Ultra Surge Protector
Outlet w/individually-powered switches
In the old days, I plugged all my computer equipment into a power commander, a large pizza-box device that sat underneath my monitor. It had have many outlets with individual power switches and a master switch on the front, allowing me to regulate which devices were draining power. I haven’t been able to find those power commanders anymore, but after more searching than I expected, I finally found this surge protector that has per-outlet power switches. For the last year, I’ve used two of them as cheap insurance for power regulation in my RV.
Power in an RV can be at a premium, especially if it’s coming from a generator or inverter (batteries/solar). A lot of the equipment in my RV is rarely used nowadays, but drains power if plugged in (vampire appliances!). Disconnecting specific devices is an easy solution — flipping a switch for each outlet is even easier.
I use one for the TV, DVD player, satellite, etc., and one for my computer, monitor, phone charger, external hard drive, etc. I’m now able to turn my computer on and off with the master switch, and turn rarely-used devices on and off only if needed (TV/DVD especially).
I’ve yet to analyze the electric bill — I’d need the previously-reviewed Kill-A-Watt (coincidentally on order) to know exactly how much power I’m saving. But this definitely helps me prevent using more than I expect. A great device for a cabin, RV or anywhere power use might be at a premium.04/7/09
(The Ultra brand product does not appear to be available any longer, but Tripp makes the same type of surge protector at about the same price point (a bit cheaper). Updated access info is below. -- cc — editors)