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Report: #695348

Complaint Review: Power4Home - North OaksInternet Minnesota

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  • Reported By: Old Smoky — houston Texas United States of America
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  • Power4Home 855 Village Center Drive, #386 North OaksInternet, Minnesota United States of America

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I am a software developer and electronic designer interested in energy management products. When I bought this product I had no illusions about it being of any value. So I haven't tried to get my money back. I bought it to write a review.

It's hard to decide where to start. First, the power calculations are way off. There is no way to use the parts shown to generate the kilowatt hours per month claimed in the literature. Second, the parts shown cannot be connected to the grid. It is illegal to use a 100 dollar modified sine wave truck stop inverter to feed power back to the power company. A synchronizing grid tie inverter is required. They cost a lot. The connection he shows could start fires, damage power company equipment, and kill power company workers. Don't hook it up.

About a year ago I asked them about their inverter and they told me, "That is a very good question". I haven't heard back.

I think Power4Home has gotten over their delusions about knowing anything about engineering. Now they seem more interested in sending me email tips like 'How to install a low flow shower head' and 'How to get servive your water heater'. Pretty soon I'm just going to put them on my spam list.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 02/14/2011 02:21 PM and is a permanent record located here: The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#12 Author of original report

Answer to Jamaican Eco Farmer

AUTHOR: Old Smoky - (United States of America)

POSTED: Friday, October 26, 2012

Old Smoky here. If you want we can do some preliminary work in this forum. Others might be interested and I know some of the people in this thread will want to contribute since we are all a bit geeky. First I would want to know about the facility you want to power. We need to know about your loads. This includes lighting, air conditioning, refrigeration, power tools, water wells, etc. Then we need to know about the solar energy available in your area. Also, are there other energy sources. These energy sources don't have to be converted to electricity.

Heat is also a valuable energy reserve. Using electrical energy to make heat to cook or heat water is very inefficient. Solar to heat is a good solution for many applications that you might currently power a different way. Also, think about future electrical needs and other benefits you might derive. Are you on the grid? If not you will need some form of energy storage. I am interested in using compressed air to store power but I haven't built a system yet.

Batteries are OK but they wear out and there is a carbon footprint (if you care) associated with their manufacture. If you have lots of water and two ponds at different elevations you can store energy as potential energy by pumping it to the upper pond when energy is available and letting it flow to the lower pond to make power at night. That would be fun wouldn't it. I'm making a small version for my garden. Anyway, good luck to you and I hope we can help you. I'm sorry but in your situation it is a DIY thing.

The dealers just aren't out there yet for the kind of comprehensive system you need. Just remember. Burning wood and using beasts of burden (including people) is very inefficient for farming. In the old days 30 percent of the land in agriculture was used to grow the food to feed the animals that grew the food. Also, a healthy man peddling 8 hours per day at full power makes 5 cents worth of electricity. What does it take to feed him? You will be glad to know that the price of the hardware you need has been coming down nicely. Most electronics does over time.

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#11 Consumer Comment

Is Power4Home Spitting in the Face of Jamaican Farmers?

AUTHOR: Faheemah - (United Kingdom)

POSTED: Saturday, October 20, 2012

To: Old Smoky, the software developer and electronic designer and Carl Black, Electrical Engineer

I too have been stung by Power4Home. I am an unemployed mother living in London, UK who purchased a Power4Home Kit (Order Number: 8RDCFEBS) on 14th August 2012. This should have been delivered to Jamaica, West Indies - a poor country where we're wanting to go off-grid and setting up a non-profit ecofarm to help the farming community. It is now 20th October and our product has not yet arrived.

In John Russel declares he will "spit in the face of thieves, crooks and liars sucking money out of your pockets." but is he also spitting in the face of the Jamaican farmers my project is meant to help? Where is Order No. 8RDCFEBS Mr Russel?

I'm not a technical person and I don't understand or mess about with electricity but from the discussion here, it appears the product is unsafe. Can you gentlemen put me in touch with an honest and qualified engineer who would be able to install a safe and effective alternative energy source/s on an ecofarm  with training unit Jamaica?

Thanks for your advice.

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#10 Consumer Comment

More Rebuttal Deception

AUTHOR: Rwegrzen - (United States of America)

POSTED: Saturday, October 13, 2012

Mr Franacar from Nashville claims that a previous reviewer misrepresents John Russel's claims. According to Mr Franacar the  'Power 4Home' video does not state that you can sell your excess power back to the power company. Quoting Mr Franacar-

"The glitch he emphasizes has to do with putting "juice" back to the grid.  No promise was made by John Russel of that nature."

Absolute nonsense. Russel's video specifically claims that he gets checks from his electric utility. This is impossible without an additional net meter from his electric company. No electric utility company in the USA will allow you to operate  Power4Home's grid-tied system without a net meter and its associated inverter & disconnect circuitry for reasons clearly explained in previous posts.

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#9 General Comment

Less Than Useless Report

AUTHOR: Franacar - (United States of America)

POSTED: Friday, October 12, 2012

The main aspect of this Ripoff report that is deficient is that the report does not cover the devices, which outside of the building kit could save a home owner with regards to their power bill.  Also, if this were to be a compete report, the originator should have reported on whether or not the kit is easy to understand and install at *his* home.  Otherwise, it's just nay-saying.  The glitch he emphasizes has to do with putting "juice" back to the grid.  No promise was made by John Russel of that nature. It's not even essential to reducing a power bill. John does give a very definite warning about following his write-up when locating and installing the solar array.  With electricity it is always POSSIBLE to get injured.

And more fundamental than the above is the opening statement by the author, "When I bought this  product I had no illusions of being any value...I bought it to write a review.  Who needs or wants a report from someone who buys a product just to review it. (See above)  What's needed is does the  product do as it is reported to do, and how well, That's what is needed.  Also noted are the majority of accompanying Ripoff reports. 1 for 1 they are not about the usefulness of the product AFTER installation but about not receiving the information kit.  

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#8 Consumer Comment

$$ from your electric company fantasy

AUTHOR: Rwegrzen - (United States of America)

POSTED: Saturday, September 01, 2012

Power4Home video states that John  Russell was able to install a homemade system for < $200 which generated a rebate check from his electric utility. In reality for your futile efforts you will receive a city or town electrical code violation notice for messing with the utility meter. 'Net metering' requires the installation of a new power meter which can run backwards as well as forwards. No utility company will install such a meter without a certificate of compliance from your town's electrical code inspector. As the earlier poster noted such a system requires a disconnect switch and components which sync your home system with the power company.  This is going to cost a whole lot more than $200.

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#7 General Comment

Thanks for the info

AUTHOR: Gil T - (United States of America)

POSTED: Saturday, September 01, 2012

Thanks Carl and Milo for the clear, substantive and easy read for a non tech like myself. The first question which buzzed in my ignorant mind about the panel/grid hookup appears to be what you guys called the sync inverter. The second queston was about just how small of a gargantuan turbine is Russel talking about. My Chemical Engineering friend had already burst this bubble for me, but it was good to get this additional, valuable information. 

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#6 Consumer Comment

AUTHOR: Bert - (Canada)

POSTED: Wednesday, July 25, 2012

 I almost went for the scam, but something told me it cant be for real. A BIG thank u to MILO for his very informative rebuttall! "CLAP CLAP CLAP"

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#5 Consumer Comment

RE: technical question

AUTHOR: Milo - (United States of America)

POSTED: Wednesday, July 18, 2012

In response to 'someguy', yes, solar power is real and most anyone could cobble together something that would work on a limited basis, OFF-GRID.  I have even thought of it myself.  For an emergency outage, as long as you have at least 500 continuous watts of available power, you can create at least several gallons of pure drinking water a day out of thin air with only about a $1300 unit.

I am not an engineer, but I agree with the engineer's assessment.  When I first saw the video, I had a number of concerns too.  Not only the limited cost of his first trip to the hardware store, but what in the world kind of hardware store is it where you can find solar cells, heavy duty deep cycle batteries, solar controllers, inverters, etc. etc.  For less than $100?  And if not that, what in the world did he buy for 90-some dollars?  Heck, just the isolation transformer I want to use with a standby generator in order to balance two 120V AC loads with a 240V output of the generator is going to cost me $600-800!!  Proper components are not cheap. Even a manual (not automatic) electrical transfer switch costs about $200)  I have not bought the system, but what I have seen just so far is scary.  

I thought one of the FAQ's on the web site was particularly disingenuous.  The question was a complaint from a customer that his city would not approve the installation because the inverter would not automatically disconnect from the utility.  And this John guy, who is SUPPOSED to be a qualified electrician thought this city rejection was just terrible, implying the city needed schooling about alternative energy (my words).  WHAT?  Just as the engineer above mentioned, does he not realize that an active inverter tied to the utility could kill a lineman working on power lines?  WHAT WAS JOHN THINKING?  The fact that this seemed to just fly over his head unnoticed really makes me question everything else, as much as I would like to believe everything.  Yes, solar can be made to work, but not at the cost he is talking about.  How can it possibly? This is the equivalent of cobbling together a go cart and expecting it to perform the duties of a modern, safe, comfortable automobile on the interstate at 70 MPH.  If just can't be done.   And what about us down in the south with air conditioning.  He says the first month he put his system in place he also turned on the A/C.  At the risk of calling him a liar, I don't believe it. Not on solar anyway.  Even the (relatively) cheap step inverters are not going to pull an A/C.  Let alone the battery power to run it.  Remember, he is advocating being OFF the grid; no backup power capacity from the utility. (That's what off the grid means, right?)  Right now, I'm using at least 70KWH of electricity A DAY with a relatively new high efficiency A/C. That means if you supply most or all your electrical use by solar, your solar system has to collect ALL that 70 KWH within a relatively short high solar day. (Low sun means lower power)  You have to supply not only what you use during the day, but what you use at night too and store it in the batteries.  It does not cool down at night in the south.  Last night at 10 pm, it was still 94 degrees.  Our old AC drew 32 amps running and about 140 starting.  That's a peak start load of over 33,000 watts.  And if you skimp on your load capacity, even if the AC manages to start, you will certainly shorten the motor's life.  And a $100, or $200 solar system is going to provide that?  Day and night?  Yes, our AC runs all night.  

Remember, in the beginning of the video, John claimed you could do this WITHOUT cutting back on confort or usage, and basically be completely off-grid (immune from power outages, etc.).  I challenge any customer who has built a system to safely supply even 75%, let alone ALL of their electricity needs for under $500 to let me know.  If you are tying into the utility without a TRANFER SWITCH, then you are POTENTIALLY guilty of attempted murder.  More like at least $5,000 or $10,000 or more.  Any takers out there?  In fact, I challenge John to reveal, without having to purchase anything, just exactly what he bought on that first trip to the hardware store, and what he was able to do with it.  For a guy that claims he just wants to help everyone, he sure is secretive.  How about those videos that cannot be started and stopped or replayed to catch details you might have missed on the web?  He doesn't seem to want you to look too closely.  

Does that mean I do not believe in alternative energy? Absolutely not.  Particularly the part about making appliances (the inductive kind) run with less energy use.  I think it has to do with power factor correction, which the utility companies themselves use.  Do I think the power companies are culpable in scheming to rip-off consumers? Absolutely. I'll give you an irrefutable example.  Have you measured the AC voltage in your house lately?  If it is more than 120V RMS, the utility is ripping you off.  The higher the voltage, the more KWH you use without gaining any benefit and the more income they generate.  Most electrical devices are rated at 115 to 120 volts maximum.  Decades ago, most were only 110 volts, and some of those are  still in use.  But even with our AC running, our voltage is still about 122-125 volts, sometimes higher.  Any voltage over 115 volts or so only generates excessive heat and increased revenue for the utility companies.  That's your lesson for today in how utility companies rip you off every day.  I'll bet John didn't even cover THAT.  And it is no conspiracy theory, you can determine it yourself.

Milo, just a guy that understands basic electricity.

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#4 General Comment

technical question

AUTHOR: someguy - (United States of America)

POSTED: Monday, July 16, 2012

as there seem to be two parties here with some engineering background, i have a simple question:

i agree, the system sounds ridiculous in it's claims, that said, for powering a simple barn or off grid cabin, would this system provide some basic power options for a simple system?

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#3 General Comment

Additional Comments

AUTHOR: Carl - (United States of America)

POSTED: Thursday, June 21, 2012

I am an Electrical Engineer with 30 years working for an electric utility.  I was the Project Engineer for a project requested by the Florida Solar Energy Center to test having multiple solar generators at customer's home/store that were grid connected.  My utility accepted the project and assigned me as Project Engineer.  My primary task was to make sure the installations would not cause harm to the utility and the other customers on the distribution line.  They hired an electrical contractor to perform the installation.  We used the electrical inspectors who are tasked with signing off on all new customer electrical systems connected to our system on each installation.  We connected several sites to our distribution system with an electric meter on the utility side of the customer's meter.  This allowed us to monitor both the solar power output profile and the customer's demand profile.  We used a synchronizing grid inverter as the solar interface to the utility.  We proved the installations could safely operate grid connected.

I watched the advertising video of the company and had the same reaction as the gentleman stated in his report.  The inverter will cost many times the total equipment cost quoted in the video.  Not only must the inverter have synchronizing capability, it must be capable of disconnecting from the utility in the event the utility breaker at the substation opens causing no voltage on the distribution line.  The customer's site must be isolated from the utility distribution line or the 1,000 or more other customers on the distribution line will overload the solar installation and damage the inverter causing very low voltage with possibly damage other equipment at the solar installation.

An additional consideration is the square footage of the solar panels necessary to support the customer's total load.  In most cases this will take up all or a major part of the roof of the house. 

The only way to save much on the solar panels is to purchase solar cells that did not pass the manufacturer's acceptance standard and are sold as "seconds".  These cells typically do not meet the minimum voltage or wattage standard.

Overall the add is a fraud.  There is no way a system could be purchased for the amount advertised and meet the promised results.

Carl Black, BSEE

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#2 General Comment

Response to criticism of report

AUTHOR: Bob S - (Canada)

POSTED: Thursday, May 03, 2012

Just to make sure that this is understood.  It is directed at the PERSON who made a REBUTTAL  of the engineers comments!!

WOW! You are an MD AND a PHD. That is impressive. You read a report by an engineer and criticize it because of a spelling error???  Was your PHD in engineering??  Perhaps if you had had any English classes in your extensive education you may have noticed that the spelling error was in QUOTATION MARKS!  In case you dont know what that means, it means he was quoting from a written document exactly as it was printed, errors and all.

in any event, I have poor eyesight, dont use spell check because in most sites it is unavailable, and only type one finger at a time. I make "misteakkees" all the time. WHO CARES? If I make spelling mistakes it in no way invalidates my knowledge or learned skills or limits my intelligence or diminishes my opinion.

For me a person who would demean or diminish a persons response because of a wrongly misperceived spelling error makes me hold anything coming coming from such a thoughtless, and in this case incorrect person as to be worthless, insensitive and arrogant. Although that is the opinion that many doctors hold of themselves. I am very glad that you with such a high opinion of himself are not my doctor.

In any event the whole purpose of the web site is to warn people of problems with things advertised and sold on the internet. It appears that from ALL the 100% negative comments on this Power saving program that it is a scam. i for one am greatful that I checked out this site Before paying for the program.

By your demeaning comment you seem to endorse this product. I hope you buy it, actually why not buy 100?   Sorry for the sarcasm but I just couldnt help it as your comment was so much in need of it!!

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#1 Consumer Comment

Software & Electronic Designer??

AUTHOR: MagicTrick65 - (USA)

POSTED: Monday, May 16, 2011

Sir, with your alleged credentials, one would think you could spell a little better. Maybe in the future, you should think about utilizing spell check.  Just a thought.

J. Thomas, M.D. PhD

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