Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Reducing power consumption of electronics

One of our network switches stopped working.  While looking for replacements, I decided to look for a switch that would be more energy-efficient than the existing one.  I was very interested in D-Link's Green line of products. I bought the DSG-1024D 24-port network switch.  I figured that I would be able to replace several switches with a single energy-efficient switch.

The D-Link Green series has several ways that it saves power:

  • It powers down port where it detects an idle link status.

  • The switch can detect the cable length of Gigabit Ethernet run, and will use less power for shorter runs.


Before I replaced the switch, I measured the combined energy usages of the switches and did the same after replacing the old ones with the new switch.  By just replacing the two older switches, with the single new switch I saw some power savings.  Since I have other switches that are always on, I decided to replace those as well.

Once I replaced these switches, I saw a savings of 8 watts.
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This got me thinking about the other devices that we have around our house, that are always on, when they don't need to be.  Most of these things are connected to power strips and the power strips are in locations that are not easily accessible. Belkin has power strips that can help this situation. Belkin's Conserve Switch is a power switch where two of the power outlets are always on, and the 6 or 8 remaining outlets are switched.  These power switches include an RF remote which controls the switchable outlets.

I purchased several of these for use on our entertainment center, and for the computer in our office.  Once I attached the devices to it, and measured the steady-state power usage with the switched outlets on and off.  With the outlets switched off, we see a savings of 80 watts.

 
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I now need to find a new Windows Media Center PC that is more energy-efficient, that can also support full HD video, or replace it with a different device that play our movies from our ReadyNAS.