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Made in China and to a high standard. Expect to pay 25 pounds for this device. This seems to be a very fair price for an accurate instrument that literaly did not exist in this form 5 years ago.
There are a series of buttons to press - however it defaults to 1. So what does it do?
1. Measures the voltage coming out of the socket - it does need to have the socket switched on. There are no batteries or serviceble parts inside. It is surprising how the voltage drifts up and down through the day tracking demand.
2. Measures the current that an appliance is taking. My electric kettle takes just over 9 amps ( More about the kettle later!) There is a maximum current of 15 amps - apparently the display flashes, and a buzzer sounds. Domestic plugs are rated at 13 amps, I would expect the fuses to blow before then.
3. Button 3 has two different displays it toggles between. The top one measures the Watts the device is taking. 1000 is 1 unit of electricity (What we get billed on!) The other value is VA which is VoltsAmps - essentially the same unless you are an electrical engineer.
4. This measures the frequency that the mains is operating at - this should be at 50HZ. Mine seems to dip to 49.9 occasionally. Electical suppliers have to maintain the frequency accurately. Clocks and timers used to use this. The other toggle on this buttton measures the Phase Angle. This is also only of use to engineers.
5. This is possibly the most useful button of all. There are two toggles the top one measures the total consumption of the device used - this is in Kilowatts (Units of Electricity). The Monitor has to be plugged in, it resets if the power is cut off. The other toggle is the length of time the device is plugged in - up to 9999 hours I believe, that is over 12 months - I haven't had the monitor that long.
How do I use it? I bought the monitor originally to measure the amount of energy my propagators were using. I timed them over a week - the results were quite unerving - After use of aluminium foil and polystyrene foam I was able to reduce the power consumption by a third. I could improve my profitability, reduce my plants price and still save the planets energy. Transferring to LED lighting was a big move forward, I had to be sure the power consumption would reduce yet further, again the device was my main measuring tool. Current was measured using conventional means - the measurement on the monitor was as accurate as an industry standard meter.
The device had probably paid for itself by now. Curiosity had taken hold. I left it permanently connected to the kettle. It takes 0.2 units of electricity to boil my kettle, Roughly 1 unit of electricity a day (25p!) Over a year .... 100 pounds! Just as much tea but only filling it to the permanent marker on the side nearly halves the power I use. Don't stick it on your your freezer, fridge and tumble drier - they use scary amounts of electricity.
Really good points! Cheap for what it can do. Accurate -I have tested this monitor against my meters which are calibrated. Easy to read and understand. Portable. The monitor stands away from the socket so it could be used in cupboards etc. Just pressing the appropriate button gives the reading you wish - doesn't reset. No Batteries to fiddle with.
Downsides Cannot be used to measure more than 1 device unless on a flying extension lead. Can't be used above 15 amps Not to be used outside NO FUSE What happens if IT blows up! - maybe use on a fused spur or cable. Have to reset by disconnecting the power to the monitor. Could be more robust but that would increase the price.
Would I buy it again? Undoubtably yes - I might even buy a second!