Is it true that a phone uses more energy than a refrigerator?

  • Thread starter ellieee
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  • #1
ellieee
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Homework Statement:
my thought process is since the fridge is bigger, naturally it should consume more energy no?
Relevant Equations:
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  • #3
Vanadium 50
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Before we can determine why something is true, we need to know if it actually is true.
 
  • #4
Delta2
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Who told you that. A mobile phone consumes 10-20Watt while a refrigerator up to 500Watt in full operation.
 
  • #5
Delta2
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Maybe the article you read was about the average power. A refrigerator might draw like 500watt or even 1KW for 1hour and then draw nothing for the rest of the day if we don't open the fridge or put new things inside it. If such is the case the average power might be less than 10-20watt indeed.
 
  • #6
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Afterall it might be true, if we compare extreme scenarios, for example a high end smartphone that is connected 24/7 to mobile internet, and a fridge that we don't open at all to remove/add contents.
 
  • #7
PeroK
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Homework Statement:: my thought process is since the fridge is bigger, naturally it should consume more energy no?
Relevant Equations:: -

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My wardrobe is bigger than my fridge and it doesn't consume any energy.
 
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  • #8
ellieee
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Maybe the article you read was about the average power
perhaps? because according to the article, the thinner the wire used, the more thermal energy generated in the wire[according to the equation R=(ρ)x (ℓ/A) ], so I assumed since we usually use thinner wires to change our phones, it means our phones are consuming more energy than fridge (which uses thicker wires) ?
 
  • #9
Delta2
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Ehm for the thermal energy generated in the connecting wires you might be right, but that is a small fraction of the energy consumed. The connecting wires of a fridge are connected to a motor/compressor which does work on a gas in order to drop its temperature and then cool the cabin with it and it draws a lot of energy power up to 1000 Watt for a typical household fridge. On the other hand the connecting wires of the mobile phone are connected to a battery which draws really low energy no more than 10watt.
 
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  • #10
Steve4Physics
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... the thinner the wire used, the more thermal energy generated in the wire[a
That would be true if you were comparing equal lengths of of wire, each carrying the same current.

Also, most energy-conversion for phones and fridges is not heating in the wires, For a phone, it is conversion of electrical energy to electromagnetic (radio) waves; and for a fridge it is conversion of electrical energy to mechanical energy in the compressor (motor).
 
  • #11
phinds
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The actual answer is that this nonsense IS stated on the Internet but it's a bogus comparison because to get that result, they take the refrigerator as a standalone item but for the phone they count the cell towers and other stuff that is NOT "the phone".

http://www.energyhousecalls.com/new...rtphone-uses-more-energy-than-a-refrigerator/

If you consider the entire energy footprint, the picture becomes less clear. While your refrigerator operates on its own once you plug it in, a smartphone requires an energy-using support network of cell towers, data centers and other equipment. When you factor in wireless connections and data usage with battery charging, the total energy footprint of the average iPhone is 361 kWh, according to a study by Mark Mills, CEO of the Digital Power Group.
 
  • #12
PeroK
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  • #13
Delta2
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The actual answer is that this nonsense IS stated on the Internet but it's a bogus comparison because to get that result, they take the refrigerator as a standalone item but for the phone they count the cell towers and other stuff that is NOT "the phone".

http://www.energyhousecalls.com/new...rtphone-uses-more-energy-than-a-refrigerator/
I think I understand what that article is trying to say , it speaks about the entire energy footprint and I guess it is trying to say that using our smartphone is not environment friendly, not only because of the EMI , but because of all this energy that is spend not only on the smartphones but on all the other things that have to consume energy in order for our smartphone to do its work, like the cell towers, data centers e.t.c

However the title is easily misleading...
 
  • #14
phinds
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However the title is easily misleading...
I think ENTIRELY misleading is more appropriate. I mean, for a refridgerator do we count the energy requirements of running the power station, maintaining the power lines, etc ... ? I don't think so.
 
  • #15
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I think ENTIRELY misleading is more appropriate. I mean, for a refridgerator do we count the energy requirements of running the power station, maintaining the power lines, etc ... ? I don't think so.
We should if we want to find the entire energy footprint, however those two factors that you mention are the same for smartphones and fridges. So they are kind of simplified.
 
  • #16
phinds
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We should if we want to find the entire energy footprint, however those two factors that you mention are the same for smartphones and fridges. So they are kind of simplified.
My point is, you can carry this to the point of having to consider all the ramifications of the car that drives the maintenance worker to the energy plant. Basically, you end up having to consider the entire world. It just gets ridiculous.
 
  • #17
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My point is, you can carry this to the point of having to consider all the ramifications of the car that drives the maintenance worker to the energy plant. Basically, you end up having to consider the entire world. It just gets ridiculous.
Yes well the total energy footprint of something might indeed be something ridiculous, however if we exclude the common factors we might get something meaningful and be able to compare different footprints. You keep mentioning common factors in the energy footprints of the fridge and of the smartphone.
 
  • #18
phinds
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Yes well the total energy footprint of something might indeed be something ridiculous, however if we exclude the common factors we might get something meaningful and be able to compare different footprints. You keep mentioning common factors in the energy footprints of the fridge and of the smartphone.
True, I did, but only because they are the obvious things. If you want to dig into it then you have to consider the energy cost of manufacturing the fridge / phone and all that THAT entails. I stand by my point that it just goes on and on.

Either talk about the phone and the refrigerator as stand alone items or expand each to include the whole world.
 
  • #19
vela
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Who told you that. A mobile phone consumes 10-20 Watt while a refrigerator up to 500 Watt in full operation.
Just curious, where did you get the 10-20 W number for a phone? My phone's battery capacity is around 12 Wh. If it were using power at that rate, it would last only about an hour or less.
 
  • #20
Delta2
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Just curious, where did you get the 10-20 W number for a phone? My phone's battery capacity is around 12 Wh. If it were using power at that rate, it would last only about an hour or less.
I made it out of my head o:). A more careful google search says that the average phone consumes no more than 5W even when fully operating.
 
  • #21
hutchphd
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Can we somehow put a large STOOOPID sticker on this and shut it down?
 
  • #22
Delta2
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Can we somehow put a large STOOOPID sticker on this and shut it down?
I found this thread very interesting after all, I learned about the concept of energy footprint and no I don't agree with @phinds I don't find it a ridiculous concept that has to include the whole world. It does so only if you include the common factors.
 
  • #23
hutchphd
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I agree with @phinds that such a program is not possible. All factors are common factors absent arbitrary rules.
 
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  • #24
phinds
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I made it out of my head o:)
:rolleyes:
I don't find it a ridiculous concept that has to include the whole world. It does so only if you include the common factors.
Says the guy who just makes up numbers :oldlaugh::oldlaugh::oldlaugh:
 
  • #25
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:rolleyes:

Says the guy who just makes up numbers :oldlaugh::oldlaugh::oldlaugh:
Yes ok still, I wasn't far away from the truth, there might be some high end smartphone that consumes 10W+ in full operation.
 
  • #26
phinds
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Yes ok still, I wasn't far away from the truth, there might be some high end smartphone that consumes 10W+ in full operation.
I know. I just couldn't resist :smile:
 

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