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Electrical Power Analysers & Energy Loggers: How to use a power analyser to measure & record electricity usage and energy consumption.
A power analyser is a type of electrical test tool that can depending on the model, calculate the active power, the apparent power, the power factor, the energetic waste, the resistance, the frequency and both voltage as well as direct and alternating current.
Page top illustration: PCE Instruments PCE 830s Power Analyser.
Electrical Test Equipment: meter to check energy efficiency in energy consumption: Power Analysers
Safety Warning: Opening an electrical panel and approaching any live electrical wiring, devices, & equipment is a dangerous procedure that can damage electrical equipment or worse, cause electrical shock, or even death.
Such procedures should not be undertaken unless the person conducting the examination is trained and competent to avoid electric shock. If the inspector is not trained for this procedure
s/he should never insert any instrument or tool into electrical equipment.
See SAFETY for ELECTRICAL INSPECTORS.
Our photo illustrates the PCE 8000S Power analyser. Detailed safety advice specifically applicable to using VOMs, DMMs and ammeters, including both personal safety and advice to avoid damaging the equipment is found
at DMMs VOMs SAFE USE OF
The following article was adapted & expanded from information provided courtesy Christian Garcia from PCE Instruments.
When talking about energy efficiency, it is generally
understood as a reference to save in energy consumption.
Energy waste reduction in companies, workshops, stores or
even in our homes can be achieved by guaranteeing a proper
performance of heating systems, machinery-tools, appliances
equipment, lighting ( use of low consumption lamps, sunlight
use maximization, etc, ) and by an accurate thermal insulation
of the installations, premises or rooms.
Among the measuring
instruments that can help us to check the adequate use of
energy, they are the power analysers. These devices,
depending on the model, calculate the active power, the
apparent power, the power factor, the energetic waste, the
resistance, the frequency and both voltage as well as direct and alternating current.
Several are able
to connect industrial current converters with different gear ratios. In addition, they have an interface
( in some cases through infrared communication) and software to facilitate the data transference to
the PC, so as to save it and analyze it.
At home using the power analysers we can determine the waste of the most used domestic
appliances, such as a ceramic hob, air conditioning and heating devices, as well as telephones,
chargers and routers and moreover we can measure the waste that comes from the equipment that
remains in standby mode, in order to be aware about the consequences of this fact.
correct saving measures in each case, as changing some devices for others with an energetic tag
guaranteeing their efficiency, shut down the equipment when not used, etc, will help us to decrease
The power factor, calculated using the power analysers, becomes an indicative rate of the energy use
and the energy efficiency of engines or electric devices used both in industry and at home, it is
expressed as the cosine of the angle between the active power (the one used to perform mechanical
work or heat ) and the total power, improving the power factor, losses in energy transmissions can
be reduced and therefore can be saved.
Using the power analysers it is possible to visualize all the electrical parameters and perform the
computation of the energy and power for all the electrical installations, single phase or three phase,
with high accuracy. They control the voltage variations in the electrical network, detect equipment
with excessive energy consumption or peak loads. Currently available on the market, are a wide
range of power meters.
Glossary of Terms You Need to Know when Using a Power Analyser
Definition of Active Power (P)
Power dissipated by a load. It is the average value over time of the instantaneous power of alternating current. It depends on the voltage (V) and the strength of the current (I), and on the cosine Φ , being Φ the angle of the phase displacement between V and I. Measured in Watts.
Definition of Apparent power (S)
Total power in an AC circuit, both dissipated and absorbed/returned. Measured in Volt-Amps (VA).
Definition of Power factor
Ratio between P/S. It is a measure of how effectively the current is being converted into useful work output. It becomes a good indicator of the quality of design and management of an electrical installation.
Question: how can I find why my electricty usage is abnormally high?
I live in an Historic home that had 5 large apartments. I consistently use more electricity than 95 of My neighbors who live in homes.
I unplugged my freezer, Fridge and Stove and turned everything else off and my meter was spinning like crazy while the others were barely moving.
We have a boiler but when it gets cold the other apartments use space heaters to supplement and we do not use space heaters.
We don’t leave computers on and a representative came to look at our meter box ( the first one on the tray) because the lock had been cut. Didn’t find anything but he said there was definitely something going on with the knob and tube.
Last Friday my husband
Picked me up from work and we went to a movie.
My landlady was having an art opening in the cottage attached to the house and all kinds of lights in the cottage and back yard were on. I got home at 11 so no one had been home all day and the following picture shows electrical use that day.
I will also show how my usage goes up with weather and again we do not use space heaters.
Yet on a specific day my usiage will go up
To 1500 kw.
I believe I am paying for other apartments electric but with the Knob and tube how do I prove it?
On Fridays and Saturdays the lawn guy cuts the grass with the electric mower which he plugs into my outside outlet.
And help in how I can see where my electricity is being used would help.
- Anonymous by private email 2017/10/30
Reply: it's not the knob-and-tube wiring unless the circuit is damaged
I'll be glad to try to help sort this out but I don't think that I yet have a clear understanding of the actual problem.
Knob and Tube Wiring and Electrical Usage
First, an electrical circuit that is un-damaged and properly-wired, including a knob-and-tube circuit, does not cause electrical usage to be increased.
Electricity only flows on a circuit when something is being powered by the circuit: lighting, appliances, etc - as you know, since you tried turning some things off.
Your electrician will check for damaged or improper wiring.
Things an Electrician Might Check to Find Electrical Usage Hogs
Next: an electrician, who knows how to do this without being killed or killing someone, can measure the current draw or load on each individual circuit in your apartment, working from your electrical panel. That might show up a surprising user of electricity.
There are two less-common sources of surprise electrical usage, both of which are quite dangerous, and so both should be part of an investigation by your licensed electrician:
1. Bootleged electrical circuits: Sometimes we find, particularly in multi-occupant buildings, that somebody has "bootlegged" electrical power off of someone else's electrical system - to get a free-ride, or out of ignorance.
Similarly, sometimes we find an apartment whose occupant didn't know that her electric meter was also supplying general-use circuits such as a basement utility area powering heating or cooling equipment for the whole building, or perhaps an electric clothes dryer.
2. Damaged electrical circuits: Sometimes there has been accidental damage to a circuit, such as a metal fencepost nicking an underground wire, that causes a current leak to ground without also tripping a circuit breaker.
Watch out: This would be a very dangerous situation that an electrician might detect. Both of these situations risk electric shock, fire, injury or worse.
Of course there could be some other cause I've not thought-of, so do let me know what you find, as that will help other readers too.
Research on Electrical Power Meters & Instruments & Use of Electrical Power Meters
Abbiss, C. R., M. J. Quod, G. Levin, D. T. Martin, and P. B. Laursen. "Accuracy of the Velotron ergometer and SRM power meter." International journal of sports medicine 30, no. 2 (2009): 107.
Erickson, Neal. "A fast and sensitive submillimeter waveguide power meter." In Tenth International Symposium on Space Terahertz Technology, vol. 1, p. 498. 1999. [PDF] at U. Michigan, http://web.eecs.umich.edu/~jeast/erickson_1999_10_1.pdf
Jiang, Xiaofan, Prabal Dutta, David Culler, and Ion Stoica. "Micro power meter for energy monitoring of wireless sensor networks at scale." In Proceedings of the 6th international conference on Information processing in sensor networks, pp. 186-195. ACM, 2007.
Koller, Ricardo, Akshat Verma, and Anindya Neogi. "WattApp: an application aware power meter for shared data centers." In Proceedings of the 7th international conference on Autonomic computing, pp. 31-40. ACM, 2010.
Luan, Shang-Wen, Jen-Hao Teng, Shun-Yu Chan, and Lain-Chyr Hwang. "Development of a smart power meter for AMI based on ZigBee communication." In Power Electronics and Drive Systems, 2009. PEDS 2009. International Conference on, pp. 661-665. IEEE, 2009.
Tan, A. C., C. H. R. Lee, and V. H. Mok. "Automatic power meter reading system using GSM network." In Power Engineering Conference, 2007. IPEC 2007. International, pp. 465-469. IEEE, 2007.
Yang, Shao, Xiaoyu Li, Thomas R. Scott, and Christopher L. Cromer. Optical fiber power meter nonlinearity calibrations at NIST. US Department of Commerce, Technology Administration, National Institute of Standards and Technology, 2000.
Zhang, Lide, Birjodh Tiwana, Zhiyun Qian, Zhaoguang Wang, Robert P. Dick, Zhuoqing Morley Mao, and Lei Yang. "Accurate online power estimation and automatic battery behavior based power model generation for smartphones." In Proceedings of the eighth IEEE/ACM/IFIP international conference on Hardware/software codesign and system synthesis, pp. 105-114. ACM, 2010.
Sources of Power Analyzers
A.W. Sperry Instruments Inc., 2150 Joshua's Path, Suite 202, Hauppage NY 11788, Tel: 800-645-5398, Email: email@example.com, Website: www.awsperry.com
Fluke Corporation, 6920 Seaway Blvd, Everett, WA 98203, USA, PO Box 9090 Everett, Washington 98206, Tel: +1(425) 347-6100, Technical support: 1(800) 44-FLUKE (1(800) 443-5853), Website: www.fluke.com,
Fluke Europe B.V, PO Box 1186 Eindhoven, The Netherlands, Tel: +31 (0)40 2 675 200 +31 (0)40 2 675 222, Website: www.fluke.eu
PCE Instruments, UK Ltd., Website: https://www.pce-instruments.com/ operated by PCE Deutcschland GmbH (DE), Tel: +44 (0) 23 809 870 30, offices world wide.
USA: PCE Americas Inc.
711 Commerce Way suite 8
Jupiter / Palm Beach
33458 FL, USA
- original author of the article above
Summit Technology, Inc.
2717 North Main St.
Walnut Creek, CA 94597 USA
Phone: (925) 944-1212Website: www.powersight.com,
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Simpson 260® Series 6XLM
Volt-Ohm-Milliammeter Instruction Manual, retrieved 9/5/2012, original source: http://www.simpsonelectric.com/uploads/File/datasheets/260-6xlm.pdf, [copy on file as Simpson_260-6xlm.pdf]
 Roger Hankey is principal of Hankey and Brown home inspectors, Eden Prairie, MN. Mr. Hankey is a past chairman of the ASHI Standards Committee. Mr. Hankey has served in other ASHI professional and leadership roles. Contact Roger Hankey at: 952 829-0044 - firstname.lastname@example.org. Mr. Hankey is a frequent contributor to InspectAPedia.com.
 Arlene Puentes, an ASHI member and a licensed home inspector in Kingston, NY, and has served on ASHI national committees as well as HVASHI Chapter President. Ms. Puentes can be contacted at email@example.com
 ASHI Technical Journal, Vol. 2. No. 1, January 1992, "Determining Service Ampacity," Dan Friedman and Alan Carson,
 ASHI Technical Journal, Vol. 3. No. 1, Spring, 1993, "Determining Service Ampacity - Another Consideration," Robert L. Klewitz, P.E.,
with subsequent updates and additions to the original text ongoing to 2/19/2006. Reprints of the originals and reprints of the Journal are available from ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors www.ashi.com.
 "Electrical System Inspection Basics," Richard C. Wolcott, ASHI 8th Annual Education Conference, Boston 1985.
 "Simplified Electrical Wiring," Sears, Roebuck and Co., 15705 (F5428) Rev. 4-77 1977 [Lots of sketches of older-type service panels.]
 "How to plan and install electric wiring for homes, farms, garages, shops," Montgomery Ward Co., 83-850.
 "Electrical System Inspection Basics," Richard C. Wolcott, ASHI 8th Annual Education Conference, Boston 1985.
 "Home Wiring Inspection," Roswell W. Ard, Rodale's New Shelter, July/August, 1985 p. 35-40.
 "Evaluating Wiring in Older Minnesota Homes," Agricultural Extension Service, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota 55108.
 Jim Simmons: Personal communication, J. Simmons to Daniel Friedman, 9/19/2008. Photographs contributed to this website by Jim P. Simmons, Licensed Electrician, 360-705-4225 Mr. Electric, Licensed Master Electrician, Olympia, Washington Contact Jim P. Simmons, Licensed Master Electrician, Mr. Electric, 1320 Dayton Street SE
Olympia, WA 98501, Ph 360-705-4225, Fx 360-705-0130 firstname.lastname@example.org
 Kenneth Kruger: Original author of the sidebar on testing VOM DMM condition: Kenneth Kruger, R.A., P.E. AIA ASCE, is an ASHI
Member and ASHI Director in Cambridge, MA. He provided basis for this article penned by DJ Friedman.
 LB Miller, "A simple Do-It-Yourself test fixture that will allow you to measure the DC resistance (Rm) of RC Model Electric Motors", San Marcos C, HobbyKing.com, retrieved 9/12/12, original source: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=580151 [copy on file as Miller_Test.pdf]
"Electrical Systems," A Training Manual for Home Inspectors, Alfred L. Alk, American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), 1987, available from ASHI. [DF NOTE: I do NOT recommend this obsolete publication, though it was cited in the original Journal article as it contains unsafe inaccuracies]
"Basic Housing Inspection," US DHEW, S352.75 U48, p.144, out of print, but is available in most state libraries.
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
Carson, Dunlop & Associates Ltd., 120 Carlton Street Suite 407, Toronto ON M5A 4K2. Tel: (416) 964-9415 1-800-268-7070 Email: email@example.com. The firm provides professional home inspection services & home inspection education & publications. Alan Carson is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home. Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material.
The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Illustrated Home purchased as a single order Enter INSPECTAILL in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
TECHNICAL REFERENCE GUIDE to manufacturer's model and serial number information for heating and cooling equipment, useful for determining the age of heating boilers, furnaces, water heaters is provided by Carson Dunlop, Associates, Toronto - Carson Dunlop Weldon & Associates Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Technical Reference Guide purchased as a single order. Just enter INSPECTATRG in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.
Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on these courses: Enter INSPECTAHITP in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
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