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  • OCedHrt - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    It does look like it would fit then? Reply
  • ssddaydream - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    I actually would enjoy having a device like this if it were in the common surge suppressor form factor. I think the lamp-like UFO appearance detracts from the product. I usually mount stuff like this behind the desk where it is still accessible, but out of view. I'm sure I could find a way to get this thing mounted and tucked away, but it takes up valuable extra space needlessly. Reply
  • ZETAPIERRE - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    We have one made that is WiFi. It has only a duplex receptacle, but each half is individually controlled. It too uses 16A relays, the same type. We use them to collect power information and to control equipment at work. We power the compressors, printers, solderbench, etc... We also have a control in the system tray that allows employees to turn on the equipment. If they forget to turn it off, it goes off under a timer. It's software, so you can make it do anything, even send out emails. Reply
  • Flunk - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    "There is no way to change the HTTP access port. This might be useful in the case where the user cooks up a custom script to control / query the unit, but wants to use it from an external network. It is possible to set up port forwarding to access the unit via the default HTTP port. However, in the case that this port already forwards to another machine in the local network, the user has no way to access the UFO over the Internet without modifying the HTTP port of the other machine."

    A lot of routers, even cheap ones, support routing with different external and internal ports. E.G. mapping port 3333 to port 80 on 192.168.1.1 so this isn't that big of a deal.
    Reply
  • IKeelU - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    So many of my power cables are longer than they need to be (for my needs), so setting up my home theater or adding a new component always involves some form of cable management to ensure I don't have spaghetti back there. This design, while a bit cumbersome, would alleviate that. Reply
  • nathanddrews - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    This is odd for an eco-driven device. Why would I want to buy something that consumes that much power on its own (WiFi/bulb) in order to monitor and regulate power? Seems counterintuitive, but I suppose there are many people that don't have wired connections in their homes (sad). The option would be nice. The fact that it is completely fugly as a lamp is also confusing. That last bit is subjective, I realize...

    Looking foward to future revisions, though! I'd love to have a wired rackmount version for my server rack, my home theater, and then conventional looking power strips for other power-hungry areas (washer/dryer, office devices, other entertainment areas, powertools in workshop, etc.).
    Reply
  • NeBlackCat - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    +1 for rackmount version

    As an eco fascist I'd be tempted to have my house electrics rewired from the standard multiple "multidrop" circuits, to a single star configuration where every power outlet/device goes to a UFO port.

    The things I could then do...
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    The reason most outlets are wired in a multiloop fashion is to minimize copper use. Replacing an N outlet loop with N outlets wired in a star pattern will use approximately N times more copper.

    After being convicted by the court in eco Nuremberg for wasteful use of resources extracted by destructive mining you wouldn't be able to do much beyond pushing up daisies.
    Reply
  • taltamir - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    By law, businesses must be wired in a star configuration rather than multidrop.
    Multidrop is used because its cheaper, but its less safe as multiple outlets share a single line.
    Reply
  • ironargonaut - Sunday, November 04, 2012 - link

    In what country? I can overload a single 20A receptacle by creating a short just as easy as a 10 receptacles on the same loop. The only thing that matters is you keep the breaker small enough to trip before the wire insulation fails. I.E. don't use 14guage wire with a 20A breaker...etc.

    Technically all homes/businesses use a star config as you have multiple breakers, but you also have multiple lights/outlets per breaker. Or am I defining "star" config differently then you?
    Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    I'd like to see what Anandtech can find in the way of hardwired rackmountable options too.

    We've been looking for such a device, and so far all we've got is a non-rackable device that doesn't seem to be designed to work as part of a system. There are three of them so far with plans for more, but they can't tie back to a central server for management, each unit needs to be addressed individually through a web interface. Does anyone know of hardwired, rackmountable PDUs that can be centrally controlled?
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    This one is 'rackmountable' in the sense that it can be vertically mounted along side rail:

    http://www.digital-loggers.com/vpdu.html

    No power measurement / energy management features, though.
    Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - link

    Thanks. They've got a couple interesting things. Our devices are PoE, so maybe just getting their rackmountable PoE PDU/injector would work better then putting the existing PoE injectors on a separate PDU. Reply
  • Rick83 - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    Looks to me like this is a brilliant use case for PoE.
    That way at least you only have one wasteful transformer in your home, and it can also feed your phone, attached switches, APs and other small light/switch-gadgets and sensors.

    PoE should be obligatory for any IP-based home automation system.
    Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    It could work, but would be kind of limited. PoE can deliver 25.5 watts of power, so if the UFO uses 2.2 watts all by itself, you've only got about 23 watts to power your devices. Also, the PoE delivers as DC. You'd either need to throw in a DC to AC converter, or just make it a USB charger. Reply
  • taltamir - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    What is a PoE? Reply
  • ganeshts - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    PoE = Power Over Ethernet

    PoE makes sense for non-Wi-Fi IP cameras and other such devices. Not sure it makes sense for this type of product.
    Reply
  • ZETAPIERRE - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    PoE would be an RJ45 cable. Since this plugs into an AC outlet already, there's no need to bring power via the Ethernet cable. WiFi eliminates the need for the Ethernet cable. Reply
  • ZETAPIERRE - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    We have units that do the same thing with hardwired Ethernet. The problem I found is that I don't have Ethernet near every outlet, like behind the refrigerator. So, we re-designed ours to use WiFi and now we can place them everywhere. We can also use them to control the lights in the house during Xmas, they can all go on and off at the same time. Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    This is an absolute disgrace. There is no way this is worth $130, that is just pure madness. I built my own relay board that takes usb power from my tv and controls a relay to power my home theater receiver. So when my pc goes to sleep, my tv goes to sleep with it, and since its usb port shuts off, it turns off the receiver too. Simple $5 solution.

    I bought a serial (RS232) AC current sensor off ebay for $13 and built my own power usage logger. I've used it to profile my pc's. Yet another <$20 solution. Taking some overpriced gimmick and slapping wifi on it is just blasphemy.
    Reply
  • DukeN - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    How dare these capitalists make a profit after paying for materials, assembly, hardware and software developers! Reply
  • ganeshts - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    I don't want to come across as 'defending' the product, but the fact is that this is cheapest solution for the set of functions that it delivers. Have you taken a look at the Watts Up? Pro .NET solution which delivers similar functionality (electrical parameters measurement / network switching / cloud back-end) on one socket for almost double the cost?

    The solution that you put in requires plenty of work to make it 'Internet' enabled, and it is not a generic solution. What about energy history? There are plenty of features and the components needed to achieve those add up.

    Btw, where are you getting a good relay (rated for 15A) for less than $5? When I looked up the Schrack relay being used in the UFO, I found that each of them costs $6 by itself [ http://www.newark.com/te-connectivity-schrack/rt31... ]. 4 relays makes it ~$25 by itself.

    I stand by my concluding remarks: The UFO Power Center presents unbeatable value for the $130 MSRP / ~$115 Amazon selling price.
    Reply
  • ZETAPIERRE - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    There's a big difference between hacking circuits together for a single use and creating a product that meets safety agency and provides ease of use. We too started with just a relay and worked our way up to a nice product.

    The price of this product is quite reasonable. We only have 2 relays, but still have a micro and WiFi. Ours will be around $99 once it goes to market.
    Reply
  • jgarcows - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    "It is possible to set up port forwarding to access the unit via the default HTTP port. However, in the case that this port already forwards to another machine in the local network, the user has no way to access the UFO over the Internet without modifying the HTTP port of the other machine."

    There are many ways to get around this: forward a different port to the UFO, use a sub-domin to choose where which machine to forward the port to, have the machine currently receiving HTTP traffic check the request and forward appropriate requests to the UFO, etc...
    Reply
  • cserwin - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    Wow, the manufacturer really needs to be commended for using 16A switches on all outlets.

    It makes sense that they limited the device to 15A overall - as I understand it that is the limit of common household outlets in the United States. If they permitted higher draws, it would likely trip circuit breakers or fuses.

    A lesser manufacturer would have designated 1 outlet as 'up to 10A' and the rest as 1.25A or some such nonsense.
    Reply
  • ZETAPIERRE - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    Well, one is almost forced to use 16A relays in this application. Since there is no front end fuse, one needs to rely on the circuit breaker. So, that means that the traces on the board and the relay contacts need to survive long enough during a dead short for the circuit breaker to trip.

    My concern is if they plug this into, say a kitchen outlet that is at 20A.

    We do the same, each relay is rated for 16A, but we set the whole unit to 15A because of the one pigtail going to an outlet.
    Reply
  • danjw - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    To solve the issue of the wall warts not seating properly, you can use a power strip saver. Usually these are just about 1' long extension cords. Then the warts can sit in the base and not have a problem. I use them on my power strips to deal with blocked sockets. That said, they really need a smaller design that will fit in better. I am a function first, form second kind of guy, but this still puts me off. Reply
  • Henk Poley - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    Seems like a nice match with the DIY Kyoto Wattson :: http://www.diykyoto.com/uk/wattson Reply
  • CharonPDX - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    This review has nothing to do with iOS. Did you really feel it necessary to bring up your slam on iOS in it? A simple "I had no iOS devices to test with" would have sufficed. Better would be to have a friend who has an iOS device come over and test it for you, or let you borrow their device to test with.

    I can understand making an iOS comment on an iOS review, or even an Android system review; but not this.
    Reply
  • Tomislav R - Saturday, October 27, 2012 - link

    +1 Reply
  • Tros - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    I don't see how choosing a 16A relay for each socket is "playing it safe". Maybe a >21A relay would be considered "playing it safe" (for the small-uninformed-population running a MIG-welder from a wall-socket).

    A 15A relay would mean that the manufacturer has to do some additional QA to handle the statistics in which relays actually fall short of that rating (and consequently, that 15A rating which is the basic standard for wall outlets here in the U.S.).

    This is playing it according to specification.
    Reply
  • jb510 - Sunday, October 28, 2012 - link

    Is it possible to remotely tell it to power cycle a device? ...and specifically the wifi router it's relying on for control? Just to be painfully clear manually turning that plug back on after turning it off would be impossible since there'd be no wifi at that moment, so im wondering if you can just send a single command to power cycle a outlet off and back on? Reply
  • ganeshts - Monday, October 29, 2012 - link

    Power cycle is not possible with the current firmware, and I would also advise against using one of the outlets for the Wi-Fi router itself. For such purposes, PDUs from Digital Loggers can be used because some of the outlets in their devices are left unswitched (i.e, they are on all the time as long as the PDU gets power) / they offer power cycle functionality. Reply
  • rangerdavid - Sunday, October 28, 2012 - link

    "I am actually doing a bit of disservice to the unit by not reviewing the iOS app, as I have never been a fan of (nor do I ever plan on being one) Apple’s restrictive ecosystem."

    Who gives a ---- about this - review the app, or don't. The app is the app. Don't penalize it for being available on an iOS device just because you don't like Apple's "restrictive ecosystem." So restrictive that 200,000+ apps just appeared out of thin air?

    I'd say this is a cheap shot and lame excuse not to post a page about the app.

    Otherwise, this is a great article. I'm just calling you on this one issue. So there.
    Reply
  • valkator - Thursday, November 01, 2012 - link

    Sweet, I can hook up all my devices to this unit and it can be my dogs water bowl. :)

    ^ Joke
    Reply

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