How do you recommend monitoring power usage of electronics?

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DaRuSsIaMaN
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How do you recommend monitoring power usage of electronics?

Post by DaRuSsIaMaN » Sat Jan 02, 2010 12:54 am

I've heard about this Kill-A-Watt device by P3. But some people who bought it say that it's significantly imprecise or incorrectly calibrated: that it shows up non-zero values with nothing plugged in.

Anyone aware if maybe there's another meter like this which is better? Better made, more accurate, but in a similar price range?

tehcrazybob
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Post by tehcrazybob » Sat Jan 02, 2010 6:49 am

Seasonic makes a similar device called the Power Angel, which I believe SPCR uses in reviews. However, I've got the original Kill-a-Watt (not the newer KaW EZ), and it shows zero when nothing is plugged in, and seems very accurate when I use it to measure a known load like an incandescent light bulb. Are you sure people are complaining about it showing load when nothing is plugged in, or is it possible they have something plugged in but not turned on? If it's the latter, they might be unfamiliar with the vampire draw from devices with soft power switches. You'd be stunned at how much appliances can draw when they're "off".

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Post by CA_Steve » Sat Jan 02, 2010 9:28 am

+1 for the P3
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DaRuSsIaMaN
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Post by DaRuSsIaMaN » Sat Jan 02, 2010 11:07 am

Yeah, they are complaining about nothing plugged in. It's in the customer reviews for this one if you look on page 6. Someone else earlier said it was giving the wrong voltage... I presume voltage at the outlet.

Someone else also said it couldn't measuring a microwave (higher current than the meter is made to handle).

tehcrazybob
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Post by tehcrazybob » Sun Jan 03, 2010 6:38 am

Must have been a serious microwave; the meter is rated for 1875 volt-amps (which would also be 1875 watts, if the power factor is good). Most microwaves are around 1000 watts - in fact, I can't think of a single 120-volt appliance or device capable of handling more than 1875 watts, including the receptacle you'd be plugging the meter into.

I'd go with the KaW, personally - one or two bad reviews aren't enough to condemn it, in my mind. If you get one, check it against a few known loads like incandescent lights (easy test, since they've got perfect power factor and should be within a watt or so of their rating). If yours reads incorrectly, shoot an email to the manufacturer and see if they can get you a replacement.

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