Leaving amps on - how much does it cost?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Philip Hamm, Jan 17, 2004.

  1. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    I've seen threads where people ask about leaving amps without triggers on, how much do you think it costs? I've got some amps I'd like to leave on, my Sherwood Newcastle AM-9080 has a proprietary on/off mechanism (my only real gripe with it), so I usually just leave it on all the time. It's in a closet so I don't want to have to turn it on a lot.

    Also, I have an old circa 1983 JVC receiver that I use to power in-ceiling speakers elsewhere in my house. I'd like to leave that on 24/7.

    Lastly, I've got an old late 60s Crown DC300A that I'm planning on using for my yet-to-be-constructed Infinite Baffle subwoofer.

    How much will it cost me per month to leave these on all the time do you think? A lot? I'm a bit worried about the 300A, it's a 5 rack space monster from 1968 I think. It has the most massive transformer I've ever seen and the caps gargantuan!

    I also just got a Harman Kardon PA2000 for my rear centers, and it's switched on my Outlaw 950. It gets warm even when it's on standby. ???
     
  2. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Phill

    IMHO since none of the amps are class A, the freight should not be more than couple bucks a month.

    Artie
     
  3. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    An Adcom ACE-515 line conditioner/sequencer would take care of the Sherwood problem.
     
  4. Jason GT

    Jason GT Second Unit

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    It will vary from amplifier to amplifier (I know that helps [​IMG] ). However, for a bit of perspective, I have a Rotel 5 ch * 100 watt amp with no auto power-off feature. It consumes 90+ watts while idle, which is a fair bit of power.

    As a personal aside, I'm glad to see someone else who considers conservation when it comes to switching on/off amps, even if it's as much financially based as it is environmentally based [​IMG].
     
  5. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    Phil, if you have the manual, it may give you power consumption numbers at idle. I've had big amps and from recolllection some of them have indicated 200W consumption in idle, so roughly the same as a big light bulb. Turning things on and off could shorten the life of the amp which might outweigh the costs of the power consumed.
     
  6. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Well what you're looking at here Phil is what are the power requirements of the various units at idle. If you have that information at hand, it's pretty easy. The formula would be Watts*24*30*(electrical rate).
    As beefy as that Crown is (nice one there...is it still quiet?) it doesn't consume much power. According the manual, it's ~40 watts. I don't have the info for the Sherbourne, but let's assume it's 3 times that amount since it's got three transformers (I think!). Further, let's assume 40 watts for that old JVC unit.

    Total watts at idle 40+120+40 = 200

    Hence this would be equivalent to your burning a 200 watt bulb 24/7

    If we assume the electric rate is the same as Manassas which is $0.0612 per kWh we have the following:

    (200*24*30*$0.0612)/1000 = $8.81 a month
     
  7. Chuck Schilling

    Chuck Schilling Stunt Coordinator

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    Given the substantial costs of the majority of componentry most folks here are using, I think the cost of power consumption is, by comparison, miniscule in the extreme.
     
  8. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Hey, $100/year saving would let Phil take the boys out for a beer and pick up the tab for a change!
     
  9. Ernest Yee

    Ernest Yee Supporting Actor

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    Question: Does leaving an amp in standby considered a power flux in terms of messing up your equipment by turning it on and off? I always turn my stuff off when not in use and it jumps into standby mode - but i was just wondering on how damaging that was when it just jumps back into standby?
     
  10. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    I don't think amps have a "standby" mode - only receivers. Amps have no settings to maintain, so there's no reason for a standby mode.
     
  11. Chuck Schilling

    Chuck Schilling Stunt Coordinator

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    Wayne, the only exception to that I can speculate upon (and it's REALLY speculation, since I've never even seen a tube hifi amp, let alone used one), is a tube amp. I know that all high powered guitar amps have standby modes where the tubes are sent only a small idle current to warm them prior to going into "full power" mode, and perhaps there are hifi amps that do this same thing. Every tube guitar amp I own (and I've got six of them) has a standby switch for jut this reason.
     
  12. Stephen Weller

    Stephen Weller Stunt Coordinator

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    If this is *purely* a question of convenience, why not turn them on/off ala X10 or similar?

    Else, I don't understand why you'd want to leave them on unless they're tube amps. Some purists will argue some benefit to leaving tube amps turned on all the time (which is lost on me...AND my wallet).

    Power consumption, as already stated, depends on the type of amp. Tube amps = a LOT!. Amps with switching supplies = very little.
     
  13. Stephen M

    Stephen M Stunt Coordinator

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    Leaving tube amps on all the time makes the least sense of all. Tubes burn out!! If you have ever paid the freight to retube a power amp, you make damn sure you do not have to do it more than is absolutly necessary less you are rolling in dough![​IMG]
     
  14. Chuck Schilling

    Chuck Schilling Stunt Coordinator

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    Stephen, why would you need to ship a tube amp anywhere to have it retubed? Seems to me a competent guitar amp tech could do the job simply enough - and a Class A amp wouldn't need the services of a tech at all - you could just replace the tube(s) yourself since there is no need to change the bias.
     
  15. Stephen Weller

    Stephen Weller Stunt Coordinator

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    You lost me. Which Stephen are you addressing? Two of us chimed in (Two of the few that actually know how Stephen is *supposed* to be spelled -btw. [​IMG] ).
     
  16. Robert AG

    Robert AG Stunt Coordinator

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    It used to be common practice in professional broadcast installations in the days of vacuum tubes to leave everything powered up at all times. This was done because it was found that the tubes actually lasted longer being left on than being constantly being turned on and off. The other electronics parts like capacitors were found to remain more stable also. Keep in mind though that this is in a commercial atmosphere where an amp might be turned on many times during the day, every day.

    In modern installations, equipment is also left on continuously but this is more for convenience than anything else. It would be a huge pain to have to switch on every piece of equipment in a studio every time it was used.

    I would just not worry about the issue and just turn your amplifier on about a half hour before any listening, and then off after your're done. Leaving it on will not accomplish anything in a home situation except make for bigger power bills and ultimately more pollution from the power plants.
     
  17. Ernest Yee

    Ernest Yee Supporting Actor

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    Umm - my Sherbourn goes into "standby" via the 12v trigger. I suspect that all amps w/ 12v triggers can do this. Is this not really "standby"? I mean, the amp is not warm when it's on standby - but it also doesn't have to draw an additional power since the speakers aren't in use. But I do know when I press the button to physically turn it off, I hear all the channels "click" off.
     
  18. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

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    The standby mode probably turns off the output stage (to avoid most of the power usage) and leaves everything else on, which is probably a good thing.

    A typical good quality 200 watt stereo amplifier probably dissipates around 50 watts at idle, which is nothing to worry about. Of course, Pass Labs and some others are exempt. (I believe their latest 200 watt amp draws 600 watts per channel at idle.)
     
  19. TimGRA

    TimGRA Stunt Coordinator

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    The stand by mode in an amp is just another on/off switch. Its just a clever term they use. There is no current in or out when an amp is in stand by. This is what Parasound told me direct from the factory.

    There are a few parts in the amp that would love to be warm all the time and parts that need a rest. Turn your amp on if you are going to be home for a week or even two. Then maybe turn it off for a few days. It is an equalizer in the life of your amp and really this concern that people have just doesn't warrant that. Amps will be fine. Hey if a good amp gets to hot it just shuts itself down. That is what it is supposed to do.
     
  20. Ernest Yee

    Ernest Yee Supporting Actor

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    That actually makes a lot of sense. If you combine the two posts right before this one, I guess you could draw a conclusion that the 12v trigger would be the best option of saving energy and prolonging the life of your amp vs shutting down the entire thing or leaving it on all the time.
     

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