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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 07-10-2014, 5:19 AM
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Default Curious about utility bills.

For you guys that have all this radio gear, what does it do to your electric bill?

I don't have any gear at all, but I can tell winter or summer if I do something that burns more power by looking at the KWhrs used each month. Certain kitchen appliances or tools in the garage (compressor, welder) will make a difference, even with occasional use. Even leaving a computer on all the time, or a change in TV usage makes a difference.

When you have a dozen radios in use, especially higher power ones, there has to be a price in power usage.

Have you tried just shutting everything off for a while to see how much your power usage drops?
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Old 07-10-2014, 8:37 AM
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I've never tested, but there shouldn't be much of a difference in your power bill.

With radios that are receiving, they barely pull any power. You're always going to be receiving more than you transmit, and even an HF radio transmitting at 100W doesn't use that much electricity.
Radios are not heavy appliances like a hot water heater, furnace, or refrigerator. These items usually pull heavy loads of power for long periods of time. Radios don't pull that kind of load.

Interesting question though, I'd be curious to know if anyone has any hard numbers on the amount of power used in the average amateur radio station.
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Old 07-10-2014, 6:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Confuzzled View Post
When you have a dozen radios in use, especially higher power ones, there has to be a price in power usage.
Having a dozen scanners sitting there listening, it's not going to add a whole lot to the bill. I don't run a lot of radios 24/7, but I do have some test equipment that never gets shut off, and that adds about $75 to my bill every month.

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Originally Posted by Confuzzled View Post
Have you tried just shutting everything off for a while to see how much your power usage drops?
I haven't bothered. Things like the frequency standard for the lab never get turned off. I'll gladly pay whatever it takes to keep that warmed up and on line.
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Old 07-11-2014, 12:05 PM
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Default turn a radio off ???

ok i turn them off at night.
one of my radios says it uses 18 watts so i would need 5 to use the power of a 100 watt bulb.
i think the t.v. uses more power
to really find out more they make a watt meter, something like kill-a-watt.
with that and a little math it all adds up.
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Old 07-11-2014, 1:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Confuzzled View Post
When you have a dozen radios in use, especially higher power ones, there has to be a price in power usage.
I generally have a dozen or so scanners, several HF radios and wide band recievers, and quite a few computers, running (mostly) 24/7, as well as lighting, TV, weather station etc. in my shack. As others have mentioned, I'm not sure it adds up to all that much.... but I suppose that's a relative observation based on your overall power consumption.

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Originally Posted by Confuzzled View Post
Have you tried just shutting everything off for a while to see how much your power usage drops?
I have a very large and very busy household (5800+ sq ft), and my electric usage regularly reaches $800 - $1000 per month year round (electricity not used for heat).

In my situation it probably wouldn't even be noticeable if everything in my shack was turned off for a month. I'm not sure anyone would even notice if I was gone for that month!

.
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Old 07-11-2014, 1:31 PM
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Originally Posted by fxdscon View Post

I have a very large and very busy household (5800+ sq ft), and my electric usage regularly reaches $800 - $1000 per month year round (electricity not used for heat).


.

oH MY god..Ive got about 3600SF..Plus an active barn,and Chicken coop..I top out at around 150-160..


WOWZERS!..I thought our C3-H8 bill was high...
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Old 07-11-2014, 1:42 PM
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WOWZERS!..I thought our C3-H8 bill was high...
That peaked at an incredible all time high here last winter.
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Old 07-12-2014, 12:38 AM
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Id say all my big gang chargers and maintainers for radios and power tools probably draw more than my actual radios.
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Old 07-12-2014, 1:05 AM
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If I wasn't spending the time on radios I'd end up powering some other electronic gadget so, the radios may well be saving me money.

If you're really curious when you get equipment also get an wall outlet watt meter (kill-a-watt seems to be a popular one), to see just how much you are using. Then of course the meter is causing a drain too and the question starts all over again....

The bill comes in Kilowatt hours and all the receive stuff only draws milliwatts, some bill doesn't even break down far enough to see that change. I did have an old computer running the feed back in the day, that computer I think made about a $10-20/month difference in the bill, but with all the other household variables it was hard to tell.
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Old 07-22-2014, 8:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Confuzzled View Post
For you guys that have all this radio gear, what does it do to your electric bill?

I don't have any gear at all, but I can tell winter or summer if I do something that burns more power by looking at the KWhrs used each month. Certain kitchen appliances or tools in the garage (compressor, welder) will make a difference, even with occasional use. Even leaving a computer on all the time, or a change in TV usage makes a difference.

When you have a dozen radios in use, especially higher power ones, there has to be a price in power usage.

Have you tried just shutting everything off for a while to see how much your power usage drops?
It has been decades since I have not had radios running, so I really have no idea what they do to my power bill. In general I have more radios on 24 hours a day now, but they use less energy than when I ran primarily tube gear, so for the radios themselves it is probably a wash. However, more of my radios are computer controlled or SDR based, and I suspect the extra computers use more energy than all my radios combined. I have 4 full size computers that are on 24 hours a day, and several more that come on when I am actually setting at the gear.

For sure when I power up one of the big amps the meter turns faster, but the duty cycle for that is pretty low (you listen far more than you transmit) so I would suspect a modest increase when I am very active.

T!
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Old 07-22-2014, 9:13 AM
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FWIW, My KILL A WATT EZ:

Amazon.com: P3 International P4460 Kill A Watt EZ Electricity Usage Monitor: Home Improvement

Calculates my monthly shack usage at $13.34 per month.

My computer and radios run @ 16 hrs a day, and I do not TX.
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Old 07-22-2014, 10:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fourthhorseman View Post
oH MY god..Ive got about 3600SF..Plus an active barn,and Chicken coop..I top out at around 150-160..


WOWZERS!..I thought our C3-H8 bill was high...
Whoa! Mine was double that (300-450$) during the summer in a 1300sq ft condo (A/C, Phoenix AZ)

but back to the topic- I thought transceivers, especially the high powered ones use a lot of power??

And what does the OP mean by "high"- if my bill went up fifty dollars more than usual that would be a big deal to me.
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Old 07-22-2014, 11:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fleef View Post
I thought transceivers, especially the high powered ones use a lot of power?
They do...when they are transmitting. Depending on your operating habits, you may only be transmitting 5% of the time. The rest of the time you are most likely either receiving or muted, both of which draw considerably less power than transmitting.
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Old 07-22-2014, 2:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fleef View Post
I thought transceivers, especially the high powered ones use a lot of power??
Well if you are transmitting at 50 watts on VHF you are probably going to draw less than a 100 watt incandescent bulb does when it is on. And you are likely to be transmitting only around ten or twenty percent of the time the transceiver is switched on. At VHF even 50 watts is usually over kill.

On the other hand if you are pumping out a kilowatt on HF and indulging in long ragchews the your power bill will be noticeably higher I imagine.
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Old 07-22-2014, 8:37 PM
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A 120 volt, 100 watt lightbulb draws 0.8 amps. Your power consumption is nominally 100 watts.

Most 50 watt VHF radios running on 13.8 volts draw 10-15 amps. Your power consumption is 138-207 watts plus the inefficiency in the power supply.

The difference is that you may leave the 100 watt lightbulb on for hours at a time, so it's power consumption is continuous. On the other hand, you will typically only transmit 5% of the time, so your power consumption will occasionally peak at a value higher than the lightbulb, but most of the time your receive power consumption will be much less.
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Old 07-22-2014, 9:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W9BU View Post
A 120 volt, 100 watt light bulb draws 0.8 amps. Your power consumption is nominally 100 watts.

Most 50 watt VHF radios running on 13.8 volts draw 10-15 amps. Your power consumption is 138-207 watts plus the inefficiency in the power supply.
I'm not sure what you are trying to say here. The light bulb draws 100 watts of power. My Icom 718 draws 20 amps at 13.8 volts for full (100 watt) output, or about 270 watts. In my room as I type I have three 150 watt bulbs running, not to mention a CRT television.

My UHF radio is specified to draw 14 amps at full output (65 watts) at 13.8 volts so that's 193 watts. But i usually run at 25 watts. And neither radio is transmitting anything like as much time as the light bulbs are shining.

I will save more using more efficient light bulbs than the minor cost of my radio transmissions. And, since my house is heated electrically the vast majority of what I lay out each month for electricity goes to heating. So long as the temperature outside is low enough to require heating from the baseboard radiators the energy "wasted" as heat by the other electronic gear in the house will just mean that the radiators are on less often, so the "waste" is basically free anyway.

In the summer months my bill is nice and low thanks to there being no need to run the electric heating.
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Old 07-23-2014, 5:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed_Seedhouse View Post
I will save more using more efficient light bulbs than the minor cost of my radio transmissions.
I agree.

The OP seemed concerned about the cost of electricity to run his radios. While a typical HF or VHF/UHF radio may consume more power when they are transmitting than a 100 watt lightbulb, the point is that the radios won't be transmitting all the time. The lightbulb presents a continuous load while the radios do not.
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Old 07-23-2014, 10:53 AM
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There used to be an old say, "Why doesn't Rolls Royce put window stickers on their cars?"

The answer....

"If you have to ask the price, you can't afford it!"
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Old 07-23-2014, 8:55 PM
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I don't worry about the cost of the power bill. I run power but I do have a Ham Radio friend who is all solar. What kills me is sending money to Ham Radio Outlet (HRO). Every time I turn around there is a new toy I would like to buy. It's very addictive. .
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