you ever wanted to monitor the power characteristics of your computer or an A/V
component? Okay, maybe it wasn't your highest priority, but many consumers including
myself have had an interest in the power characteristics of system components.
Measuring AC power involves more than just simple voltage and current numbers
due to reactive loads. Measuring Power Factor is important when determining
how much real power is required to supply a component. Seasonic has introduced
a clever product called the PowerAngel that measures a variety of power parameters.
The PowerAngel plugs into any standard outlet and monitors the line and connected
equipment. It is designed to handle up to 15 amps (1875 Watts) and displays Volts,
Amps, Watts, VA, Frequency, Power Factor, Kilowatt
Hours and total Hours connected. The large 3-1/2 digit LCD display
provides information on any of the eight selectable parameters. The PowerAngel
can help identify power hungry equipment and reduce electricity cost by measuring
instantaneous power and accumulated kilowatts-hours. The unit measures 5-1/4"
x 2-3/4 x 1-1/2" (HxWxD) and plugs into any outlet. Unfortunately, it blocks
the second receptacle when placed on the wall.
The PowerAngel is a clever design that is simple to use, providing users with
important power related information. The large sturdy housing contains the microprocessor
and data acquisition system with sufficient computing power to calculate secondary
data based on voltage (V), current (I), time and the phase relationship between
V and I. Unfortunately, there is no backlight on the display or on the buttons,
so the unit must be used in a well lit environment. Both the plug and outlet on
the PowerAngel include a ground conductor for components that use it. The five
front buttons used to select the power parameters come in two different colors,
blue and orange. The three left blue buttons are used to select Volts, Amps, VA
and Watts. The last two buttons select line frequency (HZ), Power Factor, KWh
(kilowatt-hours) and total accumulated hours. Unlike the first two buttons, the
remaining three buttons have dual functions used to toggle between two different
parameters when pressed. The unit itself draws very little current and does not
significantly contribute to the overall data being measured.
The PowerAngel has eight display modes. As mentioned, dedicated
buttons are available for measuring Voltage and Current. A single
button toggles between Watts and VA measurements. The Watts
measurement is the true power consumed by the connected unit with the phase relationship
calculated into the reading. If the load is purely resistive then the power is
simply the product of the voltage and current and the power factor would be 1.
However, most loads are not purely resistive, but have inductive and capacitive
properties causing the current to shift in phase with respect to the voltage.
This results is a PF (power factor) of less than 1. The VA measurement
is simply the product of voltage and current without regard to the phase relationship.
The second dual-function button measures line frequency and power factor. The
last button toggles between KWh (kilowatt-hours) and total accumulated hours.
The KWH (kilowatt-hour) data is the total wattage measured over time.
The Seasonic PowerAngel is an inexpensive tool that can help users determine
the power needs of their components. This can ultimately save money if wasted
power can be controlled by the user. The ability to measure VA, Watts and Power
Factor help to quickly identify products with serious voltage and current phase
shifts. This easy to use product is available for only $35 and comes highly recommended
for those interested in taking these types of measurements. The PowerAngel is
an excellent low-cost addition to your test equipment inventory.