Product Review (August 2005) - Seasonic
Power Angel AC Monitoring Instrument

Have 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.

Design
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.


Voltage

Current

Watts

Volt-Amps

Frequency

Power Factor

Kilowatt Hours

Time

Display Modes
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.

Conclusion
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.

- Kevin Nakano





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Review at a Glance


Seasonic - PowerAngel AC Monitor

Special Features

  • Help to forecast and manage your electric bill.
  • Monitor AC power quality to protect sensitive instruments.
  • Choose the correct Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) based on real VA needs.
  • Pocket-sized, light and stylish design.
  • Use it anywhere with any 120VAC appliance.
  • Very easy to use.
  • 8 power measurement functions.


  • Company Information
    Sea Sound Electronics, Inc.
    1330 Mountain View Circle, BLDG F
    Azusa, CA 91702
    Phone: 626-969-9966
    Fax: 626-969-9986
    Email: usa@seasonic.com
    Website www.seasonicusa.com

    Model Number: SSM-1508RA
    Source: Manufacturer Supplied
    MSRP: $35

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