Thursday, January 17, 2008

Low Cost Entertainment Control

It’s amazing how much energy vampire electronics can consume. A DVD player powered on while playing a DVD can draw about 12 watts and half that when turned off and still plugged in. A computer on standby takes about 65 Watts.

As I have several entertainment systems, including a laptop, plugged in all year the cost can be over $100 (power modules for laptops are notoriously inefficient as are most transformer-less power supplies). Buying a control center can be very expensive, so I decided to convert an old entertainment system as a power center. Someone gave me an old TV satellite control unit to which I stripped out all of the inside parts, yielding some useful components to stash in my parts draw. On the back, I cut out some slots to place six power sockets. On the front I mounted four switches, one to power the entertainment systems, one to power the laptop, one to power a transformer to switch on a hurricane lamp fitted with LED’s and one to power a 5-volt transformer to energize a USB socket. The USB socket only has the power lines connected and together with a headphone socket mounted on the front I can plug in an MP3 stick player.

The transformers are mounted internally and on the back I placed appropriate connectors for the lamp as well as audio sockets for the MP3 connection to a power amplifier.

So now I can control several devices with the flick of a switch.

Post Note: I've also added an HD radio to this.

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