Accuracy of the Wattson energy monitor

After some problems with the Wattson energy monitor this afternoon – where it showed reading of around 150 watts (we never use that little electricity) – i moved the clamp and now it shows a more realistic usage


But this leads me to question the accuracy of the measurements – just look at the graph – it seems unlikely that the real usage fluctuates as regularly as on the graphs.

So can we deduce that the readings are around */- 10% and that the “real reading” is a median of the curve?

Crunchgear tests their biggest bit of kit yet – a Range Rover

The first time I have seen a tech blog test a Range Rover :

Let’s take a look at the 2010 Range Rover Supercharged infotainments systems because after all, shopping for in-vehicle technology is just about as important as feeling out the powertrain and suspension. Often these creature comforts can make or break a vehicle. But not the Range Rover Supercharged. Nope. Even though the infotainment stack is antiquated and the LCD dash cluster is nothing more than a novelty, the rest of the vehicle more than makes up for these letdowns.

See, the center LCD screen that controls media functions and navigation feels like a carry-over from a 2008-ish vehicle and that’s not good considering this 2010 Range Rover prices out north of $100k. The whole user interface feels a bit off. The system isn’t missing anything per se, but is just poorly designed. The layouts have strange control schemes, many of the menu’s only have one option, and the navigation looks like something from a department store GPS. Yes, it could be so much better, but I still love this truck.

Take the fancy-pants LCD dash cluster. It’s novel, I’ll give it that, but it’s not all that functional in practice. It has none of the sweet functions of the Jaguar’s implementation. It simply displays two round analog dials with a menu system between them. The Range Rover’s cousin, Jaguar, also uses an LCD screens for some models but features some nifty tricks such as replacing the fuel gauge with navigation maps on the fly. There’s none of this on the Range Rover’s version. Only during one off-road mode does the right analog dial scoot over a bit to display the vehicle’s differential settings.

[From The Gadgetry Inside the 2010 Range Rover Supercharged: Sadly Disappointing [Video]]

VPhase – how to not save energy

The Sunday Times mentioned a device called Vphase – (Home page 27 – Sept 26th 2010)

Across Europe the agreed statutory range for voltage is 207V to 253V. In the UK voltage is typically around 245V. Household appliances must be designed to operate satisfactorily within the European statutory range. Many of the appliances we use regularly will use less energy at lower voltages. VPhase has developed a new innovative and unique smart technology that enables voltage optimisation to be cost effectively introduced into the home. The VPhase unit reduces and stabilises the voltage at the property to a level within statutory limits but below the voltage that is usually supplied by power companies, in the UK the VPhase output is typically 220V.

[From How does VPhase work – VPhase]

So what it does it give you 220V out – and reducing the output of your lightbulbs etc. – IMHO some of this is real savings (in power supplies that are inefficient), but how much?

I got out my trusty multimeter, and in our house the mains are at 226 Volts – and assuming the Vphase it not 100% efficient – but let’s say 95% efficient, it can theoretically reduce the mains voltage by 5 Volts – or 2%. And of course some energy is consumed by the Vphase itself…

So for anyone in this neighbourhood – not really worth even looking at.

Btw. our average consumption is around 1.5 Kw – 2% would give us a saving of 30 Watts. And as they say themselves “Many of the appliances we use regularly will use less energy at lower voltages” – so I can categorically state that we would save less than 50% of this (ie.e 15 watts) on average if we were lucky.

Austin Seraphin on the iPhone for the Blind

I had no idea about the usability for blind and the iPhone :

Moving, beautiful story:

Last Wednesday, my life changed forever. I got an iPhone. I consider it the greatest thing to happen to the blind for a very long time, possibly ever.

This is from June. Last week, he bought an iMac. (Via Andy Baio.)

Update: Fireballed; here are links to Google’s cached versions of his pieces about the iPhone and iMac.

[From Austin Seraphin on the iPhone for the Blind]

New Ardunio Ethernet

Wow – upload via TFPT!

Arduino Ethernet
An Arduino Board with integrated Ethernet interface and micro-sd connector has been in the works for a while.
We have incorporated some of the feedback we got from the last ethernet shield and have created a new bootloader that lets you upload code to the board via TFTP and discover them on the network via a broadcast protocol. This board can be powered over the ethernet cable through an optional PoE power supply module that’s standards compliant.

[From Arduino Blog » Blog Archive » Dinner is Ready]

New Arduinos

It looks like there are a new generation of Arduino’s in the making :

The new family of Arduino Boards will be officially presented at the Maker Faire – New York to happen at NY’s Hall of Science, September 25 & 26, 2010. Massimo Banzi, Tom Igoe, and Dave Mellis, will represent the Team. We are not having a booth at the Faire; some of our distributors are, check the list of exhibitors to find out which companies will be present.[From Untitled]

A beautiful Arduino based clock

A really beautifully made wall clock – based on a arduino :

How the Equinox Clock was made
No comments // Aug 30th, 2010 // Side Projects
For people interested in how the Equinox clock was made a short description:

The most important parts:
Arduino Mini Pro
USB-Serial converter
12x TLC5940PWP (SMD) Led drivers
DS1307 + battery to keep track of time
Loads of circuitboards (12 black ones and 60 white ones)


[From How the Equinox Clock was made |]