Railrider1920

Power saver 1200, electrician's advice wanted

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Hey Folks,

A friend of mine told me about this product called Power saver 1200. It is something that is supposed to attached to the main breaker box that is on the side of your house. If this thing works like it is supposed to, they say

Residential customers throughout North America could see a realized savings of 8% - 10% typically and as much as 25% on their electrical usage (and thus power bills).

They give a minor description of how it works on their FAQ page.

I only know enough about electricity to be kind of dangerous. If this thing does work as they claim it does, I want one. If there are any electricians reading this, what do you think? Ever heard of something like this? By their description, think it could work? The guy that told me about it has some friends that have one installed. He will let me know what they say about their bill in a month or two.

Thanks

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Navillus   

We learned about Power Factor not too long ago in school.

But from what I take this product would have worked wonders a few decades ago. Though now, most if not all your large load ( A/C's, Washer/Dryers, etc.) are much more energy efficient. They have what this product does built into them( a capacitor). Not to put you to sleep but, all you have to do to raise your power factor in a device is put a capacitor in parallel with what supplies your voltage (ie the wall outlet).

Now i'm not saying this product doesn't do what it says it does. I'm very sure it does, l'm saying for a residential application this will not help. Your not drawing enough amperage for this to make a difference. If you owned a business where you had lots of large loads (machine shop, etc) this product would be worth it.

This product seems quite gimmicky and way over priced. Basically its a large capacitor. You know, "Easy/quick install, save blah blah amount of your bill". And the product demonstration at the house is questionable. Just go put a bunch of DC motors in series off a wall outlet to make your power fact very low. Put this box in and flip the switch and bam power factor way up. Oh geesh if it can do that for that house i've got to et one.

I would vote not to get this. Thats just my opinion

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darcurr   

Power factor is the key!!!!

This device is simply a reactive device (I.E. a capacitor) to compensate for the other reactive devices (I.E. inductive motors) in your home. Will this correct your power factor? Absolutely!!! And the power company will be grateful....Will it save you money? Not a chance. While it will reduce your reactive power consumption, it will not reduce your real power consumption. Which, unfortunately, is what you are billed for. Now, it is possible to use the device in such a manner to raise the voltage in the house. In this manner, you could reduce your bill, right along side the life span of all the devices in your home. This is probably how the device works, but again if you raise the voltage to a level for appreciable reductions in consumption, the life span of connected equipment is reduced. If it's worth it to you go ahead. Personally, I'll pass.

For those interested in the math...

v=iz where v = voltage (120/240 typical residential), i = current, and z = impedance. Power = v*I or by substitution, p = i^2*z So if I raise the voltage, I reduce the current and exponentially reduce power consumption. 1/2 the current => 1/4 the power.

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darcurr   

Oh by the way.....

This device claims to " Eliminates power surges". This isn't possible. Surges are a misnomer. You can only suffer two types of event, a current or voltage event. A current event is only going to happen by demand (I.E. a lot of power being consumed on purpose or on accident by a fault). A voltage event will occur by system swings. Induced by lightning, faults, undersized transformer, etc, it is ridiculous to think such a relatively small voltage device like this would have any noticeable effect. For the record, the term "power surge" is generally meant to mean a raised voltage condition. Most devices design for "power surges" simply clip the voltage (this is done usually by shorting the voltage out). However, the only way this product could produce significant savings is something it also claims to prevent. Go figure.

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They say that if you have any electronics or electrical equipment that you dont use or dont have to be on that you should unplug them. Even extension cords with nothing plugged into them will draw power and cause the meter to run. One option other than unplugging them all wouldbe to use a timer for say the entertainment center or any other outlets that have multiple things pluggd in that arent used while your not at work.

I say this and i still havent done it myself, maybe i should use my own advise, my power bill has gone up over $100 since this weather has gotten so hot.

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Navillus   
my power bill has gone up over $100 since this weather has gotten so hot.

Your power company raises rates during the peak summer months also.....

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Eldouble   

I thought the meters read induction current so if you increase the capacitive reactance, you reduce induction and therefore the meter THINKS you use less power.... not that you really do ;) I asked these questions 15 years ago in a motor class, so things may be different now. I know in Tally, new "smart meters" are being installed by the power co so they may read power consumption differently. I forget all the math involved, but when I started pricing parts from my father who works in Elec Wholesale, he sent me to a guy in Daytona/Orlando area already selling the devices to all the hotels in the area. He got his device certified by FPL and tested by NASA. No way was I at 20, going to compete with that. They were in the Home Depots for a while too. But yes, you need a lot of motors for the device to be effective in a home. Some tanks have a few motors with skimmers, pumps, powerheads.... Throw in dryers, exaust fans, ceiling fans, ACs etc, and you may see a drop... but you probly wont see 25% cost savings.

Simple theory....

A motor is switching on and off 60 times a sec on AC power. In the off period, it slows down. In the on period it speeds up. It causes a spike in current everytime it turns on to maintain its speed. This device (a capacitor) electronically stores electricity like a battery. Now when the motor turns on instead of taking power from the electric co, it takes it from the capacitor... reducing your power bill.

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darcurr   

Your power company raises rates during the peak summer months also.....

The FPSC does not allow variable billing. Your usage goes up in the summer, not your rate. Look at your next bill, and find the usage. Do the math.

I thought the meters read induction current so ....

Simple theory....

A motor is switching on and off 60 times a sec on AC power. In the off period, it slows down. In the on period it speeds up. It causes a spike in current everytime it turns on to maintain its speed. This device (a capacitor) electronically stores electricity like a battery. Now when the motor turns on instead of taking power from the electric co, it takes it from the capacitor... reducing your power bill.

Older disk type meters only read real power. New smart meters do read real and reactive power.

A motor does not switch on and off 60 times a second. Even with the ugliest form of dc rectification, it would be 30 at most, and I doubt you could find a device that used 1/2 wave rectification. For an ac motor, it would not "switch" at all. What you are referring to is the frequency. AC in the US is 60 hertz. However, your analogy to "switching" is in gross error. AC is sinusodial wave form. There is plenty of information on basic AC theory, google it. In regard to the spike, you do see an initial in-rush current associated with starting any motor. However, that current and steady-state current are significantly different. In regard to how this device works, this device supplies reactive power (also reffered to power factor correction, see previous post), and almost reduces the draw from the power company to only the real component. However, the FPSC does not allow billing for reactive (either inductive or capacitive) power to residential customers.

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