PCE 8309S Power Analyser, PCE Instruments - pce-instruments.comElectrical Power Analyser
Use a power analyzer or energy logger to measure & record electrical energy usage, consumption, efficiency

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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.

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Electrical Test Equipment: meter to check energy efficiency in energy consumption: Power Analysers

PCE 8309S Power Analyser, PCE Instruments -

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.

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

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.

Taking the 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 waste.

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.


Definition of Energetic waste

Amount of energy consumed by a system (electrical installation, appliances, etc).

Definition of Electrical Resistance

Opposition that a substance offers to the flow of electric current.



Question: how can I find why my electricty usage is abnormally high?

Electricity usage report (C) THI 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.

Electricity usage report (C) TH

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

Sources of Power Analyzers is an independent publisher of building, environmental, and forensic inspection, diagnosis, and repair information provided free to the public - we have no business nor financial connection with any manufacturer or service provider discussed at our website. 


Continue reading at VOLTS / AMPS MEASUREMENT EQUIP for a review of choices of a wide range of devices or equipment that can be used for detecting or for measuring volts or voltage levels or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.



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