To test out the PC TrickleSaver I connected the following devices to a power strip, downstream of the device: cable modem, wireless router, VOIP router, switch, printer, scanner, speakers and monitor. I also placed a Kill-A-Watt meter in between the TrickleSaver and power strip, to measure the power draw of these devices. Since I was also using the optional TrickleSwitch, it was possible for me to turn on and off the TrickleSaver manually.
When on and in use, the hardware drew .74A or around 88W. Keep in mind that some of these devices, such as the printer and scanner, go into sleep mode when not in use, and therefore use very little electrical power. However when the computer was turned off but the TrickleSwitch left on, and these devices were "idle", they still drew .37A or around 33W. While not quite the typical usage of the common incandescent lightbulb, 33W is still a significant amount of power usage for an electronic device that is "not in use". By turning the TrickleSwitch off, or if using the TrickleSaver by itself and simply turning off the PC, the Kill-A-Watt gave no reading at all. Power was cut entirely to the plug.
In order to calculate the power usage in terms that the electric company uses, we need to measure the amount of watts over time. The standard rating for this is kWh, or kilowatt hour. Assuming an average of 730 hours per month, and 33W of power usage, this figures out to 24kWh a month. At my current rate, that equals approximately $2.40 per month, or just under $30 a year. Certainly not a huge amount of savings, but more than enough to pay for the TrickleSaver and then some.
As our own Rutledge has already shown in the Kill-A-Watt review, these "phantom loads", vampiric power or idle electric consumption, however you want to call it, can add up to some significant usage. Just because a device is in standby or sleep mode, doesn't mean it's not drawing any current, and if we could simply find a way to eliminate this draw in a manner that is convenient and simple for the end user, it amounts to an appreciable amount of electric savings over a period of time.
TrickleStar looks to do just that with the introduction of their TrickleSaver line of products, both in PC and TV varieties. The PC TrickleSaver version we tested today does an ample job at removing that vampiric power drain on our wallets, freeing up almost $30 annually according to my calculations. This is more than enough to pay for the device itself, and if we can save this much from just a single computer and peripherals, there's sure to be more savings available from the televisions and other devices in the home.
Depending on just how many devices you have to reduce power to, as well as how much you pay for your electricity, will determine the amount of your savings. While I pay around $0.10 per kWh here in Pennsylvania, many states electric power will cost you well into the 'teens and possibly even twenties cents per kWh. According to the Department of Energy, the national average for 2009 is $0.12 per kWh, and using this rate for calculations, my savings would be closer to $35 per year. Those of you in a high-rate state could expect savings of $50 or even $60 a year. And this is all based on my particular usage, your mileage may vary depending on exactly how many devices you have and how often they sit at idle.
The PC TrickleSaver retails for $24.95 and the PC TrickleSwitch for another $14.95, although the latter is completely optional. The automatic on/off via USB control works just as expected, turning off power to accessory devices when the computer is shut down, and returning power as soon as the PC is powered back on. If you need more manual control and don't want the inconvenience of crawling under your desk to flip the switch on a power strip, the remote TrickleSwitch will give you that ability. In either case, if you've got a compliment of accessory devices that otherwise remain on 24/7, you'll more than likely save enough in your first year's electric bill to pay for the cost of the TrickleSaver.
OCIA.net awards the TrickleStar PC TrickleSaver and TrickleSwitch our Gold Seal of Approval.