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Non Energy Vampire Remote

Remote Control Appliances which really turn off
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Most devices which turn on and off with a remote control (tvs, stereos, dvd players, etc.), don't really turn off.

They go into "standby mode," in which most of their functionality is off, but they're still drawing some AC power, in order to percieve the signal from the remote control, so they can turn back on. Devices which draw power in this way are called energy vampires. As much as 40% of the electricity that's used to power home electronics is drawn when they're switched off.

This idea is a way to turn devices on and off with a remote, without them drawing any power when they're off.

Basically, have two circuits -- the main one, and the on/off one.

The main circuit gets it's power through a mechanical on-off switch, which can be controlled by a button on the front of the device. When the off switch is off, the main circuit is really and truly off.

The secondary circuit is powered by a rechargable device (a battery, capacitor, flywheel, etc.), which is recharged by the main circuit when the main circuit has power.

The secondary circuit includes an infrared photosensor, a processors to determine if the signal seen by the photosensor is an on/off signal intended for this device, and an electromagnet capable of moving the mechanical on-off switch that powers the main circuit.

An optional addition to the secondary circuit might be a clock (though probably not a display for it).

goldbb, May 22 2009

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       Seems like an obvious solution. I wonder if Energy Star appliances use something like this.
DIYMatt, May 22 2009
  

       One could have a physical off switch. The switch would be attached to the power cord and would be activated by tugging mightily. One might want to wear safety goggles for switches on long cords, in case the metal prongs came whipping up and thwacked your eyeball.
bungston, May 22 2009
  

       How does this save anything? The secondary circuit still uses power, which still has to come through your meter.
ldischler, May 22 2009
  

       The 40% that I quoted isn't a ratio of standby power used to total household usage, it's a ratio of standby power used to total energy used *by appliances which are put into standby mode*.   

       If you have *just* a DVD player on a meter, and compare how many kilowatt hours of energy it uses in standby power over a year, and how many khw it uses total over a year, then you'll see a number like 40%.
goldbb, May 27 2009
  

       Except, of course, that there are two differences between my idea and the linked idea...   

       Firstly, my idea uses rechargable batteries in the reciever (which are recharged only when the appliance is turned on).   

       Secondly, and much more importantly, since my idea incorporates a mechanical switch into the appliance, such that pressing the off switch (or turning it of via remote) really and truly does stop the flow of AC power into the device.   

       The linked idea merely depresses the on/off switch on the outside of a regular appliance... and as you yourself said, /Even if you turn it off using the button, it can still be turned back on with the remote./ Which of course means that merely pressing the off button doesn't turn off a regular remote controlled appliance.
goldbb, May 28 2009
  

       Now, if you took a regular remote controlled appliance, and plugged it into a power strip, and then applied dbmag9's strap-on remote to the power strip, then you'd have something like my idea.
goldbb, May 28 2009
  

       I've measured all my appliances with a Killawatt ($20 USD, simple device). The "vampire" energy is just as much a myth as real vampires. Most devices do something similar to what you describe, but do it better already built in. The drain when "off" or on standby is rarely even measurable.   

       This is just a bogus claim that likely applies only to very old devices (<15-20 years old). The general rule is: if it makes noise or is hot, then yes, it's still using energy. Otherwise, rest assured that it's not where you need to worry. If you're like most people reading the HB (under age 50 and/or tech savvy in the least), you have decently modern devices.   

       All that above, is coming from a passionate energy conservationist... me! I have measured, and made improvements where it matters most! (Hint: Use a clothesline, in the garage, not the dryer. Make sure your fridge is energy efficient, with the door open rarely, etc.)
sophocles, May 29 2009
  
      
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