Low power music...

I recently purchased a Kill-A-Watt and checked the draw of some of my appliances. A big surprise was that my stereo receiver (at normal volume) pulls ~40 watts. My Sony boom box at normal power pulls ~2 watts.

Being off the grid I would like to minimize my draws. But I'd also like the ability to play MP3s.

Anyone know of a boom box-like device that will play MP3s?

What would be really nice is one that could play from a flash memory card which would allow me to create playlists on my computer and then plug them in the music player.

(BTW, www.amazon.com sold me a Kill-A-Watt for $25US. It's a great way to check the power usage of various devices. It will accumulate your usage over a period of time so that you can calculate an average kWhr figure.)


  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Low power music...


    there are so so many really cool things out that will do what you want. archos has some media players: hookup usb to computer (copy your music over is easy) and they have a line out you can plugin to your stereo. oryou could just get an fm transmitter to send your pc's sound output to any stereo within reach, OR a wireless media player that plugs into your stereo permanently, and send your music wirelessly to the device or stream it from the pc.
    something like this is HIGH on my list of things i want tyo get someday (but not this time of year, yikes):


    a little archos (or other brand portable music system with a hard drive - 30+gb) with line out would do the trick. budget about $250+
    i had a 15gb archos, it was great,with line out AND line in recording. was stolen from my car though. used with a little fmtransmitter you can bring it to car to stereo to boombox etc.. it was small and the AA batteries were recharged when plugged into the computer via usb.

    my cell phone plan just renewed, so i splurged and bought a lg fusic that plays music , and it has a BUILT IN fm transmitter. very cool. i need to geta larger (4gb im thinking) mini sd memory card for it, that'll hold a couple dozen albums. something like this eliminates the need to burn cd's to play in the car. basically i dont need to burn music cd's any longer. just the occasional burn a dvd to backup all those mp3's

  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Low power music...

    Look into the Sonic T-Amp. I have it at camp (off grid) with a 12V power supply. It will run off of 8 AA batteries, but can be rigged to run off of 12V dc easily. With some hi-efficiency speakers you can make a great conversation piece that sounds pretty decent. I use my DVD player to play CDs. The T-Amp is available at target.com for about $30.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Low power music...

    i would say that some of your low-end sound systems for cars work nicely as a low power stereo system on solar power. the better the quality and power of an audio amplifier then the higher the power draw from your batteries, so unless you are an unyielding audiophile, the compromising of that power and sound quality could save a bit on your batteries. high efficiency speakers are a must and they rate the spl(sound pressure level) of them in db(decibels) at 1 meter(39.37 inches) distance for an audio power of 1w. the higher the number the better, and values in the low 90s are typical. do not buy a set of speakers designed to handle 500w as the low power (about 10 to 20w) produced by this minisystem will usually not be strong enough to sound good or loud enough on those speakers(low spl rating). if quality is a must then keep the amplifier power ratings low as this is a high quality class a type ampliflier that will suck on efficiency to conserve your batteries. efficiencies around 50% or less will be realistic on type a amps. lowering the volume control helps too as you don't want the amps going full tilt if avoidable.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Low power music...

    I'm looking for a low power radio that works! And can be used on 12V.

    I have a low-end car radio but the receiver does not have enough sensitivity to get clear reception on my side of the mountain.

    In fact the last 3 car radios I've had don't work as well as any I had before them. The manufactures seem to be concentrating on CD's and mp3's to the detriment of the receivers.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Low power music...

    im interested in any reviews of nice sounding low power speakers, maybe to go along with the t-amp which ive just read cool things about.
    i never knoew they had anything like that.

    ive never bothered with this area of conservation, as generally speaking stereos arent exactly a huge draw. nonetheless thats why i liked having a portable hard drive based jukebox around, i could play the music through my computer, portably with headphones, or plug into my car or home stereo. only power requirements were keeping the 4AA's charged (and the amplification)

    i just measured the old vector research tuner i use with some nice infinity bookshelf size speakers and it only uses 12w in the range i listen to it on most of the time, turned up pretty loud is 24w. on my pc i use a nice sounding cambridge soundworks speakers/subwoofer that uses a whole 3 watts. 5 when it's turned up way louder than i ever need. on second thought i dont think i need any info on low power speakers ;)
  • BrockBrock Solar Expert Posts: 639 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Low power music...

    I haven’t looked but what about places like http://www.ccrane.com I have the CCradio Plus, a great radio, very sturdy and has better reception then my cars for sure and any other radio I have owned. If they have a version that somehow played MP3's you be set. I suppose it does have a mic in, or maybe use one of those short range FM transmitters from a MP3 player?
    3kw solar PV, 4 LiFePO4 100a, xw 6048, Honda eu2000i, iota DLS-54-13, Tesla 3, Leaf, Volt, 4 ton horizontal geothermal, grid tied - Green Bay, WI
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