Newsletter Archive

E-News Issue #67

18 December 2003

On behalf of everyone here, I would like to wish you all a great Xmas and a Happy New Year! We will be open during the holiday season with a skeleton staff. There will be some delays in responding to non-urgent emails etc, during this period. I will be on holidays till 12th January.

DVD Wattages

When "Watts" Gets Confusing!

I recently tested a 230 volt DVD Home Theatre Surround System. For those of you like myself who are still coming to grips with modern technology, this new type of sound system broadcasts the sound to six different speaker channels. This is sometimes referred to as DTS 5.1 surround sound. Gone are the days of two channel stereo sound!

These units typically boast a 200-400W sound output. However, music watts are not the same as electrical watts. The compliance label for my 200W unit suggested a power consumption of 72 watts. However, when measured with a watt meter, it used 9W on standby and when playing it used about 33 watts, occasionally peaking to 46W when playing Pink Floyd's 'The Wall' on full volume! This wattage does not include the power used by the television to broadcast the picture.

I also tested a VCR. It used 6.2W on standby and 14W when playing. The compliance label suggested 18 watts. This was a conventional unit, which relied on the television to broadcast the sound. I'd suggest that a DVD player that similarly used the television speakers would also only use around 14 watts.

If you are looking for information about any of your new Xmas toys, try out our search engine on our web site – the search engine will go through the 200 pages on our web site and find out any relevant information. For example, you might want info on a computer, bread oven etc.

Christmas in Northern Canada

Our subscribers and customers come around the world. This year we shipped to Brazil, West Indies, Cameroon's and more. Most of our customers are in the tropical areas of the world.

Since it is the Xmas season, I thought it interesting to hear from one subscriber in the Yukon Territory, which is in Northern Canada. It is located near the Arctic Circle next to Alaska. This is Josee Bonhomme' greetings from there written at –24C temperature outside!!


Sorry I haven't caught up to this until now. I think I remember you mentioning you are a Kanuck. We ignore our winters... keeps our spirits up. Just so you know right now I can get up to 7 amps at 24VDC from my BP 85's and in summer I max out at 12 Amps. So that's not bad. It's the cloudy days that hurt...

No the wind is not of sufficient frequency and speed to really make a difference but when it does blow, it saves the batteries from a deep discharge in the winter. Right now, we have started the Arctic high-pressure cycles and sometimes, when it's the darkest coldest, the air does not move. This is frustrating.

So then, what one MUST do is have a hidden gasoline or diesel monster that you start to charge up your batteries and clean your house. Fortunately, this is not required much more than once a week here now. This gives the excuse to the housekeeper to be a slob. :-) And this is the crux of the problem. Those darned generators are expensive and people have trouble calculating the life cycle costs of obtaining, hauling and feeding the monsters their fuel. It is like people need to invest in two energy systems and in our market people have no money. It is quite an exercise to sit down with someone and calculate things over a 10-15-20-25 year life span. We keep trying. I have a lot of people gazing at what I have done and they are thinking. That's all I can do for now. Inspire. Sow the seed.

I continue testing my modified square wave on everything. Recently, I tried the microwave and it is a little noisier but still works likely at about 80% of full power. It sure hurts the batteries though. I find that once you start living on batteries in a beautiful place off the grid, that simplifying your life isn't so bad. That's what the biggest challenge is going to be in making alternatives more palatable. That people realise a simple life and a light footprint on the planet is a bonus for everyone. It's a leap in thinking for most people. But I find my efforts here with kids and the average member of the public is not accomplishing much.

The energy hogs are going to have to do the most work to change their attitudes. Aren't we lucky we have already made the transition and that we understand all this cool technology? I say thanks. Carry on with the good work and know that the force is on your side. Someday I will get to Australia with my gold detector and find some big nuggets. Gold is an excellent conductor. Josee


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.

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

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

We also have sales agents in
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