Saturday, January 09, 2016

Geeking out with the smart meter

You know me.
Get my hands on something techie and I will want to investigate what it can do. And that goes for various bits and pieces of kit :

Seeing how the pooters behave when I ask them to do stuff.
This isn't particularly geeky or non-sensible, problems tend to happen with pooters when you load them up. When the processor or graphics or memory is busy and things get hot (unless it's Windows, then expect problems at all times). When you're asking them to use parts of them that don't often get used. My pooter isn't actually exercising all of the bits of it that would have made it more powerful than supercomputers of 15 or so years ago. But I do want to know that it won't fail when I'm in a game or something similar. So I exercise it to see how it will do.

When I build a new one, I'll also run the various (free!) benchmarks on it to make sure it's at about the same level as similar machines. I don't want it to be the best (this involves much tweaking for 0.5% better speed), I just want to be sure I've not ended up with something going half the speed it should be.

Enough of that !

Except to say that when you do buy stuff, when you part with cash :

Make sure there's nothing at a similar price that would do the job way better. (And stay doing the job after the cheap stuff breaks!)
Make sure what you bought does what it says on the tin. (VW diesel people will facepalm at this).

Oh and check stuff out to see what it can actually do for you. Use as much of your bits and pieces as you want to but make sure you're not missing out.
So me with the iPad, I'm using it for iOS games (currently Astronest has my attention), I occasionally use it for Facebook and Twitter and Messaging when I'm not doing those on phone, laptop or desktop. I haven't written a blog post on it yet (proper keyboards are better) but I am pondering developing scribbledrawing skills with it. I've also been using it for reading Kindle and Applestore books (shop around, Kindle/Apple can be cheaper than paper books). Reflecting back, I'm glad I bought it.
Oh and it has Siri too, which I've disabled. (If you haven't already, ask Siri what is zero divided by zero)

The latest gadget I've been geeking over is the smart meter smart meter thing. (And the next one will probably be a combi boiler that I suspect I will get fitted at Easter). It has a real time monitor for how much power is being used. And it's quite quick too.

I've been looking at it perhaps a little too much, seeing how the power requirements change with the various bits and pieces that I have. Let's see what I can remember :

Resting state - about 4p/hour.
This is with the pooter doing sums on the processor but not the graphics card (no sums available at the moment). It's with the lowest level of stuff on that I have. So telly's off, music off, fridge on, all the other stuff you keep on as a baseline like alarm clocks, ovens, microwaves in their resting state. 4p/hour seems ok. Wonder what it would drop to if I stopped the pooter from doing sums.

Music and telly - up to about 7p/hour.
This is how I'm like most of the time. Modern tellies don't actually take much power. I have a surround sound amp, so there's lots of individual power amplifiers in there which consume the electricity. But not as much as :

Electric heater on - adds on about 17p/hour.
Although that's when it's running. The instantaneous readout will jump up when the heater is heating and fall back to 7p/hour when it's having a break.

Kettle - adds on a whopping 35p/hour.
Crikey - that's a lot isn't it ? But bear in mind that the kettle isn't actually going to be on for long.

There's a bunch of confusing units for energy, which all come from pretty much the same source. Pure energy is measured in Joules, with Joules/second being the unit of power, otherwise known as the Watt which you'll be familiar with. That's then turned into another unit for energy consumption, the kWh. I.e. how many 1000s of Watts have been used in an hour. It's just Joules by another name.

The thing to remember though with Energy use is that it's the kWh or Joules which matter. Yep, the kettle uses 5 times the power of everything else but it's only on for a very short time, so it consumes far less energy overall.

And it makes a nice cuppa.

It does help having things like energy saving stuff, if only because it means far less changing of light bulbs. (Haha - I rarely change my living room light bulb now, it used to blow far too often with old tungsten bulbs). But don't begrudge that occasional cuppa for the energy it'll consume. In the big scheme of things, it's not using that much and you get a good cuppa out of it.

(I'm still kicking out this cold and some thick soothing hot chocolate is going down extremely well at the moment.)
Watch out for nasties. Having that heater going and keeping warm will hopefully keep you healthy :-).

And ...
Cya !

(Hopefully this is a better post than the ones I've come out with lately - it's not just the cold, latent depression has been getting me down too)


  1. Yep.

    New toy.

    And with a bit more research :
    Cooker takes more power than both kettle and electric heater.
    Microwave eats up even more.

    Conclusion - it is cheaper to make a cuppa than it is to prepare a sachet of popcorn.

  2. [lol] Ah, worth it then..... [grin]


So much for anonymous commenting ... If you would like to leave a message and don't have a suitable account, there's an email address in my profile.