"Smart" Power Strips: Helping to Stop Idle Current Now!

Tipster Brahm has been hard at work looking for ways to reduce the amount of power drawn by computer accessories when they aren't in use. As we noted in this post, simply unplugging peripherals from the wall helps a lot, but that isn't always possible or practical with things like Brian's VoIP router. And, as anyone using a power strip to power a cubicle or home-office setup is aware, it doesn't take much to get a tangle of wires and plugs and cables. Enter the Wattstopper Plug Load Control and Smart Strip Power Strip. Both help stop the idle current drawn from your outlets when electronics aren't in use, though they go about it in different ways.The Wattstopper has six outlets controlled by occupancy and two outlets which are uncontrolled (read: normal), and use a motion detector of sorts to monitor and manage energy use. Devices plugged into the controlled outlets are turned on and off based on occupancy, or the fact that they're currently using energy. The "Personal Sensor" connects to the power strip, and automatically turns power to all connected devices on when the accessories and peripherals are in use. These devices will turn off after they go idle and the user-defined time delay elapses (anywhere from 30 seconds to 30 minutes). Priced at US $90, available from their website.

The Smart Strip monitors power consumption and can sense the difference between when computers and other devices are on or off. Upon figuring this out, it shuts off the power, eliminating the idle current drawn from them. There are a couple different models and options (including fax/modem and something called "extended sensing") and they run from US $32 to $35; Smart Strip claims it will pay for itself in as little as six weeks, and it's available from their website. Has anyone out there tried either of these, or seen any other "smart" power strips? ::Smart Strip and ::Wattstopper

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