If you are lying in bed at night, with the room lights off, how many different lights on how many different pieces of electronic or electric equipment can you see?

Here’s my list:

  • ADSL router: 6 green lights
  • Wireless access point: 3 green lights
  • Monitor standby: 1 yellow light
  • Charging phone: 1 red light
  • Laptop battery light: 1 green light
  • Printer: 2 green lights
  • Music player, charging: 1 blue light
  • Music player charger: 1 red light
  • 3-way socket: 1 orange light
  • Subwoofer: 1 green light
  • Clock radio: red LED numbers (don’t count) + 1 red alarm light

Total: 11 devices, 19 lights. I guess it helps that my computer lives in my bedroom, and that it’s the communications hub of the house. Can you beat that?

26 thoughts on “Nichtenblinkenlights

    • Alarm clock: red LED numbers + 0-3 other lights, depending on AM/PM, alarm on/off, and something marked “battery sentinel”
    • Humidifier power indicator: one orange light
    • Stereo: 1 red power button light (when off) XOR 1 LED display, set to lowest light setting so there’s no blinking (when on)
    • Computer power indicator: 1 green light
    • Numlock on keyboard: 1 green light
    • Power strip: 1 green light
    • Computer speakers: 1 green light – covered in 3 layers of masking tape because it was so bright it hurt my eyes; it still shines through, but is dimmed.
    • Back of computer: several – unseen but bright enough and close enough to wall that reflected light is visible

    Total: 6-9+

    Note that I turn my monitor off instead of letting it go into standby. I usually go straight from computer to bed, so I want the monitor light to go away right then.

    Also note that because of room positioning (bed on floor, chair in front of computer, etc.) from bed I can (usually) only see the stereo light.

  1. ADSL modem – 4 greens
    Router – 4 greens and two oranges
    Speakers – 1 green
    Optical mice x 2 – 2 reds
    Laptop – 1 green
    PC – 1 green
    PC Monitor – 1 green
    Mixer – 1 green
    Power strip – 1 red

    18 over 9 devices.

  2. My whole house is like that. Ever play that game “where is that alarm coming from?” Between smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, house alarm, computer equipment, etc. etc…

    it looks like the starship enterprise.

  3. ADSL modem: 3 green light (one blinks)
    Wireless router: 5 green lights (3 blink)
    Alarm clock: red light for alarm on
    Radio: Green numbers indicating station frequency
    Computer case: blue glow from a fan
    UPS: 1 green light
    Telephone: 1 red charging light
    Keyboard: 2 green lights (num lock and function lock)

    8 devices, 15 lights

    Basically I turn off all devices that can be turned off when not in use.

  4. May I suggest you connect at least some of your devices to a extension lead which has an on/off switch? I mean do you really need your subwoofer and printer when you’re sleeping? ;-) Also your monitor still uses more power when it’s in standby mode than when it’s turned off completely.

    It’s good for the environment and your electricity bill.


  5. To underline the previous comment with some numbers:

    10 devices
    x 10 Watt standby consumption
    x 22 hours (assuming 2 hours of actual usage on average)
    x 365 days a year
    = 803kWh

    Assuming a price of 16ct/kWh (Euro cent, that is), this sums up to 128EUR a year which I know some better uses for. And that 10 Watt assumptions may even be low – devices like radio clocks are said to consume 30EUR/year alone!


  6. I’m with StephanB on this one. Also, there is some evidence to suggest that sleeping in an environment that is not properly dark can be bad for your health:

    However, I doubt they’re talking about a few LEDs, it’s more the street lights you have to worry about – hence I have a black-out blind. To answer your question, though: 1 red LED on the cordless phone charger.

  7. cable box (one red light, amber led clock,) dvd player (one red light,) tivo (one green light, one red light,) two alarm clocks (red led numbers, aqua backlit led numbers,) two laptops (each with a green battery light.)

    I think I’m doing pretty well on blinkin lights. Lights aren’t bad enough to require a sleep mask. It’s the mild whirring of the tivo and the laptop fan that drive me to earplugs.

    – A

  8. The ones which might save significant power when switched off are the router, the access point, the printer and the subwoofer. I don’t want to turn off the first two as someone else might be using them. I guess I could turn off the printer or the subwoofer, though.

    Does anyone know of a product you can fit to a socket to measure the power used? Like a sort of socket adapter with a built-in ammeter?

  9. “Argh! Think global warming and limited world resources man!” Yikes! No wonder the world is heating up. Have a care – turn off stuff when you don’t need it. If only all companies and individuals would keep the climate change issue in mind it might make a difference. :-) I could probably just about match you, except I turn off (fully turn off, not just put on standby) things when they’re not in use. Standby is evil!

    In the UK a company called Maplin supplies power meters you can slap inbetween your plugs and sockets to measure power and energy usage. I’m sure there must be a company in the States that has something similar.

  10. In the bedroom I have only the the clock radio with its alarm light and (possible) AM indicator, for a grand total of either 1 or 2, depending on whether it’s after midnight.

    If I get up to get a drink of water, however, on my way through the living room I see, as best as I can from memory:
    * Cable modem: 4 lights (I think)
    * Router: 3 lights?
    * 4-port switch: 6 lights
    * Optical mouse underlight: 1 light
    * Num Lock indicator: 1 light
    * Computer: 1 light, 2 if it’s running an AV scan or serving a web page
    * USB hub: 4 lights
    * Cable box/DVR: 1 light if it’s recording, since you’ve said time displays don’t count
    * Subwoofer: 1 light

    Total: 22 or 23, assuming the first two items are accurate.

  11. Fully aware that it’s not proper German regardless, shouldn’t it be “Nachtenblinkenlights”? Unless you meant “not blinking lights” instead of “night blinking lights”…

  12. To all those who mention the waste of energy and the effect on the planet: our electricity supplier for this house is Good Energy, which means that 100% of the power comes from renewable sources*. So even if it is wasting my money, it’s not damaging the planet.

    brian: fair point; but it’s a bit late to change it now :-)

    * For the pedants: I know you can’t label individual electrons. they inject the same amount of renewable energy into the national grid per year as their customers use.

  13. Oh, and Maplin do sell a plug in power monitor – but it’s £25. You’d need to save a lot of electricity for that to be good value…

  14. Just got around to tallying …

    3x 5-port gigabit switches (33 green and 15 orange)
    wireless router (5 green)
    3x power strips (3 red)
    sound volume remote (1 blue)
    mouse (1 blue)
    mousepad (4 blue)
    monitor (1 green)
    keyboard (3 green)
    computer case 1 (1 green, 3 orange, 2 blue)
    computer case 2 (1 green, 1 yellow)
    computer case 3 (1 green, 1 orange)
    powerbook (5 green, 1 white)

    16 devices with a total of 47 green, 9 orange, 3 red, 3 blue, 1 white

  15. Thanks for the pointer to Good Energy! One of my goals for 2006 is to try and become more carbon neutral by the end of the year. I’d be interested to know how they compare price and service-wise to other mainstream providers.

    Using less energy (turning unnecessary items off) has to be better overall, though, surely? Perhaps a simple timer switch would be a good investment? Worked well for our exterior Christmas lights!

  16. Andrew Smith Service seems OK, although they were a little hard to get on the phone over Christmas. They did try and call me back when asked, though.

    As for cost, I calculated that it’s probably between 10 and 20% more.

  17. Heh, actually, I made a photo of that about a month ago :).

    – computer (2x)
    – keyboard
    – monitor (2x, charger and on/off button)
    – mouse
    – power strip
    – tv
    – playstation 2
    – amplifier (2x, one being the display)
    – subwoofer

    My printer also has a light, but it�s usually off. My alarm clock also has green fluorescing hands, but if you don�t mind, I don�t think they count :).

    Fwiw, my computer�s PSU is an Enermax with special gold platings which makes it 90% efficient while transforming power instead of the regular 70% of most other PSUs.

    I should turn off my TV and my computer off more often though. I used to hibernate my computer all the time, but somehow I got out of that habit, and leave it on most of the time now :(. I suppose it�s since I enabled remote desktop.

    I usually let my amplifier turn off on a timeout when I go to sleep, so that one�s not �on� all the time (although it�s still in standby of course).