This project was one of my entries to the Core77 Greener Gadgets competition 2009.
Vampire power, also called standby power, phantom load, or leaking electricity, refers to the electric power consumed by electronic appliances while they are switched off or in a standby mode.
While there are a number of devices on the market try to a combat this problem they all work using electronics. These devices are costly to make, some use power themselves, will eventually fail due to the nature of electronic devices and are hard to recycle. Simple ideas are sometimes the best. While the Vampire Plug is simple it overcomes all of these problems. In essence the Vampire Plug is a timed power override switch. It has a mechanically powered timer which makes it very cheap to manufacture, it won’t fail, can be made form 100% recycled materials which in turn can be recycled.
Any device that needs to be charged for instance starts drawing vampire power the second the battery is full. Mobile phones for instance only take a couple of hours to charge but are normally left plug in overnight. With the Vampire Plug you simply set the dial to how many hours of power you need (up to 12 hours) and pull the draw string to start the timer. The Vampire Plug can be set to ring a bell five minutes before the power is turned off as a reminder. If more power is needed simply pull the draw string again. The draw string can be set to any length so if the plug is in a hard to reach place the Vampire Plug can still be activated. Two versions have been designed (taking design cues from any vampires’ worst enemy, a bulb of garlic) one is a retrofit that sits between the wall socket and the appliances plug. The other takes the place of a conventional plug allowing manufacturers to instantly improve any of their products green credentials.