updated 01:05 pm EST, Sat January 10, 2009
Devices manage power hogs
Tech startup Tricklestar has introduced two new devices aimed at energy wasting home electronics. By one estimate, idle game consoles and other devices cost US consumers $1 billion each year. Inserted between the wall outlet and a power strip, the PC TrickleSaver senses when a computer is powered down, and shuts off peripheral devices like printers and scanners. The Universal TrickleSaver works the same way with high-power devices like televisions.
The PC TrickleSaver plugs in to the USB port of any Mac, Windows or Linux computer, and requires no software drivers. Using current-sensing technology, the TrickleSaver works in a master/slave configuration. The PC is the master, controlling a slave power strip for peripherals. The company sells an accessory switch that allows users to shut down the peripherals even when the computer is in use.
The Universal TrickleSaver addresses one of the biggest energy wasters in a typical home -- video game devices left on, or in standby mode when not in use. Using a television as the Master device, a TrickleSaver automatically shuts off connected consoles, DVD players and set-top boxes. A recent report by the National Resources Defense Council said idle Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii consoles cost the average user $100 a year in wasted electricity.
The $25 PC TrickleStar is expected to be available late next month, while the Universal Tricklestar is due in late Spring for $35. The accessory PC switch will sell for $13. Company executives claim that videogame users could save enough electricity to pay for the device in a few months, while PC users typically break even within a year.