Newsletter Archive

E-News Issue #117

Jul 1, 2008

LCD Televisions

Martin, one of our tech customers, advises that you should run small LCD televisions off a DC/DC converter rather than direct off a battery, otherwise you damage the TV when you are equalising the battery.

For more about LCD teles, read our longer article below.

Price and Product Changes

Batteries are going up in price almost as often as petrol so it is a good idea to check pricing frequently. Our web shop prices are always up to date. The petrol powered Honda battery charges have also gone up in price. The 64W Uni Solar panels are no longer available in Australia . (I know of one left in Victoria if you are keen). In the popular Apple regulator range, we will stock the 5, 10 and 20A we decided to leave out the 15A model. Last but not least, the Kyocera 130W grid tie panel will become a 135W model over the next month or so, depending on stock availability etc.

Sunrise Petition

Aussies may remember that back in 2006, the popular TV morning news program Sunrise started a petition to keep the then solar rebate. From memory, over 100,000 people signed the petition and this was largely considered to be the driving force which got the Howard Government to maintain and in fact, increase the solar rebate to $8/Watt. They have just started a new petition as I write this article, some 20 people are signing it per minute!

Good Web Site

I am loathe to recommend web sites as I know I will be swamped with requests to list others. However, I thought this Aussie one deserved a special mention: Edit 22.6.11 - no longer online

We have compiled a related links section of all websites that struck us as interesting.

Gadgets Add Hundreds to Electricity Bills

The Sydney Morning Herald (Aussie newspaper) has a brief article about a Choice magazine Press Release about the Standby Power of some gadgets like the Sony Play Station 3, TVs and computers.

230V Power Usage Meter

Being aware of how much power your appliances use can help you to reduce your power consumption whether you are on or off the grid.

We now have two 230V Power Usage Meters in our product range - an Economy model and a High Quality model. These have a standard 3 pin plug and socket, so you simply plug it into your power point and then plug your appliance into the meter.

The Economy 230V Power Usage Meter measures Voltage, current, Wattage and power (kWh) within 96-97% accuracy.

The High Quality 230V Power Usage Meter has a much larger easier to read LCD display which is at least 98% accurate. It also measures power factor and the cost to run the appliance per hour, week, month or year!

I recently purchased a 31 inch (80cm) JVC wide screen LCD television. Like most similar models on the market, it has high definition (HD) resolution and an integrated (built in) HD receiver. (Older model televisions need a Set Top Box to receive the digital TV)

The specifications for the TV suggested it used 164 Watts. While I was trying out the multitude of settings and adjustments on my new TV I discovered that the brightness settings significantly altered how much power the TV used! In fact it ranged from 100 to over 200 watts.

My TV has 3 types of brightness settings. There is a general setting called Bright, Standard and Soft. I chose the Standard setting. There is then 2 more Bright 1 and Bright 2 settings. Bright 1 seemed a bit like what I knew as 'contrast'. However, Bright 2 had the most influence on power usage. It is in fact the back light - turned up very high, the picture colours get overwhelmed by the light and appear to become a bright but pastel coloured picture. At full Bright 2, the TV used 216 Watts!

Fortunately, I tend to prefer a fairly 'soft' picture and the room is generally fairly dark. My adjustments lowered the power to an average of 116W without compromising the picture quality.

Incidentally, I then noticed quite a difference between channels. Then I discovered that I needed to make individual adjustments for each channel on Free to Air and one adjustment for each external input such as Austar TV.

The picture signal made little or no change to the power - e.g. a bright movie seemed to use about the same as a dark coloured one. Turning the sound up only increased the power usage by 3 Watts.

On Stand-by, the TV used a very respectable 0.2 Watts.

I have Austar (Foxtel in the cities) which has a Set Top receiving box. It uses 12.5 Watts which is pretty modest. I then turned it onto 'Stand-by'. The little LED light changed from green to red but to my shock and horror, the power usage remained at 12.5 Watts. I double checked this with another meter and it was still 12.5 Watts! So much for saving power by putting it on stand-by! So I switch it off at the wall with the slight inconvenience that it takes a minute or so to re-program itself each time. (My Austar decoder is several years old and possibly newer models have a real standby mode on it.)

See what other sized TVs and gadgets use.

To conclude, I'd suggest a 230V Power Usage Meter is an excellent way to tune into the carbon footprint of your various appliances and help save some money at the same time.

Cheers from Dave and all the RPC crew.

Dave Lambert (Director)

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We install solar systems in Northern NSW and Southern QLD.


QLD:
Gold Coast (from Coolangatta to Southport), Nerang and Hinterland (Beaudesert) and out West (Warwick, Stanthorpe, Killarney)


NSW:
Northern NSW (Tweed Heads to Yamba, including Evans Head, Byron Bay and Ballina); the Far North Coast Hinterland (Grafton via Lismore to Murwillumbah) and out West (Casino to Tenterfield, including Drake and Tabulam, as well as Woodenbong and Bonalbo)

For larger system we also go up to Brisbane or down to Coffs Harbour and even Glen Innes. Other places by arrangement.