Over the past 30 years Monster Cable has given the world fat cables and beefy gold-plated connectors for its home audio and video components, but in recent times they’ve also been releasing some more eco-friendly power devices under the Monster GreenPower moniker. Some models have lots of places to plug in your devices, some have remote controls or the ability to protect your coaxial and Ethernet lines from power surges, but all of them have a “Green” power-saving feature that could pare down your desktop energy use by a lot. We take one of them -the AV775G – and put it through the paces.
We tore open a box with the AV775G version of the Monster Green PowerCenter inside and dumped out an instruction manual, some labels to help identify our various devices’ power cords, some extra coaxial cable, and the Green Power unit itself. With the spin of a twist-tie we had the power center’s 6-ft cable uncoiled and we jammed its gold-plated plug into the wall. Three lights on the unit glowed to confirm that all systems were GO.
This surge protector has seven outlets on it, each of which is labeled with a device type like “Receiver/HDTV,” “Amplifier,” “Accessory 1,” or “Cable/Sat.” Monster’s idea here is to help you keep better track of which device’s plug you’re messing with when you’re down on the ground fussing with your power supply. Two green LEDs indicate that the unit is grounded (three-prong plug is a must) and that its protective circuits are in working order. Gold-plated coaxial cable connections let you plug in and protect your TV/Internet cable line from surges.
Inside, Monster has used ceramic, power-absorbing circuitry that they claim is more fireproof than the plastic alternatives. The instruction booklet says an alarm will beep if the AV775G has suddenly “sacrificed” its high-tech electronic guts “to protect connected equipment from a catastrophic surge.” In such an event the Green Power unit must be replaced, having died a noble death.
But hopefully this doesn’t happen before you get to try the nominal feature, the one that gives this Monster Power line its “green” marketing cachet. For energy saving benefit, Monster placed one control outlet at the head of the unit which will switch three other outlets on the power strip on or off when it’s triggered.
For example you can plug your monitor into the control outlet and plug your amplifier into one of the switched outlets so that whenever your monitor is turned off/goes to sleep, the power to your amplifier is cut as well. At that point the amplifier can’t even draw “standby” power—a subtle but major cause of electricity waste on a worldwide scale. You might also use the switched outlets for AC adaptors (also called “wall warts’), which are notorious for drawing “phantom current” that tends to bloat electricity bills over time.
The most complex part of setting up the Monster Green Power center is figuring out which device you want to put where. Monster’s labels suggest you plug your receiver/TV into the control outlet, plug your amplifier and DVD player into the controlled outlets, and run your other stuff on the un-switched outlets. Then you plug it into the wall and switch it on before forgetting about it (if all goes well).
When we first plugged in the AV775G we immediately wanted to play with its main feature: the “green” control outlet system. We plugged a computer monitor into the control outlet and our stereo amplifier into one of the controlled outlets. Watching closely, we turned the monitor off and…nothing. The amplifier’s outlet was still live.
The instruction manual revealed that we had forgotten to turn the feature on to begin with—there’s a switch that activates the control/controlled outlets (meaning that you could use all the seven outlets on the unit in regular continuous power mode if you really want). The second attempt proved successful. When we turned our monitor screen off, the amplifier power was cut. When the monitor was switched on, the amplifier showed to be in standby.
Of course there are times when this feature could prove more an annoyance than a convenience. If you’re listening to tunes on your speaker system and your monitor unexpectedly goes to sleep while plugged into the control outlet, your music amplifier plugged into a switched outlet will cut out suddenly, too. But if you set up your monitor’s or TV’s sleep settings more conservatively (or just switch off the “green” feature when you don’t want it), you won’t have any problems.
The AV775G Monster Green Power surge protector does its job smoothly. We had no problems getting the “green” control outlet feature to work with our computer monitor and digital TV—when the monitor was turned off or went into sleep mode, the three controlled outlets on the unit switched off as well. The benefits of turning off your bevy of electronic components when you don’t need them are many—energy savings, reduced wear on your electrical devices, etc.
Using a gizmo like the AV775G ensures that the savings will happen automatically when you leave your workstation. And it’s nice to have the assurance that when you’re away from your desk, you’re not wasting electricity unnecessarily. The AV775G can be purchased for $69.95 at www.monstercable.com.