Detroit Edison (DTE) is currently running an ad campaign with the phrase
“Know Your Own Power.”
Recently DTE replaced our old meter with a new digital version. Its display cycles through various readings one of which is current consumption. With such a handy feature on the meter I decided to get to Know My Own Trains Power. Here is the new meter with the air conditioner, three computers, several monitors, a few lights, and assorted clocks and wall warts – 4.78kW.
I asked my wife to turn on the layout and all of the layout lighting while I watched the meter. A little subtraction and I have my answer:
The railroad consumes 1972 watts of power. Let’s round that to 2000 watts. Now I know whenever I am playing with trains it is the same as having 20 – 100W incandescent light bulbs on at the same time. Incidentally, about ½ the amount of electricity the air conditioning uses. At current DTE residential rates it works out to about $0.30/hour to play with trains. That’s a lot of fun for 30¢ an hour!