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Old 12-04-2009, 11:34 AM   #1
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Devices to save on phantom power


Hello, this is my first post here at the DIY chatroom but I look forward to many more. I have been doing a lot of reading in preparation for a house my wife and I are buying that's in need of quite a bit of work.

My first question though is concerning the smart strips that can power off other items when a certain master item is powered off. I like this idea however I'm wondering if another version could be in existence that I would be more interested in. For example, when your television is on it uses a certain wattage, which is much higher than when it is turned off. What I'm looking for is a type of pre-outlet adapater that could be plugged in and recognize the current draw from the item that is plugged in. So if this adapter sees that the item is pulling 200w then it woud supply power as usual, however if it sees it drop down to say 10w then it would automatically cut power without having to manually flick a switch of click a button.

I am not overly familar with electricity and its properties but the one thing that may keep this from happening is whether or not this adapater would be able to totally cut off power to the device but also recognize when the device was asking for more power, such as when it was turned back on. If it could do this then I imagine these are already in existence, but if it can't then that would expain why the best thing currently around are the smart strips as well as the remote control power off adapaters.

Thanks for your comments.

John

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Old 12-04-2009, 11:39 AM   #2
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Devices to save on phantom power


I have not heard or seen anything like that.

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Old 12-04-2009, 11:55 AM   #3
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Devices to save on phantom power


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Originally Posted by fetzer85 View Post
So if this adapter sees that the item is pulling 200w then it woud supply power as usual, however if it sees it drop down to say 10w then it would automatically cut power without having to manually flick a switch of click a button.

whether or not this adapater would be able to totally cut off power to the device but also recognize when the device was asking for more power, such as when it was turned back on.
Some appliances with 'volatile' memories lose their programming when power is cut.

If you want this power monitor & switch anyway, it'll be about $20 in parts from Hosfelt.com and a weekend of assembly, debug and testing for you. You have a soldering iron?

This device would itself draw some small amount of standby power [~300 mW] since it has to be watching for when the appliance again demands full power.
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Old 12-04-2009, 11:57 AM   #4
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Devices to save on phantom power


It is possible to create a sensitive circuit to limit although not cut off the 5 or so watts the TV draws when turned off. THe circuit could sense by a further voltage drop when the TV set was turned on and therefore tried to draw more power. The full power to the TV is then restored.

The circuit would have to be custom calibrated for each model of TV.

One problem is that with the TV's normal 5 watt or so draw when turned off was reduced by this external gadget, the voltage would also be reduced. The remote control sensor in the TV would now be "off" and no longer respond to your pushing the on button on your remote control.
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Old 12-04-2009, 11:58 AM   #5
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Devices to save on phantom power


I have heard of the unit that shuts other devices off when main unit goes off
Haven't heard of anything like the other one
We have our older TV/box/VCR on s surge power strip, we just shut the whole thing off

Our LCD TV has a menu setting which will turn all power off to the TV
This eliminates the standby power draw, takes a few seconds longer for the TV to come on
Remote control still works to turn it back on

Note: shutting off power to our FIOS TV box "kills" the menu system for quite a while
We can get it turned back on right away by calling & have the box reset
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Old 12-04-2009, 12:10 PM   #6
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Devices to save on phantom power


Video projectors and non-CRT projection box TV's must complete their cool down cycles before being powered off. Otherwise the life of the projection lamp is reduced.
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Old 12-04-2009, 05:44 PM   #7
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Devices to save on phantom power


I think the best energy saving design is not something electronic which you would plug in and would itself use electricity - that is what you would be trying to do away with!

Rather design the electrical system so as to easily be able to turn things off which are always on. Or always off and only on when needed.

For example in a kitchen you would have two countertop GFCI outlets (feeding other outlets) and the outlets themselves always use a bit of electricity. Then appliances with clocks which always use electricity like microwave, coffee maker, or things with an electronic control.

For these you could install 20 amp wall switches right next to the light switch for the kitchen. When you are done in the kitchen for the night, turn off the light and turn off another two or three switches and you remove power to all the outlets and any appliances plugged in! (Including the GFCI outlets themselves.)

Bathroom, use a 20 amp light switch and have it also switch off the GFCI outlet and anything plugged into it.

In the bedroom and living room install switches next to the bed or living room next to the "kings chair". Then these could turn off power to the TV, VCR, Stereo, etc. Another outlet could be there with power always on for those cable boxes which always need power. But you could easily switch everything else off/on. (Energy saving remote control!)

Or install 20 amp 3-way switches and have two switches controlling outlets. Install a 4 way switch in the middle and you could have 3 or more switches controlling an outlet.

Install a switch in the garage to turn off the outlet to the garage door opener. Turn it off when not in use.

Use a 120 volt doorbell button and regular 120 volt house wiring for the doorbell button. Have this apply power to the doorbell transformer. So it only uses electricity when the button is pressed. (Would need a non-electronic doorbell like ding dong, bell, or buzzer.)

Where you have your computer, install a switch next to the light so you can turn off the outlet which provides power to all the computer gizmos. When done, turn off the light and all the computer stuff at the same time by flipping the other switch.

Or at the TV/entertainment center, install 8 switches for 8 different outlets or however many might be needed. One for play station, one for DVD, one for stereo, one for VCR, one for TV, etc. (Label switches.) Using stereo only, just turn on stereo and nothing else. Using play station, just turn on play station and TV - nothing else. Etc. (As opposed to all this stuff always plugged in and always on.)

Basically install switches all over the place which go to switched outlets where needed, then you can easily turn stuff off!

No one ever said you have to have switches next to a door! They can be next to your chair or next to your bed or on the wall centered behind the bed.

And no one ever said you have to have only one outlet spaced every 4 feet. You can stick 8 outlets right next to each other behind where the entertainment center will go. (You can be creative with your wiring!)
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Old 12-04-2009, 08:03 PM   #8
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Devices to save on phantom power


You can get "smart" power strips from most any computer supplier.

Here is one web site for such an item. Or, you can google "smart power strip" for a long list of available web sites.

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