How Power Saver Works? or perhaps Don't work.

      Don't be misleaded by my title. I know of many customers being believers

of how the power saver product can help them save on their electricity bill.

This article is NOT about how power saver works, but more about why power saver "Don't Work".

To understand how it don't work, we have to understand how it works. Understanding Power Saver Scam in detail.

Edited by Lim Siong Boon, last dated 24-Jan-2012.

email:    contact->email_siongboon  

website: http://www.siongboon.com


Topic Discussion Overview

  1. Power Saver
  2. Brands Available
  3. Microprocessor Power Saver
  4. Voltage Trimmer


Power Saver

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I first got to learn about this power saver product during an exhibition in Singapore, I was a little bit surprise about it. The meter measuring the current drop instantly when this power saver thing was turned on. The surprising part is not about its energy saving performance, but the fact that business people is really smart. How they are able to make use of a electrical physics to convince consumer into buying the product.

Myself, I am trained in Electrical & Electronics Engineer for my diploma and degree course. Although I have graduated from my university many years back, I had little experience in the field of the 230Vac single phase voltage system that we are using in our home. Nevertheless I am able to recognize what I was being presented in the exhibition. The power saver device is a scam. The purpose of dedicating this webpage is for me to present to those who have doubt in the device, to understand more about the power saver in a simple and experimental way. To let you see clearer how the scam works, and how you can see the fraud even at the exhibitor's own setup.

Two things in common when power saver is presented to the consumer. You will always be presented with an instrument call ammeter (or current meter). The appliance used in the demonstration are of inductive property (eg. motor, fan, ballast lamp). These are the two main ingredients that will make the presentation looks convincing for a non-electrical trained consumer.

The ammeter was there to show the reading of the electrical current flowing through the power cable which is connected from the mains to the operating appliance. Higher current reading will means that more electrical current is being drawn from the electricity power grid. There are no tricks on this measurement, they are real. That was why everytime when the power saver is turned on, you were able to see the immediate drop in the electrical current. Most of the demonstration using a clamp ammeter. The meter is clamp to either the electrical live or neutral cable and is able to measure the magnetic field around the cable. The intensity of the magnetic field is proportional to the current flowing through the cable, that is why the current can be measured. The clamp meter is easy to setup and customer can easy be convince since the setup is clean not not hidden from the consumer's sight.
A picture if the clamp-ammeter for measuring the current flowing through your electrical appliances. Clamp the live or neutral wire of your electrical cable to measure the current flowing.

The problem lies in the engineering knowledge which consumer is not aware about. Having the current reduced does not mean that the power consumption will be reduced. Most people will tends to link the idea of a reduce in current, to a reduce in energy consumption. This concept seems a bit illogical, but this is the real situation. Current and power are not directly related. Real energy consumption is determine by the wattage consumption, and not the current.

The actual technical terms are call real and imaginary power. They can be quite difficult to understand and I shall simplify it by not going too deep into the actual technical details.

There are 3 types of load/appliances that the electrical grid will deliver its power to. They are resistive, inductive and capacitive load. Inductive and capacitive are technically not efficient because extra current has to be drawn from the electrical grid in order to support the appliances. We call these load reactive load. Assuming a household appliance that consume 100W of power. No matter what type of load (resistive, inductive or capacitive) this appliance might be, the real power consumption of this appliance will be 100W. This means that the energy consumption should remains the same regardless of the load.

Most appliances that we have at home are of resistive and inductive nature.

Appliances at home that are Resistive in nature are,
- hot iron
- heater
- oven
- incandescent bulb

Appliances at home that are Inductive in nature are,
- fan
- fridge
- air-con compressor
- washing machine
- vacuum cleaner
- magnetic ballast fluorescent lighting

The only thing different between the type of load, is the current being drawn. For example this appliance is a 100W resistive load, drawing a current of 0.4A from the grid. This 0.4A will be the lowest current that a 100W load can go.

Example 1:

Power Supply -----------------------------------------> 100W Resistive Appliances
Flowing Current 0.4A

If the 100W load is now inductive or capacitive in nature, we will expect a current reading more than 0.4A. This is because such a load requires more current to support the load. Inductive and capacitive load is a form of energy storage component for the electricity. The 100W inductive load though draw in more current from the power grid to fill its storage tank, it will not consume all the energy. The unused current will flow back to the grid. This extra in/out flow of the current is the reason for the rise in the current that we will measured.

Example 2:

Power Supply -----------------------------------------> 100W Inductive Appliances
Flowing Current 0.6A

How much this extra current will be, will depend on the power factor. Power factor ranges from 0-1. It is an indication of the load type. A power factor of maximum 1.0 indicates a pure resistive load will have a minimum current. A power factor of 0.0 indicates a pure capacitive or inductive load will encounter the maximum current. Any power factor reading between 0.0 to 1.0 means that the load is a combination of both.

This power factor thing can be corrected like a see-saw as illustrated below..

Power factor 0.0--------------------------1.0 --------------------------0.0
............inductive------------------------resistive------------------------capacitive

Example 1 is a resistive load 100W 0.4A. The power factor will definitely be 1.0 .

Example 2 is an inductive load 100W 0.6A. The power factor could be let's say 0.5.

The load being too much inductive with a power factor 0.5A can be corrected by installing a capacitive counter load in parallel. The correct capacitive load can pull up the power factor to 1.0. Too little capacitive counter load will not pull the load fully to the balanced power factor of 1.0. On the other hand, too much of the capacitive counter load will make the overall load capacitive in nature and hence power factor will also be lower than 1.0. The key to attain a power factor of 1.0 is by using the correct counter blance load. Attain a power factor of 1.0 will reduce the current to its minimum.

The power saver is actually a pure capacitance component inside with its value unknown. The demonstration appliance is typically a motor or magnetic ballast fluorescent lamp which is inductive in nature. When the inductive appliance is turned on, the current measured will consist of the extra current flow, therefore reading is higher. When the power saver is turned on at the same time, the load is though balanced with a power factor nearer to 1.0, therefore current is now lower. The closer the counter balance is matched, the low the current will be. The lowest current it can go will be based on its wattage as if it is a resistive load. But it is not easy to match it to exact power factor of 1.0 for a typical consumer.

As what I have understood, the power service provider do not charge consumer on the current that we have drawn, but on the real power that we have used up. It will not be fair if they charge us base on the current, because although we might draw higher current, we also returned the unused portion back to the grid.

For factory and industrial, the situation is slightly different. They will be charged on the extra current for the reactive load that they have introduce. Why is there such a different? This is because the industrial ususally draw very high current from the grid. If the current is high, the cable to support the high current has to be thicker. If the industrial user do not correct the factor of their manufacturing plant, it will be at the expense of the service provider to lay more cables for them. For industrial user, they will be charged base on the real power and the reactive power that they use. For home consumer, our usage is quite predictable and insignificant.

So unless your power meter measure and charges you on both the real and reactive power, you will not need to correct the power factor for your own house.

High current uses thicker cable. Cable not thick enough, heat will be generated. This is a form of cable loss. This is also how a safety fuse for electrical system works. The fuse will burn itself if the current is too high.

But wouldn't that means that the cable out from the power station will be very very thick to support the whole population? Yes, but there is another solution. The voltage from the power station is very very high. Given a limited cable size, we can still deliver more power to the population by increasing the voltage. Power is the product of voltage and current. With the limit in cable size, hence the current, we can deliver more power by rising the voltage. That is why you can often see electrical sub-station around the place we live in. It is a big transformer inside which step down the very high voltage to a lower voltage that we can use. There are many stages of sub-station from a power station all the way to the end consumer.

You can think of the electrical system as the distribution for our water pipes. High voltage is similar to high pressure for the water pipe. Cable size or current is the water pipe size. Electrical power being the volume of the water. Having a limitation in the waterpipe size does not means that we cannot deliver more water to the population. We can still increase the water pressure so that the water is able to travel faster, hence deliver more water though the pipe out.


The Experiment

Now that we have know something about power factor correction, the following experiment setup will further illustrate the function of a power saver and how the thing works. I have done some reverse engineering work on the following 3 items shown in the picture consist of (from the left)

1) I have managed to salvage white cylindrical AC capacitor from an office fluorescent lighting using a magnetic ballast. I had remembered seeing such component connected to the setup and have dismantled one for the experiment. It is just an ordinary AC capacitor which electrical contractor sometimes used to correct the power factor of the lighting so that current flowing from the mains supply to the lamp can be minimum. The magnetic ballast is an inductive component. Having this counter balance capacitor load, the power factor can be improve, therefore reduce the current. This capacitor was connected to a 3 pin plug for the experiment. Using a multimeter, I managed to measure the capacitance to be 3.2uF, which is the same value as labelled on the component itself.

2) GAD1203 Extreme Power Saver (CX005). I have managed to open it up to understand further about it's interior. The inside consist of a circuit and a black rectangular block. At a glance, it seems quite complicated circuit, but after careful examination, the circuit looks suspicious. The IC chip on-board is a logic gate IC which does not do any function. The black box is actually a 4.75uF capacitor component. The measured capacitance is 5.6uF which is quite close to the label. The incoming 2 pin Live and Neutral is connected parallel to the capacitor and the circuit. Without the circuit, the capacitor will be enough to act as a power factor correcting device.

3) GAD1202 Power Saver (CHT-001C), 2400W. This product is easier to do the reverse engineering. It consist of two black box connected in parallel to the AC Live & Neutral wire. The 2 black box is the capacitor measuring 5uF each which is the same as labelled on the component itself. Two capacitor means that the total capacitance is 10uF. There is a lamp indicator which is connected to the AC line, indicating that the device is connected to the AC mains.

 

I have this experiment and setup as below with help from saveOne Pte Ltd in Singapore. Their business is mainly in the Asia region Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and China. This company sells a range of energy saving products, from energy saving lighting, energy saving electronic ballast to energy saving equipments. The picture shows a demonstration rack of their electronic ballast product for circular fluorescent lamp which I have also installed for my house. I like the product and have written an article about it quite some time ago. If you are interested, you can visit this link.

The reason I use this rack for the experiment because there was this magnetic ballast fluorescent lamp setup at the bottom of their rack. You can see from the picture, it is the lamp that is lighted up. Magnetic ballast component is an inductive load and is useful for our experiment.

The setup consist of 2x power meter to check on the wattage, current and power factor at 2 location along the power supply line from the mains to the magnetic ballast lamp. Right from the top, you can see a 4 way socket power extension. This is the point where I would tap the power from. The first thing that was connected is the power meter which was connected to the 2nd socket position. This power meter no.1 measures the electricity for the whole setup. The later setup that would be connected to this power meter will be measured. This means that we would be able to know the current flowing from the supply mains to this setup, and also the wattage consumption of the setup.

From the power meter no.1, a multi-plug socket was plugged on top of it to split the power outlet into 2. On the right side, it is where the power saver (capacitor under test) will be plugged. The front side is the 3pin plug which is from the cable extension drum. On top of the cable drum is power meter no.2. The magnetic ballast lamp is connected to this power meter no.2. Power meter no.2 measures the wattage, current and power factor for the lamp.

 

Measure Result from Power Meter no.1

S/N Power Saver or Capacitor connected Watt Current PF
0

Without any capacitor connected

 

44.2W 0.432A 0.42
1

Capacitor 3.25uF 10% 250V
 

44.2W 0.242A 0.76
2

GAD1203 Extreme Power Saver (CX005), 5.6uF
 

45.1W 0.198A 1.0
3

GAD1202 Power Saver (CHT-001C), 10uF

45.3W 0.403A 0.47

0. Without any thing connected, the magnetic ballast lamp consume a wattage of 44.2W. Current is high at 0.432A. The power factor measured from the power meter is low at 0.42.

1. When the small 3.25uF capacitor is connected along the power line, the measurement from power meter no.1 shows that the power factor has improved to 0.76. The improve in power factor will also lead to a drop in the current. With this small capacitor, the current is now lower at 0.242A. The power consumption remains unchanged for the own setup.

2. Next comes the Extreme Power Saver GAD1203. The 5.6uF capacitance is higher than the previous 3.25uF. As shown in the measurement, the power factor is now exactly 1.0. This is a perfect match. The magnetic ballast requires 5.6uF capacitance to correct its power factor. The current is measured to be 0.198A. Since the power factor is perfect, this is the lowest current we can attain for the lamp. The power consumption goes slightly higher at 45.1W, probably due to the extra circuit that is in the Power Saver.

3. Next comes the GAD1202 Power Saver. The 10uF capacitance is among the highest of all the Power Saver under this test. When it is connected along the line, the power factor actually drop down to 0.47. This happens because we have over correct the power factor by putting in too high a capacitance value. The drop in power factor comes with an increase in the current flow of 0.403A. Putting too much Power Saver can degrade the performance. It is possible to create an even higher current than the original setup (without any thing connected along the line). This means that if too many Power Saver is connected along the line, you will expect an increase in current instead. You can try it out on the demonstration, requesting the salesman to install more Power Saver to the setup. The current will drop up to a certain point then increase more and more after that. The current will never drop back once the power factor is over corrected. You will need more inductive load to balance it back to a power factor of 1.0. I have tried it out before, and was able to see the increase in current once the second Power Saver was plugged in. The wattage is the highest among the rest at 45.3W. This might be due to the lamp indicator in the circuit which will also consume energy.

Measure Result from Power Meter no.2

Throughout the turning on and off of the Power Saver device, the reading remains the same. The reading is the same as the Power Meter no.1 as if no capacitor or power saver is connected. This shows that current from the Power Saver all the way to the inductive load (magnetic ballast fluorescent lamp) was not corrected and still remains high at 0.432A throughout the experiment.

 

Conclusion

The current was corrected only from the power supply mains to the Power Saver only. Current from the Power Saver to the inductive load remains the same. In order to keep the current minimum along the cable, the power saver will be better kept as close as possible to the load that requires power factor correction.

The use of a power factor correcting device helps to reduce current from the power mains to the device. Lower current means that the current carrying AC cable can be afford to be thinner. To put it in another way, more inductive appliances can be connected to the same AC cable if they are all power factor corrected. Lower current flowing through the cable also means less power loss on the cable it self. High current flowing through a thin cable can generate some heat (cable loss). However cable loss is usually insignificant.

To conclude, the power saver can help to reduce current flow. In order to reduce the current, you will need to understand your load and apply the correct counter load value. Over correcting an appliances will make it worst. In terms of energy saving, the saving will be insignificant. In fact, the experiment shows a slight increase in wattage. It is quite conclusive that the Power Saver product is a scam.

The following are some other sites from people who have similar knowledge and explaination. I have collected these website for your further understanding of how power saver works.

http://www.nlcpr.com/Deceptions1.php

For alternative power saving method, you may also like to find out about voltage trimmer from saveOne, which offers power saving solutions. Some of their products are listed below for reference.

 

 

www.pic-control.com, Singapore Network Ethernet WiFi RS232 RS485 USB I/O Controller

 

 

Alternative name for Power Saver:

Energy Saver

Power Saving

Electric Saver

Current Stabilizers

Home Energy Saving Device

Power Factor Saver

Saving Saint

 

 

Forum comment:
http://www.janleow.com/life/electricity-energy-power-saving-device.html
http://ezinearticles.com/?Energy-Saving-Devices---Do-They-Work?&id=4556173
http://www.ideamarketers.com/?Energy_Saving_Devices_Do_They_Work&articleid=1210082&from=PROFILE
http://www.advancedenergy.org/buildings/knowledge_library/systems_approach/energy_saving_devices.html
http://www.physicsforums.com/archive/index.php/t-170023.html
http://www.nlcpr.com/Deceptions1.php
http://webdevsys.com/aussiePowerSaversScam.htm
http://forum.lowyat.net/topic/1071423/all
https://www.oag.state.tx.us/oagnews/release.php?id=2456
http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2011/dec/01/trading-standards-bogus-energy-saving-plugs
http://forums.techarp.com/general-hardware/23800-electricity-saving-box.html
http://electricitysaver.com.au/home/index.php/how-does-it-work
http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/1125316
http://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/general-merchandise-bazaar-261/wts-gadget-save-electricity-mini-sun-power-saver-2191556.html

http://www.xtremeplace.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=78110.0

 

   
Brands Available


Mini Sun Power Saver

http://www.h2hgroup.org/

http://www.minisunsaver.com/

http://www.minisunpower.com/

http://powersaver.biz/

http://powersavermalaysia.blogspot.com/

 

Model: MS88, MS188, MS388

A German technology.

Tested by PSB (Singapore) & SIRIM (Malaysia)

click here to see PSB test report, click here to see SIRIM QAS test report

POWERGARD


http://homeenergysaver.net/

This one is CE certified, UL listed & tested, cULus.

GaoYiNeng Energy Saving Device

http://www.szgyn.com/

THE GUARDIAN

http://eccobest.com/

Joinwe Electricity saving box

http://joinwe.net/en/products-01.htm

sd-001 Electricity saving box

The Electric Saver 1200

http://electricsaver1200.com

POWER PANDA

http://thepowerpanda.com

Ecobrand Power Savers and Current Stabilizers


http://www.saving-electrics.com/

EcoWatt Energy

http://ecowattenergy.com/residential.php

Ultima Imaging Systems Pvt Ltd.
Power Saving Device
http://www.ultimaimaging.co.in/powersaver.html

Yueqing Chiny Import & Export Trade Co., Ltd
http://chinyichina.en.made-in-china.com/product-group/aMeJvjhEhTVo/power-saver-energy-saver-catalog-1.html
 

UBRIDGE Technology

http://ubridge.en.alibaba.com/product/358253955-206600002/Electric_Power_Saver_up_40_.html

 

Model: UBT6

   

Microprocessor Power Saver
If I am not wrong, these microprocessor power saver is similar to the passive power saver as presented above. The advantage is that it can constantly maintain the best power factor even when your load various. The intelligent controller will adjust accordingly to your load, though result in a minimum current flowing from the power station to your home. However, the current from your home to your appliance, should remain unchanged. The concept of power correction as presented in the previous section will still be apply. Minimizing current drawn from your power service provider does not mean you can have significant electricity saving.

Aztech ESAVER

aztech esaver www.esaver.net

 

brouchure

This is a possible microprocessor controlled power factor correcting equipment. It looks rather bulky. The automatic power factor correction should be real, but as for the electricity bill saving, I will doubt so.

Power Saver India

http://powersaverindia.com/

This product claims to be controlled by a microprocessor. I do have doubt if it has the intelligent to even correct the power factor.

http://aonepowersaver.com/

http://realpowersaver.com/

This product claims to be controlled by a microprocessor. I do have doubt if it has the intelligent to even correct the power factor.

 

 

www.pic-control.com, Singapore Research & Development R&D


Voltage Trimmer
This saveOne voltage trimmer equipment, is unlike a power factor correcting device which only reduces the current. It works by stablizing the voltage hence reducing the current drawn and reducing the actual power consumption to your appliance. The voltage trimmer has to match closely to your appliance. The technical personnel from saveOne will have to access your appliance in order for them to propose the correct equipment model for the energy saving to be effective.
saveOne Voltage Trimmer  
   


 

www.pic-control.com, Singapore Network Ethernet WiFi RS232 RS485 USB I/O Controller





Keyword: Power Saver, Scam, home energy saving device, power saving products, cheating, fraud, swindle, trickery, mislead