Request

  • 14 January 2024
  • 39 replies
  • 563 views

Userlevel 2
Badge +2

Hi, I saw year old threads, with this topic. All have been closed. I’d like to bring it up again with a couple of questions and requests for discussion.

I have two sites with Sonos speakers for serveral years. Extended over time, it’s a total of 24 speakers now. Given the rising energy prices (announcement from provider: 0,45 € cents with next increase), idle power consumption becomes more and more an issue. Play 1 consumes 3 W. Sub, Playbar and some older Play 5 considerably more. It sums up:

3W * 24h * 365days = 26,2 kWh * 24 speakers = 630 kWh * € 0.45 = € 280/year.

Just for keeping them in standby. I could buy a Play 1 per year for these totally unnecessary costs.

 

My workaround: I power them all off with Wifi-Plugs (0,5 W each). Power on/off with some smart home event. One plug controls several speakers in a room, so power consumption is considerably less. When powered on, an IFTTT applet sets volume, groups speakers and plays a favorite. (With a 2 min delay for booting).

Question: Any downsides for the hardware being powered on/off on a regular basis?

I suppose, this is a use case for many users. Why is it so hard for SONOS to provide some optional “Deep Standby” after all those years. No one really cares for a 2 minute booting delay, if it’s optional. SONOS MOVE, provides that anyway. It can be configured to power off in battery mode and idle state after a while.

This IFTTT-approach hasn’t been very reliable recently. I wish, SONOS could at least memorize the recent “power-on” state. When powerd off/on... it may just set volume/grouping/playlist by itself. Behaviour just like pausing, just allow some delay for booting. Would eliminate a lot of hassle.

Any comments on that? Thanks!

Andi

 

 

 

 

 


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.

39 replies

The instant of power-up is one of the most stressful events in a unit’s life. After a certain number of cycles the unit will fail. Implied with the power-up is a temperature cycle, starting at ambient, rising to operating temperature, then back down to ambient after power-down. Deeper temperature cycles are more stressful. Power-up for months or years is a single cycle.

Don't expect a manufacturer to publish any data about this. My strategy for all electronics has been to power-up when needed and keep the unit powered for the remainder of the day, rather than cycling as I move from room to room. This minimizes the number of cycles. Over the years this has served me well.

Userlevel 7
Badge +22

We have put switches on some Sonos and power down any that aren’t going to be used for a week or more.

We used a dumb switch that uses no power and needs no outside connectivity to work. We plug our surge suppressors into the switch then the switch to the wall.

Userlevel 2
Badge +2

@buzz, @Stanley_4 

Thanks for explaining, makes sense. My case is similar to buzz. Some rooms may remain off for days or weeks. Others are turned on more regularly, a few times a week. If they are needed again on the same day, power usually stays on. I guess no more then 300 on/off cycles per year. My very first Play 5 is 12 years old. Still works. So I'm rather concerned that it's no longer supported by S2. Before devices die of temperature issues, Sonos will probably retire the hardware.

I noticed that power consumption in standby is only slightly lower than in operation. Temperature will probably be fairly constant if you leave it plugged. I doubt though, that lifespan due to on/off is a concern for the Sonos ppl. Since battery speakers implement automatic power off (have to).

Most Sonos users I talked to, including you, have some kind of workaround for 'Power-Off'. Dumb Plug, Smart Plug... Considering high standby consumption, hassle for reconfigurating grouping/volume/playlist after power up, I think it's unworthy for the market leader's products. Lots of use cases obviously, but we have to live with such a crutch. Understand their point, they also want instant response. But it's not necessary in all situations. Why not make power-off (deep standby) an option with some more comfort, and leave it to the users. I guess there's no official answer, but I hope they consider some solution for the future.

 

At increased cost it is possible to incorporate very low power technology, similar to that used in remote power switches, to wake the larger functions. Unfortunately, there is usually a delay while the unit starts. For the ‘Instant ON” group, this is impossible to live with technology. For the cheap crew, even a small increase in cost is a deal breaker -- even if it will save money in the long run. EU laws are forcing manufacturers to rethink their standby power requirements.

My very first Play 5 is 12 years old. Still works. So I'm rather concerned that it's no longer supported by S2. Before devices die of temperature issues, Sonos will probably retire the hardware.

 

Technology marches forward. Functions that were at the edge of imagination a few years ago are now a given.

Consider the original IBM PC with it’s 4.77 MHz processor, 160K floppy drive, 64KB RAM, and simple serial port -- costing a few thousand dollars. Compare this to a $15.00 Raspberry Pi Zero. True, you need to add a cheap power supply for the Pi and the PC was bundled with a case, monitor and keyboard, but many of us now have these things in our junk box. 

But, that expensive PC is virtually useless at this point. Sadly, that PLAY:5 will fade into memory at some point. Yes, I know that a few audio systems from the 70’s and maybe older have survived (the units that have not survived are cluttering our landfills), but where is their HDMI port and network connection? Do they have a remote control?

Userlevel 2
Badge +2

@buzz

Yes, of course. I don't blame Sonos for discarding older devices, there's no choice. This wasn't my point. Wanted to say that devices are robust. Concerns regarding durability with power on/off may be unfounded. My 12 year old 5 is still fine, heavily used. Before they may break, they have long since been retired anyway. However, I still use it in the garage with S1. It is in fact still supported, just no longer integrateble with newer devices in the house.

Regarding costs for extra Low Power Technology, Sonos is in a lucky situation yet, I guess. I'm not aware of a lot of capable competition who may force them. Sound quality, at the same time ease of use and multiroom integraton is still pretty unique. Idle consumption is not a major showstopper, while there are workarounds for those who use a calculator.

But as you said, EU may come up with new rules. All the systems out there is a lot of wasted energy.

I suspect there is a constant frisson in the engineering department and other parts of Sonos with regards to how ‘robust’ parts need to be. In order to make sales, the pressure would be to keep prices down, and use less expensive components. Pennies matter when you’re dealing with volume production.
 

Engineering, of course, wants the best, so the device stands up to the rigors of time, power cycles, etc. And I suspect there’s always learning to be done. I wouldn’t have thought that the BRIDGE’s power supply to have been as significant source of failure, for instance. Or the lack of memory in the CR100/200 remotes…

Userlevel 7
Badge +22

I’d really like to see an option for deep-sleep and far lower power consumption paired with something like Wake On LAN tech to revive the Sonos to active operation.

That would need a hardware redesign though, the Ethernet port and minimum supporting hardware would have to be moved to a separately powered circuit to see big power reductions.

 

https://infogalactic.com/info/Wake-on-LAN#Hardware_requirements

Hardware requirements:
Wake-on-LAN support is implemented on the motherboard of a computer and the network interface (firmware), and is consequently not dependent on the operating system running on the hardware. Some operating systems can control Wake-on-LAN behaviour via NIC drivers. With older motherboards, if the network interface is a plug-in card rather than being integrated into the motherboard, the card may need to be connected to the motherboard by an additional cable. Motherboards with an embedded Ethernet controller which supports Wake-on-LAN do not need a cable. The power supply must meet ATX 2.01 specifications.

 

Userlevel 2
Badge +2

@Airgetlam, I had to google CR100/100. I was not aware of any remotes all those years. :) I use phone and Ipad. Has it been discarded, not available in the store?

Other then a couple of setup issues, I’ve never experienced serious problems with sonos itself. More Issues with IFTTT for Sonos recently. Not very stable. My perception of Sonos always has been high end quality, for a serious price though. I’d support the engeneers. I’d rather pay more for the best quality, including low power technology. Saves money anyway in the long run.

Userlevel 2
Badge +2

I’d really like to see an option for deep-sleep and far lower power consumption paired with something like Wake On LAN tech to revive the Sonos to active operation.

That would need a hardware redesign though, the Ethernet port and minimum supporting hardware would have to be moved to a separately powered circuit to see big power reductions.

...

Motherboards with an embedded Ethernet controller which supports Wake-on-LAN do not need a cable. The power supply must meet ATX 2.01 specifications.

 

Stanley_4, not sure if I understand. Wake on LAN by Wifi? I don’t think many users have LAN cabels for their SONOS speakers. There must be minimum power consumption to check for some Wifi Signal.

Userlevel 7
Badge +22

It would work the same WiFi as wired, you have to have the receiving device, be it Ethernet or the radio, powered and listening for the magic packet.

Of course there is a minimum power draw, first from the required power supply to keep the necessary electronics awake, then the Ethernet port and radio receiver to acquire the packet and last the circuitry to recognize the packet and power up the rest of the electronics.

Looks to be working for folks other than Sonos.

https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/support/articles/000027615/intel-nuc.html

 

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +22

The CR-100 was dropped from support many years ago and Sonos gave some users a credit.

A few users blocked updates to their Sonos so they could stay onb the last version of the firmware that supported them.

My spouse has refused to use our Sonos since her beloved CR-100s went away and has been quite resistant to me getting new Sonos toys ever since.

I think there were several issues with the CRx00 line of remotes. Battery issues, screen (LCD) issues, memory size and CPU speed issues, such that any that still remain are stuck on S1. They certainly haven’t been sold by Sonos for a long time. 

I’ll admit I never felt the need to own one, it was always more convenient to use my iPhone. 

 

I’ll admit I never felt the need to own one, it was always more convenient to use my iPhone. 

At inception in 2005 the CR-100 was the only choice and phones were not as universal as they are now. CR-200 replaced the CR-100 and had a touch screen. By then touch screen phones were rapidly replacing older phones and customers were asking: “Why am I purchasing a single purpose touch screen device for about the same cost as a phone?”. Further, users were asking why they had to carry two devices around the house when they believed that their phone could do everything. The writing was on the wall for the CR-200 and many other controller devices that have been squeezed out of the market.  Since production runs of CR-200’s were in the 10’s of thousands and phones were in the 100’s of thousands, soon to be millions and 10’s of millions, CR-200’s were not a very good value. Eventually a large number of CR-200 screens failed and the screen manufacturer had stopped production. It was not possible to repair the CR-200’s. As the CR-200’s had begun to fail, SONOS had developed their phone/pad Apps and customers simply downloaded a free controller App, rather than attempting to have their CR-200’s repaired. At one point SONOS purchased the remaining display inventory to be used in repairs, but it didn’t take long to blow through these. 

Userlevel 2
Badge +2

It would work the same WiFi as wired, you have to have the receiving device, be it Ethernet or the radio, powered and listening for the magic packet.

Of course there is a minimum power draw, first from the required power supply to keep the necessary electronics awake, then the Ethernet port and radio receiver to acquire the packet and last the circuitry to recognize the packet and power up the rest of the electronics.

Looks to be working for folks other than Sonos.

https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/support/articles/000027615/intel-nuc.html

 

Makes sense, I would love that. But it won't redeem us veterans from the workaround with the smart/dumb plugs anyway. I don’t anticipate I will like to replace all my expensive sonos with new hardware anytime soon.

Userlevel 2
Badge +2

...

My spouse has refused to use our Sonos since her beloved CR-100s went away and has been quite resistant to me getting new Sonos toys ever since.

I can feel that. My parents have a smaller sonos due to Xmas presents and my recommendation. Especially my mom ist not touching the app. All she wants is pressing the button and her favorite radio channel in the kitchen and bathroom. Whenever there's some grouping or channel lost, one of the kids has to stop by and set it up. In fact, I think, there's room for improvement with usability. The app is not very intuitive for unexperienced users.

I have set up some IFTTT shortcuts on her phone, so she may at least switch channels without the app. It's not very satisfying, due to stability of the service. We can't even tech her Siri or Alexa. Parents couldn't handle additional hassle with smart plugs. It's permanently powered on.

 

To be fair: I think IFTTT is a great service for integrating all kind of things, even devices which are not directly amenable to home automation. Webhooks is fun and very flexible. Just the Sonos service has some glitches recently. Hope it’s a temporary issue. My impression is, that Sonos is not taking it very seriously, which is sad.

Userlevel 2
Badge +2

I’d like to emphasize this one request again. Which may be feasible for existing hardware by some  minor changes in firmware architecture - idk:The use case of my parents:

Their sonos system is set up with grouped speakers and favorites for each room. To be operated with device’s pause-button. They (almost) never change it. When speakers are powered off (either on purpose by a switch to save energy, or by some kind of power outage), favorite channel and grouping is lost. You need the app in order to configure it again, which is annoying.

Why not save that setting and restore it after power up?

 

I’d like to emphasize this one request again. Which may be feasible for existing hardware by some  minor changes in firmware architecture - idk:The use case of my parents:

Their sonos system is set up with grouped speakers and favorites for each room. To be operated with device’s pause-button. They (almost) never change it. When speakers are powered off (either on purpose by a switch to save energy, or by some kind of power outage), favorite channel and grouping is lost. You need the app in order to configure it again, which is annoying.

Why not save that setting and restore it after power up?

 

 

Well, Sonos doesn’t support cutting the power to Sonos devices on a regular basis, so it’s hard to imagine that they would add a feature that encourages using the devices this way.  

I haven’t checked out the details recently, and could be misremembering, but Sonos has worked on lowering the standby power consumption in their more recent models.  I think this is how they chose to address the concern.

Userlevel 2
Badge +2

Well, Sonos doesn’t support cutting the power to Sonos devices on a regular basis, so it’s hard to imagine that they would add a feature that encourages using the devices this way.  

I haven’t checked out the details recently, and could be misremembering, but Sonos has worked on lowering the standby power consumption in their more recent models.  I think this is how they chose to address the concern.

True. It may rather be a policy, not so much a technical issue. My guess, most users are not aware how much it costs them. Especially here with german energy prices. I think 1W idle consumption would make it unreasonable to power-off with some switch solution. Depends on particular use case of course.

Userlevel 3
Badge +5

For example, the Beam 2 has a Power Consumption While Idle of 6.3 watts.
And it is a constant power consumption all year round, 24 hours a day.
I will let people calculate for themselves what it costs annually, just to have a Beam 2 connected.
It is an insanely high idle power consumption and that is the reason why I have not bought this product.

Userlevel 2
Badge +2

6.3 W is a lot. I have an older playbar, which consumes a little less. In most rooms we have pairs of ONEs or some older Play 1. 3W each, 6W per room. Far too much for doing nothing most of the time.

With rising energy prices here (€ 0.45), I roughly calculate 12 €/year for each 3 Watts-speaker. We have a collecion of 24. Everyone I talk to, powers-off with some kind of switch. If that’s not Sonos policy, they ignore reality of their users.

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +17

This could be hard to implement on older speakers, but Sonos does strive to cut down on stand by power consumption: https://sustainability.sonos.com/Product-Sustainability/default.aspx#:~:text=Increasing%20energy%20efficiency,devices%20to%20lower%20energy%20consumption.

Sonos does not seem to ignore this.

Userlevel 6
Badge +11

6.3 W is a lot. I have an older playbar, which consumes a little less. In most rooms we have pairs of ONEs or some older Play 1. 3W each, 6W per room. Far too much for doing nothing most of the time.

This is how I justified a purchase of an Era-100 to replace two P1s + Amazon Echo (9.5w total standby, according to vendors websites) vs Era-100 (1.86w). The electricity saved over expected life span will pay for the up front cost 😀

Sonos will officially say their products are designed (from a function point of view) to be left on all the time, but modern well designed electronic devices can go through 100’s or 1000’s of power cycles. If they fail, probability says they will fail in early life (in warranty) or end of life, I recall some bath tub graph.

Apply some common sense, if you have a room that is ‘in standby’ (doing nothing most of the time), eg guest room, power down unused equipment. A Soundbar that is used on the main TV daily, keep it on standby.

 

This could be hard to implement on older speakers, but Sonos does strive to cut down on stand by power consumption: https://sustainability.sonos.com/Product-Sustainability/default.aspx#:~:text=Increasing%20energy%20efficiency,devices%20to%20lower%20energy%20consumption.

Sonos does not seem to ignore this.

 

Thanks for this.  I’ll just say I was trying to conserve power by not looking this up myself, rather than laziness.  

Userlevel 2
Badge +2

@106rallye thanks for the link. Below 2 Watts is an improvement. They are aware of that problem. obviously. I’d still consider to switch off a stereo pair e.g. in guest room or basement though, Certainly depends on frequency of use.

 

@craigski Era 100/300 replace former ONE and FIVE. I have a bunch of ONEs, I’ll probably want the latest toy at some point. As of now I’m still super happy though. I suspect you also didn’t throw your P1s on the trash. That’s what happend to my P1s a few years ago, I upgraded the systems upstairs, and found a spot for the P1s elsewhere. Still perfect stereo sound - no complaints - e.g. in the sauna. It’s not often used, makes no sense to leave them on standby.

What usually happens with a dumb switch, you go downstairs in a bathrobe, switch it on. But phone is upstairs. Waiting for booting, get your phone, play around with app and set it up is annoying.

I guess this is pretty common szenario for the users: You power up, and want it to play with recent setup after ~90 seconds of booting. I’d think, technically this should be well feasible with existing hardware.