Audio News for July 14, 2006

by | Jul 14, 2006 | Audio News | 0 comments

Wall Wart Warning – An increasing number of home electronic gadgets get their juice from the small outboard power supply which plugs directly into your wall AC socket and has become known as the wall wart.  Many electronic products today have standby power, also called phantom loads. This means it is sucking power out of your AC socket 24 hours a day in order to run a digital clock, LED display, quick-start mode, and so on. Most people are not aware that these innocent little boxes can be energy vampires. One won’t affect your electric bill but a house full of them can add up.

The typical home in North America has 8 to 15 electronic gadgets with standby power needs, and this includes dishwashers, electric stoves and microwave ovens. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) estimates home electronics along make up 15% to 20% of electricity in the home – over three times more than 25 years ago. One researcher found that more than 75% of the power used by your satellite dish, digital cable set-top box or DVD player is consumed in the standby mode during the lifetime of the product. And many audiophiles leave all their solid state gear on all the time because it doesn’t sound as good during the warmup period – or because the particular component doesn’t even have an on/off switch. Most power adapters do a very poor job of handling electricity in the first place. According to the EPA they normally don’t exceed 50% or 60% efficiency.

What can savvy consumers do? One suggestion is that if you have a gadget of any sort which requires recharging its battery, be sure to unplug the device as soon as it is fully charged. Use power bars strategically – plug your clock radio and computer into one and leave it on, while plugging your TV, DVD player etc. into another power bar which can be turned off at bedtime. Purchasing new equipment with Energy Star ratings can also help.  For example, non-rated TV sets can consume from 12 to 24 watts on standby, whereas an Energy Star TV will consume less than 3 watts. But some gains due to Energy Star efficiencies run into new products which turn out to be a setback. The SUVs of the video world are large-screen plasma displays, whose hunger for power is similar to that of a full-sized refrigerator. Sharp Electronics of Canada conducted a survey showing that 88% of consumers would be willing to spend a premium on consumer electronics which are more energy efficient and produce less waste.

Thule Audio AV Processors Added to AMX Home Control Systems – Thule Audio of Denmark makes two high end home theater processors, which have now been added to the “In-Concert” program of AMX, a world leader in the design and production of home automation control systems. Software to interface the processors and systems is available to all AMX and Thule dealers.  Thule already has software to allow its home theater processors to interface with Crestron products – the other leading manufacturers of home control systems. More information on the Thule web site:

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