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 Post subject: Smart Load Triggered Power Strips
PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 8:52 pm 
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Location: Brooklyn, NY, USA
I just ordered a couple of these:

http://www.cyberguys.com/templates/sear ... ctID=11310

The idea is to switch off the peripherals (DSL, wireless, USB hub, KVM) & wall warts when my PC's are turned off. I'm also hoping to switch on my print server only when one of my printers (laser or inkjet is actually tuned on).

I'm using a Y splitter into the trigger outlet.

These things consume 40+ watts together according to the Kill-a-watt

I'll report back after I try it out.

Anybody else using these or something similar?

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Last edited by UrbanVoyeur on Mon Feb 26, 2007 6:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 10:00 am 
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I'm thinking of delivering the low power system I sell with a similar thing: a so-called stand-by killer.

I'd like to know what your experiences are with this device, so please do report after you tried it.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 12:02 pm 
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I bought a similar device at Radio Shack maybe ten years ago....no longer available. It has a control plug with a sensitivity adjustment. The computer plugs into this outlet.....the other outlets turn on when they sense the computer powered up. Works just fine still.....even has a built-in surge suppressor.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 8:51 pm 
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Location: Cambridge, MA
Please do update us on your experience -- this sounds exactly what I'm looking for (might plug it into a UPS, tho). I esp. hate the idea of my speakers just sitting there drawing power -- this should be mandatory in all offices, hate walking by and seeing green LEDs everywhere!

Do these work with laptops, considering they are drawing from a power brick?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 1:36 am 
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padmewan wrote:

Do these work with laptops, considering they are drawing from a power brick?


As you can see the 'stand-by killer' I referred to has a USB plug which monitors the computer. I think it works the same with laptops.

Image


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2007 9:38 pm 
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The 2 power strips arrived today, and so far they work exactly as advertised with no problems at all. I'm very satisfied.

http://www.cyberguys.com/templates/sear ... ctID=11310

Similar to the Radio Shack product described by another poster, these strips have adjustable sensitivity, though they work just fine in the default setting for me, so I have not changed them.

This model does *not* have a usb connection your PC. It is triggered solely by the power draw on the trigger outlet.

If you are going to use one of these, you may want to take a few minutes to label your cords and wall warts, and plan what will go where. It will save you time later.

Turning on a device plugged into the Trigger outlet (1) turns on the power to the Switched outlets (6). The Unswitched outlets (3) are always on. There is a master On/Off switch for the whole strip (like all other strips). In addition, there are two indicator lights: one to show when the power strip is on, and the other to show when the Triggered outlet has turned on the Switched outlets.

Strip # 1
- 2 PC's sharing a Y cable into the trigger outlet. This way either one can turn the switched outlets on.
- LCD monitor into a switched outlet
- DVI KVM into a switched outlet
- Emergency lighting charger into an unswitched outlet.
- Ungrounded power cord with nothing on it into an unswitched outlet (for attaching over night chargers)
- A power strip into a switched outlet with: Speakers, USB hub, cell phone charger, ipod charger, film scanner, flat bed scanner
- Another power strip into a switched outlet with: DSL modem, wireless router, palm pilot charger, other film scanner, other ipod charger
- I have 2 switched and 1 unswitched outlets left

When I turn on either PC, the DSL, router, KVM, monitor, USB hub and other peripherals come on instantly. By the time the PC boots up, the router has booted and the DSL is stable. I have several peripherals which need to be ready when the PC is up (scanners, USB controller, external drive); they all work perfectly.

When both PC's are off, everything turns off. I have a small box in each PC called and "After Cooler" which keeps the fans on the CPU and GPU on for 10 minutes after shutdown for a gradual cool down. It works fine, but does not draw enough power to keep the peripherals on. As far as trigger is concerned, the PC is shut down.

Strip # 2
- Laser printer & inkjet share a Y cord into the trigger outlet
- Ethernet print server into a switched outlet
- bookshelf stereo into an unswitched outlet
- shredder into an unswitched outlet
- fan into an unswitched outlet.
- 5 unswitched outlets left.

When I turn on either printer the print server turn on immediately. By the time either printer is fully booted, the print server is ready. When both are off, the print server turns off. If either or both of the printers are in sleep mode, the print server stays on, which is exactly what I want it to do.

I'll report back if I have any long term problems, but so far it works perfectly and I highly recommend it. I can't wait to see my next two electric bills.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2007 9:27 am 
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Well done, UrbanVoyeur! Do you have any estimate on how much power you are going to save?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2007 1:03 pm 
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Palindroman wrote:
Well done, UrbanVoyeur! Do you have any estimate on how much power you are going to save?

Thanks!

Using a Kill-A-Watt plug in meter:
Print Server: 5 watts
KVM: 3 watts
Monitor Standby: 1 watt
Peripherals 1: 11 watts (speakers, USB hub, phone charger, etc)
Peripherals 2: 15 watts (router, DSL, palm charger, etc)

Total: 35 watts

My PC is off at least 16 hours a day. That's 560 watt/hours a day. Since I rarely print, I may be saving another 40 watt/hours a day most days.

600 watt/hours = 0.6 kilowatts hours (KWH) saved per day.

My power company charges $ 0.188 per KWH. 0.6 KWH*30 days*$0.188 = $3.38 per month, not counting tax. The power strips were $32.95 + $5 S&H each. So it will take at least 22 months to break even.

Not cost effective, but not wasting electricity makes me feel good. :-)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2007 1:18 pm 
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Less that two years to break even? That seems pretty cost effective to me ... what do you think the lifetime of these power strips will be? 10 years?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 7:56 am 
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Out of curiousity, how much power does the strip itself draw for its monitoring?

(A full environmental scan of this setup would also balance the cost of manufacturing, shipping, etc. the product against the energy saved as well :? )


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 8:30 am 
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padmewan wrote:
Out of curiousity, how much power does the strip itself draw for its monitoring?

None that the kill-a-watt could measure. The circuitry in the strip doesn't monitor in the active sense. It uses a solid state device that closes circuit on the other outlets when it detects load of ~18 watts. The power draw of such a device is typically in the milliwatts or less and only when it is actively switching. About the same as the indicator LED on the power strip.

padmewan wrote:
(A full environmental scan of this setup would also balance the cost of manufacturing, shipping, etc. the product against the energy saved as well :? )


True - and I would love so see such an analysis.

But here's another way to look at it:

We all use power strips. Decent ones cost $25-40 - more for bigger loads/protection. Here's one for $35 that can save electricity, and in doing so, save a little money. If you are going to buy a strip anyway, why not buy one that does some good.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:16 am 
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UrbanVoyeur wrote:
We all use power strips. Decent ones cost $25-40 - more for bigger loads/protection. Here's one for $35 that can save electricity, and in doing so, save a little money. If you are going to buy a strip anyway, why not buy one that does some good.

Agreed! I'm just trying to figure out whether to replace existing power strips, as those babies can last forever...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 8:06 pm 
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Here in Australia it isn't easy to get those stand-by power strips commercially, but there are a couple of kits available from Jaycar (our equivalent to Radio Shack) which are either available as kits or pre-built, such as this one, which plugs in to a USB socket. I have used it for about 6 months now to turn all these off when not in use:
Monitor, printer, scanner, speakers, gaming steering wheel, external HDD PSU.

I haven't checked the how much standby power consumption I'm saving but I'll bet it is similar to Urbanvoyeur's.

I also have a different device (this one) connected to my home entertainment unit. It is also a kit I built, but it is more like the one Urbanvoyeur linked to, as it senses the master power rather than using the USB power (which obviously only works with PCs).

I have it connected to my TV as my master unit, and my VCR, DVD, Xbox and stereo as slave units. When I turn my TV off at the main switch (not just the remote), it turns everything else off too. Obviously you wouldn't want to connect a VCR/DVD recorder to this if you wanted to do timed recording from the TV, but that's not something I do much anyway.

The standby power of all of these devices adds up to about 30W, which saves about AU$30 per year.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2007 12:42 am 
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One problem with those Master/USB power strips is that the computer remains in stand-by which amounts to 20-50 kWh per year. Of course a power strip with an on/off button is best but not everyone wants to push that button all the time.

I've found this other thing called an Energykeeper. It turns everything off, including PC, whilst drawing just 0.3 W. Here's what it looks like:

Image

There is still a button involved but at least it's on your desk and not somewhere behind your computer where only your foot can reach it. I am looking for something to offer with the low power computer I'm selling and find this device interesting though a bit expensive (around 55 euros).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 12:47 pm 
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Oh, please. These things are ridiculous. Are you too lazy to lean over and flip a switch? Thats what I do, and I feel good to know that my machine, and its 8 bazillion accessories are off the grid completely, safe from any surges that escape the protector, not drawing any power, and effectively unplugged.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2007 4:47 pm 
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Location: Brooklyn, NY, USA
Bigg wrote:
Oh, please. These things are ridiculous. Are you too lazy to lean over and flip a switch? Thats what I do, and I feel good to know that my machine, and its 8 bazillion accessories are off the grid completely, safe from any surges that escape the protector, not drawing any power, and effectively unplugged.


A couple of things:
- I often run unattended batches of things, at the end of which, my pc shuts down. Sometimes I am away for days and I like knowing that everything else turns off too.

- We all need power strips - why not use one that shuts off the peripherals automatically, yet costs nothing extra.

- My power strips are not in convenient places - especially the ones to my printers and print server, and frankly, I don't feel like crawling under my desk, or the alternative, cluttering my space with cords.

- Call me lazy, but my electricity consumption has gone down. And with a recent rate increase, these will pay for themselves even sooner.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 2:10 am 
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Here's a slightly cheaper alternative from the same place. Since you probably already have power strips, you simply plug them into this device, triggered by the 5v from a USB connection. This would work using a laptop running on batteries.....looks like anyway. :lol:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 7:29 am 
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Just set them on separate strips, and kill the peripherals before you leave, leave the PC running. Seriously, you can't run your scanner or speakers or whatever when you're away.

Those are a LOT more expensive, and more people have like 20 strips laying around anyways.

You could move them to a more convenient place. My main one is on the shelf under a printer, and its open in the back, so I can switch it off by reaching towards the back. The cable hangs out the back. You could surely figure something out for your setup.

UrbanVoyeur wrote:
Bigg wrote:
Oh, please. These things are ridiculous. Are you too lazy to lean over and flip a switch? Thats what I do, and I feel good to know that my machine, and its 8 bazillion accessories are off the grid completely, safe from any surges that escape the protector, not drawing any power, and effectively unplugged.


A couple of things:
- I often run unattended batches of things, at the end of which, my pc shuts down. Sometimes I am away for days and I like knowing that everything else turns off too.

- We all need power strips - why not use one that shuts off the peripherals automatically, yet costs nothing extra.

- My power strips are not in convenient places - especially the ones to my printers and print server, and frankly, I don't feel like crawling under my desk, or the alternative, cluttering my space with cords.

- Call me lazy, but my electricity consumption has gone down. And with a recent rate increase, these will pay for themselves even sooner.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 8:56 am 
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Bigg wrote:
Just set them on separate strips, and kill the peripherals before you leave, leave the PC running. Seriously, you can't run your scanner or speakers or whatever when you're away.

Those are a LOT more expensive, and more people have like 20 strips laying around anyways.

You could move them to a more convenient place. My main one is on the shelf under a printer, and its open in the back, so I can switch it off by reaching towards the back. The cable hangs out the back. You could surely figure something out for your setup.


You assume that what works for you works for everyone, and that if it's good enough for you, then it must be perfect fit everywhere. And if it is not, then sensible people would just adapt to make your methods fit.

(sigh).

As a point of fact, I do indeed run my film scanners in batch mode with feeders unattended.

Suffice it to say, that these strips work, they are an elegant solution, and at $27 are roughly the same price as a decent surge protector.

Bigg wrote:
"You could surely figure something out for your setup."


I already have :-).

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 9:47 am 
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Combine these with UPS functionality and you've got a perfect solution.

Recently I plugged a timer to control my router/NAS. It has a manual override for those days that I work from home.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 2:54 am 
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FWIW....Radio Shack does have one of these "smart load" devices, although I cannot find it on their website. It's called a "2601 Joules Network Equipment Surge protector" (#61-2425). I got one for $29....on sale. The top four plugs are turned on by a USB signal. This mode can be turned on/off with a switch. There are surge-protected phone line ports, and LAN ports. Not bad....

Image

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 7:05 am 
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I got a couple of these in yesterday: http://catalog.bitsltd.us/catalog/SMART ... /SCG3.html

I hooked up one PC with the printer (no power button), speakers, and powered USB hub (again, no power button) switched on it and another PC with speakers switched (Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 -- power switch is on the sub :evil:). I put the monitors on the constant-hot outlets since they actually have convenient power buttons (and I may actually try out the TV on my 20WMGX2 someday... :oops:).

The strip with my older PC worked fine right out of the box. The one with my newer PC took a bit of tweaking to find the right sensitivity (it draws more power when off -- presumably for the wake-on-lan support).

I've only powered my PCs up and down a handful of times with them, but they're working great so far. My only complaint is the power cord doesn't match the actual strip (white cord/beige strip :roll: -- I would've gotten black/black if they offered it).


Follow up (7/23):

I've had to tweak the sensitivity on both strips (both towards less sensitivity). I don't have a power meter, so it's a bit difficult to tell what's going on. :?


Follow up (7/30):

The strip on my newer PC has been stable the last couple weeks now -- powering my speakers on and off like clockwork. I haven't used my older PC as much, but the strip has worked the handful of times I've powered it on and off.


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