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New Energy Saving Products from Somar


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#1 klangwcng

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 03:54 AM

Pls visit this site for their new products:
http://www.somar.co....es/opportunity/

Are they really work or just another scam?

As for the lighting controller, is it possible to have reduction in kwh without sacrificing the light intensity (lux)?

Not sure about the feasibility of refrigeration controller, professional advice needed!!!! :)

Thanks.

#2 jraef

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 07:43 PM

This brand has been discussed here several times. They (used to?) sell a motor controller that supposedly "saved 40% energy" , and we challenged that very successfully. These products appear to be a new direction for Somar.

As they did with the motor controller, their marketing material is very thin on technical details and very heavy on wild claims of success, many of which are probably exaggerations to begin with. Not necessarily exaggerations of the data, but exaggerations of the original stated problem.

For instance, the refrigeration controller marketing materials are made to give you the initial impression that you will save 77% of the energy used in your refrigeration system now, which would attract any retail store manager. If you look carefully, it only is talking about the anti-sweat heater RUNTIME in a display case, which accounts for maybe 1 or 2% of the total operating cost of a refer system. So in reality, you are going to save (maybe) 77% of 2%. This marketing technique is a variation of the old "bait and switch" method, lure you in with one thing and sell you something else. What they also don't tell you is that this is nothing new, people have been doing this for a long time, maybe 25 years? The only thing they MIGHT have done is package a phase angle voltage controller with a hygrometer. Most retail display systems come with a hygrometer anyway because they use a contactor to turn the heaters on and off. All they are probably doing here is to integrate that as the control loop to a phase angle controller for an analog variable power output from the heaters. Still, 77%? I seriously doubt it. I have customers who do this already. A system like this has a payback of about 2 years, respectable no doubt but not earth shaking. The marketplace for Somar's product will only be for retrofit, since all new systems have this available as a built-in feature now from the refer OEMs, and none of them are going to bother buying it from a Somar distributor because they make it themselves.

The lighting offering is (again) very vague. I don't know what they are selling here, a controller or light fixtures? You are correct in thinking that a reduction in power to a lighting system translates to a reduction in lumens. Maybe they have integrated a light meter into the voltage controller to reduce the fixture power when a lot of daylight is available, but I can't tell. Again, they are being (IMHO) purposely evasive. Why not just say what it is? Probably because again, it isn't anything special that anyone else can do without them.

They did this with their motor controllers too. Somar's real goal is to get you to sign up as a "partner". which you find out later means a very heavy investment in inventory and sales materials. Someone here at one time sent away for their materials (GGOSS?) and it came out to be a major investment! The other way to look at that is that Somar got 1 big sale from you!

Interesting that they seem to make no mention of the motor controller any longer. Maybe they ran out of <suckers> er, I mean "partners"!
"He's not dead, he's just pinin' for the fjords!"

#3 marke

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 08:06 PM

Hello klangwcng

I agree with jraefs comments.
At the end of the day, to save energy, either you improve efficiencies, or reduce work done.

Lighting systems can be improved by the use of electronc ballasts rather than inductive ballasts - nothing new and the use of light levels to control the output will reduce the power consumed under conditions of reduced natural lighting. I suspect that this is what they are doing. You can do the same thing by have a number of lighting circuits and only turning some on under reduced light contitions etc. You can not get anything for nothing in the energy world.

I believe that another of the Nola style energy saver manufacturers has folded up. If the technology really was as good as claimed, we would all be using it. Most soft starter manufacturers can apply the Nola algorithm, it is not difficult.

Best regards,

#4 klangwcng

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Posted 19 January 2006 - 08:09 AM

Noted your comments. Thank you so much.

#5 kev21903

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 12:02 AM

Klang,
I disagree with some of the comments made here. These devices do save energy when used on fluorescent light fittings.
The relationship between terminal voltage and light output on a fluorescent tube is not linear. You can reduce the voltage on a fluorescent tube to about 60% of the rated value with very little reduction in light output.
At lower voltages the fitting consume considerably less power.
We were given a number of fluorescent light fitting controllers on trial and we carried out a series of tests in one of the multi story car parks at work. We surveyed light levels before and after the controllers were fitted and measure the power consumption with kWh meters. The results were impressive and well worth the effort. Our company are now rolling out a programme of installing these controllers on our sites across the world (this is one of our mechanisms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions - not saving money).
Hope this is useful.
Regards
Kevin

p.s. the device we used was not a Somar product.

#6 marke

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 07:54 AM

Hello kev21903

There is a lot of snake oil out there, especially in the fileld of energy saving. There are situations where energy can be saved and there are situations where it can not. The energy can be reduced by either reducing the work output, or by improving the efficiency. The end user must be happy that he/she is getting worthwhile results and in order to ensure this, the correct tests must be carried out.
If you have results that work well, then that is great, I have seen so many unachieveable claims, that I tend to be very cautious.

Best regards,




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