Taming Parasitic Power Loss

svetz

Works in theory! Practice? That's something else
Staff member
Moderator
Thanks to an unrelated @FilterGuy post, I ended up measuring the standby power consumption on the devices plugged in 24x7.

My TV consumes 26W in standby. At 15¢/kWh, that's 26W x 15¢/kWh x kW/1000 watts x 24h/d x 365 d/y = $34 / yr.

So, what's the best solution to this?

At first I was thinking something like a $12 smart strip, but the problem is that the controlled plugs turn on when current is sensed across the "sense" plug. That is typically the TV is plugged into the "sense" plug and the sound bar, DVD, Nintendo are plugged into the control ports. Since I only have the TV that doesn't help.

Next thought was an $8 smart plug, they typically pull less than 0.4W.
But, then I'd have to say, "Alexa turn on the tv's Plug, Alexa, turn on the TV".

There is "Alexa Groups" to combine devices into a single command, but I'm not sure that will work since the tv would need a few seconds to wake up.

So, if you've solved this... what did you do?
 

svetz

Works in theory! Practice? That's something else
Staff member
Moderator
Turns out you could do it with one voice command using alexa routines. Still, if you have alternatives let me know.
 

FilterGuy

What, me worry?
Most modern equipment actually go through a boot process when they are first turned on. I'll have to check my TVs, but my cable box takes a couple of minutes to boot!! That means it will be a PITA to turn it on when I want to start using it. That has me thinking some kind of a timer would be a good start. I often stay up late, but it would be very unusual for me to want to watch TV anytime from 2 AM to 4PM. A Timer on the plug set to turn off at 2AM and turn back on at 4 would cut the parasitic loss by over 50%, but the system would be booted and ready to go when I wanted to watch it.

I suspect most of my AV equipment boots fast enough that a combination of timer on the slow-boot cable box and something to turn on the rest 'on-demand' is the best combination. However, even if I put the whole AV stack on the timer it would make a big difference.
 
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Hedges

Photon Sorcerer
Yah, most modern equipment.
40 years ago when I had a Bill Godbout/CompuPro computer with 8" floppies running CP/M, it booted in approximately one second with a "click, click"

Computers are so much slower now.

Timer - that works for my coffee maker.

Real solution is to not waste your time watching dancing colored pixels on a CRT/LCD ... Oh, what is it I'm doing right now?
 

FilterGuy

What, me worry?
Thanks to an unrelated @FilterGuy post, I ended up measuring the standby power consumption on the devices plugged in 24x7.

My TV consumes 26W in standby. At 15¢/kWh, that's 26W x 15¢/kWh x kW/1000 watts x 24h/d x 365 d/y = $34 / yr.

So, what's the best solution to this?

At first I was thinking something like a $12 smart strip, but the problem is that the controlled plugs turn on when current is sensed across the "sense" plug. That is typically the TV is plugged into the "sense" plug and the sound bar, DVD, Nintendo are plugged into the control ports. Since I only have the TV that doesn't help.

Next thought was an $8 smart plug, they typically pull less than 0.4W.
But, then I'd have to say, "Alexa turn on the tv's Plug, Alexa, turn on the TV".

There is "Alexa Groups" to combine devices into a single command, but I'm not sure that will work since the tv would need a few seconds to wake up.

So, if you've solved this... what did you do?
BTW: Thanks for starting this thread. It is a good companion thread to the thread I started on power factor power savings.
 

svetz

Works in theory! Practice? That's something else
Staff member
Moderator
Most modern equipment actually go through a boot process when they are first turned on. I'll have to check my TVs, but my cable box takes a couple of minutes to boot!! That means it will be a PITA to turn it on when I want to start using it. That has me thinking some kind of a timer would be a good start.
I like the timer idea, won't work for us as we have no regular tv patterns (the TV can sit idle for months). The PC and tablet have largely displaced it.

Originally I was thinking your cable box was an internet modem (sorry about that), probably as I'd blocked out all those memories of my old satellite receiver box. Power outages always seemed kinda hard on mine, so a switch or timer might not be best for them.

When I moved I went entirely IP and cut the cable cord. Originally I used Sling to get the all the cable channels we watched, but we ended up watching so little TV I eventually shut it down. Although, I'll reactivate it for a month when my mother-in-law visits (she's addicted to home-improvement shows). Even over-the-air-broadcasts are over IP in our house.

Sounds like HRTKD has done some cord cutting too. If there's interest in sharing tips, someone start a cord-cutting thread and I'll share my setup, wouldn't mind knowing what clever things folks have done.

This is a really good idea and I typically leave the TV in the guest bedroom unplugged (although it's because of lightening). In the living room it's a pain to get to the TV's plug and a power strip would offend my wife's sense of decor (I can't win those arguments, I have no sense of decor ;-).
 
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FilterGuy

What, me worry?
a power strip would offend my wife's sense of decor (I can't win those arguments, I have no sense of decor ;-).
I have the exact same problem!!! I wanted a power strip so I could easily turn off my AV stuff and it got nixed! It is all in a cabinet and it is a roual PITA to get to the plugs. Oh the sad plight of all of us husbands....
 

Hedges

Photon Sorcerer
I have the exact same problem!!! I wanted a power strip so I could easily turn off my AV stuff and it got nixed! It is all in a cabinet and it is a roual PITA to get to the plugs. Oh the sad plight of all of us husbands....

Mine asks for the wires to be kept off the floor.
Hanging the strip from underside of a cabinet shelf makes it out of sight, and switches could be reached.

I have so many devices it's been getting a bit out of hand.

 

svetz

Works in theory! Practice? That's something else
Staff member
Moderator
Who wears the pants in your families???
Neither of us do, it's the keys... even today when it's cold (71°F) I'm wearing shorts and a t-shirt.

Hanging the strip from underside of a cabinet shelf makes it out of sight, and switches could be reached.
What a fantastic idea! I love it!
 

FilterGuy

What, me worry?
Nope, no fire hazard there at all. :)
The surge protector in the lower right of the picture makes it all perfectly safe!!!!

Every once in a while I'll spend some time cleaning up the wiring around my computer or AV center and getting it all nice and organized. But I seem to live in a zone of amplified entropy.... it always ends up messy again in very short order.
 

FilterGuy

What, me worry?
I mentioned USB-C as a possibility for becoming a standard for powering some of the home electronics and making the power factor problem smaller. At the time I posted that I thought about PoE (Power over Ethernet) as well but did not think it was as likely to become a solution.
However.... it is more than I thought. This is a *long* (6+ hr) video, but watch from 5:36:00 to 6:03:00. PoE is going to be a bigger deal than I thought and may also offer some solutions. The video does not mention Power factor, but if it becomes a common power source, it could have power-factor correction.

 
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