I read Big Clive’s web page on making a power saving plug, and was disappointed. Disappointed because it is such a ripoff that it would be a violation of Federal Trade Commission rules had it been sold in the U.S. Big Clive said that the capacitor had one lead cut, so it was effectively doing nothing.
But Clive gave no further information on the value of the cap or its rating. If it is connected across the power line (“mains”) the rating must be X2. From what I’ve read, the capacitor is designed to fail open so it will not be a safety and fire hazard when it fails. More info about this can be found here (.PDF). If the capacitor was not of the proper rating, it is probably best that the lead had been cut, for it could be unsafe otherwise.
It’s not at all clear to me (in both cases) what the schematic was supposed to accomplish. Like he said, some of the parts just don’t do anything. Somewhere along the line, someone may have found that the device was dangerous with the capacitor connected, and went inside and cut the wire to render it safe but ineffective. What the law enforcement agency should do is confiscate all of them when they entered the port, and had them taken out of the supply chain so that the consumer would not waste their money and become a victim.
Perhaps someone could relabel them and sell them as night lights? Probably not very bright. I’m curious as to how many of these have been sold to unsuspecting consumers, and how many hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars someone has made at the expense of the consumer.