I did it. Amazon had the Sense Energy Monitor on sale few weeks back (Prime Day), and I decided to get it. There are few competing products out there, but all-in-all, I felt this was a good ‘compromise’. Its main distinctive feature is that it monitors the current on two ‘mains’ and then uses some AI to detect the signatures of the various devices inside the home, then starts to monitor the usage for each specific device. The Sense uses 2 Current Transformers (CTs) as sensors. In contrast, other systems (such as the one from Emporia, also cheaper) use multiple CTs (up to 16) to monitor each of the individual circuits drawing power. One might be tempted to conclude that 16 CTs are better, but that is not necessarily the case as each circuit can feed multiple devices, then it’s difficult to tell whether it is the microwave or the coffee-maker that is drawing power. In contrast, the AI within the Sense (if/when it works) gives usage per each specific appliance/device. I also saw on YouTube that the Sense often has a hard time detecting electronics that are connected via UPS systems, such as TVs, computers, and the like. Over the next few weeks/months I’l be watching how the Sense ‘learns’ about my home and all devices in it. Also, from what I understood, it seems the Sense compares ‘signatures’ from various devices across its large user-base for similar electrical signatures, to come up with robust device identification. One thing I learned already (yes, it makes sense after you pause and think about it) is that many devices do not draw power continuously. For example electrical ovens and refrigerators are always running on/of to keep the temperature between 2 pre-sets. Otherwise, the oven would get extremely hot, and the fridge extremely cold. That’s what the thermostats are for, as in fact those 2 devices use closed-loop control to regulate the temperature. Neat, but you’d never think about this until you sit down and think about it. Thus, for example, if your refrigerator says 200 Watts on its label, it is not always drawing 200 W … makes sense?
So, that’s the introduction. Now, I’d like to hear from fellow community members who’ve tried such system, and what their experience with it. The questions that come to mind are:
- How to get the best/most from the Sense Energy Monitor?
- Can one interface the Sense Monitor to OpenHab (bindings available) ?
- Ability to store/download raw/processed data and track it