- Thermal Audit
Power Optimizer is a scam
The power optimizer claims to save a minimum of 8% on your power bill. They claim "Anywhere from 8% - 35% depending on the application." and their savings calculator defaults to 10%.
Imagine that someone tells you that hauling a trailer makes your truck go faster. You think this is unlikely and give it a try. You hook up the trailer and the truck goes a tiny bit faster (perhaps you are going downhill or the engine oil is still thick or the choke is on). So far so good. Then you disconnect the trailer and the truck goes even faster. Did the trailer speed up your truck? Of course not. However, the truck is running faster now (no trailer) so one possible conclusion is this; The truck remembers the trailer, and learned from the trailer how to run faster. Even though the trailer is no longer attached, the new faster truck is experiencing a left over or "residual" effect due the fact that the trailer had once been connected. Foolishness? Most people would think so.
The promotors of this product paid MET labs to do a test. They measured the current drawn by a motor before and after the device was connected. MET labs is licensed to perform UL and CSA safety certifications and is likely quite reliable. They observed that after the power optimizer was disconnected that the motor current dropped (a good thing). As an impartial lab, they made no comment on this. However, they did include the official response from "Power Optimizer":
"After the 3KVA Plug-in Energy Savings Device was unplugged, the power consumption continued to decrease.
On 4/7/06, it appears that the power consumption has started to increase. According to Daniel Schulman, this is
a result of the residual effects of the device which takes time to dissipate."
Look at the graph below (excerpt from the MET testing results) - the red part is with the optimizer. The blue graph is after it was disconnected, and the motor is drawing less current without the device attached.
We have, from their own marketing materials, evidence that it does not save energy and that disconnecting it made things better. You could argue that perhaps another test might prove it works but keep in mind --it is not up to consumers to prove a negative. It is the responsibility of the promoters of such devices to prove it does work.
There is no way any device connected to an electric motor can reduce real power consumption by 8%. Basic conservation of energy laws state that energy is neither created or destroyed which in the case of a motor means that energy in = heat + work out. Given that the physical design of the motor cannot be mangically changed, improved efficiency would mean that the copper windings had somehow lower resistance, that the bearing lubrication was magically improved, and that the cooling fan on the rotor suddenly has less wind resistance. The physical things that keep motors from being 100% efficient are not going to change just because the latest "energy saving" box was connected. Assuming that the physical device has not been magically altered, then the only way it can use less energy while providing the same output is if energy is created out of nowhere. This of course does not happen.
Consider the following foolishness:
"At the core of the Power Optimizer™ energy saving device is our patented semiconductor chip. This chip utilizes specific wavelengths of infrared light to stabilize the vibration state of "spinning" electrons.
Stabilizing the electrons, which form electric current actually reduces the heat-emitting and power-robbing collisions that normally occur as the electric current moves from the source to the desired load. Reducing these collisions creates a more efficient electric current.
The Power Optimizer™ works to reduce heat and electrical vibration by stabilizing the current and training the electrons to flow more efficiently. The result is a lengthening of the electric wave and a narrowing of the flow along the center path of the conductor. A more efficient current meeting less resistance along the path of the conductor gets more of the purchased power directly to the workload."
Everything above is gibberish. Infrared light (like the invisible beam from your TV remote control) does not stabilize spinning electrons electrons. The phrase "stabilize spinning electrons" itself is also meaningless. You cannot train electrons any more than you can train grains of sand on the beach. Lengthening the electric field another nonsense phrase. This is an example of taking a bunch of engineering terms and concocting important sounding but meaningless gibberish.
I suspect that if you were to remove the cover and look inside, you would find it filled with something simple like a few feet of wire (as the Voltage Control Guard was) or perhaps just empty. Any photos e-mailed to us will be added to the end of this page. If the case is potted then it will take a few hours of patience with a drill press to carefully expose the innards. The magic "chip" inside should be interesting.
The ridiculous Power optimizer patent is an example of how the US Patent office approves things they have no clue about. The long title is "Electric power saving apparatus comprising semi-conductor device to pass energy of infrared ray synthetic wavelength into electric cable using output pulse signal, electric circuit board structure for implementing the apparatus, and electric power saving method "
Retarded ideas do manage to make it through the US Patent Office all the time. For example, here is an idea to treat AIDS and cancer with radio waves that somehow "correspond" to homeopathic dilutions of growth factors. This is stupid beyond belief. Imagine that you had a cup of sugar with 2 raisins in it, and you poured out all but a teaspoon of it and refilled it with sugar. You then mix it up and dump all but a teaspoon again. Repeat this several times and how many raisins do you have left in the cup of sugar? Most likely, none. The idea that something can be diluted out of existence and some how be more potent than ever because the memory of the raisins linger in the cup of sugar is the insanity of Homeopathy. Now, take this idea to the next level -- why bother with administering sugar (in this case Homeopathic raisin) when you can send radio frequency signals corresponding to the memory of a raisins into the patient? This is all lunacy of course and my point is that being granted a patent in no way indicates that a product or idea works. The patent office approves nonsense all the time.