Has anyone found a 125V power distribution unit (PDU) with a remote control?
I'm looking for a way to power on and off individual consumer electronic
items, and I do not want to leave them in standby mode. I'm finding some
devices take up 10 or more watts in the "off" position, and when you have 15
such devices it adds up. Many of these devices will be used once every
three months, so there is not a good reason to leave them on.
What is the break even point, where the $ savings in
electricity equals the price you will pay for the PDU(s)?
Likely, you would need several PDUs to support 15 devices.
You're talking roughly 324 kwh in 3 months, worst case
(15 devices all using 10 watts each):
(10watts*15devices*90days*24hours)/1000 = 324kwh
If your rate per kwh is 10 cents, your worst case cost
for leaving the devices on is ~ $130 per year.
Figuring 4 devices per PDU, you need 4 PDU's (or a kludge
of "outlet expanders" perhaps unsafe). Your 4 PDU's will
use power - using your figure of 10 watts each, worst case,
so that's 86.4 kwh in 3 months. Your worst case cost of
operation at 10 cents per kwh is ~ $34.50 per year, with
some additional cost for batteries, so about $40 per year.
So by spending ~ $40 per year you could save $130 for
a net savings of $90/year. Of course, that does not include
the cost of the PDU equipment you would need.
So, if you can find the remote PDU(s) you want, you
can factor in what it will cost to buy them, and determine
how many years of use it will take for them to pay
Or you could purchase some $10 power strips with switch
and manually turn them on/off. A ~ $40 one time investment
and no operating costs to save ~ $130 per year. Sounds
like a winner to me. :-)
I'm fighting against the marginal cost of energy, which because we are over
the previous year average they are charging 21 cents per kwh, so roughly
double the numbers in your calculations. In the end, one extension cord
per device with a switch on it is certainly a cost effective option. If a
PDU with a remote is available cheaply, that would certainly be preferred (I
certainly wonder why no one has invented such a convenience item if it is
not to be found commercially...the item would pretty quickly pay for itself
on top of making things convenient).
The bigger picture here is I am trying to determine energy utilization in a
home that is getting $600 utility bills, and doesn't appear to have any
obvious major electrical consumers that could drive that kind of number.
Metering the appliances or computers or anything that plugs to 125V will be
pretty straightforward. Monitoring utilization on the HVAC and 220V
devices is going to be more difficult to do cost effectively. In that
bigger picture, the item I originally inquired about is certainly not the
most important or most difficult problem.
As Ed pointed out, remote control units, at least wireless types, still suck
However, there are wired remotes that could come in handy. There are units
marketed for Christmas trees that have a foot pedal for a switch, which you
put in a convenient place. This keeps you from having to crawl around
behind the tree and plug stuff in. I've used them for things that need to
be 'reset' often enough to justify buying them.
Now would be a good time to look for them. Target has their Christmas stuff
75% off, and most other stores are doing much the same. Few people need
more than one of these, so you still might find a few sitting around.
This is really the only solution that has any hope of actually saving you
Personally, I like charging stuff in the car. I doubt it saves me any
substantial money, but if it poops out while I'm on the road, I can charge
it on the spot.
On Wed, 02 Jan 2008 19:16:47 -0800, "Paul Hovnanian P.E."
I use X10 Appliance models for loads like computers, lamps, and other
electronics. The control unit is the X10 Plug N Power Alarm Clock,
but you can buy simple controllers as well.
Each X10 unit does have a small standby draw of 1 or 2 watts, but the
convenience greatly overtakes this small added expense.
X10 is not always reliable, so I wouldn't use it for mission critical
alarm functions. Leviton used to make a nice telephone responder
that would control all 256 X10 code/device combinations, but I'm not
sure if this is still available.
Not many people realize that the reasons that devices are designed to
be powered up 24/7. There are internal clocks and standby circuits
that may drift if power is not applied continuously. Settings may be
forgotten on older equipment. Also, for other appliances, on a
mass-production basis, it is just too expensive to switch the AC line
power, so the designers leave it off.
Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.