This OWL may not hoot but is very wise indeed

OWL+USB Energy Monitor – Product Review

Review by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

OWLplusUSB_web The setting up and installation of this device is very straightforward though as my electricity meter has two gray out cables which are extremely tight together it was a little difficult to (1) judge as to which wire to attach the sensor to and (2) to fix the sensor to the larger cable chosen. I was thus also a little concerned – and probably still are – as to whether the readings were and are accurate.

The constant readout makes worrying reading at times such as when the kettle is put on or the electric stove, as this house is an all electric one bar for the heating.

Having such a monitor as the OWL in use dispels, as far as I can see, also the myths of many of the “phantom” power usage of cell phone chargers and such like.

If you run a refrigerator and a freezer the 0.00001pence per hour that a couple of those devices consume does not make any difference whatsoever, to be perfectly truthful. At least the power supplies that are (almost) permanently on in my house, such as the two-way radio chargers, the wifi router, and one or two cell phone chargers, do not even register really.

A PC, an old one even, using an LCD screen, running Linux, with peripherals such as an external hard drive, DVD drive, etc. uses just about 0.05pence per hour more than my energy efficient (supposedly) Laptop, running Windows Vista.

While that may be a little saving it is negligible in comparison and thus it would appear that the scare stories that abound as to the power consumption of this or that, and especially as regards to (older) desktop PCs, and one can but wonder why those stories are being put about.

Don't ditch your old PC. Just recycle it using Linux.

But I digressed!

While the OWL in itself is not totally new the fact that the data that is stored on the OWL device can be downloaded to the computer via USB cable (Windows only, I am afraid) appear to be new though. If the device is left connected to the PC you can actually monitor your electricity energy usage in real time via bar chart, or “curve”, etc. and data can be analyzed quite well, and that from up to two years.

This is definitely one little device, at a reasonable price, that should make monitoring your electricity usage and I can recommend it.

It must be noted that this is an energy usage monitor and not an energy savings device in itself. Before anyone gets the wrong idea.

© 2011