Mains Power - Always switched on - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 08-10-2014, 12:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Mains Power - Always switched on

In a recent discussion with an electronics retailer I was advised that I should leave the mains power to all electronic components switched on. The individual components should be switched off to standby mode after usage.
I was told this would increase the lifespan of the components.
How relevant is this information?

I currently have most of my components (A/V Receiver, Power amps, Blu ray player) connected through a Power conditioner. My TV, satelite receiver and Subwoofers are plugged in directly to the mains.
Thank you in advance.
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post #2 of 10 Old 08-10-2014, 03:00 PM
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What he is saying doesn't make much sense. Your TV for example always goes into standby even though you push the "off" button on the remote. Leaving equipment on can also age it and at any rate, standby shuts down 99% of the circuits (some high-end gear notwithstanding). So you are fine the way you have things now.

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post #3 of 10 Old 08-10-2014, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post
What he is saying doesn't make much sense. Your TV for example always goes into standby even though you push the "off" button on the remote. Leaving equipment on can also age it and at any rate, standby shuts down 99% of the circuits (some high-end gear notwithstanding). So you are fine the way you have things now.
I'm thinking the post above missed the point. Yes, a wide variety of modern gear does not fully turn off - small portions of its circuitry remains running to allow things like the remote control to work.

I'd rephrase the question to: "Does equipment last longer if run much of the time in standby?"

An argument "for" might be that with a high percentage of the component powered down, at least that large part of the equipment is not wearing out faster due to being in a full powered up state.

An argument "against" might be that since part of the equipment is on regardless, that part suffers the extra wear of being powered up and becomes the weakest link which can still break and cause the whole component to be effectively failed.

Tie breakers/makers include the fact that the life of a lot of modern electronic components is not that strongly affected by being powered on or off.

The estimate of 99% of the component being powered off when the component is in standby is just that - an estimate and the simpler stuff like a BD player may drop below that percentage.

I turn my AVR and BD player off when I'm not using them, but for my convenience I leave a few other components on 100% of the time. OTOH my computers never get turned off for my convenience.
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post #4 of 10 Old 08-11-2014, 07:54 PM
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That advice comes from the 80s/90s when manufacturing quality (specifically the solder joints) on cheaper components was notoriously bad, and things tended to run much hotter than they do today. We all know that things (especially metals) expand when heated and contract when cooled. Poorly soldered connections were likely to fail after a few hundred heating/cooling cycles, so, unintuitively, leaving a device switched on would extend its lifespan.

Fast forward to today, even the cheapest devices have passable soldering, and most devices run at much lower temperatures (because efficiency is the new buzzword) so the temperature change (and therefore expansion/contraction) is less. Even then, the point of standby is to use very little power so turning to standby is probably the same as turning off as far as the temperature change is concerned. So the advice is far less useful today, but may still apply to a lesser extent to a few devices. In the vast majority of cases these days, it makes no difference to the longevity of the device whether you leave it in standby or turn off altogether. Other factors like humidity and ventilation will have a much bigger effect.

For any given specific device, I would get a power meter and find out how many Watts the thing actually draws in standby. Lets assume using the standby mode extends the life of the device from 10 to 11 years, is that worth the electricity cost? Will you have the device that long before upgrading? Unless its using a fair amount of power in standby, I'd use the standby mode purely for convenience reasons.
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post #5 of 10 Old 08-12-2014, 06:02 AM
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It used to be a switch turned it OFF. I quess that is impossible to do today because of the remote control.

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post #6 of 10 Old 08-12-2014, 06:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Klinsmann View Post
In a recent discussion with an electronics retailer I was advised that I should leave the mains power to all electronic components switched on.
Since you use the term 'mains' the assumption is you're not in North Amerca. I believe he's telling you to leave the power conditioner always on, turning off the components plugged into it individually. Or perhaps you're asking if it's appropriate to turn off the power supply at what you call the mains, and we call the outlet, assuming you have a breaker box in your room, allowing that to be done without going down into the basement.
If you turn off the 'mains', by either turning off the power conditioner or the outlet breaker, any of the connected devices which have memory will forget their programming, and you'll have to re-program them every time you restart. That even includes the clocks. Bad idea. Some 'green' oriented sources recommend that you do just that, to save the electricity used in idle mode, but it makes no sense from a practical standpoint.

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post #7 of 10 Old 08-12-2014, 10:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post
If you turn off the 'mains', by either turning off the power conditioner or the outlet breaker, any of the connected devices which have memory will forget their programming, and you'll have to re-program them every time you restart.
Most consumer AV gear made in the past 10 years has non volatile Flash memory to hold user setups and configurations. The reason clocks don't use it is because Flash memory (also known as EEROM) has a lifetime of only 10,000 to 100,000 write cycles until it's dead.

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post #8 of 10 Old 08-12-2014, 10:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for all the responses.

Let me answer some of the questions raised.
Yes Im not based in North America. Mains for me is the switch on the wall where my component is plugged in.

If all power is switched off(mains on the wall socket) none of my components loose their memory.

For me it's just been convenient to swicth off to standby-mode(on the remote) for my components. The power conditioner is always left on. Every once in a while I do switch off the mains.
But when I got told that it's best practice to not switch off power and to leave all components in standby mode, I decided I had to get some opinions on the matter!
Thanks all.
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post #9 of 10 Old 08-12-2014, 11:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glimmie View Post
Most consumer AV gear made in the past 10 years has non volatile Flash memory to hold user setups and configurations. The reason clocks don't use it is because Flash memory (also known as EEROM) has a lifetime of only 10,000 to 100,000 write cycles until it's dead.
Some, but by no means all. Many use capacitive power backup, so there won't be a loss of memory in case of short power outages. That will tide them over for a few hours. I have one DVR that occasionally gets cranky and needs re-booting. Trouble is that even after unplugging it the thing won't re-boot, because it doesn't power down until the capacitors discharge. Leaving it unplugged overnight does the trick.

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post #10 of 10 Old 08-12-2014, 11:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post
Some, but by no means all. Many use capacitive power backup, so there won't be a loss of memory in case of short power outages. That will tide them over for a few hours. I have one DVR that occasionally gets cranky and needs re-booting. Trouble is that even after unplugging it the thing won't re-boot, because it doesn't power down until the capacitors discharge. Leaving it unplugged overnight does the trick.
Well in the 1980s and 90s, the 1 farad 5 volt capacitor was very popular. Just about every VCR and TV had one. And yes they will discharge overnight in some cases. But really most stuff today is EEROM based. In fact many low volume commercial and high end consumer products use microcontrollers and FPGAs from Xilinx and Altera that hold the executable code file in EEROM.

And I was also told by a broadcast equipment manufature years ago that those memory capacitors cause UL and CE acceptance problems due to their chemical makeup requiring additional product packaging costs. One more reason not to use them.

The reason your DVR and other operating system based computer products have to be rebooted at times is due to ever present OS and complex application bugs. Application specific embedded controllers, like in an HVAC thermostat, are generally very reliable provided the power to them is clean.

I also design in a diode on any reset capacitor circuit to quickly discharge it when the Vcc rail dies. I guess that diode costs too much in very high volume consumer products so you sometimes have to wait for the reset cap to discharge through a high value resistor.

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Last edited by Glimmie; 08-12-2014 at 12:05 PM.
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