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Britain to ban standby button
On or off, no in-between
RonPK




msg:3005533
 1:25 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

THE Government is to outlaw standby switches on televisions and video and DVD players to cut the amount of electricity wasted in the home. [..] Businesses will have to phase out or reduce drastically the energy used by computers, printers and photocopiers left on standby.

[technology.timesonline.co.uk...]

Nice idea. But how are the British supposed to program their personal video recorders if they have to switch them off completely?

 

zCat




msg:3005779
 4:29 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Don't worry, video recording will probably be made illegal as well ;).

Seriously, it's about time electronics manufacturers started providing good old-fashioned on-off switches. I have all my stuff connected to socket extension strips so I can cut power to all the devices when they don't need to be on.

The next step would be to devise some kind of system for these little transformers which come with small devices, surely it can't be too difficult to make a couple of universal standard designs?

PhraSEOlogy




msg:3005822
 5:08 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

to cut the amount of electricity wasted in the home.

If I am paying for the electricity then its mine to do with as I please. Whats next? If you dont wash properly in the bath then thats "wasted" water?

This idea sounds like something monty python would have dreamed up. Get rid of your standby buttons or we'll give you the comfy chair!

oneguy




msg:3005890
 5:42 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

If I am paying for the electricity then its mine to do with as I please. Whats next? If you dont wash properly in the bath then thats "wasted" water?

lol. You'll get x gallons per square inch of your body - at your allotted watering time. Bathe with it. If the water police think you might be "wasting" it, they'll just turn on the cameras in your home to check. :)

john_k




msg:3005909
 6:02 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

...they'll just turn on the cameras in your home to check.

Of course, they'll need to visit in person since the camera can't have a standby mode to detect when they send it a signal.

Maybe the government can just dispatch a personal "switcher" to every household. The switcher can make sure everything is turned off correctly and will have instructions on when to run your bath water.

Maybe they will want to require lightbulbs to have built-in timers so they automatically turn off after 1 minute of operation. Like a faucet in a public restroom.

mack




msg:3005918
 6:07 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

If I am paying for the electricity then its mine to do with as I please.

Yea, true, but think of the bigger picture.. The Enviroment. It is tiny things like this that help make a difference.

Mack.

andyll




msg:3005933
 6:17 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Yea, true, but think of the bigger picture.. The Enviroment. It is tiny things like this that help make a difference.

No.. it means people will leave the items always on which will waste more energy.

Andy

PhraSEOlogy




msg:3006041
 7:53 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Mack,

I know your right from an environmental standpoint -
but while wasteful floodlights burn at night around the houses of parliment, tower bridge, the tower of london, windsor castle, buckingham palace etc its a bit silly to accuse the little guy of being wasteful.

mack




msg:3006047
 7:56 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Yea does seam a bit like two sets of rules doesnt it.

Mack.

PhraSEOlogy




msg:3006092
 8:32 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

I can see a big increase in sales for "the clapper" in the UK market.

Must get that product on my UK sites - lol!

mcavic




msg:3006099
 8:43 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

it's about time electronics manufacturers started providing good old-fashioned on-off switches

There are a few reasons why old-fashioned on-off switches are a bad idea. In computers, they theoretically increase shock hazard, because you have to have 120 or 240V running from the back of the case to the front instead of 5V.

Most devices can't keep time if you cut off the power. Sure, you can use battery power, but even rechargable batteries wear out, and pollute the environment when they're thrown away in the trash can.

With inkjet printers, if you impatiently cut the power before the print head has parked, the ink will dry up and cost you the cartridges.

The standby feature on copiers and laser printers saves power. If you turn the machine off, you're wasting the heat that's already built up, and probably increasing wear and tear on the machine, which might cause it to be thrown away sooner.

Now granted, copiers and laser printers are actively generating heat when they're on standby, and therefore they use much more power, and shouldn't be left on overnight when nobody's there.

But I just don't see eliminating soft switches. Most devices in standby use very little power, and the waste is largely justifiable.

Frank_Rizzo




msg:3006100
 8:44 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Turning of equipment is a false economy. You are much better off leaving them in standby.

Why? Because constantly turning on and off equipment such as TV's will shorten the lifespan.

TV's experience a big surge when power is applied. If this is done many times something will go pop. It may just be a fuse, it may be a 2p resistor, or a 50p transistor but that tv is going to fail sooner than expected.

It is far better to leave equipment in standby for longevity. Standby mode keeps the power supply and circuits warm. When powered up from standby there is less surge and less chance of failure.

It's the same with that crazy notion of turning off your engine when sitting at traffic lights. If you turn off you have to have the starter motor crank the engine again. In time starter motors and modern equivalents will need replacing. I forget the figures but you need to be sitting a traffic lights for something like 5 minutes for the turn off to be economical / green.

So what's the outcome of this? Power stations will save a few hundred megawatts each night. But in a few years time there will be a TV mountain over-shadowing the current EU Fridge mountain.

This week we have had the government announce the banning of cul-de-sacs. That's right. They want developers to stop making cul-de-sacs and have more through roads so that more houses can be crammed into smaller areas.

Have you noticed the headlines both these initiatives are making at the moment?

Have you wondered if all this FUD is designed to change the conversion topics across the garden fences and across the bar room table?

Of course! It's classic spin to divert attention from the fact that Tony Blair's closest and best crony was arrested this week....

If Blair is asked to attend his local cop shop next week watch out for new initiatives such as 'No one over 50 can be charged for fraud.'. Should come in time to save him.

[edited by: Frank_Rizzo at 8:47 pm (utc) on July 13, 2006]

gamiziuk




msg:3006803
 7:50 am on Jul 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

This idea sounds like something monty python would have dreamed up. Get rid of your standby buttons or we'll give you the comfy chair!

[FX: Voice of John Cleese]
Hello, I am the Minister of Wasted Electricity. You have used up your quota this month. I am here to confiscate your liver.

bhonda




msg:3006851
 9:12 am on Jul 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

It is far better to leave equipment in standby for longevity.

Nope. There were loads of news coverage on this whole situation a couple of months ago, and the figures on standby was shocking...can't find the article now, but found this article about leaving TVs on standby [bbc.co.uk].

The problem isn't people putting things on standby for 5 minutes (like the example of a car stopping at a traffic light) but things like people leaving their TV on standby as they go on a 2-week vacation.

I think this whole thing is the right and only way to go. Joe Public is just too stupid to realise that they should actually turn stuff off when not being used. Forcing them to do so, I guess, is the only way.

And about saying 'I'm paying for my electricity, I'll use it how I want. If I want to waste it, I can.'. That's just plain dumb. The first thing that comes to mind is recycling (bizarre comparison, but bear with me!) - 'It's my rubbish. If I want to throw it away instead of recycling it, then I can. I own the rubbish, and will do with it as I please. I don't care that if I recycle it, it'll be better for my fellow man'.

This is a case of society being too, or entirely, self-centred. If people were actually responsible as to how they used electrical equipment, it'd never have gotten to this point.

Hester




msg:3006853
 9:13 am on Jul 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think this is an excellent idea. I see no reason for a standby button. I always switch off my TV and computer after use, and have never had any problems.

I once read that devices use almost as much electricity in standby mode as they do fully on. What a phenomenal waste of resources. This could be why the government is having to advocate building more nuclear power stations. It is computers and office equipment to blame, I'm sure of it.

People are naturally wasteful and lazy. They don't care if the TV is left on standby. Even if turns out to use only a fraction of power, if you multiply the number of machines left in standby by millions of users, it all adds up.

I used to work at a place where they had Windows 98. This used to shut down and stop with a message saying it was safe to turn off the computer, which remained fully on. I remember seeing people rush off from work, not waiting to switch off their PCs, which were left on all night. At least with XP it shuts down automatically.

I now see people leaving their printers plugged in at my office. The computer switches off, so they think the power has also gone from the printer. But the green lights are on flashing.

I would argue that leaving machines in standby is worse than turning them off, as the electronics are in use. Say you got a sudden spike in the power. It could damage the circuitry, but not if the machine is off.

We could save millions of pounds by switching devices off and not leaving them in standby. More power (sic) to this argument. I just want to know what happens to all our existing equipment? Will it have to be upgraded?

Frank_Rizzo




msg:3006868
 9:45 am on Jul 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

leaving their TV on standby as they go on a 2-week vacation

Clearly you should turn off your TV if going on vacation for two weeks.

But each night turning off the TV is false economy. You keep doing that and you will find the TV not working one morning sooner than you expect.

It's a simple law of mechanics. Apart from design faults every electronic fault is mechanical - every time an electrical item breaks down it is because of a mechanical failure.

This will either be because a fuse has blown, a resistor has burnt out, a transistor burnt out or shorted etc.

The Light Bulb
The more times you switch off and on brown goods the more likely it will break. It is the same with traditional incandescent light bulbls. They rarely fail whilst on and mostly fail when you flick the switch.

Each time you turn on a lightbulb from cold the filament experiences a surge and goes from cold to hot very quickly. This stresses the filament and causes it to snap. It's the same with the circuits inside TV's - the more you turn them off and on the quicker a part will experience mechanical failure.

Energy Saving Light Bulb
If the government are so concerned about energy saving at the home why don't they give out free energy saving light bulbs?

Let's say there are 20 million homes in the UK. If the governement issued every home with just one energy saving lightbulb the power saving would be enormous.

You can buy such a bulb for about 1.99 at a local store. Let's say the government get a bulk discount and can get them for 1.50. If they issued them to each home it would only cost them 30 million - peanuts to them.

Now if the average home uses a 100w bulb for 8 hours a night and that bulb was changed to a 15w bulb the energy saved by each household would be 680 watts per day = 248.2 Kw per year. Now multiple that by 20 million homes and the total power saving from just one light bulb is around 5,000,000,000,000 = 5 Tera Watts!

That's pretty amazing. If the government want to save so much energy all they have to do is to spend 30 million and give every home ONE free energy saving light bulb.

But wait. Why would they do that? What is the impact for the electricity suppliers....

Saving 5 tera watts of power means that the suppliers wil see a drop in income of about 694 million (based at 14p per kilo watt tarrif).

Can you see the supplier industry lobbying to give out free light bulbs?

And what about the tax which the government receives from the supplies profits? Take out 694 million from the suppliers income and the government are now losing a whole lot more than just 30 million.....

Small Electrical Items on Standby
Recently Gordon Brown stated that he 'now turns off his phone charger when not in use to save electricity'.

Does he have ANY idea how much energy these things consume when not in use?

You burn up more calories leaning over the table to turn the switch off than the charger uses in milliwatts.

The current drawn from a phone charger when not charging is negligible. The ones drawing the most will have an LED on them. Those without an LED will draw virtually zilch if not charging a flat battery.

Let's assume Gordon Brown has a charger with an LED which is permanently on.

LED's require around 20mA of current which roughly equates to 0.1W of power. If Gordon brown leaves his charger 'off the hook' for 20 hours a day he has only used 2.4Watts per day. In order to use 1Kw and 'waste' 14p he needs to leave it running like that for 417 days!

That's right each 417 days he would have wasted 1Kw and it would have cost him 14p. In other words. Gordon Brown leaving his charger on for a full year will cost him about 12.5p.... See what I mean that it takes more energy to physical switch it off and on each day than to leave it running!

[edited by: Frank_Rizzo at 9:50 am (utc) on July 14, 2006]

bhonda




msg:3006876
 9:53 am on Jul 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

In other words. Gordon Brown leaving his charger on for a full year will cost him about 12.5p

12.5p x 20 Million homes in the UK = 2.5 Million a year.

Frank_Rizzo




msg:3006888
 10:09 am on Jul 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

12.5p x 20 Million homes in the UK = 2.5 Million a year

I was waiting for someone to point that out.

My reply is that 20 Million homes switching their charger off and on every day will see x'000 more chargers fail each year.

Cost to UK consumer > 2.5 Million saved in electricty.....

[edited by: Frank_Rizzo at 10:09 am (utc) on July 14, 2006]

internetheaven




msg:3006897
 10:20 am on Jul 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

No.. it means people will leave the items always on which will waste more energy.

Exactly! The government don't think logically, they ask guys with PHDs to work out solutions so they end up coming up with ideas that other people with PHDs will obey. The common bloke will just leave things on more.

It's like the recent attempt to lower waste by picking it up fortnightly instead of weekly so that we are "forced" to recycle more. NO! Everyone round here just burns their burnable rubbish instead.

bhonda




msg:3006912
 10:33 am on Jul 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

But isn't that missing the point?

Surely the problem here is that most consumer electronics are badly made, then? If, to ensure continued use of a product, it never has to be switched off, surely that points to horendously bad design and production?

Maybe if this non-standby thing comes in, the people who make these devices will actually be forced to pull their finger out and make something that doesn't die after switching if off a few times.

Using this as an excuse is very sad - another case of 'oh there's a problem, let's just throw more and more money at it. That'll solve it!' (sarcasm).

Unless you're a complete TV addict, leaving your tv on standby overnight will probably mean the tv will spend longer in standby than actually on. That's just plain stupid - you gotta use some common sense. What if you put it on standby before you go to sleep, then don't actually watch tv for the next day at all? Are you telling me it's better for everyone (not just you with your tv) that you leave it on standby for 30-odd hours instead of just getting off your backside and turning it off.

I just don't get it.

People just seem to think electricity just comes from the wall, or from thin air. Then they kick up a fuss when the government plans nuclear power stations to meet the demand for electricity.

If it really is the case that it's beneficial to you and the tv to leave it on all the time, or on standby, then seriously consider your lifestyle - is it really that healthy to use the tv to such an extent? Try going for a walk in, you know, fresh air? Spend time with friends. Read a book. Write a book.

Frank_Rizzo




msg:3006915
 10:37 am on Jul 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

Bhonda,

I think you are missing the point: Continually switching off an on a device will drastically shorten it's life span.

Switching off a TV each night rather than leave it in standby will cost Johnny Couchpotato more in the long run in purchasing TV's than in electricity.

Manufacturers can not do anything about this unless they use something like gold stranded / platinum edged / diamond tipped components. The result being that a 299 TV will now cost 2,999.

bhonda




msg:3006923
 10:48 am on Jul 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hmm...

I guess that'll be the way it'll go, then. It's like what happened with washing machines, dishwashers, etc. It's recommended that newer, more expensive models are used because they are more energy efficient.

This will turn into a whole new NIMBY thing (Not in my back yard). One day you'll have a choice to make...either you stop watching as much tv and you risk turning it off occasionally, or you face having a nuclear power station sat down your road where the playing fields used to be. (Ok, a tad exaggerated, but you get the point). What's the priority? TVs that don't last as long, or not having enough fuel for hospitals, aircraft, businesses?

Just think of the bigger picture - if nothing's done about this now, are we deemed to a future of having everything with a circuit never to be turned off.

When the cost of electricity sky-rockets, as it will fairly soon, I think everyone will change their views on what to turn off and what to leave on.

I think it should be a practise we get into sooner rather than later.

Just thinking of the children here!

zCat




msg:3006936
 11:17 am on Jul 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

Continually switching off an on a device will drastically shorten it's life span

Can anyone back this up definitively? I used to think that too, but somewhere along the line I got persuaded differently, can't remember how though. I would like to know definitively one way or the other.

My personal experience is that none of the items I switch on or off regularly appear to have suffered any problems.

My naive, non-engineers assumption is that the electronics industry has had a good half-century to gain experience with the power surge that comes with the natural act of say switching on a television, and if this is shortening my tv's lifespan I want to know why.

oneguy




msg:3006945
 11:28 am on Jul 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

Switching off a TV each night rather than leave it in standby will cost Johnny Couchpotato more in the long run in purchasing TV's than in electricity.

As well, you also have to calculate the cost to produce the components of that TV, put it together, and get it to market. You can convert money to electricity, or convert electricity to money, but you have to count those costs in some fashion or you're only playing with one side of an equation. In this case, it sounds like they want to conveniently measure everything in electricity. Anything not measured in electricity (like wages to makers of TVs, gas and boats for shipping TVs, disposal of old TVs) is ignored. Hmmm... all of those things also consume electricity.

I own the rubbish, and will do with it as I please. I don't care that if I recycle it, it'll be better for my fellow man'.

This is a case of society being too, or entirely, self-centred. If people were actually responsible as to how they used electrical equipment, it'd never have gotten to this point.

I leave some lights on around my residence all night long. It makes my fellow man less likely to steal from me or attempt to harm me. That's not cool, but it's the reality I live in.

bhonda




msg:3006971
 11:46 am on Jul 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

Anything not measured in electricity (like wages to makers of TVs, gas and boats for shipping TVs, disposal of old TVs) is ignored.

There's a difference between the business costs of a tv-producer, and the cost of the almost finite supply of electricity that we've all got to share. I'm not gonna be too chuffed if my electricity costs go up because other people can't turn their tv off. If it costs them more in buying a new tv a week before it was gonna die anyway, so be it. I doubt 'watching tv' consists of a vital element to life, and so should be covered by the user's expendable income. Electricity for things like lights, heating, etc are required, and shouldn't be affected by other people's ideas that turning their tv will damage it.

Syzygy




msg:3007118
 1:19 pm on Jul 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

Relative to this, this morning it was announced on the BBC [news.bbc.co.uk] that Essex County Council (UK) will, with a view to saving energy, start switching street lamps off - at night!

Syzygy

oddsod




msg:3007272
 1:48 pm on Jul 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

Britain to ban standby ...

Idea: Ban standby governments.

oneguy




msg:3008832
 1:57 am on Jul 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

There's a difference between the business costs of a tv-producer, and the cost of the almost finite supply of electricity that we've all got to share.

Electricity isn't almost finite, just inelastic. It also competes with other fuel sources. We can turn many things into electricity.

The point is that when someone says something "wastes" power, they need to take into account all of the activities involved in their solution. Why talk about a solution where many of the consequences are ignored? If a solution is a good one, no one would object to exploring such things. Since they can be measured, simply deciding they're insignificant isn't good enough. At the same time, many simple solutions have unintended consequences.

RonPK




msg:3009559
 5:00 pm on Jul 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

constantly turning on and off equipment such as TV's will shorten the lifespan.

My TV is 15 years old and still functioning. On the other hand, I used to have an ADSL modem which broke down after switching it on and off every day in 15 months. So maybe some equipment already has a better design than other.

Related issue: if a TV breaks down, one could try to have it repaired in stead of buying a new one...

mcavic




msg:3009578
 5:20 pm on Jul 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

found this article about leaving TVs on standby.

He warns that most TVs should not be put on stand-by for very long ... Most televisions can be put on standy-by safely for just a few hours at a time.


Okay, wait, wait a minute. Someone in the UK please explain this to me. What does the stand-by button on your TV do? Does it keep it hot while it's not being watched? That's a different issue than the soft switches that every electronic device has.

My TV has "off" and "on". When I turn it off, it's still using a very small amount of electricity because it has a remote control and a clock, but it's cold. That's how TV's and video devices should work. So, do I agree or disagree with the government?

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