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What is a Smart Strip?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 20 September 2016
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    2003-2016
    Conjecture Corporation
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Smart strips are power strips that offer enhanced benefits that are not available with standard electrical strips. The typical smart strip has the ability to monitor power usage and adjust the flow of current to the amount required, while also protecting the attached devices from power surges. While somewhat more costly than a simple power strip, the smart strip helps to make better use of energy and also provides a degree of protection that is hard to duplicate.

One of the ways that the smart strip manages energy saving functions is by actively monitoring the power consumption of the devices that are plugged into one of the power sockets on the body of the strip. When one of the devices is not in active use, or is turned off, the sensors included in the design of the smart strip identify the lack of consumption and shut the socket down. This eliminates any drawing of idle current into the socket, thus saving energy.

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Many strip designs allow the end user to determine the time delay that takes place after the sensors identify an idle socket, with the delay ranging anywhere from thirty seconds to up to thirty minutes. This feature makes it possible to prevent power to devices that are used just a few times each hour to remain powered up. For example, if a printer is plugged into the strip and is only used a couple of times each hour, setting the delay to thirty minutes would prevent the strip from shutting down the power supply. The autoswitching to standby power status is easily one of the most attractive features of this type of electrical device.

When the device is powered up for use once again, the smart strip also recognizes the demand for power and restores the function of the socket. The process is almost simultaneous, making the transition from idle to active transparent to the end user. This creates a situation where there is little to no lag time in powering up attached devices and making use of them.

A smart strip also has the capability to recognize and deal with power surges. This can be very important, especially when the devices attached to the strip are somewhat expensive. Depending on the design of the individual strip, the power supply will be completely cut off until the user manually resets the smart strip to allow the flow of power, or will manage the surge so that none of the devices receive more power than needed to operate efficiently.

The smart strip provides all the usual benefits of any power strip, offering anywhere from five to ten power sockets that can be used simultaneously. Some designs of the strip are somewhat small, making it easy to mount them against a wall, or tuck them behind a desk or credenza. Between the enhanced safety features and the ability to save energy, strips of this type can easily pay for themselves over a short period of time.

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