The subwoofer is an essential part of your sound system but can also cause power-related problems. Knowing how to keep subwoofer from draining battery or energy is useful to it lasts for long.
Several possible causes of a subwoofer consuming too much power include having an amp that is too big, device settings causing increased energy consumption, and damage to wires or parts.
Let’s look at some of these common causes below.
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Reducing Subwoofer Power Draw
Subwoofers are an essential part of a good sound system, but they can consume more power than intended for various reasons. A home sound system could result in higher electric bills, while a mobile model, such as a car sound system, may leave you with a more immediate problem in the form of an empty battery.
Small subwoofers can operate at below 100 watts, but powerful models go as high as 1000 watts. If you keep using a subwoofer that draws too much power, you will only waste battery and electricity. It’s better to address this early before the expenses pile up.
Here are some of the most common causes for higher energy consumption of subwoofers and how to address them.
1. Amp problem
A subwoofer needs to be hooked up to an amplifier, and customizing this pairing allows for different output types. However, it can also be easy for a mismatch to occur, which may cause excessive power consumption, resulting in higher electricity bills or completely draining your battery.
The amp provides power to the subwoofer, but this doesn’t mean the sub can utilize all that energy.
Check the power rating of the subwoofer and the amp to compare; look for the RMS number. Always ensure that the amplifier’s rating does not exceed the subwoofer’s to stop amp from draining battery.
Aside from draining too much energy, a too-large amp may also damage your subwoofer’s voice coil.
2. Volume is too high
If the bass of your sound system is too low, it can ruin the sound quality, but sometimes we end up taking the volume too high. In this case, we risk overpowering the subwoofer to the extent of drawing too much energy.
The volume control regulates how much power we are directing to the subwoofer; a low volume means underpowering it, while a high volume drives more energy. This also means less operation time if you’re on a battery in high settings.
Manage your power consumption by bringing the volume to a moderate level, one where you get enough sound, but you’re not drawing too much energy. Even if you have a good battery with a high capacity, kicking the volume to max output will deplete your power source all too quickly.
3. Extended subwoofer operation
Keeping the party going usually involves music, but we also need to remember the time spent operating the sound system. This isn’t usually a concern, but if you’re on a sound system battery, such as for a car, you might be surprised at how easily you run out of juice.
Even a phone charger can drain the power on a vehicle if left for too long, and switching to an extra battery is not as easy as it would be on a device such as a remote control. However, we can keep our vehicle’s engine running to mitigate the power drain.
There’s also the option of hooking up a dedicated battery for amplifier and subwoofer to keep your vehicle in good running condition even when operating your subwoofer for long periods. It would be best if you also considered unplugging your home sound system when not in use since these still consume power even when off.
4. Faulty wires or components
Loose or improper wiring can cause different problems, including increased power draw. The wiring to the amplifier is a good place to start when looking into this type of issue.
Ensure that wires are all properly connected to prevent this problem. If left unchecked, simple wiring problems can develop into bigger concerns, such as damaged components or a burned capacitor.
At that point, you may need professional assistance and a larger bill to pay. Address such problems as early as possible to keep the cost down.
5. Power source problems
Even if your wires are in good condition and properly connected, you may still need help if there are problems with the power source. You’re more likely to run into this sort of problem when using a sound system battery such as for a car. Even a separate battery is not much help if it is too weak or small, so ensure that you have one with ample capacity.
Another power source concern is due to a faulty alternator. The alternator is responsible for producing electrical energy,; a broken one would leave your battery drained because nothing supplements the electricity supply.
Of course, this also means that the car won’t start, so you will probably have a bigger problem on your hands than just a dead sound system. Having the alternator fixed will get you back on track.
Now we have a better understanding of power concerns related to your sound system, specifically how to keep subwoofer from draining battery or consuming too much energy. Energy that runs out too quickly is a frustrating problem, but this knowledge will help address such concerns more easily.
What power problems have you encountered, and how do you manage them? Is changing or adding a battery an effective solution? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.
Sam Stephenson is a writer who grew up in Washington, North Carolina. He was 2010 and 2015 ASCAP Deems Taylor / Virgil Thomson Prize winner and a 2019-2020 Guggenheim Fellow in General Nonfiction. His books have been published by W.W. Norton, Alfred A. Knopf, and Farrar, Straus and Giroux