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on 8 December 2007
It has had exactly the effect that it promised: at a glance we can tell whether we have left lights, computers, or even a cooker ring on somewhere unnecessarily, and we go and turn them off. It is cutting our electricity use by at least 25%.What gets measured gets managed. And my husband is addicted: he has even been known to produce it when we have guests, no doubt boring them to death with his chatter about how much electricity we used to use!
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VINE VOICEon 12 June 2009
+Set up time < 5 minutes
+Batteries included in pack.
+Integral stand if used on shelf or stick a screw in wall and hang on that

Within 3 further minutes discovered TV/Wii/DVD and signal booster were costing about 35p/day to run in standby (worse when DVD was accidently left on). Multiply that across 3 rooms which all have similar set up. 20 mins after that plugged in extensions leads which were hanging around to each and switch all off now when not in use.

Have reviewed Breville Quick Cup - and was pleased to see there actually are cost savings over kettle rather than it being theoretical.

I thought I might use this for a day, see what actually costs money and what does not and then not use again, however it acts as a great indicator when lights have been left on somewhere.

Great gadget, useful product. Payback period should be a few months.

Temperature and clock added bonus.......if only I had one for the gas now!
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on 15 October 2009
If you're aware that you need to be energy efficient but have no idea what is using the most power and when, then this gadget is for you. A small 'detector' needs to be fitted onto your mains cable, but this is easy. The monitor connects wirelessly and can be almost anywhere in the house, so you can move it around as you use different appliances.

The main display shows the current total power usage in your house. This goes up and down as things switch on and off. This is the most useful display because you can see how much your microwave, kettle, iron etc. use. In addition, there is a smaller display for total usage by day, week, month etc. If your eally wanted you could compare these to your bill.

Used in this way, it may influence your electricity usage, but I suspect it would take a while to make enough savings to pay for the monitor.
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on 26 May 2015
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VINE VOICEon 4 January 2009
I agree with everything Paul Ell (above) has written. Like Mr. Ell, I found that the two main cables (apart from the green/yellow earth) from my electricity meter were grey; according to the instruction leaflet one should be red, and the sensor attached to that. I attached the sensor to the right-hand cable, and it was correct. Incidentally it is a very tight fit, a snap-shut fitting which only just fitted the cable; I assume the designers intend this.

In general, I think the booklet could be improved upon; it is in very small print and did not seem particularly easy to understand at first reading, although there is also a fold-out 'idiot's guide' included with the box. Also you MUST have a really small cross-headed screwdriver to hand (like a jeweller's) to get access to the battery compartments on both sender and receiver units. (Batteries are included thankfully).

Having said all this, once up and running, I have found it invaluable. You can set the display for Cost, Energy (kW) or Greenhouse Gasses. There is a problem with the Cost function, as if like me you are on a tariff which decreases once past a certain kWh useage, the Owl cannot be set to automatically adjust, although it can be set to adjust to different tariffs at different times of day. So I have mainly used - as I suspect most people will - the Energy display. This shows how much energy is being consumed at any one time and is a real eye opener. I found that a 3 bar electric fire which had all the bars turned off was still using approximately 700 Watts! This turned out to be a convection heater which is built in and which I had, until now, assumed to consume negligible current. Also, like another reviewer, I found that despite turning off/ unplugging everything in the house, there was still over 100 Watt consumption taking place. Is that the meter itself.....?!

Seriously, it really is worth every penny, and I am sure will rapidly repay its cost given today's energy prices.

Recommended strongly.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 19 August 2010
Despite reading in Watts and Watt-hours and claiming to measure power consumption and energy, this unit actually measures only V-A (Volt-amps). In fact it really only measures amps, which is all it can do without an actual connection to the mains, and then multiplies by the assumed voltage. This leads to HUGE ERRORS because certain appliances draw current out of phase with the voltage, giving rise to vastly inflated readings. The ratio of actual Watts to V-A for an appliance is given as the 'Power Factor', and for most fridges and freezers and other devices with induction motors it is around 0.3, so don't be surprised when your 50 watt fridge reads 160 watts. It gets worse: some electronic devices like induction hobs draw considerable capacitive current when they are switched OFF; probably because they incorporate large capacitors to filter the high-frequency noise they generate and stop it getting back into the mains. My two-hob induction unit reads around 100 Watts on the Owl even when turned off, though it is not actually consuming power, just pumping current in and out of the grid ninety degrees out of phase with the voltage! The true facts were revealed when I connected this and other devices through one of those little plug-in power monitors which do read true power as well as current and power-factor.

The 'base-level' power in many homes is taken by fridge and freezer, plus a few things on standbye, and in my case reads around 350 Watts even though it's actually nearer 100 Watts - very misleading as this is a major contributor to total energy used because it is on all day! At higher readings, when cookers and kettles are used, the readings are fairly accurate, as such devices have a power-factor of one. Interestingly, the added contribution of fridge and freezer is then also correct, because the high resistive loads swamp the out-of-phase current producing an overall power factor very close to one, which is what counts.

Even more confusing is the fact that turning on my induction hob at the wall (but leaving it turned off) REDUCES the reading on the Owl considerably! This is because it draws capacitive (leading phase) current which cancels some of the inductive (lagging phase) current drawn by the fridge and freezer. Add to this the resolution limitation and it's all rather useless, though I actually find it useful to monitor my total load on my solar off-grid system so that I can keep within the 3kW limit of the inverter. Sorry to get a bit technical, but I think this is necessary in order to give some insight into the mysteries reported by other reviewers. If the manufacturers did it right, and didn't make such false claims, there would be no need for all this - they should bring out an alternative clip-on unit which also plugs into a socket, measuring true power by muliplying instantaneous current and voltage, and needing no battery. The monitor itself could remain the same.
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on 15 January 2008
Fantastic Product.

Is it accurate to the enth degree ? I'm not sure but it does focus your attention and clearly indicates along the lines of consumption. It becomes a family game of trying to keep the conumption below a certain value. Once settled, you can tell at a glance that somebody has left the iron or amersion on upsatirs which in itself is worth the cost. Educational for kids ( and adults ), beneficial to the planet and in the long run.....your wallet.

Simple to install ( takes 30 seconds max ) and a very useful tool. You'll just be wary of that 3KW fast boil kettle from now on........

Brilliant !
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on 20 June 2007
Excellent and curiously engaging toy.

It arrived the next day and was up and running within 5 minutes.

Do not buy this toy - otherwise you'll find yourself running round the house turning everything on and off. My only topic of conversation now is the relative power consumption in standby of the toaster and PC.

Setup was straightforward. You just clip the meter around your electricity cable, and tell the monitor to search for the meter. Was up and working in just a few minutes.

The handheld monitor works all over the house so you can see exactly how much electricity you're using - and work out what's using it.

In some ways it's not really necessary. We all know to turn off our TVs at night and that halogen lights are expensive to run. The difference is seeing the impact of every device. It really drives it home.

In my case, it's going to save me £30 a month because I know the equipment that's driving up my electricity bill.

Buy one!
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on 30 November 2010
Have had this gizmo for about a month now and am still fascinated by it. It was comparatively easy to fit - we had to fit it in the 'cupboard' outside the house but it was straightforward. We didn't have any problems with battery fitting but we've got enough tools to start an ironmongers. You just need a small screwdriver - probably available in the pound shop if you haven't got one so won't break the bank. The display is clear though the decimal point isn't always obvious from across the room so don't get misled from a distance! Setting it up takes a little while and there are options for tariffs that don't necessarily apply to your case. We just keep the display on 'cost per hour' and watch as it jumps from less than 2p to over 20p as we switch some greedy appliance on. Nice to see how little all our energy-saving lighting costs though.

So far, we haven't been shocked by the cost of different appliances - we knew the oven, the washing maching, the kettle, the dishwasher, the iron, etc., used electricity like Niagara uses water BUT we didn't SEE it as it happened. It makes a difference when the money vanishes before your eyes. This hasn't made us give up washing, cooking, making tea, etc., but it has made us think carefully about making the most of everything. It's too early to tell if our electricity usage will fall noticably in the next year - there are other variables like visitors, friends for meals, etc., but it has certainly helped us to concentrate on what we do rather than once a quarter when the electric bill comes in.

Well worth having if you want to know what's going on. Just don't buy one if you'd rather stay in the dark. Or stay in the dark all the time and save even more money....
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on 22 January 2008
One reviewer assumes that this item is more accurate than a plug-in power meter. It isn't - the plug in meter measures both voltage and current, giving an accurate power reading, whereas the Owl just measures current, and not very accurately it seems, either.

Only gives consumption figure at the time, and multiplies up to an annual figure, which of course shoots up when you put the kettle on. Better models store historic data which is more useful.
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