:Anybody familiar with them? Is the "EZ" (model P4460) worth an
:extra $15 over model P4400?
:I want to see how much electricity my freezers, TV sets, computers,
:etc are *really* using, plus check the frequency stability of my
:portable generator and that little inverter than I mounted in my truck.
I bought the P4400 in February of 2008. I left it plugged into a power
strip and plugged my desktop computer's power strip (and etc.) plugged
into the Kill-a-Watt meter, measuring power draw (watts), for an
indefinite time. It stopped working. It came back to life, don't
remember the details, but leaving it off and unplugged for a while, it
started working somehow. Someone said they thought that the meters
aren't designed to be used in this way, so I stopped doing it.
I've found that the P4400 (don't know about the other(s)) doesn't
measure low power draw at all accurately. IOW, if your device is drawing
3-4 watts, say, the P4400 doesn't give you anything like an accurate
reading. I only know this because I have a far more accurate way of
measuring power draw, which I have used for years. The P4400 is a lot
easier to use, but my system is much more accurate and I feel I can
depend on it more. It's a simple thing I put together for next to
1. I already had a decent digital multimeter that measures AC amps,
easily converted into watts (amps x 120 volts = watts). It cost me
around $100 in the early 1990's.
2. I bought a couple of banana plugs that will fit in the multimeter's
input jacks and attached them to a length of AC two conductor cord,
around 6 feet long. The other end of this ~6 foot length of cord is
soldered (both leads) to either end of a cut wire in a short extension
cord. IOW, I cut one wire in the middle of that extension cord and
connected the cut ends to the cord, the other end of which has the
banana plugs. Plugging the banana plugs into the multimeter first
(ALWAYS do it this way or you will likely cause a dangerous short !), I
THEN plug the extension cord into a power outlet and then a device into
the female end of the extension cord. The multimeter gives me the
current draw and simple arithmetic gives me the watts. Amps x 120 watts.
Using this system I determined that the P4400 is useless for low draw
measurement. I don't remember the cutoff where the P4400 starts being
useful. I assume that this holds true for all of them and that I don't
have a lemon here.
Email: dmusicant at pacbell dot net