Voltex: Scam Ad on THis Website

Discussion in 'Physics & Math' started by exchemist, Jun 24, 2021.

  1. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    I had this pop up on my screen when I was browsing the forum about 6 hours ago


    Except that it was tailored to the UK, with money in pounds (but the numbers were the same! )

    This seems to be a "power factor" scam, by which people are conned into thinking that any offset between volts and amps creates a power loss. However, since any component of current that is orthogonal to the voltage is a "wattless current", this does not represent a power loss (well to be strict, it does, very, very slightly, due to resistance in the mains wiring through which the wattless current flows, but that is all).

    I was shocked to see this on the forum. It seems to be a well-known scam.

    I rather enjoyed to compulsory crank reference to Tesla, though.

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  3. Q-reeus Banned Valued Senior Member

    The webpage adapts to whatever country it thinks you are in. A very lengthy article covering all aspects of claimed savings:
    Probably best to go straight down to Conclusions section - itself a fairly long read.
    And 'power savers' are far from a new thing:
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  5. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    This thread is an ad for a product called Voltex by some bot named Exchemist. Reported as spam.

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  7. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Thanks for these.

    In the first link I must say I couldn't follow the argument as to why the standard cos φ power factor is supposedly inadequate. But then, I am relying on my 50 year-old A-Level AC Theory. Do you understand what point is being made here?
  8. Q-reeus Banned Valued Senior Member

    I think you are principally referring to this passage:

    "As seen in the graph, the actual average power is 26.25W - we are now able to perform the proper power factor formula, which applies in all cases - not just when we have nice convenient sinewave voltage and current waveforms. Accordingly, the cosφ formula will not be used again - it is simply inappropriate and commonly gives totally wrong results with so many loads seen these days. A reactive load may be defined as any load where voltage and current have opposite polarities for part of a cycle. Look at the waveforms above and you'll see just that.

    PF = Real Power (W) / Apparent Power (VA) = 26.25 / 37.25 = 0.705

    In this case, the power factor works out the same (close enough) for both methods. This gives confidence that the processes and test circuits are correct. As noted, there are now two different ways to calculate power factor, but only the second version works with all supply and load voltage and current waveforms, and is therefore the only one that should be used. The old cosφ formula is irrelevant and well past its use-by date, and should be dropped from all engineering curricula forthwith."

    I would be as baffled as you if that is the case. The author makes an assertion there but it's justification is at best obscure or just absent. True RMS watt-meters are supposed to be capable of accurately integrating the real product of both V And I nonsinusoidal waveforms which actually entails a Fourier sum of waveforms having integer multiples of the 'mains' base frequency. Affordable watt-meters will only do that for a limited spectrum - maybe a few multiples of the base frequency. Household power meters only reliably cope with power factor mismatch of the base mains frequency. How relevant is any of that to actual savings reflected in the utility bill? Very little in most cases. Mains frequency in most 1st world countries is pretty clean. The average household load is close to unity power factor, and spikes and surges are typically a very minor perturbation. Thus any 'savings' from capacitive power smoothing that damps harmonics could at most be too small to matter and likely would never recover the cost of such scamware. Further the capacitance of plug in to the socket 'savers' is almost certainly too low to effectively compensate for the minimal effect of 'dirty' mains waveform spikes and surges. My 2 cents.
  9. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    OK, I see now that what the author is alleging is that if you are far from a sinusoidal waveform, then cosφ doesn't give the right answer. But as you say, I am sceptical that in practice the deviations from sinusoidal are that great.

    As for your other comments, yes of course, none of the discussion about how power factor is calculated alters the fact that these things are a scam. My understanding of wattless current is that since it is a real current, albeit orthogonal to the voltage, it will dissipate some power, due to the resistance heating it causes in the wiring. But this is fairly negligible. So any savings will be too small to notice.

    Anyway, I have reported the ad to the UK Advertising Standards Authority, just in case they are not aware of this particular manifestation.

    It did cross my mind to wonder if the site owners have any way to control what ads are displayed. But I doubt it.
  10. Q-reeus Banned Valued Senior Member

    Quite so. And good move. It has occurred to me that in fact given the insensitivity of domestic 'smart meters' to transients, it's very unclear whether 'power savers' could even marginally tilt the final power bill in favor of the consumer or the utility. It's likely to be a messy situation requiring extensive (expensive!) detailed case-by-case analysis. Time might be best spent elsewhere!

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  11. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Right. You can create a corner case (huge induction motor, inadequate wiring, pathological load on the motor) where power factor correction can make a significant difference in motor life, available torque, and power consumed. But:

    1) That's a pathological case that effectively never happens
    2) Most large motors have PF caps on them already
    3) Modern devices use power factor correction (i.e. power supplies, inverter driven motors) that don't have this problem.
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  12. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    as long as you guys are on the subject
    Let me pick your brains

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    OK I have 4 heavy 3 phase tools(shaper, radial arm saw, table saw, dust collector)
    running on single phase power
    I have a capacitor in the circuit that starts the tools
    I am using these tools at a fraction(70%?) of their stated power
    When sawing really dense and thick wood(beans, etc.), I run the other motors based on my thinking that each motor generates the 3 phases as it runs---so I run at a higher % of the rated power(maybe up to 90%?)

    (the table saw is rated at 5 horse, the radial arm at 4, the shaper at 4, and the dust collector at 2)
    Am I doing the best possible? (given the limitation of single phase 240v power)
    Is there a better way?

    I had an uncle with the same problem---he chose a different solution---He had an old 3 phase motor designed to pull a belt, When he needed to run 3 phase tools, he would power the circuit, then kick the wheel on that motor to get it running---and, leaving it running, then use his other 3 phase tools.

    best solution?
  13. Q-reeus Banned Valued Senior Member

    Don't know where the idea of running extra motors to 'improve performance' of the one really needed came from but it seems quite wrong to me.
    The first thing to get clear is whether you motors windings are connected in delta (three terminal) or star (four terminal with an earth/neutral as fourth one).
    That should show on the specs plate hopefully. As you already have the essential capacitors presumably connected appropriately for star or delta, not much more to say. To reduce stressing the motor windings during startup, it's best to have a capacitor-start/capacitor-run system with automatic switch out of the higher rated start capacitor once running normally. The rule of thumb is power output is ~ 2/3 of proper 3-phase supply specs.

    This article explains the wiring principles and offers a VFD at 'a very affordable price' as another option

    If you want go the route of converting single to three phase via 'relatively' low-cost DIY rotary converter then this fellow seems clued up on all the things needed to get it done right:

    Only watched the first one but was impressed with his approach and the claimed advantages his scheme offers.
  14. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

    From the website:
    So basically this "groundbreaking technology" is a smoothing capacitor in a little plastic box? Gawd, I love that.

    It certainly beats my idea for manufacturing budget e-meters, for impoverished Scientologists. Unfortunately, I have a conscience and could never bring myself to go through with it.

    Edit: I also like that novel spelling of "therefor."
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  15. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    Therefore is an adverb that means “as a consequence,” “as a result,” or “hence.”
    Therefor is an adverb that means “for that,” or “for it.”
  16. Q-reeus Banned Valued Senior Member

    I like the way The Free Dictionary puts it. With a hint of irony as finishing note:
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  17. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    e ssshhhhh
    when I hold my open hand out to the dog with the palm facing her
    it means shut up and be still
    we been together for over 5 years, and she finally seems to be getting it(some of the time)
    70 odd years, I been trying to learn the same damned language
    (not the language of my distant ancestors)
    and, though better'n most
    I have yet a long way to go
    I have 2 unabridged dictionaries
    One from my mom, and one I bought from the PX while in the army
    One in the bedroom, and one in the office
    I still reference them at least once a week
    old memory
    "Mom, how do you spell.........................?"
    "Look it up in the dictionary."
    "Mom, if I do not know how to spell it, how am I supposed to look it up in the dictionary?"
    whereupon, she put down her sewing, took her unabridged dictionary from the shelf, walked over to me and placed the dictionary on the table in front of me, and said:
    "Here, read this!"

    ( the early days in lifelong journey)

    Not bad advice

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