Load Sensing ZWave or Zigbee Plugs?

I’ve have been using Insteon for my home automation for about 10 years. Unfortunately, the future does not look bright for Insteon, so I decided to start migrating over to ZWave and Zigbee as my Insteon modules fail.

Wanting to do that lead me to OpenHAB, which I wish I knew about sooner. Got my Insteon network up and running on it and bought my first ZWave device… currently waiting for it to get into the database.

Sorry for the long story… but I’ve started looking at ZWave or Zigbee plugs and since I am such a beginner with them I was wondering if these modules typically have “load sensing”? I’ve searched and search about that and find nothing talking about load sensing.

(Load sensing – if the module is off, but you flip the plugged-ind lamp’s switch from on to off to on, it flips the module on, – and notifies the hub)

It seems essential… and so I’m wondering if I’m just using the wrong term for it when I search.

You’ll probably have more success with “energy monitoring”. Using a WiFi example (because I happen to have that webpage open):

https://www.kasasmart.com/us/products/smart-plugs/kasa-smart-plug-slim-energy-monitoring-kp125

If you’re in North America, Zooz makes some Z-Wave plugs with energy monitoring. However, your description of the behaviour doesn’t quite make sense to me.

If the module is off, flipping that lamp switch would do nothing, because there’s no power being delivered to the lamp. It would be as if the lamp was unplugged. I think you actually want the module to always be on, so that you can flip the lampswitch and have the module react to the change in energy use. So, you’re just using the module as a measuring tool, and not as a switch.

The module would send its energy readings to openHAB, and you would have rules that are triggered by the energy going above or below thresholds.

Why do you want to control the lamp switch, though? If you do that, then you never have automated control over the lamp and it will always be a manual on/off device. Most people go the other way and leave the lamp switch on, so that they can control the lamp’s behaviour through openHAB.

Admittedly I’m trying to find a common Insteon feature in a Zwave or Zigbee device… But this is how it works.
The Insteon Appliance module has load sensing capability… That is-- You plug your lamp in to it, make sure the lamp switch is on, and so the lamp is now controllable by the module… With load sensing, the module, while off, sends a small voltage through the lamp… so now, while the module is off (lamp switch still on), the light is off — but if you toggle the lamp switch from on to off to on… the module senses that and goes sets it’s output to full on

Ah, I get it now. Sorry, I was having trouble picturing it. I see the advantage, since you can still control the light manually by flicking it off-on quickly.

I haven’t personally heard of that before, so it sounds very specific to Insteon. However, I don’t have an energy-monitoring smart plug, so it’s very possible that one can replicate this behaviour. If Zooz is available in your area, send them an email. They’re typically very responsive.

If you do find one, please share. I could see this being useful.

I certainly will come back here with any answers…

Not only does it allow you to turn the lamp on by flipping the switch… It allows me to have my number 1 use case for lamps… That is-- I really only want to control turning them off. With load sensing, it allows non-home-automation-hacker types (normal people) to just use the lamp switch as normal… If they decide to turn it off, I’m mostly happy… if they turn it on – my routines can shut it off when it is no longer needed to be on.

Oh. I forgot to mention the one caveat. With load sensing enabled, a small voltage is always running through the lamp when off. This is fine for high wattage bulbs, like incandescent and CFL, but for low wattage LED bulbs, they may glow a bit when the module is off.

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Looking at the parameters for the Jasco 28175, I see a parameter for enabling load sensing. I have no idea if this actually works, as I have none of these devices.

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Thanks! I may just buy one to try it. The manual for it does not mention load sensing, but there is the parameter for it… So now I know I should look at the database entry for any modules to get a better idea of their functions.

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Yeah, I just happened to find that one. There may be others, but they may not have parameters to enable it (might be always enabled). But, there might be something about it in the manual.

Also, if one Jasco product has it, maybe the others do too. Might be worth scanning through all the Jasco switches/dimmers in the database.