TV TrickleSaver by TrickleStar: A cost analysis

phantom load eliminator energy efficiency


Engadget recently posted an article on the TV TrickleSaver by TrickleStar. The purpose of the device is to cut off the standby power (a.k.a. vampire load) to your gaming systems attached to your TV. So when you turn off the TV, the TrickleSaver cuts off any standby power to your PS3 or XBox 360. While the device looks pretty slick, I'm not really buying the author's statement of "each of which should (in regards to PS3/Xbox) consume more than enough power to eventually cover the $34.95 price tag for the TrickleSaver."

My biggest problem with journalists/bloggers when they write about energy savings is that they don't bother to actually crunch numbers themselves! They just make statements and hope they are correct.

Luckily, I have a Kill-A-Watt so I can see how much my very own PS3 is consuming in standby mode. I just did this and I can tell you that my Kill-A-Watt is telling me that my PS3 consumes 1 Watt in Standby mode. So, to do a cost analysis on how much a TV TrickleSaver will save you by cutting off the standby power to your PS3 (or XBox or other gaming system) you do the following:

  • Estimate how often your PS3 is plugged in and not being used. For worst case scenario, I'll assume I never turn on my PS3 and it is always in standby mode. In my case, 8,760 (24 hrs/day * 365 days/yr) hours in a year
  • Multiply the standby load of the PS3 - 1 Watt - by the number of hours it is in standby mode. In my case, this comes out to be 8,760 Watt-hours.
  • Divide this value by 1,000 in order to get the amount in kiloWatt- hours. In my case, 8.76 kWh
  • Multiply this amount by your electricity rate.

I pay around 10 cents/kWh. Therefore, the TrickleSaver would save me at most about $0.87 per year! Wait....87 cents? How much does this thing cost again? Engadget says $34.95. That's a 40 year payback! So yes, the TrickleStar eventually covers the cost of purchase, as long as your PS3 works for 40 years!

To truly make a difference in your energy consumption, you have to go after the big loads first! Once you have those under control, worry about standby load. But you don't need to get expensive gadgets. Just get a power strip, plug the devices into it, and turn it off when not in use!

enjoyed our post? let others know: 


Chris, Just for fun I measured the standby power of my TV setup as well. I don't have any Play Consoles but I have a 45" LCD TV, a DVD payer (one of the cheap ones) believe it or not but I still have my old VCR as I have quite some movies on tapes which I like to see, some loudspeakers and an amplifier for the speakers, again two power bars with LED's on (same as in my PC setup) and a satellite receiver . A very basic setup. Standby power in this setup is surprisingly 42W (not including the TV)! Turns out that the DVD player use 29W in On mode and 24W in Standby mode - read some where that some DVD players only turn off their display when in standby mode and all the electronics is still On - guess mine is one of these. My satellite receiver is also always on - keeps its channel settings when powered off! Again quick calculation with 3 hours of TV every day: 365 days x 21 hours x 0.042kW x 0.15$/kWH = $48 The 42W also includes my amplifier also being on (I honestly don't bother to switch it off by pressing another remote! - guess I could buy a $15 universal remote but I haven't). So pay back time is a bit less than one year (TrickleSaver $35). I'm sure that many DVD players use less standby power than mine as it is a cheap one but again I have multiple friends who have much larger TV setups than me and who also both have a PS3 and Wii. Their setups will likely use the same or even more in standby mode or even let the devices stay on when TV is off (I'm quite sure I'm not the only lacy person on this planet). So I think the TV TrickleSaver is of same great value as the PC version - again I think most people just take some individual devices instead of the whole setup in which the TrickleSavers are used. I made a quick search and it's the same on other blogs - people unfortunately don't fully think through what these smart power products can do for them - bit of a shame. /Bob
Hi Chris See your point if you only include your PC and PS3 in the calculations. I borrowed one of these Watt Meters from a friend to check the standby of the devices connected to my PC. I have the following in my setup: Lexmark printer (photo), External HD (for backup), multi-function scanner/fax/laser printer, mobile phone and iPod charger, loudspeakers (with external power supply), monitor and two power bars (with LED on). The LED on the power bars actually use 4 watt each! All this ended up in 47W in standby. My Modem and Router use 19W and 25W respectively but as my wife also use the wireless connection these are always on. The 56W is when all the products are in Standby Mode but I almost NEVER switch Off my different devices (Ext HD, Multi Function Fax/Printer/Scanner) when I switch Off my PC so the "standby" power is actually higher. Quick calculation with 4 hours of usage a day: 365 days x 20 hours x 0.047kW x 0.15$/kWH = $53. For a $25 device. That's a payback of a bit less than 6 months. This is not that bad an idea when you look on your whole set up instead of just individual devices. I'm going to buy one!. Just discovered that the vendor have a standby power calculator on the web site for both PC and TV systems. Cool little application - have a look: I agree that AC's etc use a lot of power (in the areas where AC's are used) - but I still think these products is good. Imagine families with a couple of kids with their own PC setups! /Bob
Great point Bob and thanks for the link to the great calculator. Your comment is great and really helps drive home the point about journalists not doing simple analysis like we are doing on this post! So, it looks like if you have to choose between purchasing a TrickleSaver for your PS3 or your home computer system (printers, speakers, etc.), then the computer system has the much better impact!


Post new comment

Subscribe to Comments for "TV TrickleSaver by TrickleStar: A cost analysis"