View Full Version : Power control for older amp

2010-10-08, 04:28
Apologies if this has been discussed. I have an "older" amp, with no IR or serial or network control. You know, it has one of those rocker switches that goes clunk. I've been searching for a while now for a power switch that I can use to control power to the amp, that also has network connectivity (802.11b/g/n or Ethernet), and can preferably be controlled by Squeezebox Server. I'm envisioning being able to have the whole system power up when I power on the Squeezebox. BTW, I've tried a "smart switching" power strip for a similar application with dismal results. And I don't think it would work here anyway since "powering down" the Squeezebox really just shuts off the screen, this probably wouldn't trigger the power strip to shut off.

Thanks in advance.


2010-10-08, 04:35
Check out http://www.gwendesign.com/slimserver/dev_hard_and_software.htm#powerswitchii or http://www.tux.org/~peterw/slim/PowerCenter.html

Those were the two that stood out when I had a quick glance at http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.php/PluginRemoteControls

2010-10-08, 06:09
Check out http://www.gwendesign.com/slimserver/dev_hard_and_software.htm#powerswitchii ...
I can vouch for Felix's PowerSwitch II plugin - works very well. But it looks as if it doesn't work on the newer devices (Touch, etc), though - maybe if Felix sees this he might be able to comment.

One thing I would recommend, though, is to consider using a opto-isolated triac and a relay with an AC coil instead of Felix's suggested transistor + relay with DC coil. Felix's setup requires a separate power supply, whereas using an AC coil relay means you can use the mains power that you're switching to drive the circuit. I wrote up some notes about it here: http://delback.co.uk/squeezebox/classic_signal.html

2010-10-08, 08:13
Thanks for the responses. I think my soldering skills are poor enough to rule out the "build your own" option. I've looked at the X10 option before, and it seems to be less than wife/parent friendly. I constantly find myself reviewing how the Harmony remote works (Seriously, the #$%! thing has a button that says "Watch TV").

There seems to be no solution that is:

Seamlessly integrated into the Squeezebox. No additional steps, no caveats, power on the Squeezebox and the amp powers on, always (I'm looking at you, Squeeze Network)

Does not require me to build/solder a 120V "mains" device (I prefer my fires in the woodstove)

If it requires 3'rd party add-on software, it should be well supported. I've set up too many projects around software where the developer lost interest and abandoned the project. Yes, I'm willing to pay for software that fulfills a need.

I don't mean this to be critical, I sincerely appreciate the suggestions. This is the last nit in an otherwise flawless system. I'm finally past my WOL issues, my flaky alarms, stability problems, tagging, file management, etc... Perhaps I'll just need to break down an buy an amp that supports direct control. I just hate to replace a perfectly serviceable and sweet sounding amp.

Perhaps I'm just being too lazy, it is just flipping a switch. Ah, well.

2010-10-08, 09:53
I am using Eventghost to do this (if you are using windows and a dedicated server ). It will control X10. Setup generally is as follows:
- Install xPL plugin on server and Eventhost (open source)
-Install an xPL hub on the server (an open source service)
-use the Eventghost Zoom Player plugin (localhost and port 9090) to connect to Squeezebox command line interface (you will need to have a command to subscribe to the CLI info you are wanting ie. power)

This will allow Eventghost to receive Squeezebox CLI events. I am just walking out the door for the weekend. I can provide more details if you are interested in this method. I also use it to control volume on my processor via RS232.

2010-10-08, 12:34
I've looked at the X10 option before, and it seems to be less than wife/parent friendly.
... Perhaps I'll just need to break down an buy an amp that supports direct control.

I don't understand what (other than the initial configuration) you find not to be friendly. All these options do pretty much the same thing -- as long as the SB is using a local Squeezebox Server computer, then the amp is powered on or off automatically with the SB. It doesn't matter what turns the SB on or off -- IR remote, alarm, Web UI, SB Controller, iPeng, whatever. Also I don't know how you think a different amp would help if you use SqueezeNetwork/MySqueezebox.com -- as far as I know, nobody has built an "applet" that would work with Touch on SN/MySB. It is a solvable problem -- Touch supports a number of USB-Serial adapters so there are a number of possibilities, from amps with RS232 ports to serial and USB home automation controllers -- but as far as I know, nobody has bothered.

2010-10-08, 23:24
I'm also using the built in xpl interface in Squeezebox Server to drive power switching. The xpl route allows you to drive a number of different switching technologies. I used to use x10 to do the switching, but now use RF devices (Homeeasy). I have five squeezeboxes with their amplification switched in this way. No soldering required, and the code base out there for xpl/x10 is more than mature enough to trust.

When I was using X10 I had xpl drive a CM11 serial to x10 interface directly. The big battle in home automation is always interfacing, and xpl provides a useful set of 'glue' between Squeezebox server and a variety of other protocols/technologies. It's also worth looking at XAp automation (similar to xpl - different set of things to glue to).