Cable Boxes?

Has anyone had any luck having their cable boxes detected? I always remember people saying they are notorious for “ghost” power consumption - meaning they use power even when you think they aren’t “on” (they’re in standby which uses power). Are they just in my “Always On” category and when i turn them on to watch TV, my “Always On” just goes up without any identification? Sorry to say but these are the things i wanted sense to solve - real questions - real devices - but instead it recognizes my sump pump which runs 4-5 times a day and might cost me 13.4 cents a year to have and it gleefully tells me when my coffee grinder is on consuming .00003 watts of power for 3.5 seconds each morning. sigh

Sense isn’t going to directly detect electronic devices, that all obscure any characteristic signatures they may have in operation via the power supply. But there are two ways to sort out the power flowing to wall-warts, etc.

  1. Watch your Always On and learn how it works. It should give you a good estimate of how much power your house is using when all the major devices are not in their active on modes.

  2. You can push down into the details in two ways.

  • You can try unplugging or flipping breakers when your house is electrically very quiet (nothing going on or off) and watching the Power Meter, to see how much the unplug/breaker off drops the Power Meter. Do not watch the Always On bubble for information at this stage - it’s a long-term calculation. The Power Meter is the place to look for instantaneous changes.

  • Invest in a 20$ HS110 smart plug and use it as a Tester for each device you want to look at. Configure it into Sense using the Kasa app, and the TP-Link integration. Plug the first device you want to assess into it, then observe that device’s (cable box ?) waveforms in Sense’s device Power Meter for however long it takes to figure out the device’s baseline usage. Then move onto the next. If you leave it plugged in for a week of so, Sense will usually come up with an Idle power and Always On for that device. If you want to do this for multiple devices, either move the Tester HS110 to another device or invest in more HS110s.

I have used smartplug data to profile hourly power usage of a number of electronic (and other) devices in my household. Sometimes the data isn’t as simple as On/Off/Standby.


None of our three cable boxes (TIVO’s, which are never actually in “standby”) have been detected in almost two years and there is no noticeable power change to them whether or not we are watching TV. Actually none of our home electronics, except the laser printer, have been detected.

My 2c - most modern cable boxes have a standby in 2-8W zone. More than just the power supply would consume, but enough to keep them on the network, doing housekeeping, and listening for user inputs.

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Thank you - i get how you are pulling an end-run around things to get the answer and i may someday find a friend to do the flipping and on both ends and yelling up and down the stairs :wink:

Your first sentence is very interesting. If sense isn’t going to detect any electronic devices (presumably as you say because the power supply masks their signatures?) why is there a setting to enable network device detection - presumably to detect devices attached to the network - most all of which would be electronic??

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Sense can do an end-around on detection for some smart devices, mostly late model Samsung and LG TVs. NDI uses the TVs broadcast messages on the network to figure out when the TV powers up and down. From what I have seen on the forum, that technique works for a limited number of devices and is relatively inaccurate in predicting active mode power usage. Not sure how Sense picks up an active power reading for NDI - it might look at the usage increase happening in some window around the on-broadcast on the network, or it might use the set’s speced value for power consumption. I don’t have a qualifying TV (have Sharp and Sony smart TVs, but not LG or Samsung), so I haven’t been able to experiment.