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Power Saving device... Remote control 240v

Discussion in 'Electronics & Electrics' started by BilboBoggles, Jan 16, 2008.

  1. Whisper

    Whisper Member

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    I'm very much interested, and have been lurking every time the thread gets updated!
     
  2. 2xCPU

    2xCPU Member

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    For those still paying attention - there is a relevant Aldi special coming up.

    2.
     
  3. OZeight

    OZeight Member

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    I'll keep you posted then. The Watts Clever is a very cool looking gadget, I can already see it changing my attitude around the house. I struck a deal with my sparky, it's costing me a 6pack of beer to have the unit installed :D Arguably one could do it themselves but I'm not keen on messing around with the meter box, call $13 peace of mind, and a pretty good deal I think! He's usually quite unreliable but heres hoping 6 coldies at the end of the day persuades him to stop by :)

    An update on the RC3 Jaycar purchase, one word "BRILLIANT!" I was worried the remote might be crap but its brilliant, works from other rooms - from my bed I can turn off all 3 powerboards (2 of which are in other rooms!) Currently controlling 12 appliances but I expect this will grow now that I'm so impressed. Based on whats plugged into the 3 powerboards I expect this purchase will pay for itself somewhere around 5 months! So the Jaycar kit is highly recommended with no shortfalls I can see.

    And if 3 isn't enough for you, the remote actually supports 4, I'm guessing Jaycar or someone sells individual units but I can't currently think of a need for a 4th yet. I'm sure that will change too though :)

    Oh yeah I'm taking a leaf out of MR CHILLED book, and will produce a chart of energy usage past and future (I have copies from 2005) but this mean more to me than anyone else as over the years I've had periods living alone and periods with flatmates. With the Watts Clever I'll still have a clear idea of what I'm responsible for.
     
  4. bonox

    bonox Member

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    for the cheap seats you can do all of this just by using a stopwatch and your existing electricity meter.

    It'll have marked on it something like 400revs/kWh.

    Best of all - no influence of any power factor rubbish - just billable cost across everything you have connected.

    Want an individual item? - measure before and after you change its state.

    And a look at the sum everyday isn't exactly hard.
     
  5. mareke

    mareke Member

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    The unit referred to by DraGoN-BoY above is called a 'Click 4 Outlet Remote Powerboard'. It sells for $39.95 at Bunnings and it’s not bad.

    I came across the Click unit accidentally after reading a review of a 'Belkin Conserve AV' remote control powerboard in the latest issue of PC User magazine and going to Harvey Norman to check it out. The Belkin Conserve is an 8 outlet powerboard with 6 outlets that can be switched on and off simultaneously by remote control (but with no option to switch individual outlets on or off). I found the Belkin selling for $199.95 at Harvey Norman and $180 at JB-HiFi while PC User magazine quoted its price at $170. I decided it was too expensive so I went to Bunnings and came across the Click powerboard which looked to be better than the Belkin and cost only $39.95.

    The Click unit has 4 remotely controlled power outlets compared to 6 on the Belkin unit (plus the Belkin unit has 2 extra outlets not controlled by the remote) but what makes the Click stand out aside from the much cheaper price is that each of the 4 outlets on the Click model can be turned on and off individually using the remote whereas with the Belkin unit all 6 outlets can only be turned on or off simultaneously.

    The Click remote has 5 buttons labelled 1, 2, 3, 4 (one for each individual power outlet) and an 'ALL OFF' button so unlike the Belkin unit you can switch each individual outlet on or off or all 4 outlets off simultaneously.

    After paying $39.95 each for two Click powerboards at Bunnings I found that it's also being sold at Jaycar Electronics for $59.95 for 1 unit and $53.95 each if you buy 4 of them and for $69.95 at another shop called 'todae Eco-Business' (showing in this case that Bunnings really does have lower prices!).

    Do a search for 'remote powerboard' at each site to find it.

    http://jaycar.com.au/

    http://www.todae.com.au/

    I’ve connected my 42 inch Panasonic plasma TV (which uses 70 watts in standby), DVD player, VCR and cordless headphone transmitter to the Click powerboard and now with the remote I can individually turn any of these devices on or off or all four off simultaneously while sitting on my lounge, saving the power they would normally use in standby. Admittedly only my Panasonic plasma uses a fair amount of power in standby mode (70 watts according to the manual) but all up I should save around 90 watts per hour by keeping them fully off when not in use. All 4 devices would normally be in standby mode when not used and continuously use some electricity and I estimate the powerboard should pay for itself within 12 months.

    I’m using the second Click powerboard I bought, with my computer. I normally have devices like my scanner, printer and modem in standby and my computer uses about 50 watts an hour even when off unless it is turned off at the power point (which with my computer is a pain to get to). Now with the remote I can individually turn these devices on or off sitting at my computer without having to reach around to their power switches (some off which are difficult to get to). Up until now I’ve not been prepared to turn these devices completely off because of the hassles involved but with the Click remote it's easy. When I want to print something for example, using the Click remote I can turn my printer on and then turn it off after I’ve finished, which is pretty nifty!

    The main annoying thing I've found so far about the Click powerboard is that the instruction booklet states that the remote works to a range of 50 metres and through walls but unless I've been doing something wrong it doesn’t do this consistently and requires line of sight to the receiver on the powerboard to work consistently. I’ve had it working through walls without needing to even point it at the powerboard but other times it appears to only work with line of sight to the board and because the cord is annoyingly short you may have to use a small extension cord to allow you to have line of sight.

    When the remote only works with line of sight and within a range of only a few metres it can be advantageous because then if you have more than one board they don’t interfere with each other. When the remote does work within a 50 metre range & through walls and you have more than one powerboard I've found that when you switch a device connected to one of the powerboards on or off you can also unintentionally switch the corresponding device on the other powerboard on or off because it has also picked up the signal!

    Mistral, the manufacturer of the board, may have to refine it so you can code each remote to a specific board so this problem doesn't occur if using more than one board. Also if the remote works to a range of 50 metres and through walls there could be problems if your neighbour uses the same product! I don’t think you can currently code each remote so it works with just one powerboard but you can desynchronize the remote from the powerboard by pressing a button on the powerboard for 6 seconds and I may need to temporarily do this with one powerboard to stop unintentionally turning devices connected to the other board on or off.

    At $39.95 from Bunnings the Click powerboard beats the much dearer Belkin model for value for money and it’s more cleverly designed because you can switch individual power outlets on and off with the remote. With the cost of electricity certain to rise substantially in the future it’s a useful device and we are probably going to see more of these sorts of devices in the future (hopefully with all of the bugs ironed out!).
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2009
  6. One&Only

    One&Only Member

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    Anyone had issues with the jaycar unit?

    Mine will switch on and off no worries, but leave it on for an extended time, say 30mins and when I click off the little red light will go out on the unit but will not actually switch anything off.
     
  7. mareke

    mareke Member

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    It's either faulty or has a design fault and doesn't work as claimed so take it back if it's still under warranty.

    I think I'll try one myself. It looks to have some advantages over the Click unit I described because of the flexibility of being able to have the outlets in diferent places. My Click unit has been frustrating because the remote works inconsistently sometimes working through walls and over a wide range and other times not working unless you place the remote near the powerboard so I'm going to take one unit back and try the Jaycar. Having 2 Click units has also caused problems with both powerboards picking up the remote signal and switching 2 devices instead of the one intended.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2009
  8. OZeight

    OZeight Member

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    No dramas with the Jaycar unit here, although wireless strength seems to vary - sometimes I can turn all 3 units off from my bedroom (2 of which are in other rooms) but other times I need to be in the room of device to do it. Still I never have to get close to the power board so I don't really have a problem with this since I never expected it to work through walls in the first place, thats a bonus as far as I'm concerned.

    I'm going to see if I can persuade a mate to buy one and give him some cash for 1 of them so I have all 4 to operate. I found somewhere I can use another one. Failing that I'll just get another 3 pack. Not sure what will happen once I have more than 4 though... When more than 1 unit is operating on the same number I guess I'll have to be careful I don't turn ON/OFF unintended units. As long as they are spread out far enough it should be okay I think. A case of the remotes working TOO well lol.
     
  9. mareke

    mareke Member

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    I agree that being in the same room for the remote to work is good enough but having to move up close to the powerboard as I sometimes have to do with the Click unit isn't. If you get a 4th one you may well strike the same problem as I did with two devices switching on or off rather than just the device you intended.

    Both the Click unit I bought and the Jaycar unit work on the same radio frequency for the remote and this may cause unintended problems but I’m hoping each remote registers only with the proper base unit.

    Someone needs to design a more sophisticated unit carefully thought out so there are no unintended consequences. You should have the option of being able to code a remote to a unique base unit. Also a remote that consistently works as stated and has a backlight to see the buttons in the dark would be good.

    Given that electricity is going to become more expensive there’s a potential lucrative market for any manufacturer that designs a sophisticated unit that works reliably, doesn’t cost too much and has no annoying bugs.
     
  10. andrew_bg

    andrew_bg Member

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    I got the Jaycar one on the weekend and am absolutely loving it.
    I dont care about turning stuff off when not in use, but I have a Sony Home Theatre Amp that has two subs that have separate power switches not remote controlled.
    I used to have to go to the trouble of walking up to them and turning them on and off :eek: but now I have the remote next to the light switch in the theater and with one push I can turn them both on or off.
    :thumbup::thumbup: All good.
     
  11. mareke

    mareke Member

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    I returned one of my Click units to Bunnings and bought the Jaycar unit and was pleasantly surprised to find it doesn’t interfere with my remaining Click unit even though both remotes use the same radio frequency.

    The Jaycar unit worked fine first go and I was able to switch devices on and off from a distance but for some strange reason the remote then stopped working from a distance and only works now if I hold it right next to the receiver! I don’t see why they can’t make a reliable unit that works exactly as advertised but everything these days is made in China for the lowest possible cost often at the expense of quality.

    Rather than return it to Jaycar I’ve placed all three outlets on a single powerboard in a nook in my computer desk and I only have to bend down slightly to put the remote next to the power outlets to switch a device on or off. Maybe the remote will come good. It could be a weak battery I suppose.

    The remote for the Jacar is even more flimsy than the Click remote but it will do until someone comes out with something better. A decent sized sturdy remote with a backlight for controlling stuff like TVs that you often watch in the dark would be nice even if it cost more.

    The Jaycar unit will definitely take a 4th power outlet by the way without any interference because there are 4 separate channels you can set the power outlets to so there’s room for an extra one. However if you bought two of the Jaycar units and tried controlling 6 devices you would have two devices on the same channel as two other devices and any devices on the same channel would switch on or off together.

    I must say Jaycar has a nice range of gear. I found a large capacitor which looked similar to one that blew on my HP LCD monitor. If it’s the same capacitor I may be able to replace the blown one and get the monitor going again. It’s worth a try if the capacitor is the right one and isn’t too expensive!
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2009
  12. phreeky82

    phreeky82 Member

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    I was tempted to grab some and then I actually looked up the standby consumption of the items in the lounge.

    Receiver: claims 0.5w
    TV: claims 0.4w
    DVD player: doesn't mention standby, but a max of 21w
    Power amp + sub amp: zero (it's DIY with a proper toggle switch on the front :))
    Austar box: unsure

    So a couple of things the measure with a clamp meter.

    I do however have wireless AV transmitter things between the lounge and bedroom. I probably should just wire these in properly and ditch the wireless stuff, power savings right there.

    If there was an IR alternative that would be a far more attractive option IMO. Sure you'd need an IR sensor in sight somewhere somehow, but at least it'd work with most remotes (including harmony etc).
     
  13. One&Only

    One&Only Member

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    Update: 2 of my 3 units were faulty so I returned the faulty units today. Got home and 1 of the 2 are faulty so back I go again tomorrow.

    Hopefully third time lucky. Range of the units are great for me. Around 8m's through 2 plaster walls.
     
  14. mareke

    mareke Member

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    I agree that in some instances you won’t save a lot by while in other cases the saving can be enough to make it worthwhile. My plasma TV (70 watts in standby), DVD player, VCR and cordless headphone transmitter would use around 80 watts per hour total in standby. Being conservative and assuming they are in standby for 12 hours per day 80 watts x 12 x 365 = 350400 watts per year saved. Divide this by 1000 to change it to kilowatts = 350.4 kilowatts saved. The last time I checked a kilowatt of electricity cost roughly 15 cents so if I save 350.4 kilowatts over a year I save 350.40 x 0.15 = $52.56 over a year. In my case the saving pays for the Click unit I bought for $39.95 in less than a year.

    My computer and attached devices conservatively use around 50 watts per hour when the computer is off so the yearly saving would be around $25 to $30 per year. Not a huge amount but it pays for the cost of the Jaycar unit I bought in a little over a year.

    When the cost of electricity rises (as it will because of the emissions trading scheme) it will become more worthwhile. Some devices use a surprising amount in standby-for example my Fisher and Pykel washing machine uses 15 watts just sitting there connected to the power point so I try to remember to turn off the switch at the power point after using the washing machine.

    When I turned the thermostat down on my hot water system from the maximum setting down to the minimum I saved around $500 to $600 a year so I think my next house will have a gas hot water system!

    If my remote doesn't start working from a reasonable distance I'll take mine back to Jaycar too. Currently I have to place the remote to a within couple of cm of the receiver to get it to work which is bloody ridiculous! Some of the stuff being mass produced in China as cheaply as possible has an unacceptably high failure rate.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2009
  15. phreeky82

    phreeky82 Member

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    I suggest a little reading on the units you're using.
     
  16. One&Only

    One&Only Member

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    I would, they are pretty good with returns. The guy I spoke to on the phone said they had quite a few of the units returned faulty.
     
  17. mareke

    mareke Member

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    Okay on looking up a conversion table a kilowatt appears to be 0.001 watt rather than the 1000 watts I thought it was and I should have said electricity is charged at around 15 cents per kWh. The unit names I used were incorrect but I don’t have time to read up fully on it and work out my errors. If I got the calculation of the amount I’ll save wrong as well as the terms I used for the units I'd be happy to have it corrected by someone more knowledgeable on the subject than me.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2009
  18. 2xCPU

    2xCPU Member

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    That would be a milliwatt (mW).

    2.
     
  19. mareke

    mareke Member

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    Okay I made another error.

    After spending an hour on my treadmill getting the blood flowing to my brain I had another look at a conversion table and found I was right in the first place:

    A kilowatt (kW) = 1000 Watt (W)

    The important thing is whether my calculation of money saved was correct. If electricity is charged at around 15 cents per kWh does this mean 15 cents per 1000 watts? If it does then my calculation should be okay despite errors in some of the unit terms I used (or whatever phreeky82 was referring to). On reflection the 90 watts per hour of electricity saved for 12 hours each day is less than the power used by one of the old incandescent 100 watt light bulbs and the $52 saving I calculated seems high for running roughly the equivalent of a 100 watt light bulb for 12 hours a day. Electricity is either more expensive than I thought or my calculation was wrong.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2009
  20. MUTMAN

    MUTMAN Member

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    after one hour, yes

    e.g. typical electric kettle = 2000 w
    boil for 6 minutes = 2 x 18.84 x 0.1
    2= 2kw element , 18.84 = price of kW.h in QLD. , 0.1 = 6 minutes
    == 3.77cents to boil the kettle
     

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