At what point do you just give up on Device Detection?

My Sense has only been up for about two weeks. During that time it has identified the coffee maker on its own. It has managed to detect my Hue lights by reading the data on the Hue Hub and it has a list of things on a Kasa Smart power strip because I told the power strip what was plugged in and Sense read that data. So in reality the coffee maker is all that it has found on its own.

To me this is disappointing. While I know the developers are interested in refining the AI behind this; Personally I just want it to know my devices so I can use the equipment. I can look and the graphs and see my heat pump, hot water heater, micro wave and a few other devices that have very distinct graph signatures. In many cases these things kick on when the house is otherwise very quiet electrically such as at night when we have only a 66 watt vampire load. At those times the power curves for these devices are quite clean and distinct; yet the system does not identify them.

Not withstanding the desires of the development team; as a user I should be able to click on the flag for a large wattage item when it appears in the graph and tell the Sense AI what it is. As a consumer I find it unacceptable that I am unable to achieve my person usage goals because I am forced to be part of a development team. That is not how this product was advertised.

I’d recommend giving this a bit more time, @oasis. I know that’s not the first thing you want to hear, but Sense needs more than two weeks of data to identify the devices in your home.

Here is a good post from the Community taking a look at some of the reasons why we don’t “train” Sense, as you suggested. Our data science team is constantly working to improve our device detection algorithms based on the data we have been receiving from users like you. As time progresses and more Sense monitors come online, the device detection will continue to improve.

While you’re waiting for Sense to model your home energy usage and devices, there’s still a lot you can do through the Power Meter in the meantime to ensure you’re hitting your goals. That link provides a walk-through of how to use the Power Meter to reduce your Always On bubble and minimize energy vampires and large energy loads.

If you have any other questions about some things you can use Sense for while it’s actively building out your home energy models, please reach out. Our Community loves helping new users and we have some amazing content I can share with you in the meantime.

Thank you for your response; but it is the same as what I have read to user requests for a way to tell the system what a device is across your website and this forum. The point you make is always the same. You are working on your detection algorithms, and I should be content to wait however long it takes for the Sense to decide what devices I have. I have seen this comment so often that it is almost a boiler plate response.

Well that all fine and good; but Sense was advertised as a system that would identify and show usage for electrical systems in my home. There are reports on this very forum of people who have gone almost a year without any devices being detected. By the end of a two week install this device should be able to identify large wattage devices that are standards in any home, like water heaters, microwave ovens and heat pumps. These devices should not take months to detect. I can see them in the power meter in the app, and they present as very clean power curves that repeat identically each time they occur. Certainly by now your data base should have enough examples of standard water heaters and heat pumps to identify them if I can by just looking.

With the Solar option this device is almost $500 by the time it is installed. So far, my system has not even identified the power used by my inverter and after all it is a solar optioned device that should be able to detect a SolarEdge inverter and it power use curve.

This is supposed to detect networked devices. Well I have a lot of Nest equipment; all of it connected to my network. All of that is standard Nest equipment that is sending out network signals all the time and the Sense system has not found one single device so far.

Sense was not advertised as an opportunity for me to help you crowd source your AI development efforts. I am happy to help in that; but I would like to be met half way. Give me the option to tell my system about devices that I can clearly identify. Those identifications could be clearly marked as user identified and not placed into your device pool unless you determine that they could be helpful to you AI development efforts. In the meantime you would get specific information about specific devices in specific homes; and the users would get better use of equipment they paid a lot of money to install.

All I am saying is that the user community should be provided a way to identify devices that are so obvious that they can be found with ease in the graphs. If you are afraid such identifications would taint your data; don’t use them. But allow US to use them to make our devices more useful.

Never try to teach a pig to dance … It wastes your time, and it irritates the pig.

If you got one device reliably during your first two weeks, you are doing better than many of us did. As the Sense community keeps saying, “Patience!”.

So, Sense apparently isn’t what you want it to be, and it probably never will be…it fundamentally doesn’t work that way. I suggest that you give up and get your money back while you still can, or sit back, relax, and practice “patience”….lots and lots of it.

@oasis Two weeks is a short time for detection to really establish itself as @JustinAtSense points out. You may well have a more difficult home for Sense success. Many users, myself included, have seen significant advances in detection (disaggregation).

My house is non-standard in so far as in the early days I had to inform Sense, via support, that my hot water heater was not being found. It turns out that it was because my supply voltage is 208V and so the phases are at 120deg vs 180deg. I believe Sense has incorporated this type of low-level recognition into the setup sequence. There are many pitfall permutations (the basic physics stuff of many varied electrical networks) that Sense has ironed out, before you even get to the disaggregation layers of the machine learning (RNN).

I recently did an analysis of my hot water heater detection you may find informative and optimistic.

My experience for devices detected. There were 4 devices detected for the dishwasher (clean cycle, rinse cycle, empty cycle, heating-dry cycle), 3 devices detected for washing machine (wash cycle, rinse cycle, spin-dry cycle). You are going to need to just wait for a longer period for devices to be detected.

Several of my devices no longer detect. I changed out incandscent bulbs to LEDs and SENSE was not able to re-identity those devices (wattage too low). However, I left the old devices in my list.

The SENSE unit will require you to have more patience. Create a spreadsheet and develop a list of ‘time to detect’ for your system. We would like to see your results.

Close-up of my first 3 months.


While I appreciate the responses (particularly the sarcastic ones) with all the zeal they deserve; there are a few things worthy of note. First; I do not have the option of returning this thing. It was provided and installed by my solar installer. He too was fully fooled by the way this thing is advertised. I have since explained what I am seeing and he is holding off on installing these until the advertising matches the actual function of the device.

Today I got a nice note from Sence recommending that I set notifications to advise me when my refrigerator stops working. That would be a great Idea especially since I am away sometimes. ALso the device still has not found my refrigerator or anything else for that matter except a coffee maker; which I have just replaced with a better model.

THe fact are the facts. This thing is advertised as being able to detect and recognize devices in the home and report on their usage. There is nothing about long waiting periods for that to happen; there is nothing about that says I will have to join a crowdsourced program to develop the AI to make the system do what it is advertised to do right out of the box.

I find it particularly interesting when a company allows you 30 days to return the product if it is not working; but then tells you you must give it 6 to 8 weeks at a minimum before you can expect it to work. I believe that the return period should be at least as long as the time necessary for the device to actually start working. Any other policy is more of a scam than a return policy. If they don’t believe there product should be working in 30 days or less then why should any of us.

I am really tired of being told that there is no way to allow the users to name devices that they can readily see in the meter display because it would pollute the crowdsourced data system. THe fact is it would be easy to allow people to name something and tell the system that it was a user designation and not an AI detection. That would allow such data to be segregated until it is verified. Meanwhile the users of the equipment can actually get what they paid for.

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I recently installed a new HVAC system; followed three weeks later with the SENSE system. My HVAC system tracks it own energy usage but that information is wrapped up into a nice little GUI.
I was shopping around for a home energy monitor system, and Sense had some impressive specifications. i.e tracks utility meter watt for watt.

Am I happy with Sense?..Hell yes! But I am not impressed with the device detection. That feature may be a few years away before it is ready for prime time.

Can understand your pain, but you suggest a couple things that are a bit off-base.

First, I think you might have missed it… The return policy is 120 days now.

Second, you are clearly in the weeds on the technology part if you think it would be easy to have you “mark” devices via patterns in the Power Meter, unless you are talking about manually marking each and every usage. But maybe that’s what you want ? I can see value in being able to measure the on portion of waveforms in the power meter more effectively.

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Sorry to hear that, @oasis.

As @kevin1 mentioned, Sense has a 120-day return policy. I know you mentioned you received your Sense via your solar installer so a return isn’t an option for you, but please connect with me privately if you had a particular question that I can help with.

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I am not lost in any weeds. I am a published researcher and computer systems analyst and have developed systems to generate faces starting with nothing but a skull to identify found human remains. So I am quite familiar with AI systems, and their development

It in fact would be a simple matter to allow a user to click on a wattage flag that pops up on the meter display and allow that user to identify that spike. It would be equally easy to segregate that as user supplied data. How that designation is applied in the crowdsourced data stream is up to Sense developers. But such a change in the APP would make this system a lot more useful to people a lot faster.

THe system already does the reverse of this now. Those who are lucky enough to actually get devices detected are sometimes asked to verify that device ID to the system. If you have smart plugs; you identify the device attached to the plug yourself, long before Sense even tries to make an ID.

Many here respond to me as though I am alone in wanting this; and that is far from the truth. IF you look at the reviews from Amazon for this device there are a lot of people who are asking for this same feature. There are many on this forum also asking for this. that fact should say something to the developers.

Not disagreeing with you on the last point - lots of people want it. I do too.

And you could certainly have a UI that lets a user manually label each spike Sense highlights with a power reading (as I suggested). But what good does that do ? I don’t believe users could label on/off signature pairs accurately, except in constrained situations (most other things turned off in the house), by isolating just that on-off cycle. That doesn’t get you anywhere though, since it is a one-off. How would you handle labeling the simple situation in my house below ?

Or are you just assuming once you identify the easy case, Sense would auto-identify the hard cases with noise and other similar spikes popping up and down all over ? Surely you don’t believe that ?

No I do not believe that Sense will identify the hard stuff if I do the simple ones. What I do believe is that this device detection has been hyped WAY beyond the actual state of the art. What I do believe is that for a simpler home like mine; when most stuff is off all day except when I turn it on; that I can accurately identify most devices that matter. To be certain there are some things I can see on the meter display that Ithey can’t identify; but those are small automatic devices and there are not many of them.

I think part of the issue is that I do have a solar installation. During the day the inverter uses power that rises and falls precisely with the amount of power being generated by the solar panels. The sense unit has a separate pair of sensors clamped around the solar circuit but not around the part of the panel that supplies the power to run the inverter. So I do not think it will ever be able to detect the power overhead from running the inverter; even though it is significant and is precious parallel to the generation cycle. Generally running in the 1,200 watt range.

All I am saying is that that this device would be far more useful it it worked like it says it will on “the box”. There Is nothing there about waiting months for devices to be detected. There is a lot on this forum and in the directions about going to the trouble of adding all the devices in your house to the device list, by make and models To assist in device recognition. I did that the first day.

Now I see a response the other day from one of the Sense guys on this forum that the data I entered is not actually being used by my device to identify things. It is being used in the crowdsourced data system they are building that “someday” will improve device detection. No place on the outside of the box does it say that before this thing can work as advertised that I have to join a crowdsourced development program and wait months to see if it can detect my equipment. I am happy for those that have this working ok for them; but it is not what it was advertised to be. All I am doing is suggesting a fix for that.

Now you may not find the ability to identify devices manually to be of use to you; but I would find it to be very usefull. SO apparently would many others. Just yesterday I got a message from Sense that I should set a notification to let me know if my fridge stops working. Problem is, Sense has no clue about identifying my fridge, and I have no way to tell it.

I still find it to be useful; but I also find it to be severely crippled by the rigid insistence that no manual identification system for devices will be added in light of the lack of maturity exhibited by this technology. So we are FORCED to be part of a development program that we were not informed of before we bought this thing

Non-intuitively, these things are not mutually dependent, or mutually exclusive for that matter. A “failing fridge” signature can be detected regardless of whether a working fridge signature has been defined as a device. That would be my assumption anyway.

I disagree. I do not honk it can tell you a device that it has not identified is failing. I suppose I could tell by watching the meter myself, but how would the Sense unit know its failing of it does not know what it is.

Thanks for the explanation… I agree 100% that some of the Sense marketing is over the top on setting the wrong expectation. I’m hold the line on manual identification because so vehemently because the two other devices I looked at before choosing Sense, both had a “manual mode” and both are no longer in this business. There are also a couple of “refugees” from those previous devices roaming around on this forum and share their stories occasionally.

I’m also a solar user and love the fact that Sense brings the solar output together with total usage, plus I’ve seen somewhat better identification than you may have so far (I’ve had 2 units over 3 1/2 years). Not quite sure what you think the issue is with your solar install. I only have a single backfeed from my solar inverter to my main panel, so I never see the energy used by my inverter, since it is upstream from the backfeed (except at night when the inverter pulls a in 2-3W of grid power in night mode).


I wonder if the issue could be that your devices are just not providing Sense with enough on/off cycles to be detected.

I don’t have any details on how the Sense algorithms work, but my understanding is that they are using the same approach that would be used to solve the “cocktail party” problem in machine learning which is picking out a single voice in a crowded room of everyone talking at the same time. The single voice for Sense though is a particular device.

I’m not an expert at machine learning, but I am a software developer and currently working on a project that uses machine learning (it automatically rotates engineering drawings to the correct orientation). The approach I am using in my project is called “supervised learning” where I label this drawing as rotated 90 degrees, that one as 270, this one at 0, etc. After labeling thousands of drawings, I can then have my system interpolate across a number of axes so that it can attempt to classify drawings it has never “seen” before; that is, drawings that were not part of it’s training set. It is working really well.

The cocktail party problem, and I believe Sense, use “unsupervised learning” where rather than labeling training data and then categorizing new data into those labeled buckets, it looks for patterns that emerge by separating the data points into logical groups based on their “distance” to each other. Then, you can label these groups.

One way to solve the cocktail party problem is to use multiple microphones at different locations: You can then analyze the data from the different microphones and look for patterns. There is only one set of mains Sense can monitor so instead of looking for patterns in space, they look for patterns in time. I think that’s where the “give it more time” mantra comes from. It needs to see enough on/off cycles to separate the data into logical groups (i.e. devices) which you can then label as coffee maker, fridge, etc.

Again, I don’t really know how the Sense algorithms work and am not a machine learning expert. This is just my best guess based on my research and current understanding.


Nice explanation @ramon.

And sounds like a fun project.

In Sense sampling frequency terms (important!) and what is sampled (more than just a 1-dimensional amplitude), I’m going to draw a somewhat pointless picture:

In your project, imagine if the drawings were all reduced to 1 pixel. Now everything is the right way around. Problem solved!

Our system here is very simple. @romon commented that perhaps I have not had sufficient on/off cycles of our devices for it to find them. If that is true then I am indeed going to have a long wait. I have read a lot of the materials on this forum and the Sense website explaining why manual intervention will not work. Every excuse they give is based on their desire to perfect the detection System. Basically they have placed the development of the device ahead of the needs of the user community.

While this may fit a technical development model; is is a poor user support model.

I constantly see people falling back on the claim that I could not possibly mark a device in the meter at the millisecond level. I would not plan to even try. This ignores the fact that I do not have to. What I have proposed from the start is to let the Sense equipment do the detecting. Just as it does now with one exception. When it puts up a flag in the meter as it does now; I should be able to click on that flag and tell sense what that device is; if I know; even if I have to do it again when the device turns off.

That identification would in fact be in context; noise and all; and could then be used by Sense to ask me later when it thinks it has seen that device again. I would not be the one identifying when the device comes on an off; Sense would be doing that. All I would be doing is giving it some idea of what that might be. Too be fair; in this scenario I should have already entered the device in the listings for my home as I have.

As to polluting the data base these guys are developing; that would not happen if they recognize and isolate those identifications until they prove out over time. That is far easier than they claim in these forums. Meanwhile, I at least have a chance to reduce this unknown bubble and increase the number of known devices.

I seem to have to keep repeating this. I like the idea of a device like sense. I am enjoying using the one I have. But It is far less useful to me if it is clueless as to what I have in my home. At this juncture it is no better than many other monitors that cost far less and are marketed with the abilities they actually possess.; not those they they say it will have some day.

I should also say that my home is not complex. We have a breaker box that has only one side, so two sided detection is not an issue. There are only two of us here, and things get turned on and off a lot but individually. So the cocktail party analogy is far less applicable to us than it might be to others. Though I recognize the issue, and what I propose might help with that as the Identification would be in context.

I am not suggesting a “teaching” system where users turn on single devices and identify them. I agree that this would be counterproductive. I am suggesting allowing users to identify devices in full context of normal use.

The take away for the Sense folks from all of this should be this. They need to either provide some way for people to manually identify a device that Sense can see going on and off; or they need to explain on the outside of the box that SOMEDAY this device might be able to detect devices on its own; but that the technology is not yet mature.