Radio Parts - Power Meter for $14.95

29 March 2010

Ever wonder exactly how much power your new giant flat panel tv or wall aircon is using? Do you seem to be using more power every month? With kW/hour costs going up, the cost of electricty is becoming a very significant part of the household budget.

The cost of electricity in Victoria went up recently. It was recently estimated that the cost of electricity in NSW will rise by up to 62 per cent, including inflation, over three years to 2013.

So, managing and minimising power usage can result in significant long term savings now and even more so in the future.

Just put this unit on the power point, and then plug an appliance into it and you can track very accurately how much power is being used over a period of time. Not only is it interesting to have this sort of info, this device can pay for itself very quickly when used - for example - to monitor power usage from appliances like fridges that can start to use lots of power due to damaged seals without you being aware of it.

Similar devices can now be found for around the $30 mark. The next cheapest I've seen is $20 at Jaycar. There are fancier devices out there, and ones that measure power from the power meter itself so can tell you how much power the entire house is using (eg Wattson), but they cost more and frankly this is generally good enough.

If you buy a lot of kit from Radio Parts you can also get a trade/frequent buyer card and get this device even cheaper! If you can't visit their store, if you order over $100(ex gst) and are in Metro Melb then delivery is free.


  • ninkasi
    The report on power prices is ]here MPM01 MAINS POWER METER MS6115 MS-6115 This mains power meter is designed to monitor your appliance devices power consumption in real time. The metercan display the instantaneous voltage or current being drawnby your devices. Specifications: * Measure voltage range: 190-276V AC * Measure voltage accuracy: +/-3% * Measure current range: 0.02-16A * Measure current accuracy: +/-3% or +/-0.03A * Measure power range: 0-4416W * Measure power accuracy: +/-5% or +/-10W * Accumulative electric quantity range: 0-9999.9kWh * Measure frequency range: 45-65Hz * Clock accuracy: +/- 1 minute per month * Power cost:: <2W * Operating temerature: -10 ºC to +40 ºC * Battery: 2x1.5V LR44/AG13 * Battery life: about 3 months without AC power
  • ninkasi
    I also have a ]Wattson - handy for showing (for the entire house) how much power is being used at any one point in time, as well as tracking power usage over time. You can also roughly work out how much power an individual appliance is using simply by looking at the unit, turning off the appliance, and seeing what the difference is. It definitely looks way cooler, but it does cost a lot more. In addition this doesn't help you monitor appliances such as fridges that cycle on/off over a period of time - in which case a meter you plug into a power point is of more value.
  • taskel
    Looks very handy, thanks for all the info ninkasi :thumbsup:
  • ninkasi
    An interesting review of the unit is ]here - the reviewer says how their tv was showing it was drawing 7W when in standby which meant it would use a minimum of 61kWh over a year. His calcs showed that would mean it would cost some $6/year to run - and that was three years ago. With costs now around the $0.20 per kWh it is more like $12. The interesting point he makes is that turning the tv off at the front switch turned off the red "standby" led but did not save any significant amount of power. So to drop power usage to zero required turning the tv off at the power point.... the sort of thing one of these devices can tell you.... If you do a google search for MS6115 you'll find copies of the ]user manual. Oh, I'll also note that the thing does come with batteries - before using it, you just lever off the rear plate and remove the plastic strip. The batteries are used to keep the usage history intact if the power goes out and/or when/if you pull the thing out of the socket to check the usage.

What do you think?

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