Echo Dot Power Draw
You can do some interesting things with the Amazon Echo. The first thing to do is determine how much power it draws. My measurements showed a pretty steady 0.37 amps, peaking at .50 to .60 amps on start up. Upon learning that the power draw was much less than I suspected, I started to get some ideas what I could do with the device.
What also makes the following experiments possible are two features of the Amazon Echo Dot. First, the audio quality is surprisingly good for such a small speaker. It would not be good for music, but for speech it is fine. Second, the audio can be delivered to a bluetooth sound system or speaker.
Echo Dot Running on Power Bank
Running the Amazon Echo from a USB power bank works surprisingly well! With the set up shown in this picture I finally unplugged it after letting it run about 19 hours. I had the volume low — but easily understandable in a quiet room — while streaming Seattle’s KIRO FM radio station through TuneIn. The power bank capacity is 16.750 amp hours. Rounding the Dot’s power draw to .40 amps, the Amazon Echo Dot could, theoretically, run for about 41 hours. Of course, the louder the volume the less run time off the power bank.
Adding velcro to the bottom of the Echo Dot and to the top of the power bank insures the two stay together, making it easy to move. This is great when you want to listen to news or an educational podcast.
The USB cable is a 6-inch cable. A short cable does two things: 1) reduces resistance in delivering power to the Dot, thereby extending run time and 2) reduces the possibility the cord will get snagged on something.
Echo Dot Running in the Car
With a different Echo Dot, I plugged it into power from the car, started up my portable hotspot and connected the echo Dot to the hotspot. I deliberately set the hotspot to work on 3g speed only to test out the lower bandwidth and for better coverage. Then I connected the Echo Dot to the car’s sound system via bluetooth.
My friend and I took a cruise up Interstate 5 north of Seattle and listened to Radio France International via TuneIn. We also streamed music from my Amazon music library. Both worked just fine. Of course, if the cell signal drops out, the Echo Dot will not work.