Ceiling Fans and Can Lamps

In another post I asked why after 2+ years with sense and both my ceiling fans and can lamps on and off daily, why they are not being detected.

Someone asked me for a screen shot of this. See attached.

In the middle of the pic there is a +35w - this is one of my ceiling fans. 3 positions to the right of that is a +45w which is my can lamps (this room has 4 of them).

So again trying to figure out why these are not being detected.

Yes ceiling fan is variable speed but i always keep at same speed
Can lamps are LED

Hi @deputypaulatl,
It’s a good start if Sense is “seeing” your transitions, but even if Sense “sees” a transition in the Power Meter, that doesn’t mean that it is ready to detect it as a device - the transitions must pass three other tests:

  • There have to be enough transitions that “match” so that Sense can actual determine that there is a cluster of similar transitions, under a range of house conditions. More on what clustering looks like later. You probably have enough detections after two years, but the other three criteria (below) might be the limiting issue.
  • There has to be a similar off-cluster because Sense can’t do a detection with our a matching off, and vice versa.
  • The transition has to be unique. If your device has both on and off transitions being tagged in the Power Meter, then Sense either doesn’t have enough repeats, or the on/off data doesn’t pass the uniqueness criteria - that would mean that it’s on and off signatures smear together with what seem to be other devices, or are so broad in variation that it might not be one device.
  • I also believe that the parametrics of the features of the “cluster” also have to match an existing Sense model. I get the feeling that some electronic devices either look vastly different for different ons and off, or that the cluster of feature are so far outside the normal physics-based clusters that Sense has to treat each cluster one as a special case.

For more on how this works, I have tried to outline my theories on Sense here. Feel free to comment, ask further questions or contribute more wisdom.

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Thanks for the details. Not sure I know what all of it means.

Every room in my house (well most) have both ceiling fan and can lights. They are one and off multiple times daily. I have had sense for I want to say 2+ years now.

I guess if it hasn’t detected them by now it won’t. I won’t lie i’m disappointed.

Just looking at the numbers in your limited 2 minutes with of data, it seems possible that the problem is there are too many things that look nearly the same and that all the transitions blur together, especially if the electronics driving them (I’m assuming the can lights are LED) kind of “flatten” all the other distinguishing features.

I’m an electrical engineer with some data science experience, so I knew what the Sense team was up against with their detection challenge. I’m not really disappointed, but I have changed my buying process for electrical stuff due to Sense. A couple years ago, I had the choice of a singe-stage, 2-stage or variable AC system replacement - I chose the most efficient single stage system for two reasons: 1) I knew the single stage was a more likely detection for Sense, and 2) the multi-stage/variable AC systems all required proprietary thermostats and I wanted to keep my Ecobees which are much more open about sharing operational data.

Thanks Kevin,

Yeah I only did a small sample for screenshot

I do tend to get alot of those mini spikes - +10 -15 etc - any thoughts on that.

My power should be clean since I’m one of the first subdivisions off my substation (assuming that is a good thing)

Perhaps I could make a screen recording for a bit - of what over time looks like at my house

Btw not related to this thread but…

Yesterday I bought 8 smart plugs (they were on sale). Other is gone now. I have a better “sense” of what is going on my home.


Smart plugs can always help.

yes… huge difference already. AO is still high but I understand it takes up to 48 hours

Course can lamps and ceiling fans are direct wired. Guess I should give up on those

And just to be clear, the top level Always On with NOT lower, but the Always On “device” will offer a breakdown that includes the Always On data for all the devices on smartplugs, so the amount of your top-level Always On that is unknown will shrink. You’ll know some of the major components of your Always On as seen below.

I would not expect Sense to ever single out any device that pulls less than 150w unless you have it on a smart plug. It would be nice if it would, but if devices that pull that little power are big difference makers for you, then congratulations - that is a pretty nice place to be. Things like that are drops in the bucket of my electric use, so I’m just hoping my 40%+ “Other” can finally get lumped into the things like HVAC that are the big users.

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I’ve had quite a few detection of devices under 150w, most of them are small heating/cooling type devices and do have an initial spike. Lights are quite hard for Sense to detect, especially in a busy home.

‘Other’ is usually a good thing, often more promising of an eventual detection than being lumped into ‘always on’.

I have a cautionary tale of electric fans. The ceiling fan in my wife’s office was detected over the summer, as she never changed the fan speed during the entire summer.

Then the weather changed, and she turned the fan speed down. Now Sense recognizes the “on” signature for that fan speed. But if the fan changes speed, Sense has no idea when it turns off.

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Devices that use under 40W are extremely unlikely to be detected natively. Devices that use from 41-50W are probably not going to be detected. Above 51W is probable.


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