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Old 10-10-2022, 11:28 PM   #1
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program to prevent standby mode on speakers that can't disable it themselves

Howdy LQ:

Yep, I bought some speakers, and they don't do what I want: wake me up. I frequently use my linux laptop as an alarm clock, with a simple command like
sleep 300m && ffplay alarm.flac
I change my alarm.flac to different songs I feel like waking up to. The problem is my laptop speakers are not always loud enough to wake me up.

So I bought something that looked good in the picture: The Marshall Action II. I didn't need rechargeable or portable; just something that plugged in, and can use an aux cord. These speakers do both, as well as bluetooth. But by the time 300 minutes have elapsed, the speakers go into standby mode, and don't play my alarm. In fact, I think it only takes ten minutes or so, and the only way to wake the speakers up, is to touch them: manually turning the volume knob. So needless to say, I am disappointed. I found out that Marshall provides no way to disable this feature, and apprently it was created to "save power" in the EU.

Thus, I've been contemplating a program that can do the following:

Every nine minutes (so a cron job is in order), check and see if sound is already going to the speaker, and if not, send a sound that the speaker detects but not my ears.

So the cron part is easy, and the playing some low frequency sound shouldn't be too difficult. But what would be the most efficient way to check for output sound? I thought about searching for processes of what I play sounds with the most, such as ffplay, moc, ogg, etc., but there are just too many options, so I figure there must be something lower level.

Like if I were to open pamixer, and check output, I see the green bar moving when there is activity. Is there a command-line equivalent that would return "zero" for no output, and some number for whatever it was at when the command was executed?

Just asking this question made me check in /proc, and I just discovered that this returns "closed" when there's no sound, but it is dependent on knowing which sound card is in use:

cat /proc/asound/card1/pcm0p/sub0/status
Haha... that will work, but now I want to post this anyways
Old 10-11-2022, 11:51 AM   #2
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Sometimes just formulating the question for others can lead to a solution, as it apparently did here!

Glad you figured it out and thanks for sharing the experience with the rest of us! It never occurred to me that speakers might have a "screensaver" mode, or powersaver in this case. How annoying...

Last edited by astrogeek; 10-11-2022 at 11:55 AM.
Old 10-12-2022, 11:22 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by astrogeek View Post
Sometimes just formulating the question for others can lead to a solution, as it apparently did here!
Heh! I can't remember how many times that doing a sanity check on a question before posting it resulted in an AHA! moment.
Old 06-03-2023, 06:58 AM   #4
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Thank you slac-in-the-box for posting about this problem, I also encountered it.

I wrote some scripts and posted them on my GitLab which solve this problem also.

Thank you for inspiring me to learn systemd today!


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