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LED "Smart Outlets"

An Intelligent Outlet with Multiple Functions...
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Ok, here is my idea...

Imagine a regular outlet with 15 small LEDs to the left or right of the outlet face...

The LEDs are representative of the level of amperage, Each LED would represent one amp. Since each circuit (where I am from) has an alotted 15 total amps before a circuit will "trip" (breaker will fail).

The first 13 LEDs are green and the last two are red to indicate when the circuit is near is full load...

These smart outlets could also feature a "power test" function... where the outlet plug face could have a pressure sensitive face and..."If you pressed the plug from the device for more than five seconds" the LED indicator would display the averaged energy requirement (while in operation or in rest) of that tested device with the LED interface... So that if you toaster was tested... maybe 12 LED will blink...

Maybe the Smart outlet could also be designed so that it could warn of impending circuit failure... Among other things such as GFCI... (ground fualt circuit interuptor).

Remote Activation: Maybe a small digital communications device so that a circuit can be re-energized by pressing the pressure sensitive face in for more than ten seconds... the outlet would then emit a signal thru the outlet line to the circuit box that has a "Smart Reciever" and can re-enable the line... ((this idea would most likely have to be a packaged system))

I think that many of these ideas are feasable, I do not however intend that they all are included into one system...

P.S. - the LEDs could "auto-shut-off" after maybe 20 seconds...

oxygon, Apr 14 2002

Itsy-bitsy web server http://www.picoweb.net/
One way around the "line of sight" requirement. OK, maybe not small enough to do this job but interesting anyway. [half, Apr 15 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

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       Hm. Issues:   

       - Most of my outlets aren't visible; they're behind desks or shelves.   

       - They're also often not easy to reach - not a good place for a user interface in general.   

       - If they were visible and easy to reach, having little blinkenlights on them would drive me completely utterly nuts.   

       - If they're off most of the time, you're distributing a lot of test electronics that would better stay where they are right now, in a tester.   

       - If I remember correctly, circuits trip, not individual outlets (they may trip with a ground fault, but that's something different.)   

       Nevertheless, I'd enjoy a tasteful analog display for the total of my kitchen circuits. Things are switched on and off there a lot, and it would be fun to see the changes.
jutta, Apr 15 2002
  

       A clamp type ammeter hooked up to a l.e.d bargraph display.
neelandan, Apr 15 2002
  

       And as the cost of the outlet approaches $50, you may as well add a nightlight, telephone jack, RJ45 jack and X-10 capability and call it a night.
phoenix, Apr 15 2002
  

       If you're so close to overloading your circuits to benefit from having these, you're better off to get some electrical work done and increase your capacity.
waugsqueke, Apr 15 2002
  

       And while we're at it, "feasible".
angel, Apr 15 2002
  

       How about providing the same type of information from each outlet via an embedded web server. Then you could monitor any outlet from a web browser without the requirement that the outlet be physically accessible. With this system, software could monitor and log the activity on each outlet and even remotely power the devices on and off. Great for those individuals to whom the term "too much information" has no meaning.   

       Re: "ground fualt circuit interuptor" [sic]. Given the sensitivity and speed with which a GFCI necessarily functions, there's not much chance that you'd see the warning before the event.   

       Since it seems that many electrical fires are started by overloaded lightweight extension cords or "multiplexer" devices, maybe an integrated smoke detector would be a nice touch.
half, Apr 15 2002
  

       the LEDs wouldnt have to be on 24/7 only come on breifly when they change ampage and stay on if in the red... also i think 15 LEDs is unessary, this could be accomplished with 3-4: 1-2 green 1 yellow 1red
i-Mer, Apr 16 2002
  
      
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