Power Save 1200 Capacitor

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Anyone seen or tested these systems?

http://www.power-save.com/1200.html

They look inexpensive and the power surge protection alone would be worth it; I've spent well over $300 in UPS and Surge protectors for my audio/video and computer equipment.
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  • System2
    System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
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    Adair Solar and Plumbing

    I was contacted by this Mesa based company today alleging they can install an electrical upgrade, upgrade the A/C ducting, and install a solar water heater all funded through tax incentives and rebates through SRP/APS and the government. The "no out of pocket" sounds a little fishy but I've at least, somewhat been able to find evidence of what their site calls the "Electrical Command Center" is likely the Power-Save-1200 capacitor.

    http://www.adairsolar.com/electrical_command_center.html
    http://www.power-save.com/1200.html

    Anyone familiar with this company or these types of programs? I'm cautious of a scam here.
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,479 admin
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    Re: Power Save 1200 Capacitor

    Has been discussed many times... Take a small piece that is literally true (motor run capacitor to correct the Power Factor for inductive/motor loads) and change that into a false statement about a huge energy saving/power bill reducing over priced, poorly made, metal box with wires.

    Check out this thread starting at post #13:

    Scam Alerts

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,479 admin
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    Re: Adair Solar and Plumbing

    The Adair page is certainly describing a Power Factor Correction Capacitor... As they describe it is "the scam".

    For homes and small businesses, the utilities only charge for the "real power" used by your home (kWatt*Hours). They do not charge for Volts*Amps (or KVAR -- KVAR Kilovolt-Ampere Reactive).

    This is electrical / power terms--but your bill will not change if the PS-1200 is installed or not. Starting at Post #13 of the Scam Alert thread about these units.

    I am going to combine the two new Power Saver 1200 threads since they are closely related.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Windsun
    Windsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
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    Re: Power Save 1200 Capacitor

    Another company apparently owned by the same person "Go Green Solar" received 11 BBB complaints in the past year thus getting a reduced (A-) rating. Most of those complaints were for "product issues" and "selling practices".

    Other than that don''t know much about them, except their prices seem pretty high.

    Draw your own conclusions.
  • System2
    System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
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    Re: Power Save 1200 Capacitor

    Spoke with SRP today and followed up with one of their technical advisors, here is the response:

    Brad,

    Thanks for your email. While taking care of leaking ducts and installing solar water heating can save you money, installing a power factor correction device on a residential service will not. SRP has not physically tested the PowerSave or KVAR Energy Controller so our comments are based upon the information contained in the company’s website. The following statements are taken from the KVAR website and identifies specific conditions that need to exist in order for the device to save the claimed energy.

    http://www.kvarenergysavings.com/powerfactoroptm.htm
    "Depending upon the rate structure of your electric utility, you may be able to save a substantial amount of money on your electric bill. Pay-back period for an equipment purchase including installation cost may be six months up to three years. Utility rate structures that account for reactive power consumption, by either a KVA or var demand usage, or a power factor penalty are the ones that can provide this pay-back."

    http://www.safewireenergy.com/moreinfo.html
    The KVAR EC corrects power factor, by reducing the amount of reactive power (kVAR) that the load draws from the utility company. KVAR EC store the reactive power (kVAR) needed for the creation of the EMF within the inductive load. As the motor operates, this reactive power is "pulled" and "pushed" to and from the KVAR EC by the motor. The amount of reactive power purchased from the utility company by power factor optimization has been greatly reduced, or eliminated.

    SRP does not charge residential customers for reactive power consumption nor do we charge residential power factor penalties. SRP only bills residential customers for the energy used as measured by the electric meter at the house.

    The following US Department of Energy, Energy Star website describes their position on power factor correction devices:
    http://energystar.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/energystar.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=4941
  • RCinFLA
    RCinFLA Solar Expert Posts: 1,484 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Power Save 1200 Capacitor

    Snake oil. How many folks run AC motor with absolutely no mechanical load on it?

    An induction motor draws almost same amps loaded or unloaded. As it is mechanically loaded its power factor improves.

    You can theoretically lower voltage with a triac dimmer when motor is lightly loaded and it will show a better power factor but since you pay for true power not reactive power there is little savings, only very slight reduced IR loss in house wiring. The drop across the triac is true power loss.

    Notice in the demo video he never shows the true power on Kill-A-Watt meter with the box in and out.
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,479 admin
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    Re: Power Save 1200 Capacitor

    Actually, if you go through the videos--there is one where the Kill-a-Watt shows the motor watts dropping from 195 to 179 watts... Which is a ~8% savings on one small motor running no load... Could be real savings. But, I could save 100% by turning off a motor with no useful load too. ;):p

    While most of the videos are pretty "cringe worthy"--The KVAR site actually has a pretty good technical FAQ about Power Factor. It does not go into exactly how they can save 20-40% on somebody's bill--but the rest is OK.

    http://www.kvar.com/1023/power-factor-optimization/

    In the end, KVAR is having consumers speak to how much money they have saved... When it would be real easy for KVAR to document the savings with their own meters as the size/install the hardare. Seem that they are getting customers to make wild savings claims and avoiding false advertising by the company.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • System2
    System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
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    Re: Power Save 1200 Capacitor / Adair Solar

    Yesterday (2/13/10) I had a Rep. from Adair Solar come and explain their systems.

    They combine a solar heat water heater, aeroseal duct sealant sprayed throughout duct work, and a KVAR unit.

    They were offering a retail and model home package - retail price was $12,900, and model home price was $9,850. You receive about $6,400 in incentives and rebates from APS, Federal, and State government in Arizona.

    They claim no out of pocket expense from the fact that the systems are saving you money and the realized savings offset the remaining cost of the system after the rebates and incentives.

    Adair solar GUARANTEES a 30% savings in energy cost - they illustrated the savings with a 40% savings in energy because that is what the Rep said we would more than likely see in our home.

    Not surprisingly, but we qualified for the model home package.

    Any Thoughts?
  • Solar Guppy
    Solar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,989 ✭✭✭
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    Re: Power Save 1200 Capacitor

    Solar water heater is about 4K, you can put in R40 for about 2K in the attic and not only cover the duct work but everything else. KVAR is complete ripoff
  • russ
    russ Solar Expert Posts: 593 ✭✭
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    Re: Power Save 1200 Capacitor

    These guys are like siding salesmen - high pressure most likely - deals you have to take today?

    Get multiple quotes from people you call after doing some research.

    The power save 1200 is a dead giveaway that this bunch are either thieves or fools. Neither of which are the type you want to deal with.

    Everyone else in the business can give you the same deals - these people have nothing special.
  • phred01
    phred01 Solar Expert Posts: 35
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    Re: Power Save 1200 Capacitor / Adair Solar
    chuck08 wrote: »
    Yesterday (2/13/10) I had a Rep. from Adair Solar come and explain their systems.

    They combine a solar heat water heater, aeroseal duct sealant sprayed throughout duct work, and a KVAR unit.

    They were offering a retail and model home package - retail price was $12,900, and model home price was $9,850. You receive about $6,400 in incentives and rebates from APS, Federal, and State government in Arizona.

    They claim no out of pocket expense from the fact that the systems are saving you money and the realized savings offset the remaining cost of the system after the rebates and incentives.

    Adair solar GUARANTEES a 30% savings in energy cost - they illustrated the savings with a 40% savings in energy because that is what the Rep said we would more than likely see in our home.

    Not surprisingly, but we qualified for the model home package.

    Any Thoughts?

    If it sounds too good to be true it probably is
    u will save more by insulating the home and fitting double glazed windows
  • solar_dave
    solar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,397 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Power Save 1200 Capacitor / Adair Solar
    chuck08 wrote: »
    Yesterday (2/13/10) I had a Rep. from Adair Solar come and explain their systems.

    They combine a solar heat water heater, aeroseal duct sealant sprayed throughout duct work, and a KVAR unit.

    They were offering a retail and model home package - retail price was $12,900, and model home price was $9,850. You receive about $6,400 in incentives and rebates from APS, Federal, and State government in Arizona.

    They claim no out of pocket expense from the fact that the systems are saving you money and the realized savings offset the remaining cost of the system after the rebates and incentives.

    Adair solar GUARANTEES a 30% savings in energy cost - they illustrated the savings with a 40% savings in energy because that is what the Rep said we would more than likely see in our home.

    Not surprisingly, but we qualified for the model home package.

    Any Thoughts?

    pretty pricey for solar hot water, ping me on PM and I will hook you up with a fair deal on solar hot water for less than half that, I am not affiliated in anyway other than they did me good on my install. They are just straight shooters and make no fantastic claims. Grain of salt required on any zero out of pocket claims, my nat gas bill offset will take a long time to payback my out of pocket on solar hot water, but MAMA is green and "Happy Wife, happy life". APS has just reduced the rebates BTW.

    I got a power save 1200 installed for free with my solar PV (along with solar attic vents). For the month it was installed before the solar PV was live I really saw no real difference in my bill.

    PS One advantage to solar hot water is the Looooog showers with low guilt.
  • jagec
    jagec Solar Expert Posts: 157 ✭✭
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    Re: Power Save 1200 Capacitor / Adair Solar
    chuck08 wrote: »
    They claim no out of pocket expense from the fact that the systems are saving you money and the realized savings offset the remaining cost of the system after the rebates and incentives.

    Yeesh, someone needs to tell these guys what OUT OF POCKET means.

    I could build a 500 MW nuclear power plant in my backyard, and the sale of power would pay back the installation costs...eventually.

    If there's no out-of-pocket, surely the salesman wouldn't mind if I use their pocket?
  • russ
    russ Solar Expert Posts: 593 ✭✭
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    Re: Power Save 1200 Capacitor

    If there is a local organization that follows rip off artists you might check with them about this company.

    This is like the siding sales groups. Come in with a package - use high pressure sales with lots of smoke & mirrors - get a signature and before the salesman gets back to the office the contract is unloaded on a cheap and useless installer plus the contract is sold to a bank.

    The discounts? Pure BS - it just means they inflated the prices to start with.

    The Power Save 1200 - I just posted on the scams forum links to statements from Energy Star and NREL that this type units are pure BS in a residential setting - if business wants one they should talk to a real electrical engineer.

    Russ
  • SteveK
    SteveK Solar Expert Posts: 387 ✭✭
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    Re: Power Save 1200 Capacitor

    OK, to expose my lack of knowledge a bit more here.

    I love an exposed scam as much as the next guy and I do understand what has been said here (I think). Thanks for the clarification so far. But how does all of this apply to an off-gridder? I've learned that this device does not affect ones' KWH useage on the residential poco meter, and that is what is billed monthly. But the fact that the poco doesn't bill a resi customer for low PF motors seems like an exception to the fact that it does indeed cost the poco more energy to supply resi customers that power. They are just being "nice guys" and not billing for it because it is a low percentage of the total useage?

    How about me for instance. I'm running two low effeiciency motors on my coal stoker, one is the combustion fan and one is the feeder motor. Both of these give me a PF of ~.6. Both of these combined amount to ~2/3's of the daily consumption of my battery supplied power.... So I am the poco here, would a home brewed device similar to the PS1200 help reduce my daily consumption?

    The other load is an enegy star freezer with a PF of .99

    Thanks!
  • mike95490
    mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,583 ✭✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Power Save 1200 Capacitor
    SteveK wrote: »
    OK, to expose my lack of knowledge a bit more here.

    I love an exposed scam as much as the next guy and I do understand what has been said here (I think). Thanks for the clarification so far. But how does all of this apply to an off-gridder? I've learned that this device does not affect ones' KWH useage on the residential poco meter, and that is what is billed monthly. But the fact that the poco doesn't bill a resi customer for low PF motors seems like an exception to the fact that it does indeed cost the poco more energy to supply resi customers that power. They are just being "nice guys" and not billing for it because it is a low percentage of the total useage?

    How about me for instance. I'm running two low effeiciency motors on my coal stoker, one is the combustion fan and one is the feeder motor. Both of these give me a PF of ~.6. Both of these combined amount to ~2/3's of the daily consumption of my battery supplied power.... So I am the poco here, would a home brewed device similar to the PS1200 help reduce my daily consumption?

    The other load is an enegy star freezer with a PF of .99

    Thanks!

    You need a cap for each motor, sized to THAT motor, and for the cap to be engaged only when motor is running.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,479 admin
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    Re: Power Save 1200 Capacitor

    In theory, the poor power factor does not cost you any battery energy. The inverter only uses battery power to run the 0.6 of the current that is doing real work.

    In practice, this costs you in two ways.

    First, most off grid inverters have a watt output rating that is the same as their VA rating. The end result is that the motor with poor power factor is "using/wasting" current that could be used to run other devices.

    Second, heating loses are equal to I^2 * R... So if you had a power factor of 0.5 , that device is using 2x the current but causing 4x the wasted energy as heat.

    The same issues we discussed in Stevek's Honda eu2000i plus battery charger thread are exactly the same issues as your inverter question:

    Question about battery charger selection with EU2000 generator

    So, yes, you could add a properly sized motor run capacitor to bring the power factor to near 0.95 and this will reduce current loading on your inverter (reduced VA usage by motor). And this is a good thing.

    One warning, you need to place the motor run capacitor on the same switch as the motor so the capacitor is on only when the motor is running.

    You do not want to place one genetic size capacitor on the output of the inverter, you run the risk of other problems with the inverter.

    -Bill

    Or see Mike's short answer. 8)
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • SteveK
    SteveK Solar Expert Posts: 387 ✭✭
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    Re: Power Save 1200 Capacitor

    Thanks guys. This looks like low hanging fruit to me. Off to source some caps!
  • mike95490
    mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,583 ✭✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Power Save 1200 Capacitor
    SteveK wrote: »
    Thanks guys. This looks like low hanging fruit to me. Off to source some caps!


    You get the motor RUN caps, not starting caps. Starting caps will give you a big surprise in an hour or so. For a small motor, you may only need 1-5 uF.

    Identical capacitors in series give you 1/2 the label capacitance (& 2x the voltage spec)

    3uF - 3 uF = 1.5 uF
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • RCinFLA
    RCinFLA Solar Expert Posts: 1,484 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Power Save 1200 Capacitor
    SteveK wrote: »
    Thanks guys. This looks like low hanging fruit to me. Off to source some caps!

    http://waterheater.stores.yahoo.net/camorun.html
  • SteveK
    SteveK Solar Expert Posts: 387 ✭✭
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    Re: Power Save 1200 Capacitor

    Hey guys just checking in on this. It works great!

    Like you said it did not reduce the amount of current from the batteries but there was large current savings after the inverter.

    I sourced 2x2MFD and 2x3MFD run caps at my local Grainger. 2x3MFD in parallel reduced my current draw at the combustion motor (24/7 operation) from .49A to .27A, PF from .61 to .95.

    The two 2MFD in parallel raised the feeder motor for .54PF to .74 PF, I need a better combo here.

    Not too shabby I thought!

    Thanks again!
  • jagec
    jagec Solar Expert Posts: 157 ✭✭
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    Re: Power Save 1200 Capacitor

    Nice! It's good to hear about someone who can actually take advantage of power factor correction. Since I'm on the grid, it doesn't make sense for me to worry about it, but I still hate seeing "non-ideal" numbers on my Kill-A-Watt.
  • john p
    john p Solar Expert Posts: 814 ✭✭✭
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    Re: Power Save 1200 Capacitor

    Like you said it did not reduce the amount of current from the batteries but there was large current savings after the inverter.impossible
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,479 admin
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    Re: Power Save 1200 Capacitor

    John,

    Are you saying in your experience that if you have poor power factor on the AC side of an inverter (say electric motors) that the DC input current needs to increase to supply the VA rating of the loads vs the Power (Watt) rating of the loads?

    Adding the capacitors should be simply reducing the out of phase (inductive current) of the motor loads. The power (p=V*I*PF) will remain the same and so the power needed to run the inverter would be the same too as the PF is corrected from 0.6 to near 0.95 -- Granted, adding the caps will have almost no reduction in DC input power to the inverter (slightly more efficient inverter operation with lower VA loads).

    Lowering the poor power factor/high VA loads should reduce the RMS current load presented to the inverter and allow other items to be added to the inverter without hitting the VA rating of the inverter (adding new loads will, of course, increase DC power draw by the inverter).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • john p
    john p Solar Expert Posts: 814 ✭✭✭
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    Re: Power Save 1200 Capacitor

    its a fact i have shown many times to people if you have a bad power factor (say.6) you will definately use more battery current.. I show this usually using examples of different types of CFLs ,, some have far worse power factor than others,, and its easy to note the difference in battery current drawn...
    Having devices with corrected or good by design power factor also lowers the inverter temperature.
    Philips ones seem to have the best power factor. it adds up if you using about 10 of them at same time.
    will try to give actual figures soon .. we have flood problems here at the moment and very busy..
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,479 admin
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    Re: Power Save 1200 Capacitor

    John,

    Oh boy--Sorry to hear that you are in the middle of the flooding. Sounds terrible.

    I know that non-linear current profiles like those from CFL's and non-PF corrected power supplies cannot have the VA issue "fixed" with using the motor run capacitors. It only works with motors and other inductive loads.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • john p
    john p Solar Expert Posts: 814 ✭✭✭
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    Re: Power Save 1200 Capacitor

    yes as i thought i explained its the reason to buy CFLs that have the best power factor. of course correction caps only work on motors.
    the floods very bad here worst in history ,, about 40,000 sqml in my state Queensland alone
  • SteveK
    SteveK Solar Expert Posts: 387 ✭✭
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    Re: Power Save 1200 Capacitor
    john p wrote: »
    its a fact i have shown many times to people if you have a bad power factor (say.6) you will definately use more battery current.. I show this usually using examples of different types of CFLs ,, some have far worse power factor than others,, and its easy to note the difference in battery current drawn...
    Having devices with corrected or good by design power factor also lowers the inverter temperature.
    Philips ones seem to have the best power factor. it adds up if you using about 10 of them at same time.
    will try to give actual figures soon .. we have flood problems here at the moment and very busy..

    John hope you stay dry.

    I'll always listen to more on battery power conservation. It's just not what I've measured here. I unplug the caps and the battery monitor says no diff.

    Steve
  • john p
    john p Solar Expert Posts: 814 ✭✭✭
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    Re: Power Save 1200 Capacitor

    Steve K what exactly do you mean by "the battery monitor" ?
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,479 admin
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    Re: Power Save 1200 Capacitor

    I assume the Trimetric/Xantrex Linkxxx/etc. Amp*Hour meter design to keep track of the battery bank's state of charge (current shunt installed in series with the battery bank).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset