The Power Angel meter
The most interesting part of the kit is the Power Angel meter itself. It's
specified for a maximum of 125V at either 50 or 60 Hz with a maximum current
of 15 amps, and a maximum power output of 1875 VA. The
Seasonic Power Angel is not just limited to testing computer power supplies either; it can
also be used to measure the power ratings of any consumer electrical
the front of the unit is a large four-digit LCD display which can show
line voltage, amperes, wattage, volt amps, line frequency, power factor, KiloWatt/hours and
is quite simple to use; first plug the Seasonic Power Angel into the mains
outlet then plug the electrical device into the Power Angel, and you're
your electronic device, press the button marked
with the value you're interested in, for instance
V for Volts and A for Amperes. Three of the buttons have two different functions; to access
the secondary function, press the button a second time. While the Power Angel does its job well,
it's not meant for heavy duty work and should be handled appropriately.
According to Seasonic, the
Power Angel is accurate to within 1 - 2% for Voltage, current and Wattage
measurements, and can measure frequency to within 0.1Hz.
The dummy load testing unit
The 120W dummy load testing unit included with
the media review kit has one purpose. It is intended to be hooked up to a standalone power
supply (outside a PC) to simulate the type of load a PC would place
on the it. This exact load can be carried across multiple power supplies, giving a stable benchmark for
testing power supply performance.
We opened up load testing unit
to have a look see. Nothing really special to report, there's just an 80mm fan and three large aluminum heatsinks
which cool three MOSFETs.
The fan is replaceable so when it dies after prolonged use it can be swapped out. The connectors
on the PCB are quite fragile and our unit arrived with the auxiliary connector broken. Luckily it's not
important for the main functionality of the unit. When plugged into a standard ATX
power supply, this device will simulate the load imposed by a typical PC, enabling the Seasonic monitor to test
standalone power supplies accurately.
On the dummy load unit's green PCB we have a connector
for 20 pin ATX power and two four-pin Molex ports. There are also three LEDs that
represent the 5V, 12V and 3.3V lines on the power supply. These will stay lit up as long as
the rails are healthy.
common knowledge that to turn on an ATX power supply without a PC, you simply need to short the lone green wire
with one of the many ground (black) wires. To make things easier for us, Seasonic
includes a specially designed ATX power connector with this bridging already done.
Simply plug it onto your power supply cable, flip on the switch on the
back and you're set for testing.
Another extremely useful tool is the
Excel spreadsheet template that's included on the 3-1/2" floppy diskette bundled with the media
test kit. Enter a few numbers in the correct spot, click the graph tab
and Seasonic makes everything nice and pretty (though the colour scheme
could do with some revision.)
For comparison purposes, we did a quick test between a Seasonic Super Tornado 350W PSU and a
no name 350W PSU. Judging by the numbers above, spending a little more on a
brand-name power supply can pay off in terms of power savings. The Seasonic supply
was considerably more power efficient.
A nice little
At PCstats, we try to do our part
to conserve energy whenever possible. We also try to test power supplies whenever
possible. With this in mind, we liked the Seasonic Power Angel, and the kit Seasonic
put together especially for media to use.
With gasoline and electricity
prices going higher and higher, it makes sense for everyone to start watching
the energy they use. Computers fall into this catagory as well. In business,
computers and servers do not go offline just because the working day is over,
so using more energy efficient systems could potentially save a company
thousands of dollars or more over a year on the electricity bill. I'm sure you know quite
a few people who leave their PCs on 24/7 if you don't yourself. With a
more efficient power supply, you could save yourself enough money in electricity over
the course of a year or so to buy yourself something nice.
The Power Angel meter was very quick and easy to
use. Getting measurements with this device took no time at all.
We appreciated how simple Seasonic made the process of power testing. Novice
users will have no trouble getting to grips with this device.
The dummy load device that Seasonic
included with the media review kit has also proved to be
a handy tool. The dummy load enables us to test standalone
power supplies as though they were connected to an actual PC, and
be able to duplicate this same exact load across multiple tests. The included
spreadsheet was a nice touch also. It streamlines the process of entering
test data, especially for home users.
While the general public can not buy the full
Seasonic power test kit, you can get the Seasonic Power Angel meter itself, which
retails for $29 CDN ($25 US) . If
you consider yourself a computer/electronics enthusiast, this is definitely a tool
you'll want to have in your arsenal. The information it provides could
potentially save you a lot of money in the long run!
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