I am always out looking for
something to add to my collection of technical gadgets and new
technologies. I stand before you and admit that I am a techno-junkie.
However, there usually is a reason why I have bought the stuff.
The EM-100 Energy Meter is
a device I wish I had added to the collection a few months ago.
This story starts sometime in August 2005. I like to work at
night on several computer when the office has settled down and
the noise level is just about nonexistent. One night during computer
start up I heard a single beep sound come from a battery back
up. After the computer and other hardware were operating, the
sound never returned. Everything seemed to run normal. For a
few weeks I had noticed on start up that this APC 650 would sound
this alert. I thought maybe the battery in the back up needed
to be replaced, but than I rarely ever had it on back up.
Presently I was using three
back ups to run two computers and attached hardware. I used these
back ups mainly for those rainy thundering nights or cold snow
damp winters. Mostly during when the city transformer would switch
to an alternate. Other than that these back ups where just there
to save the computer system from brown outs, spikes, and surges
if they should happen.
Now this beep sound I could
not explain what it was. After three weeks I had decided to change
out the oldest of the three battery back ups. I had a new ES650
new design and would use it for replacement.
All the battery back ups are
under the computer desk and are rarely seen by anyone unless
something is being plugged in to it. Once your under the desk
the front and top of each unit is easy to see. However if I had
not pulled out one of these units I would not have seen the wire
cord that goes into the unit. Where the cord goes into the unit
there is a tiny red light with small print which reads "Wire
fault" On that night sure enough this tiny light was glowing
ever so bright. All the main and diagnose lights are at the front
or on the top of these units, so why not put the wire fault light
there too? This tiny light which is hard to see in the first
place usually faced towards a wall. Under a desk only the front
or top is easy to see. I than looked at the two other battery
back ups. The other two had a wiring fault light on the same
side that the cord goes into the unit. and there lights were
glowing as well.
It turned out that the battery
back up can use up to and about 12 amps each when under a full
load. Most of the time all - plugs on the battery back up are
in use at the same time. This means that there is a constant
load on the battery back up (UPS) In turn this means that there
is a constant load on plugs being used. Each of three plugs I
use in the room run on one 15 amp circuit breaker. At the time
there were three UPS battery back ups. Attached to the UPS were
two computer, one monitor, a couple of hard drives, a printer,
tv monitor, and on and on. The 15 amp breaker was just two much
to handle a few battery back up. The UPS stopped a office fuse
from blowning. Each UPS-back up comes with an internal reusable
breaker which also in the last week of the three, had been tripped
when starting the computers, this saves on home fuses also.
My solution for this problem
was to call an electrician over and have two additional 15 amp
plugs installed under the computer desk. Each new plugin circuit,
provided one connection for a battery back up. The original plug
now runs a power surge bar for things like USB hubs and some
additional over head spot lighting. So instead of one 15 amp
I have access to three.
I never bought the EM-100
until after I had call an electrician, this device would have
been used to determine that an over load was in progress. That
there could eventually be serious problems such as hot wires
in the wall. Possibly a fire and worse losing the office to a
fire. I presently use the EM-100 for monitoring power usage on
the computer and other plugs around the office. I feel that this
is a valuable diagnostic tool one that can save you money as
well in the long run.