How to switch OFF your Electronics properly


How do you switch off your TV, HiFi, Sound system or any other electronic device in your home? The method that you use will determine the lifetime of that product. In the olden times electronics had a mechanical switch that cut the electricity completely off the device. But nowadays we own electronics that just go on standby when we try to switch it off.

In this era of the telecommunications revolution, microprocessors run a lot of items that we own. Microprocessors are the brain of any electronic device and are usually helped by the memory and storage (the heart) and get the nutrients they need from the Power supply. So just like a human being removing either of the 3 from the equation will leave you dead.

Mishandling microprocessors causes them to fail. Let me take you back to computer introduction class.

We were all taught of the switching off procedure which went something like Go to Start > Turn OFF/Shut down/Power > Power off/Turn OFF. It was the correct procedure of initiating shutdown. But if you used the Main switch at the wall it would still go OFF. What’s the difference between these two methods? Both will eventually turn down the computer, won’t they?

Consider Scenario 1

Let’s assume you are in a public transport vehicle (Matatu or Taxi or Motorbike) on your way to a certain destination. When do you tell the driver or the conductor where to drop you or at what time during the journey? At the moment you are passing your stop/stage or in advance. If your alert is before you get to your stop then the conductor will have time to alert the driver who slows down and comes to a complete stop at your exact stop.

Consider scenario 2

What if you yell STOP just as you are passing your stop and the driver engages emergency brakes? What if your words are magic and a concrete wall appears in the middle of the road at you stop?

If the sole purpose was to stop the vehicle then both methods will work but if the intention is to stop safely then the first method is better.

When you first plug in your HiFi and the Red light is ON, which means that the microprocessor is receiving a voltage that keeps the unit on standby. So when you use press the Power button on the unit or remote control, it alerts the other components to essentially wake up and this turns ON you HiFi.

When you want to switch it OFF you can use matatu scenario 2 above by pulling the cable from the socket/extension or using the socket/extension switch.


You can first alert the microprocessor (conductor) you want to stop listening to music by using the power button on the remote control or the standby button on the unit. When you do this the microprocessor tells all the other guys that the party is over and their services are not required at that particular moment. After doing this then switch it OFF from the socket/extension.

In this example I am using  a HiFi but the same procedure will work on decoders, DVD players, Home Theaters and other units. Most decoders will disply the time when on standby and other items Like TVs will leave a light ON when on standby. Remember if you can switch it ON using a Remote control, then it was still in standby mode all that time.

If you are going on a journey always unplug everything in your house. Most of the electricity wasted around the home is normally by leaving units on Standby or leaving mobile phone chargers on a powered outlet.

Leaving electronics on standby is like leaving the tap running after you wash your hands. By the way a power surge can still damage your electronics if you leave it in standby mode. Use a TV Guard.