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#1
Okay, so you can all me a noob at this but I really have no idea.

Basically, where i live they have installed new "smart meters" that means between 7am and 7pm, any electrical device i use costs 3x as much as it normally would. This being said, my dad has decided that I cannot jam at these times cause my amp costs to much money. I can only use low voltage devices such as pc, toaster, microwave etc. My amp is a Marshall Mode four (Mf350) I need to know if playing through my amp is really using that much more than a simple pc so i can argue with him and be able to play during the day.

Output is 350 watts RMS into 8ohms.

The amp information is here
http://img3.musiciansfriend.com/dbase/pdf/man/m_482741.pdf

Someone help!
#2
look at the back of the amp and look at the input specs, because that's how much it's drawing in. according to that pdf, from the mains input it wants 120V and 820 Watts.
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#4
Your toaster is probably 1000W. Your amp pulls 820W from the wall cranked to 10.
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#5
i dunno what your pc pulls power wise, but i know mine under load (while im gaming) is pulling a average of 500-600 watts, but then again, i do have a pretty beefy pc. plus most microwaves ive seen are 1000w microwaves.

another thing you can do is get a smaller practice amp, i don't have the same problem you do with power consumption, but when i get the inkling to play and not wake up my neighbors i use a little 5 watt tubed blackstar 1x12 amp that i picked up, doesn't have the same punch as my tubed 2x12, but its still a sweet sounding amp.

http://www.blackstaramps.co.uk/products/ht-5/ht-5c.php
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#6
The maximum rated input on the Mode Four is 820 watts. That's got some padding to it, and I assume you're not playing on 10 all the time, so a more reasonable estimate of power consumption would be around 2-300 watts with the amp on about half volume. You could get an ammeter to check more accurately.

Comparatively, your PC probably runs between 200 and 400 watts (assuming you have an LCD display) and your toaster and microwave run about 1200. An LCD TV runs about 100-200 unless it's huge, and a PS3 draws 190 watts.

Light bulbs are labeled with their wattage, and are a good gauge of electrical use; you can easily offset your amp's power draw by replacing 3 or 4 incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents - and that's assuming you're playing your amp as often as the lights are on - not a likely scenario.

We can break it down further if you'd like. Let's get some numbers!
Peak pricing on a smart meter for Toronto is 10.7 cents per kilowatt/hour. (source)
So, we'll say you play your amp for 6 hours a day on 5, drawing a very generous 400 watts. That's 2.4 kilowatt/hours, or 25.68 cents per day. Let's say you play your amp with all the knobs all the way up, with a bunch of pedals in front, and you somehow manage to crack 850 watts - and you do it all 12 peak hours. That's 10.2 kw/h, or $1.09 per day.
#8
Here's the reality.

All the calculations above are correct. And Immaterial.

Your Father said you couldn't do it. You are presumably a minor and do not support yourself.

His house, his rules, end of story.

I seriously doubt getting internet experts to support your position is going to have much effect on his decision...
#9
Why not? If he can show that his amp costs ten cents a day to run, why wouldn't that be a convincing argument that it's not a problem to use?

Hell, he could pay his dad $50 and tell him they're square. I don't see how this wouldn't help. He's not asking for us to tell his dad to let him play, he's asking for information he can use to make an informed request that he be allowed to play guitar during the day. Maybe he'll convince his dad, maybe he won't, but I don't think it's pointless to get some knowledge about the numbers involved.
#10
^^Well when he realizes that the toaster is the true culprit in causing outrageous electrical bills then maybe his whole way of approaching the problem will shift. He's based his rule on completely inaccurate information so I think its reasonable to question it.
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#11
Do any of you really believe this is a 'cost of power' issue?

Really?

Are any of you parents?

I'll concede that it may indeed be the case that his father is simply uninformed about the actual amount of energy consumed and will embrace the correction, but I doubt it...
#12
Yeah, I'd believe it's a cost of power issue.

Dad sees "3x the cost" on the power bill, has a mini-coronary, and tells the kids not to use stuff he thinks uses a lot of power. Amps are loud, loud things generally use a lot of power, he thinks it's a big-draw item.

Maybe it's something else, but isn't it worth trying to help under the assumption that his dad is a reasonable person?
#13
Arby is your dad a tyrant whose word is law?

does he beat you?

Usually parents are reasonable and they like to see their kids not being idiots.
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#14
Quote by Roc8995
Yeah, I'd believe it's a cost of power issue.

Dad sees "3x the cost" on the power bill, has a mini-coronary, and tells the kids not to use stuff he thinks uses a lot of power. Amps are loud, loud things generally use a lot of power, he thinks it's a big-draw item.

Maybe it's something else, but isn't it worth trying to help under the assumption that his dad is a reasonable person?


I understand your point, and have in fact understood it from the beginning.

It's just that experience leads me to believe that more often than not, 'reasonable people' are more the exception than the rule.

Unfortunately.

Quote by AcousticMirror
Arby is your dad a tyrant whose word is law?

does he beat you?

Usually parents are reasonable and they like to see their kids not being idiots.


Do you have anything pertinent to add?
Last edited by Arby911 at Jun 8, 2011,
#15
Quote by Arby911
I understand your point, and have in fact understood it from the beginning.

It's just that experience leads me to believe that more often than not, 'reasonable people' are more the exception than the rule.

Unfortunately.

The TS asked a technical question, he got a technical answer. Getting into family dynamics is hardly the point of this thread or this site for that matter.
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Unless its electronic drums.

BURN THE WITCH!!!!!
#16
Quote by tubetime86
The TS asked a technical question, he got a technical answer. Getting into family dynamics is hardly the point of this thread or this site for that matter.


Valid point.
#18
Shit for $18 just pick up one of those and pay your dad for you kilowatt hours usage. He'll feel like a jackass collecting his $1.38 a week.
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Quote by Raijouta
Unless its electronic drums.

BURN THE WITCH!!!!!
#19
Quote by yummysoup

Basically, where i live they have installed new "smart meters" that means between 7am and 7pm, any electrical device i use costs 3x as much as it normally would.


What madness this is! And also prejudicial to certain sections of the community. If you were in Europe I bet someone would've brought some Human Rights shit to the ECHR. If you're in Europe do that.
#20
Quote by AcousticMirror
people really over estimate the effects of turning shit off.

This.

Quote by Duv
What madness this is! And also prejudicial to certain sections of the community. If you were in Europe I bet someone would've brought some Human Rights shit to the ECHR. If you're in Europe do that.


Keep your libertarian bullshit to yourself.

You pay what the power company tells you to pay.

End of story.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion.

Feel free to express yours so I can make an informed judgement about how stupid you are.
#21
Quote by bubb_tubbs
This.


Keep your libertarian bullshit to yourself.

You pay what the power company tells you to pay.

End of story.


read a study a while ago that showed that the inrush current draw of turning something on and off 10 times a day used more power then just keeping it on all day.
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#22
^ Yeah, it's stuff like hot tub and pool heaters/pumps that are constantly turning on and off that really make people spike with the smart meters.

My bill hasn't changed in 2 years, one with the smart meter.

I have zero sympathy.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion.

Feel free to express yours so I can make an informed judgement about how stupid you are.
#23
Quote by Roc8995
The maximum rated input on the Mode Four is 820 watts. That's got some padding to it, and I assume you're not playing on 10 all the time, so a more reasonable estimate of power consumption would be around 2-300 watts with the amp on about half volume. You could get an ammeter to check more accurately.

Comparatively, your PC probably runs between 200 and 400 watts (assuming you have an LCD display) and your toaster and microwave run about 1200. An LCD TV runs about 100-200 unless it's huge, and a PS3 draws 190 watts.

Light bulbs are labeled with their wattage, and are a good gauge of electrical use; you can easily offset your amp's power draw by replacing 3 or 4 incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents - and that's assuming you're playing your amp as often as the lights are on - not a likely scenario.

We can break it down further if you'd like. Let's get some numbers!
Peak pricing on a smart meter for Toronto is 10.7 cents per kilowatt/hour. (source)
So, we'll say you play your amp for 6 hours a day on 5, drawing a very generous 400 watts. That's 2.4 kilowatt/hours, or 25.68 cents per day. Let's say you play your amp with all the knobs all the way up, with a bunch of pedals in front, and you somehow manage to crack 850 watts - and you do it all 12 peak hours. That's 10.2 kw/h, or $1.09 per day.


way too much information!
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#24
I thought the smart meter could give a readout of hour by hour usage, so, ask your dad if you can play for a specific time every day for a week. Try to pick a time when a lot of other things aren't running(don't use it when someone is watching a big ass TV while making toast and microwaving) Then, examine the data to see if, in fact, your amp is costing a crap ton, and adjust your play time accordingly.
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#25
Quote by bubb_tubbs

Keep your libertarian bullshit to yourself.

You pay what the power company tells you to pay.

End of story.


You wouldn't be so happy if they slapped this on all manufacturers of guitar related equipment, who then had to bump up their prices to cover the additional costs.

It's not about being libertarian, it just seems stupid and arbitrary. If his household have decided to opt into a scheme fine, we do something similar with our phone-line, but TS seems to be suggesting that it's a non-optional geographical thing which is unfair.
#26
Quote by Duv
You wouldn't be so happy if they slapped this on all manufacturers of guitar related equipment, who then had to bump up their prices to cover the additional costs.

It's not about being libertarian, it just seems stupid and arbitrary. If his household have decided to opt into a scheme fine, we do something similar with our phone-line, but TS seems to be suggesting that it's a non-optional geographical thing which is unfair.


Maybe, the whole scheme applies to the whole state or country? Maybe for whatever reason, the country needs electricity for a economically important power-intensive industry that works at night? (I'm remind of Tesla's electricity deal with Colorado)

Whatever the reason, this doesn't seem like its going away because of people causing a scene. The TS asked for some technical assistance, so lets not blow up the matter by sticking to the thread?
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#28
Quote by ragingkitty
Maybe, the whole scheme applies to the whole state or country? Maybe for whatever reason, the country needs electricity for a economically important power-intensive industry that works at night? (I'm remind of Tesla's electricity deal with Colorado)

Whatever the reason, this doesn't seem like its going away because of people causing a scene. The TS asked for some technical assistance, so lets not blow up the matter by sticking to the thread?


OK, well aside from the 'libertarian bullshit' which I stand by...

TS - you should show your dad that you're compensating for your extra cost in some way. Aside from the technological answers above just tell him that you're no longer going to wash, wash your clothes, shave etc, you're going to eat less, and play at night (when everyone's trying to chill-out/sleep). Then you play the game of seeing how long it takes him to crumble.

Or, if this was me I'd go on a psycho go-green thing to piss everyone off. Change all your bulbs to energy saving 2W bulbs that take an hour to turn on, ask your mother to wash all clothes by hand, and whenever anyone uses anything electrical give them a funny look and say "do you really think you should be doing that". Oh and sell your parents' cars.

Then again I am an ass.
#29
Thanks for the information guys, it really helps. The fact that when i jam i'm usually between 5-6ish, and I do pay 400$ rent to my asshole dad. So this really helps a lot.
#30
Quote by greeny23
way too much information!


i was glad he did it. very informative.

it's interesting when people point out incredibly informative and thorough advice as overkill, i would love to get responses like that to my questions. i am usually annoyed by the opposite: vague advice that is heavily generalized and non-specific.
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Last edited by gumbilicious at Jun 10, 2011,
#31
i had no idea, very informative thread.

i liked the part about the gremlins.

I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
Last edited by gregs1020 at Jun 10, 2011,
#32
Quote by yummysoup
Thanks for the information guys, it really helps. The fact that when i jam i'm usually between 5-6ish, and I do pay 400$ rent to my asshole dad. So this really helps a lot.


Dude, trust me. Don't take your dad for granted. Playing your guitar plugged in isn't worth shit compared to that relationship.
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#33
For everyone comparing the 1000W toaster to your amp... You may play your guitar for a couple hours straight. Your toaster will not be running that long. Ever. I know the toaster will draw more power while it's on, but you really can't compare something that draws juice for 30 seconds to an amp that will be on for long periods of time.

That being said, I don't think an amp draws nearly as much power as your dad thinks... However, if you're living in his house you're kinda screwed unless you can make him understand.
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#34
Quote by gregs1020
i had no idea, very informative thread.

i liked the part about the gremlins.



I will rerphrase,
I said my "dad" for simplicity, though its actually a non relative that i live with. Either way this info has been enough to let me explain to him that me paying 400$ rent covers my ass for playing guitar only for several hours during one day of the week. I work full time, and i only get mondays and tuesdays off. So I would only be playing one of these days a week. I calculated the actual cost considering how much it is per kilowatt an hour and if i was blasting it to 10 for 5 hours it would be roughly around 40 cents.
#35
Quote by AcousticMirror
read a study a while ago that showed that the inrush current draw of turning something on and off 10 times a day used more power then just keeping it on all day.
I highly doubt that was a reliable study. Mythbusters proved it didn't work with light bulbs of various kinds. Electric motors are about the only thing that this might apply to, but I highly doubt that running my AC continuous all day would be cheaper that it cycling 10 times during the day. And it probably cycles more than that in the brutal Florida heat.

Bottom line... my bet is study=totally bogus
#36
Sorry to say.. but your amp does draw a lot of power.

Sure a toaster / microwave also draws a lot.. but there not running much more then a minute or so.

That amp is actually losing over half it's input wattage to heat mostly.

As far as the study goes, it is true.. but, there is a threshold. If the in-rush amp current from turning something on is not very high (light bulb), It saves more energy being off then the inrush will ever use. So turning it on and off many times will use less energy then leaving it on. The AC is also another bad example, As the large inrush occurs for the compressor motor, which if the AC is left on, the Compressor cycles many times, Causing the in-rush amp rating to happen often anyway. Turning the AC on and off is essentially the same thing as leaving it running.

The proper test would be something like having a blower motor on your furnace to circulate air. Let it run for 1 hour and check power usage. Then do it again except cycle it on/off/on every 6 minutes (10 times). The on off cycling will cost more and use more energy.

I have started a 250hp motor, shut it down 1/2 hour later. then restarted it 10 minutes afterward. over that hour it used more energy then it does simply running for an entire hour because of the massive in-rush of restarting.

I am an Industrial electrical/mechanical controls Technician
#37
^By my AC example I meant turning the temp down so low that the compressor ran continuous. I think it's pretty obvious that running the compressor continuous vs the normal cycling, the continuous operation would eat more power.

A 250HP motor is an unusual example. In your test was the 250HP running at full load or no load? I can imagine a motor of that size consuming quite a bit of power to spin up. And if you are running it at no load then comparing it's startup energy to it's no load operational energy is pretty much a bogus test to use as an example.
#38
Great answer, Colin.
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#39
No load start to full load operation, This is the reason there are soft starters. The in rush current is so high compared to the full load amp levels that you have to use different protection levels. I have seen motors easily surpass 400% it's full load amp rating when starting.

It's not really unusual, it's just on the opposite side of the light bulb example spectrum, and shows that there is a threshold in between where the theory is correct. How long something is off also makes a huge difference, If our motor was off for 15-20 minutes, then it would have probably used less energy in that hour then continues running.
#40
Quote by ToXyN
No load start to full load operation, This is the reason there are soft starters. The in rush current is so high compared to the full load amp levels that you have to use different protection levels. I have seen motors easily surpass 400% it's full load amp rating when starting.

It's not really unusual, it's just on the opposite side of the light bulb example spectrum, and shows that there is a threshold in between where the theory is correct. How long something is off also makes a huge difference, If our motor was off for 15-20 minutes, then it would have probably used less energy in that hour then continues running.
That's why I put in my original post that it might apply to motors. If you've seen motors using 400% or more during startup then you could conclude that the off/on tradeoff (disregarding wear) would be ~ 4 X Length of startup time. So my next question is.. how long does it take a motor to get to normal operation? Seems like start up would be measured in seconds, which puts the on/off tradeoff at no more than a minute.
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