Audio Forums >> Frequently Asked Questions >> Leave power on?

Message started by Ken Rafika on 03/01/17 at 16:46:21

Title: Leave power on?
Post by Ken Rafika on 03/01/17 at 16:46:21

Many sites recommend leaving a tube amp on all the time (with speakers connected), as opposed to turning it on/off for each listening session.  Is that a good idea with a Tori Jr or aCSP3 preamp?

Title: Re: Leave power on?
Post by mark58 on 03/01/17 at 16:48:43

I don't know but I turn mine off after each listening session.  Some leave their Amp on all day whether listening or not but off at night and while out of the house.  Mark.

Title: Re: Leave power on?
Post by hdrider on 03/02/17 at 04:03:20

We turn everything off when not in use, but I will leave the ZP3 on from Friday night when I get home so it's ready for records during the weekend. If I am going to listen on and off during a day, we'll leave things on. YMMV and happy listening, Chris.

Title: Re: Leave power on?
Post by DBC on 03/02/17 at 14:17:43

I have two zen's in two different systems. The first few years with the first zen (going back 15 years now) I would frequently turn the amp off. I experienced a number of tube failures over that time when the amp was switched on cold.

In recent years I turn the amp on and leave it on 24-7 when I'm home. Have not had any tube failures in a long time. I tend to re-tube the amp once a year which is not that expensive for the Zen.

So my experience has been that switching the Zen On & Off frequently could result in one or more tube failures over a 12 month period (especially the rectifier). If I turn it ON and leave it ON the full tube set will go a full year no problem.

Title: Re: Leave power on?
Post by Ken Rafika on 03/02/17 at 18:48:41

Thanks, DBC,
That was the gist of the sites which recommended leaving the amps on -- more failures from off/on/off.  I'll likely replace tubes yearly, too.


Title: Re: Leave power on?
Post by Archie on 03/03/17 at 00:43:37

It struck me that there is a moral angle to this question.  I did a calculation and given that the Zen amp uses 65 Watts' then leaving it on 24/7 uses a whopping 569 KWh/yr.  If it's used 4 hr/day and turned off the rest of the time it uses 95 KWh/yr.  The difference is about one months electricity use at my house (gas heat).  If other components are also left on with the Zen, then the energy waste really gets big.  

I think I'll turn my equipment off when I'm not using it and buy a few extra tubes.  

Title: Re: Leave power on?
Post by Ken Rafika on 03/03/17 at 14:56:24

That is a very good point -- I hadn't thought of that.

Title: Re: Leave power on?
Post by Tommy Freefall on 03/03/17 at 19:11:46

I'm not certain, but it seems like I read somewhere on this forum, that once you turn on your amp, you should leave it on for at least 30 min or so before turning it off. That the amp needs at least 20 minutes just to stabilize.
Hopefully Steve or someone can clarify the preferred approach to powering on and off.

Title: Re: Leave power on?
Post by Archie on 03/03/17 at 20:34:27

The only tube that requires some special note is the
OA3. This tube is fascinating to watch as it won’t light until there has been
some delay after turning it on. Once the tube has lit, it is desirable to keep
it on for no less than 20 minutes otherwise it’s life may be reduced.

This is from an older ZP2/3 user manual.

Title: Re: Leave power on?
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 03/03/17 at 22:00:51

The usage of electricity, be it the cost vs. environmental impact, is an interesting one.  Lets assume we are most concerned about cost.  Well, being the one to broach this topic, I will go one step further in asking that we refrain from going philosophical with this one so we can at least limit our variable to just one - the cost.  Someone else can take this to that other realm but I choose to focus on cost.  The average household in America uses 10,812 kWh of electricity per year.  So, by keeping it on 24/7, one uses 569 kWh according to Archie's post.  Now, this is where is gets personal.  Some listen very little, some listen a lot.  And electricity is more expensive in some territories and less expensive in others.  If someone tube rolls and uses rare/unique NOS tubes, the cost of replacement can be considerable.  And how can one value a near impossible NOS tube replacement when said tube(s) no longer exist?  

This being said, I think it may be a good exercise for everyone to calculate the cost per kWh for their city/county and measure thst against their average per day listening. This will help determine if leaving it on all day compared to premature tube replacement makes more sense.  

This of course is assuming that leaving it on all day does in fact lead to longer tube life.  The only other unknown is how much longer life - on average - one can expect to get from leaving it on day and night.  

I tend to believe that the on/off regiment is a much more violent process to the tube than extended "on" time from what I have learned and experienced with incandescent light bulbs.  

Title: Re: Leave power on?
Post by Archie on 03/03/17 at 23:41:19

Cost is generally a good metric and is used for most planning, i.e., Cost/Benefit Ratio.  Generally we look at cost from a personal POV but know that the true cost is typically much greater.  If we all follow the "leave it on" strategy (not just for our tube amps) then cost might need to include additional power plants, pollution/sickness, environmental degradation, etc.

If I had special tubes I would possibly leave my equipment on despite the "cost."  No one has chimed in with other component parts that might fail, such as capacitors, transformers?  A trip back to Decware would really get expensive.  

But here's a "philosophical" angle.  Climate change will only be mitigated if every user of resources cuts back as far as possible (not just what's convenient).  It's amazing that the Average American Household uses almost 11,000 KWh/yr!  I'm not a paragon of conservation but I use half that.  (I do have natural gas though.   :-/ )  It's no wonder the planet is heading towards collapse.  I don't know what a "carbon neutral" world would look like but we all might be pedaling bicycle generators while we listened to music!   :P

Edit:  One practical reason NOT to leave the amps on and unattended is the possibility of a random tube failure that might result in amp damage if not caught.  I left my house for an hour with my ZMA on and when I returned there was a super loud, distorted, tone coming from the speakers.  I think I had a transient fault in an input tube.

Title: Re: Leave power on?
Post by Rivieraranch on 03/12/17 at 05:19:04

Not everyone believes in climate change, or that the world is imploding.

Title: Re: Leave power on?
Post by mark58 on 03/12/17 at 12:36:04

Uh Oh Riv, prepare to be Denier....ha ha ha  ;D ;D ;D ;D

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