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The Smart Strip Quick Help Guide
Questions and Answers

Additional Information

Installation

Troubleshooting

 

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Introduction

What Is The Smart Strip?

The Smart Strip reduces electrical waste by disconnecting power completely to multiple devices when a single device is turned OFF. This stops all power supplied to the "Automatically Switched" devices so they cannot draw the current they would normally be consuming when they are in their OFF state.
The Smart Strip has a single blue "Control Outlet" that detects the change in power consumption of the device plugged into it so that when the device plugged into it is turned ON and OFF, the Smart Strip knows and switches the "Automatically Switched Outlets" ON and OFF with the 'Control' device. All of the Smart Strips have "Constantly Hot Outlets" that do not switch OFF unless you physically switch the Smart Strip OFF.
When a PC is plugged into the blue "Control Outlet" and it goes into sleep or hibernate mode, the "Automatically Switched Outlets" are disconnected from power while the "Constantly Hot Outlets" stay ON. This is particularly useful with PCs since you can have the power cut to monitors, printers, and other peripherals after a period of inactivity on the PC so that if you have to walk away for a bit, you're not wasting electricity to keep those devices powered as they wait for your return. Also, it stops any waste and, prevents accidentally forgetting to turn monitors and such OFF when you shut down your computer.
The Smart Strip may be used with a number of devices in a number of scenarios. It is still a surge protector with the extra auto-switching functionality. There are a number of devices that, when turned ON or OFF, have little to no change in the amount of current they draw and as such are incapable of triggering the "Automatically Switched Outlets".

How Can I Get More Help?

Continue reading, use the "Contact Us" link on the menu above, or click here.
You can find our Manuals here, and Images here.

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Energy Savings

Is It OK To Shut OFF My Computer Peripherals?

Yes, when any electronic device is left on 24/7, the heat inside the components is constant providing no chance to cool down. This heat eventually weakens the electronic components and causes failure of that device. Devices today are designed to be turned OFF and/or go into a low power sleep mode without shortening their life span.

How Does The Smart Strip Save Energy?

The Smart Strip saves energy by electronically unplugging all of the devices that are plugged into the "Automatically Switched Outlets" when the device plugged into the "Control Outlet" is turned OFF. This stops them from drawing any current without the need for you to physically turn them OFF or unplug them. Some devices still draw an idle current even when turned OFF, therefore using the smart strip or unplugging them is the only way to stop them from wasting power; and the Smart Strip does it automatically!

How Much Energy Does The Smart Strip Save?

The short answer is that it saves a bit more than $4/month on the median average per US household (based on study data from Berkley and 8 other universities). The long answer is that it can save much less, or much more, than that depending on your electrical setup. The earliest Smart Strips were sold in 2002, so they have paid for them selves and paid their owners a considerable amount.

Will I See A Difference On My Electric Bill?

A normal electric bill varies by at least $20 month to month. The average savings that the Smart Strip will produce varies based upon how many Smart Strips are in use and how many devices are connected to the Smart Strips and easily get hidden in the above month to month variation. The savings can be measured using the Kill'A'Watt meter and is great enough for the smart strip to pay for itself in about a year on average.

I Have Balanced Billing; Will The Smart Strip Help Me Save Money?

Yes, every few months the utility company calculates your average usage and the energy saved by the Smart Strip will become part of that new calculation automatically.

Where Can I Use My Smart Strip To Save Energy?

Devices that use a "soft power switch", or have no power switch, draw idle currents. If the device has a small easy touch ON/touch OFF switch, it has a pilot power supply that draws power 24/7 to power the "Power" button. Devices that use a "hard power switch" do not draw idle currents therefore use zero energy when OFF. The following list has examples of "hard power switches":

  1. It has one button for ON and a separate button for OFF.
  2. When you push the power button to turn the device ON and it stays depressed until you push it again to turn the device OFF.
  3. The power switch has 2 positions (one for ON & one for OFF)
Product Saves Energy?
Air conditioner
No
Battery charger
Yes
Computer peripherals
Yes
Home Entertainment
Yes
Hair Dryer, curling iron
No
Kitchen Appliance
No
Lamps
No
Shop equipment
No
Space heater
No
Washer, Dryer
No

The Smart Strip can be used even in places that it does not save energy. For example, plug your shop tool, like a sander, into the control outlet and your shop vac into the switched outlets. Every time you turn on your sander, the vacuum turns on with it.

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Installation

Installing The Smart Strip On A Computer

A typical computer configuration is as follows:

  1. Plug your computer into the control outlet.
  2. Plug your Cable/DSL modem, pencil sharpener, portable phone or lamp into the constant hot outlets. Note: If you rarely use your computer or you only have one computer in the house, you can plug the cable/DSL modem into the switched outlets to save more energy.
  3. Plug all of your remaining computer peripherals into the switched outlets.
  4. Turn on your computer and enable the sleep mode under the power options (windows) or energy saver (Apple) control panel. Set it for a 1/2hour or any time that you like (We recommend 5-15 minutes to achieve the greatest savings possible).

Now when the computer is turned ON or woken from Sleep mode the Smart Strip should supply power to the 'Automatically Switched' devices and the opposite should happen when the computer is turned OFF or goes into sleep mode. If the switched outlets do not turn ON or OFF properly check How To Adjust The Sensitivity Adjustment Dial

Using The Smart Strip with an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)

There are 2 different ways to setup the Smart Strip to work with your UPS.

  1. If your UPS can power your entire computer system. Plug the UPS into the wall and the Smart Strip into the UPS. Then follow the instructions above for Installing The Smart Strip On A Computer.
  2. If your UPS can only support your computer/monitor (RECOMMENDED). Plug the Smart Strip into the wall and plug the UPS into the control outlet. Plug the computer and monitor into the UPS. Then follow step 2, 3 and 4 under Installing The Smart Strip On A Computer.

Installing The Smart Strip On A TV

A typical configuration for a TV/home entertainment system is as follows:

  1. Plug your TV into the "Control Outlet".
  2. Plug your Cable/Satellite Receiver or DVR into the "Constant Hot Outlets".
  3. Plug all of your remaining home entertainment equipment such as your VCR, DVD, home theater into the "Automatically Switched Outlets".
  4. Turn ON your TV to test the Smart Strip. If the switched outlets do not turn ON or OFF properly check How To Adjust The Aensitivity Adjustment Dial?

Note: If you still use a VCR or DVD Recorder to record TV/Movies, then plug the VCR/DVD into the "Constant Hot Outlets" (see below).

Using The Smart Strip With A TiVo Or DVR

If you have a TiVo, DVR or you use your VCR to record TV or movies then plug that device into the red "Constant Hot Outlets". This will keep the power going to the recording device at all times so it can record programs while you are not using the TV. If you never program these devices to record programs then you can leave it plugged into the "Automatically Switched Outlets" and save energy with that device.

Installing The Smart Strip On Shop Equipment

The Smart Strip is an excellent device to automate the work light and/or dust collection in your work shop. A simple example is below but there can be many configurations for tools and devices that you use together but only need power when you are using them.

  1. Connect the vacuum hose of your shop vac into your shop tool; like a table saw or sander.
  2. Plug your shop tool into the "Control Outlet".
  3. Plug your work light and/or shop vac into the "Automatically Switched Outlets".
  4. Other tools or devices that do not need to be switched with the table saw can be plugged into the "Constant Hot Outlets".

Adding More Outlets

If you need to extend the number of outlets, you can purchase the Power Strip Liberators models PL2 or PL3 on our shopping page. The Power Strip Liberator is a certified method for adding additional outlets or extending an outlets reach by Underwriter's Laboratories (UL). Daisy chaining power strips or surge protectors is very common but it is not approved by UL and violates most local fire codes.

Understanding The Indicators

The Power Switch Lamp (the light inside of the Smart Strip's power switch) is a neon lamp and uses only .005 watts to indicates that power switch is in the ON position and power is available at both the "Control Outlet" and "Constant Hot Outlets". If this light is out check that the power switch is in the ON position and the wall outlet that the Smart Strip is plugged into does have power available (easily done by plugging a lamp into the wall outlet and turning it ON).

The Ground & Surge OK LED indicates that both the ground to the Smart Strip and all of the surge protection components are functioning correctly. If this light is out, please check the ground by plugging the Smart Strip into a different wall outlet; preferably in another part of the building.

  • If, after plugging the Smart Strip into a different wall outlet, the Ground & Surge OK LED is lit, then that means the ground to the other wall outlet is not functioning correctly.
  • If, after plugging the Smart Strip into a different wall outlet, the Ground & Surge OK LED does not light up, the Smart Strip may have suffered a surge and is NOT protecting your devices plugged into it. Contact our Customer Support and we will be happy to assist you with this. Please discontinue use of a Smart Strip that the Ground & Surge LED is not functioning as it may let a surge through and damage your equipment. At that point we would not be liable for the damage to your devices.

The Switched Outlets ON LED indicates that the device plugged into the "Control Outlet" is ON and has turned ON the "Automatically Switched Outlets". This light will turn ON and OFF with the device plugged into the "Control Outlet" and when the light is ON it means there is power going to the "Automatically Switched Outlets".

Under normal operation, the power switch lamp and the Ground & Surge OK LED are always ON when the switch is in the ON position. The Switched outlets lamp turns ON/OFF with the device in the "Control Outlet".

Do I Need To Turn The Smart Strip ON/OFF?

No, The Smart Strip was designed so you could set it up and forget it is there while it saves you energy and therefore money. What the Smart Strip does when configured properly is what most people are trying to achieve with manually turning OFF a regular power strip. The Smart Strip takes care of this for you automatically. The only reason you should turn the Smart Strip OFF manually is if you are taking a vacation and the whole system will not be used for a while or there is some issue with the way it is operating. Beyond having to move the setup from one location to another, and the previously mentioned reasons, there should be no reason for a consumer to ever turn the Smart Strip ON or OFF manually after installation.

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Troubleshooting

Setting Up Sleep Mode On Windows

*NOTE* This is a default method. If some preference or administrative settings have been changed this may not be accurate.

  1. Click on the "Start" button on the bottom left of your screen
  2. Click on "Control Panel" under the settings section of the menu
  3. Click on the "Power Options" icon
  4. Change the sleep mode to the desired setting. When your operating system is installed most of the time deep sleep is disabled.
  5. Close the "Control Panel" windows
  6. Test the Smart Strip by placing your computer into the sleep mode, if the smart strip does not turn ON/OFF properly then follow the instructions for How To Adjust The Sensitivity Adjustment Dial

Setting Up Sleep Mode On OSX

*NOTE* This is a default method. If some preference or administrative settings have been changed this may not be accurate.

  1. Open "System Preferences" by clicking the apple in the upper left corner
  2. Look for the "Energy Saver" light bulb icon on the second row
  3. Change the sleep mode to the desired settings
  4. You also have the option of clicking on the "Schedule" button to setup schedules for automatically turning everything ON/OFF.
  5. Close the "System Preferences"
  6. Test the Smart Strip by placing your computer into the sleep mode, if the smart strip does not turn ON/OFF properly then follow the instructions for How To Adjust The Sensitivity Adjustment Dial

My Computer Wakes Up After I Put It To Sleep.

Some computer peripherals may need their drivers updated to work properly with the Smart Strip. Try the following solutions in order:

  1. Move all of your computer peripherals to the "Constant Hot Outlets" or unplug them from the computer or unplug them from the outlets.
  2. Try the sleep mode, it should work properly.
  3. Plug one peripheral at a time back into the "Automatically Switched Outlets" and connect it to the computer. Test the sleep mode after connecting each device up (one at a time). Most of the time the offending device is a USB hub or something with a built in USB hub.
  4. If applicable; Look for and install any updated driver for the device that is causing the issue.
  5. If you are still having problems and you are running OSX, try Apple's Deep Sleep Program.
  6. If you are still having problems with a device, feel free to contact us or move it to the "Constant Hot Outlets". It is better to have sleep mode work correctly so you can maximize your energy savings than to save a small portion of energy of one device. Future patches/driver updates may resolve the problem, at which point you can move it back to the "Automatically Switched Outlets".

How To Adjust The Sensitivity Adjustment Dial

Although the factory preset for the Smart Strip works with most devices, some devices have a different method of energy usage. You may need to ‘fine tune’ your Smart Strip to work properly. The adjustment is on the long side of the Smart Strip by the power cord and labeled as "Adjust". To properly adjust the sensitivity please follow the instructions below. When doing the below it is best to think of the dial as if it were the face of a clock. During the procedure you will be asked to make small adjustments and then wait. The size of the adjustment should be about a one minute increment, or a very small adjustment. Also the dial is a one turn dial which means that it will stop turning at some point. Please do NOT force it past this point because it will break the dial and the only solution is to send it in for a repair.

If the "Automatically Switched Outlets" never turn ON:

  1. Turn ON the device that is plugged into the "Control Outlet".
  2. Turn the "Adjust" dial clockwise a small amount and wait for 3-5 seconds to see if the Smart Strip activates.
  3. If the Smart Strip does not come ON after the first adjustment then repeat step 2 until the Smart Strip does activate or you reach the end of the dials ability to turn.
  4. If the Smart Strip does activate during the above then turn OFF the device in the "Control Outlet". If the "Automatically Switched Outlets" turn OFF, you are done. If not follow the procedure below.

If the "Automatically Switched Outlets" never turn OFF:

  1. Turn OFF the device that is plugged into the "Control Outlet".
  2. Turn the "Adjust" dial counter clockwise a small amount and wait for 3-5 seconds to see if the Smart Strip deactivates.
  3. If the Smart Strip does not go OFF after the first adjustment then repeat step 2 until the Smart Strip does deactivate or you reach the end of the dials ability to turn.
  4. If the Smart Strip does deactivate during the above then turn ON the device in the "Control Outlet". If the "Automatically Switched Outlets" turn ON, you are done. If not follow the procedure above.

If the neither of the above procedures work or you are using the equipment listed below, please contact us for further technical support or a replacement.

  • Very low power draw device
  • a Stereo Receiver (see here also)
  • Older Apple Mac Mini computers
  • Dell laptop computers, with or without a docking station

My Smart Strip Does Not Have An Adjustment Dial

All Smart Strips sold after October 2003 are adjustable, please look for the adjustment on the long side of the Smart Strip by the power cord and LEDs. If you purchased your Smart Strip before October 2003 it is a rev A First Generation LCG1 or LCG2 and is not adjustable. Even though it is out of warranty, we have an upgrade program that you can participate in. Please contact us for details. If it is working properly, please continue using it, the upgrade program has no expiration date.

The Smart Strip Adjustment Drifts

On some equipment the Smart Strip may experience a problem where the adjustment drifts and needs to be readjusted on a regular basis. This is not considered normal and the patterns currently are too scarce to come to a conclusion on the cause. However, we do have a solution, so please contact us so we can confirm the problem and resolve it.

I Can Not Adjust The Smart Strip To Work Correctly Or The "Automatically Switched Outlets" Never Turn ON/OFF

Make sure you do not have a cable/satellite receiver plugged into the "Control Outlet". They use the same power OFF as they do ON, therefore the Smart Strip will not sense a current change. Use the TV in the "Control Outlet" instead. Then try How To Adjust The Sensitivity Adjustment Dial and if that does not work, check the smart strip with a lamp or different device. If the Smart Strip functions now correctly, then you need to use a different device in the "Control Outlet". If the Smart Strip is still not functioning properly, contact us for further technical support or a replacement.

The Smart Strip Oscillates ON/OFF Slowly

If you have a DELL laptop, with or without a docking station that is having issues, contact us for a retrofitted replacement. If you do not have the above computer then try the following steps before contacting us.

  1. Follow the instructions under How To Adjust The Sensitivity Adjustment Dial just so you know about the dial.
  2. Turn OFF the device in the "Control Outlet"
  3. Turn OFF the Smart Strip
  4. Turn the adjustment dial back and forth 2-3 times
  5. Leave the adjustment dial about mid-range
  6. Turn ON the Smart Strip
  7. Turn ON the device in the "Control Outlet"
  8. If everything works you are done
  9. If there is still an issue please contact us for further support

The Smart Strip Is Making A Buzzing Sound

If the Smart Strip makes a buzzing sound when ON, please contact us for a repair or replacement.

The Power Switch Is Lit But All Of The Outlets Are Dead

If the power switch is lit and all of the outlets are dead and the red and green lights are OFF, the internal fuse has blown or the Smart Strip has suffered a surge. If the Smart Strip is still under warranty, please contact us for a replacement. If it is out of warranty, you may email us for assistance in changing the fuse or acquiring a new unit at a cheaper cost.

No Lights Are Lit And Nothing Works

Check that the power switch is ON. If it is then the wall outlet you plugged the Smart Strip into has no power so try a different wall outlet. The indicator inside the power switch is before all of the internal fuses therefore if it is not lit, the problem must be the wall outlet. If the wall outlet does have power then contact us for further troubleshooting.

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