Amazon Echo Dot on the Go

Amazon Echo Drawing .37 amps

Amazon Echo Drawing .37 amps

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.

Amazon Echo Running from USB Power Bank

Amazon Echo Running from USB Power Bank

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.

Amazon Echo Dot in the Car

Amazon Echo Dot in the Car

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.

Turn Youtube Video into Audio Podcast

Youtube as Resource

Youtube is a great resource for all kinds of information. Frequently, the important part of a Youtube video is not the video, but the audio. I like to listen to conference panels and other discussions while driving or doing housework or taking a walk.

Even though streaming video might be possible while on the move, streaming video eats up data limits on mobile devices. Downloading the video can be a pain, and frankly, playing back video from the mobile device drains the battery.

Convert Youtube to Audio Podcast

What I do now is extract the audio from the Youtube videos where I don’t need to watch the video.

I generally use this website:

Listen to Youtube

Here’s another option:

Capturing Voice Mail Greeting

Today I encountered a problem that needed a good solution and I finally found one — after a bit of frustration. I was porting a phone number from one carrier to another. I wanted to keep the exact same voice mail greeting that was on the losing carrier. Unfortunately, there was no way to download the audio. So, I tried to get Google voice working on my desktop but could not get that working right (as it has in the past) so that I could try to capture the audio with Audacity. I then tried a few apps on my Android phone. The apps would only record my voice, not what I was listening to. Finally, I sought out a cloud service (via Bing and Google searches) to record calls. I created a trial account with I called the phone number through SaveYourCall then downloaded the audio file. Then I brought the audio file into Audacity, did some editing to clean it up, and uploaded to the new carrier. This took longer than I had wanted, but it got done. If one tool does not work, try another. If that does not work, try another.