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  • Power consumption, and how to reduce it?

    I received my BlueBox yesterday and I am extremely happy about that; I am working on a lighweight portable setup that I can use without AC power, in the months before BlueBox was released I was looking everywhere to find a lightweight mixing desk with 3.5mm plugs, stereo options, that could be powered by 5V USB. And - oh serendipity! - here it is.

    After initial testing I am very satisfied. I soon realized I couldn't plug it in the same power bank that is also used by my instruments (that creates a nasty hum), so it needs its separate power bank. Not much of a problem. But, the power consumption is quite a bit higher than I anticipated (I read somewhere on this forum that even with screen brightness set to 0 it still consumes around 1000mA, even when 'in rest').

    My question: could you give any tips on how to reduce its power consumption even further (e.g. by using less channels, not using FX, no WAV-recordings, etc). Or is there nothing I can do that would have a significant impact? If not, would there be options in future firmware to have a power saving mode? Maybe unused DACs/ADCs/FX can be disabled?

    Since the BlueBox is designed to be portable, I can imagine there might be more people with similar use cases than me. (How perfect it would be if there would be power bank available that fits exactly and can be attached under the BlueBox,connected with a short angled USB-plug, rather than the monster USB plug that comes with it now .)

    Currently (no pun intended), it sucks the life out of my 5,000mAh mini power bank very quickly. I guess a >20,000mAh will be sufficient to last a day, which is acceptable for me, but the less I have to think of recharging, the better it is.

  • #2
    I read from Aaron in the forums that reducing the brightness of the screen would help you to bring it from 1200 to 1000.

    There are many, especially USB type C power bricks that can provide 2A.

    And yes, you’d better separate sources of power to avoid ground loops.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by BrummD View Post
      My question: could you give any tips on how to reduce its power consumption even further (e.g. by using less channels, not using FX, no WAV-recordings, etc). Or is there nothing I can do that would have a significant impact? If not, would there be options in future firmware to have a power saving mode? Maybe unused DACs/ADCs/FX can be disabled?
      You may also consider using portable solar panels to power your device or powerbank. A few hours in the sun and certainly at a small cost you will increase the operating time on a single charge. I have a card size from the notebook, very light (in the description was that silicone) from aliexpress. If you are using outdoor performance equipment, it is worth considering as an add-on.

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      • #4
        I'm waiting for my bluebox to arrive, but I've already got a generic mains-powered multiple output usb power supply in my rig here, using it for the blackbox, a polyend tracker, a NDLR, whatever I'm inclined towards on a given day. this power supply should kick out enough juice for all of these things at once & not even get warm.

        the rig is an 8U 19" suitcasey thing that I bought from dieter doepfer after a trade show ages ago- it was made to show off some of the early a-100 modules, but is different from their current eurorack cases & has a removable back as well.
        I have equipped it with a pair of proteus 2000 modules (I took the fronts off & rotated the chassis of these to make them fit vertically behind...) a cirklon & a blofeld mounted vertically at the bottom, on a bracket. next to the blofeld is an opening big enough for the blackbox, the bluebox, this power supply & some cabling that drops out (audio, other midi cables, a single mains lead for the whole shebang).

        it all works beautifully as-is, & will be better when the bluebox is in there to handle mix/record duties. the cirklon runs off a camcorder supply (8.5V at several amps) & I use the spare connections in the midi cabling to carry this DC to other midi peripherals- keyboard controllers, doepfer pocket controller & so on. no more wall-warts! I've done this for over twenty years now.

        BUT

        with the usb supply entering the fray, I had a terrible hum problem initially, which went away if I ran the blackbox off a battery pack instead of the usb adaptor. after some experimenting, I sacrificed an old usb cable & used it to ground the output of the power supply to the rack strips in the case. totally silent now, all good.

        if I needed to get the whole thing off-grid, so to speak, I think I would be looking at installing a small bike battery in the case, & do without the proteus modules. but my point is to help with the hum problem!

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        • #5
          These aren't available anymore but I bought 5 of them for under $20 each when the new models became available. They're 10000mAh and work great for all of my gear. I originally bought them for my Volcas but now I also use them for Blackbox, Bluebox, Squarp Pyramid, NTS-1, and thanks to a cable from MyVolts, I even use it for my Moog Minitaur when traveling. My RetroKits midi hub is only thing I can't run on these because they automatically shut off after a few minutes due to the RK pulling so little power that the battery things it isn't being used.

          They're great for Blue and Black boxen when connected via [edit:] the cable that came with the Bluebox. With that cable, the Blackbox (or Bluebox now) is a nice hand-held self-contained unit with the battery tucked behind/under the box [edit:] and a handful of cable. I've spent many hours in a hammock in my front yard with the Blackbox and headphones.

          I know the Bluebox draws more power than the Blackbox so these 10000mAh probably wouldn't last all day, depending on what "all day" means but it's pretty easy to find 20000mAh packs for under $20. There are better, more expensive ones but you don't need any cool features or bells and whistles when you're just powering your synth hardware.

          https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
          Last edited by sirshannon; 05-02-2021, 12:58 PM. Reason: Edited to remove "little 6-inch USB-A to USB-B cables I bought for that reason" because it works with all of my other gear but not the Bluebox.

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