Vampire electronics...

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by cmartinez, May 16, 2015.

  1. cmartinez

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  2. ian field

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  3. cmartinez

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    A few years ago, it occurred to me that a device could be designed to monitor each electric socket in a house, day and night. And then reporting to a computer or data logger through the house's wiring. That way alarms could be set and reports generated to inform the user which parts of his house are more wasteful energy-wise.
    At the time, I considered it too expensive to develop and sell. But nowadays it's become more feasible, since prices in that sort of electronics have gone down. In fact, I think I've already seen that product being mentioned somewhere, but I can't remember where.
     
  4. tcmtech

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    Meh.
    I did some experimenting over the years and I have to say the convenience of having things turn on when I want Vs having to go and plug in and unplug things as needed or not costs me maybe $15 a month at most which to me is well worth it for the convenience factor.

    As of now since my local utility went to smart meters I can log into their web site and look at my on demand usage numbers for any moment in time I want. According to them my lowend usage is about ~200 watts an hour and my peaks can be up to around 30+ KW an hour.
     
  5. ian field

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    Basic energy monitors have been around a while.

    Usually a current clamp for the incoming cable with a Wi-Fi sender, that goes with a thing like a desk clock that displays the info - the one I saw has a network connector on the back.

    Haven't X10 come up with controlled outlets that can send usage data to a hub?
     
  6. cmartinez

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    Haven't looked it up, but I will. @tcmtech, I was talking about monitoring outlets, not controlling them. I agree with you that the expense and complexity added to do that would probably not be justifiable. Not yet, anyway.
     
  7. ian field

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    The cost of additional cabling would swamp everything else - It'd have to be either Wi-Fi or powerline signalling.
     
  8. cmartinez

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    Isn't there a way to send signals through a house's standard wiring by modulating them (is that the right term?) into the 120 VAC feed?
    EDIT: I was referring to "powerline signalling", as you said.
     
  9. ian field

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    AFAIK: that's what X10 does.
     
  10. cmartinez

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    Wouldn't you consider the X10 system a little overpriced?
     
  11. WBahn

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    I'd be a bit surprised if vampire loads were actually costing you $15/mo. I don't know what your electrical costs are, but if we use $0.15/kWh then that is 100 kWh/mo or a continuous vampire draw of 135 W. My guess is that your 200 W low usage reflects several non-vampire loads including clocks and such as well as it being a bit unlikely (but not impossible) that ALL non-vampire loads just happen to all be off at the same time. Having said that, those numbers are not too out-of-line with several studies that estimate annual vampire load usage at around 1000 kWh/yr per household. But, as far as I can tell, all of those studies include energy usage by devices that HAVE to be on continuously to function, such as clocks, timers, and security systems.

    What's always amazed me are people that are so worked up over vampire loads and want the government to craft and enforce restrictions on them, yet are oblivious to the fact that if they watch a couple hours less television on their massive projection theatre systems with the enormous surround sound system or let their hair dry naturally instead of using their 1200 W blow dryer that they would quickly save more energy than all of those vampire loads they are so concerned about.
     
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  12. ian field

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    AFAICR: I've never seen it offered for sale in the UK, but I get the impression from magazines like Byte and Circuit Cellar its popular and widespread in the USA.

    X10 has been around a long time - there's almost certainly competing systems sprung up offering something similar at a lower price.

    A while back; Elektor magazine started developing a home automation bus, ultimately it will probably be capable of sending remote data for logging at some kind of hub. Since Elektor withdrew news stand circulation, I've resigned to waiting for the whole year DVD when it comes out, so I'm not currently up to date with where they're at with this project.

    Its possible they may have been looking forward ultimately toward the IOT when they concieved the project, so great expectations could well be justified.
     
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  13. tcmtech

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    That's exactly my point. Why worry about the small stuff that takes days to weeks to use up a single KWh when there are normal daily used devices that eat that amount of power in a few tens of minutes or less that are easy to avoid using with minimal planning or work.
     
  14. WBahn

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    Because by pushing for government to address the small stuff, it let's them continue their wasteful lifestyle uninterrupted while letting them proclaim how strongly they support saving energy. It's the mindset that Leonardo Dicaprio displayed so well when arguing for regulations to be imposed on everyone else while in the same breath saying that resources used by his enormous yacht shouldn't be looked at.
     
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