Owl Wireless Electricity Monitor
The Owl CM119 consists of two parts, the first magnetically wraps round a wire from your meter this ends in a wireless sender (powered by 3x‘AA’ batteries supplied). The wireless signal is sent the second unit that displays a range of information this can be up to 30metres (ideal conditions) away and this is also powered by 3x‘AA’ batteries (also supplied). Just noting how your current usage jumps when you switch on the kettle can be a sobering experience for the bill payer.
There is a one metre lead from the meter that connects to the base of the unit (11x7x2cm). There are in fact three channels and according to the one you select you select one of three connections. This unit can be screwed onto a wall as a small holder is provided that the unit can slide into.
Once both units have their batteries inserted and you have selected a wireless channel press a button on the unit to link it to the display unit.
The display unit is 11.5x10.5x2.5cm and the black on grey display is 6.5x7.5cm. This can show up to three lines of information. To me the top line shown as cost in pence per hour is the normal top line and largest as it has 3cm numerals. The right half of the bottom line has total cost (1.5cm numerals) while the left half is sub divided into two and displays different things including time/date and even the temperature in either Centigrade or Fahrenheit.
Initial setup is rather fiddly and while it can cope with up to three price bands based on time it cannot as far as I can tell cope with the sort of bill I get that charges an amount of the total units at one price and the remainder at another. These figures seem to vary on each bill so working out an accurate figure – for me anyway – is not possible.
I however use it to see how the basic figure varies when an item is switched on and off. As an example turn on the toaster and the normal background figure jumps by a factor of four. So why not go round and turn off anything not needed, certain things like a PVR need to be on standby or they cannot record but a TV can be turned off when not in use rather than going on standby. Once you achieve your ‘tick over’ cost then add things one by one and then you know the cost of say the tumble dryer (if you dare) boiling a kettle (just boil what you need not a full kettle) and if you continue like that then the Owl meter will have soon earned its cost back. Another example my normal background reading for always on things and the computer reads under 5 but add the tumble dryer and its 21, now that really should make the long dry summer days to start appearing.
The Quick Start guide is a single large sheet of double sided paper broken into 11 parts with at least one diagram for each and bullet pointed instructions beside each. I did say 11 parts but item seven that covers setting up the display is broken into five parts and while it does cover everything, nowhere could I find a way to go back without working through everything sequentially again.
For those who prefer to be more analytical about usage then Owl do a USB Connect module 13.5x6.5x4.5cm that receives data and allows you to download information via USB lead to provided software that stores results on a PC, so you can easily look back over a period and find your peaks and troughs of electricity usage.
For most I suspect just wandering with the Owl Wireless Meter will open your eyes to where your money is going. I know my background figure and during the day what is added by the PC or the TV should it be on. I can see when the PVR starts recording as the metered use will rise. I can even see when the pump for the central heating cuts in just by having the metre near to hand.
Certain things will probably surprise you as to the amount of electricity they consume, use with care and then save money and the by product you reduce your carbon footprint and then the planet may even be saved for your children’s children.
Available from this link for £34.95 http://www.theowl.com/index.php?page=about-owl
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