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things are hardly ever really OFF



Maggie wrote:

After a while I determined that the UHF RF was getting into an amplified auxiliary speaker (even when it was not powered on!), and feeding back into my station mic. Relocating the speaker and its audio line solved the problem. 

Wayne replies:

Get an inline AC ammeter and you will be amazed to find out how much power many new gadgets consume when switched "off".  For example, my Harman Kardon active speakers draw 5 watts when switched off (my retired Sony active speakers draw 20 watts when switched off!).  My Dell Pentium-4 computer draws 5 watts when switched off.  My NEC LCD monitor draws 5 watts in standby, only dropping to 4 watts when I turn off the front panel power switch.  All this stuff is connected to a power strip that I switch off after shutting down the computer.  A few watts times 20+ hours per day (when you're not actually using the stuff) adds up to a LOT of wasted energy.  The "Energy Star" rating is totally bogus in my opinion.  Infrequently used "Energy Star" stuff often consumes far more energy in standby than it does in actual use.

All my ham radio equipment really is off when switched off.  But I haven't yet measured the off current drain of my new G-5500B rotor.  It doesn't have a microprocessor but that doesn't guarantee that it's really off when switched "off".  The power switch in many gizmos is connected to the secondary of the power transformer.  The transformer stays powered up (nice and warm) even when the gizmo is switched "off".  Obviously, all "plug pack" transformers consume power 24 hours per day.  My computer power strip also switches off the plug pack transformers for my cellphone charger and Maha AA battery charger.

Satellite content: Tomorrow morning I plan to test my new 7x7 RHCP Arrow antenna on the AO40 uplink.

Wayne Estes W9AE
Mundelein, IL, USA
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