Sense: Is this thing for real?
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Never heard of it, but maybe so. It is an interesting idea that voltage patterns can allow them to discern specific appliances. But $249 now for something "Shipping in August" would sure make me nervous.

The below link takes you to an FAQ, with information such as: "Sense only relies on the current sensors attached to your breaker panel. Sense does not require smart appliances or per-device sensors."

 

https://help.sense.com/hc/en-us?_ga=1.265373517.394187425.1463079327#faq

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It just seems like they are pre-selling a product that is not fully fleshed out yet.
For instance, they state that they can currently detect many devices but not all... and that they are still developing algorithms to detect other types of devices.
What if they determine that the "signatures" for a lot of devices they can't detect at this time are actually more similar than they thought, and there is no way to tell them apart.
It seems interesting that they don't provide a list of the types of things they can currently detect.
One example they use on the product page is getting an alert that the basement light is on while you are on vacation? So this thing should be able to tell the difference in a light bulb in the basement vs a light bulb on a back porch?
Somehow I think this will turn out to be an "ivee" type of situation.
 

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I am currently using the Chai energy pro device.

https://chaienergy.com/chai-pro/

This does similar but you have to "tag" each device first. Once you have done that it recognizes when you turn it on and off, and can calculate how much electricity a month it is using. However I have had difficulty tagging some devices for some reason. I think you need almost no other electrical devices draining power at the time you do the tagging, or it doesn't work. It would be nice to have a system that can work out devices power patterns automatically. Some are really obvious when you see the graph pattern, such as a microwave. A fridge is a pretty distinctive pattern as well. But others like lights might be much harder.

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Got it installed today. It's collecting data and learning about all the equipment in my system.
Takes about a week or two they claim to ID most stuff.

Stat tuned, I'll report on it here in a few days.

But right off I see a delta in the voltage on two phases, one is about 2 volts higher. I'm seeing
121.8 and 123.9, and a big delta on amp draw which they list in watts, so 1998w vice 120w.
I don't know what's running right now this contributing to that delta, but we'll find out. I suspect
it's a small, 120V heater out in the shop in the garage which I turned on a half hour ago.

Sense_2017-02-17.jpg

 

After watching for a while and the load differential was reduced because something turned
off the voltage on each phase was within 0.30 Volts, so don't think I have a problem there.
This jives with what I have measured on my DVM and DSO, and frequency is dead on at
60.0 cycles. So seems reasonably accurate for a device that has not been calibrated (at
least it bears no CAL sticker).

 

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I also have two Aeon Labs energy monitors that are not as sophisticated as the Sense module and were much cheaper.
I picked them up last month and was going to use one for whole house monitoring and the other on the 220V charger
for the car but then I came across the Sense device and decided to go with that.

I still need to install one of the Aeon Labs monitors for the car charger, don't know what I'll do with the other right now.

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It's been two weeks now and Sense is still working on identifying all the equipment in the house.

It's singled out about a dozen but it's not sure what they are so it just labels them as 'Unknown Motor 1'
or 'Unknown Heater 1' and so on. You're supposed to help by going in and looking at the timeline and
then edit the name to reflect what the piece of equipment actually is. Sometimes it gives a device an
actual name, for instance it labeled one as Garage Door Opener and I thought that's cool it figured out
the GDO by the time and duration and load. But when I wen in and looked at the time line to see how
much power it was using each time it operated there were times in there when I know the door did not
open or close. They were times when no one was home so unlikely that anyone had opened the door
at 10:11 AM then closed it again 4 minutes later. But I thought its easy enough to find out so I just
reviewed the security video for the camera that watches that door and sure enough the door never budged
so Sense misidentified the GDO but I have no idea what device it actually is at this time.

I contacted Sense and suggested that it might improve the monitors chances of identifying equipment if
users could go in the app and input devices or equipment that is currently running without trying to tie it
to a particular signature. I also said it might be helpful to let users list their equipment or devices in the app
by manufacturer and model so that they(Sense) could look up the information and have a better idea of
what it is looking for.

I know that two identical dishwashers for example installed in two different homes will each have a unique
signature but there will still be similarities. The differences will come from how the equipment is wired in the
homes' electrical system and minor variations in the equipment itself.

Another area where Sense makes it difficult for users to ID a device is it does not tell you if the device or
equipment is 120 or 240 volt, which to me seems like it would be easy for the Sense monitor to determine.
With a CT on each phase if you start up a piece of 240 volt equipment like a well pump or electric water
heater it should be easy to determine this and label the equipment as 240. But the app just shows you how
many watts the equipment is drawing, not the voltage and amperage, and if you have the wattage and the
voltage current is a simple calculation but a piece of information that can help the user link a signature to
a individual piece or equipment.

Like Iris there is no web interface as yet. And like Iris they say they are working on it. But when you watch
the video you see them using laptops to observe what it happening and I was thinking that I would be able
to connect to the monitor from my desktop computer. I can't use my tablet (XOOM running Android 4.5)
because the app description says it needs 4.4 or better but somehow my XOOM and its 10 inch display does
not qualify.

By now I would have thought Sense would have ID'd more equipment and devices than it has. Granted some
equipment has run maybe only once or twice in the past two weeks but I am not worried about those. My concern
is why it is having such a hard time identifying items like the heat pump, or washing machine or electric dryer or
electric oven or cooktop or the well pump . Some of that equipment runs multiple times a day and by now should
have been easy to ID. Lights and other small resistive loads I can see being difficult to ID, but all those 240 volt
appliances and equipment should be easy, so I am disappointed right now with their performance in that area.

I will report back in another two weeks on if Sense is able to make any sense out of my homes electrical system
and equipment. Right now it's not looking good and I suspect I'll be right where I am now.

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I was actually on the ordering page for Sense and decided to first see if there was anything on this forum indicating any work by Iris in the power monitoring area and found this thread.  Great report sparc, thanks.  I'll hold off a bit longer.  Seems like this company and product is still maturing, but headed in the right direction.  I noted from their videos that things like heat pumps have variable speed motors which are hard to isolate and unfortunately that was one area I was keen on getting to monitor.  I'll await further evaluation, though the price seems to be going up!.....at full $300 plus shipping plus tax right now.

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Yes, I noticed that it has trouble identifying heat pumps, I have three of different sizes and it can't ID any of them. It also has trouble with electronics which are powered through a UPS if that UPS provides voltage droop or surge protection by boosting low voltage or controlling overvoltage. They claim it can ID equipment running behind a UPS of this type but so far (3 weeks) its a no go.

So far it's isolated 16 devices but most of them it doesn't know what they are so they are listed as 'Unknown Motor 1' or 'Unknown Heater 1'. There are a couple things I think they could do with the app to make it easier for users to help Sense identify running equipment but they have not implemented them.

They are good about answering questions and feedback. You might not get the answer you want but they do answer and explain why something is the way it is.

I'm truly wondering how many of these they have out there in the wild as my serial number is all zeros and only the last two digits are populated which makes me think they have less than 100 units manufactured when my unit was made. Since they have been at this a while (>6 months) that doesn't seem like too many and I feel like a beta tester at this point. There have not been any firmware updates as far as I know but then there is little communication as to what's happening behind the scenes coming from Sense.

It does work and sees changes in wattage of only a couple watts. It can tell when an LED lamp is turned on or off so I think that's pretty good. I just wish the app would popup a box asking you to ID what device just turned on or off to help it figure out what's what. It's been trying to confirm a device it thinks is the clothes dryer for over two weeks now, and the dryer has run many times and of course right after the washer. However, we have a plug-in hybrid (Chevy Volt) and that gets charged up every other night so that may confuse it as the 220V car charger draws about the same as the dryer.

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Wouldn't expect a lot of firmware updates considering all the smarts are on the server side and this device is merely an accurate sensor.  I agree, there are a lot of smart users out there that could help them build their database if they open up the interface as you suggested, sparc.  Would be pretty easy to turn on a device and note what it was you just turned on.  My main purpose for getting would be to see what the max total current draw on the 100 amp service is, and monitor the house while away at seasonal home.  Thanks for the update.  I may just join your "beta" test group.:huh:

 

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34 minutes ago, RonLh said:

Wouldn't expect a lot of firmware updates considering all the smarts are on the server side and this device is merely an accurate sensor.  I agree, there are a lot of smart users out there that could help them build their database if they open up the interface as you suggested, sparc.  Would be pretty easy to turn on a device and note what it was you just turned on.  My main purpose for getting would be to see what the max total current draw on the 100 amp service is, and monitor the house while away at seasonal home.  Thanks for the update.  I may just join your "beta" test group.:huh:

 

If you just want to monitor current draw you could do that for about $150.00  The V1 Aeon labs sensor can be used on Smart things.  So a $99.00 hub and $40 energy monitor would do it.  Below is the basic app and I believe it will work with a V1 which is about half the price of the V2 energy monitor.  I have a V2 because Iris was not compatible with the V1 and they recommended this as the energy monitor I should get.  Which they no longer support, thus my running it with ST.. 

You can also set it up so you can graph the data but that is a bit more involved.  You can reset it and then it will store you max current and KWH  usage from your last reset.

A3C6E4A2-845C-4C74-87D6-FA48152DD1B8_zps

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It's a simple calculation but Sense does not tell you what your real time current draw is which is something I think they should provide.

It definitely has some growing pains ahead of it. Hopefully it will become more than it is because as it is there is no reason to go with Sense over one of the other energy monitors. After three weeks it should know a lot more than it does at this point.

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It's been about 5 weeks now, and Sense is still trying to figure out the electric dryer, how stinking hard can that be?

Based on my experience so far I would advise anyone thin king about installing the Sense energy monitor to hold
off for at least 6 months, maybe a year. There is very little of value you can do with the information you get from
the app at this point. There is no web interface. There is still no downloadable event logging or history either
collectively or for individual devices. and it still can't ID over 75% of the devices in my home. After over 5 weeks
it's got a positive ID on about 6, and the other 12 it thinks it knows are all labeled as Unnamed Motor x or Unnamed
Heat y.

I'll keep posting occasionally on its progress or problems and also if they ever get around to adding a web interface.

So stay tuned but don't hold your breath as you'll probably tune blue long before Sense gets a brain.

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So here we are mid April and it's been about two months since I installed the Sense Energy Monitor and not much has
changed. The app has been updated twice, most recently just 2 days ago.

However, the app still says it has only found 18 devices and it doesn't know squat about most of them. It's STILL trying
to learn about what it thinks is my electric dryer. Somehow the category for unknown, always on devices has NOTHING
listed. That started after the last update about 10 days ago. Always On used to have about 300 to 350 watts showing all
the time. IT supposed to be all those parasitic devices and instant on devices like TVs, computers sleeping, wall wart
transformers used to charge portable electronics, etc. Since I first installed the Sense monitor there has been about 300
to 350 watts listed in this category, now nothing. The Unknown category has grown slightly though from 120 to 200 watts
and now runs a constant 450 to 600 watts. It's almost like the Always On stuff got reclassified as Unknown.

Right now as I write this the app thinks that the only three devices running are my Boiler Circulator Pump, my Kitchen Fridge,
and 475 watts of Unknowns. But my computer that I am using to browse the web is on, a 32" TV is on, and a number of lights
inside and outside the house are on. Now I can understand that it might have trouble detecting various light fixtures but my
outside lights that are on a timer that Iris controls should be pretty easy to figure out. I mean they are set to go ON/OFF at
sundown/sunup so after seeing the start/stop time shift in relation to the changes occurring with the seasons AND a one hour
clock reset even a dummy like me might consider that this is possibly some night time lighting. The coffee maker draws about
1400 watts but it can't figure that our either. Same for the toaster which it calls "Unnamed Heat 2" sometimes, at other times it
just gets lumped in with the Unknown loads.

So after all this time all I can say is save your money or buy something else, as Sense is not ready to play nice. I may contact
them and find out if I can get my $250 back, as this is a total waste so far.

No web interface.
Can't save log or download any historical data.
Can't 'help' the app by identifying what just turned on or off.
the list goes on.

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Thanks for the updates. You took one for the team, because I'm sure several of us had considered going that route. I'm disappointed at the unfulfilled promises from Sense, but it all sounded a bit "magical' anyway.

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