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Got my awesome new Watt's Up Pro Power Analyzer Meter to measure amps per string! Photo


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I just received today my new “Watt's Up Pro” Power Analyzer and Data Logger. This unit retails for about $130, but I won it off ebay for $113. I was mad though, it was sitting at $62 with 30 seconds left, but I sniped in my high bid at $120 with 10 seconds left. Apparently some other bidder sniped in $110, so I won out, but at $50 more than I was salivating over! He’s probably really ticked off at me that he lost, I bet he thought with 10 seconds left, that he had it in the bag. HA!

There is also a $99 non-pro version that does not do data logging, but the Pro version was on eBay, so I took it. All the Watt’s Up meters are awesome, even the baby $99 one. You plug them in the wall. Then you plug your light string into it and the LCD tells you the voltage, or current, or watts, or even cost if you have your KW/h costs entered in. Just scroll through with the mode button.

This tool is a MUST have for people like me who are at the edge of their power handling capability and blowing fuses just because of current draw and playing games with power load distribution.

In the past I had issues with my fuse box, as you turn on the lights everything is ok, but as the night progresses, things heat up and current goes up and you feel the breaker on the fuse box getting warm, then it trips! Some nights the temperature would be the threshold factor, here in Florida it gets hot in December so on warmer nights my fuses would trip quicker.

That should be a thing of the past now with this meter, and the fact that I am switching many of my lights over to LED. You should set you’re your loads on your breakers at no more than 75% to 80%. So a 15 amp breaker you would not load more than 12 amps. This meter will help you avoid going over the limit. Rope lights are the worst offenders. Most draw about ½ amp. Some of the large rope light wire frames like my 3 piece train are over 1 amp. I’m ditching half my rope lights this year and going to LED rope lights. Besides, I’m sick of segments burning out on my expensive incandescent rope lights.

Now you can use this meter with Richard’s awesome channel budget spreadsheet to really give you accurate results. I plan to take a thorough “power inventory” as I setup my lights this year.

The Pro version that I got has some really powerful features like data logging, where I can have it take readings over time, and download them into Excel and it comes with software tools that help you find your cost break even points on power bills.

I’ll post a few more photos below.


Attached files 73566=4534-wattsup1.JPG

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here is another photo, you can see I have an electrical reel with 300 lights in 3 strings connected together, and it's drawing over 1/2 amp.

Compare that to some of my new LED strings that only draw 0.04 amps, they don't even register on the meter!





Attached files 73569=4535-wattsup2.JPG

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Would a clamp-on Ammeter be a better choice, as you could measure the current in both the strings and at the individual breakers?

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Glenn Koenig wrote:

Would a clamp-on Ammeter be a better choice, as you could measure the current in both the strings and at the individual breakers?

Personally I think so, but some like the simplicity of the dedicated meter. You can also do lots more stuff with a multimeter, and they don't cost any more.

-Tim
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  • 2 weeks later...

Bryce wrote:

You could check it against other sources such as a clamp on multi-meter or other Amp/watt device.

But how do you know those devices are accurate? :laughing:

At some level we just have to trust the meter...

-Tim
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mcnamara9 wrote:

How do we know if the "kill-a-watt" meter is accurate? I want to buy one, but I'm not sure....

You could test it against known wattage devices. 60W light bulb, 100W light bulb, 1500W hair dryer...
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dslowik wrote:

mcnamara9 wrote:
How do we know if the "kill-a-watt" meter is accurate? I want to buy one, but I'm not sure....

You could test it against known wattage devices. 60W light bulb, 100W light bulb, 1500W hair dryer...


Just remember that a 60W bulb (for example) is probably not going to measure exactly60 watts...

-Tim
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All this mention about 60w bulbs and hair dryers is driving me crazy!

You can't assume the dryer will be at say, 1600 watts, and I doubt light bulbs are exactly 60 W. Some might be 50, some might be 70, it's all over the chart.

The best way to gauge your accuracy is to measure the current going through a known resistor value from a known voltage source. If your current measurement matches what you calculate to be the current through the resistor using Ohm's Law

V=I*R,

then you know your meter is reading correctly.

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Well, now I'm mad, when I was in Lowe's a few weeks ago before I got my Watt's UP online, Lowe's told me they had nothing like that.

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Not every Lowes carries the same inventory... I'm pretty sure they had more, if you need me to pick one up for you... Just let me know... I'll stop by tomorrow... :)

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Glenn Koenig wrote:

Would a clamp-on Ammeter be a better choice, as you could measure the current in both the strings and at the individual breakers?

Just a reminder, Make sure when you use the clamp Ammeter, you only have the clamp around a single wire otherwize you the two currents will cancel and the meter will read zero.
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EAB wrote:

I picked up this little thing that both measures Watts and Amps at Lowe's the other day and paid 30 bucks for it...

http://www.electricgeneratorsdirect.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=467

Good little unit... :)


Northern Tools has the same device for $24.99. I have not seen it my my Lowe's before, but I will look again next time.

Click Reliance Amwatt Appliance Load Tester
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mcnamara9 wrote:

How do we know if the "kill-a-watt" meter is accurate? I want to buy one, but I'm not sure....

My friend Joe is our calibration tech. Once a year he comes to the substation and cals all the test equipment on our vans. He had a Kill-A-Watt meter on the source to his test equipment. I recognized it because of the discussions here. After talking with him about it, I got one from eBay. He tried a bunch of different loads and claimed that it was pretty accurate. We didn't discuss how accurate, but he said it would be great for measuring Christmas light loads.

He's a pretty smart guy, I took his word for it...

....just my 2¢

jeff

PS I work for a power utility in Jersey...
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