Detecting 2 Identical HVAC Units

I have 2 3-ton trane systems and have never been able to figure out how to get accurate readings through sense. Sense does a great job detecting the HVAC but has no way to discern the upstairs HVAC from the downstairs. At one point there was an ecobee integration that sounded promising but I don’t believe that works any longer. Is there a way to recognize these HVAC units separately?

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Two thoughts - Sense is going to have a hard time telling them apart.

  • I don’t know how your AC units are configured, but mine use the furnace air handler for circulation. Both of my furnaces are on dedicated wall plugs (not wired), so I have an HS110 on each one. Sense is able to to identify my 3 ton from my 4, but if that wasn’t the case, I would be using my furnace data for attribution.
  • You could also use Home Assistant. It’s able to pull together data from multiple Ecobees and multiple Senses. Many ways to combine the data into power info.

ps: the Ecobee integration still works, but it pulls Ecobee ground truth data so Sense can improve HVAC models. It doesn’t give real-time clues to detection.

@senseinaz, wanted to show you both of these routes in action. The following are the charts I’m generating in Home Assistant for my 2 AC systems - both of my 2 Ecobees and my Sense are integrated into HA. The power usage plots on the top are from Sense, with the furnace data coming from a smart plug. Plots at the bottom come from the Ecobeess, showing various measured and set temperatures, plus operating state. As you can see, Sense is nailing every AC cycle for both upstairs and downstairs - you would probably need some kind of combined graph since Sense can’t separate the two.

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I just came to post the exact same issue/question. I have two goodman 3 ton units an upstairs and downstairs and Sense thinks they just one. To be honest, I am incredibly dissatisfied with this product. I assumed I would be able to teach it things manually, which you clearly can’t and I sort of understand the technical reason why, but it is absolutely horrible at identifying devices. To say this product is incredibly falsely advertised is an understatement. I want to return it, but I gave it too much time to try to identify devices and now the amazon window for returning it is closed. sorry for the rant!

@sense21, can understand your frustrations. There’s a huge “your mileage may vary” factor with Sense detection. The 3 factors that seem to matter:

  • Device Type Detectability - There’s no getting around the fact that Sense is good at detecting some types of devices and poor with others, just because of way it does detection based on transitions (mostly). Many devices kick out clear, consistent on and off transitions, while many others don’t. I have tried to put together a very incomplete list here.

  • Device Type Noise - But even if most of your house is producing crisp and clear transitions, a single large usage device that is continuously kicking out lots of random transitions of different sizes has the potential to obfuscate all the other transitions. I think one of @andy 's pumps has been identified as “noisy” which has to be horribly frustrating. In a similar way, a house with too many transitions from actual on off cycles may also reduce native detection because it is too difficult to isolate individual devices. More on native detection requirements here.

  • Expectations - I’m an electrical engineer so I entered my Sense experience with a reasonably good idea of how Sense operated and what it’s limitations might be, regardless of Sense’s early marketing. I didn’t expect Sense to detect consumer electronics and was willing to put undetected large-usage devices onto smartplugs.

Perhaps try to contact Sense directly about a return. Sense’s “give it more time” and Amazon’s standard return policy are clearly in conflict with each other.

Clearly said, but unfortunately nowhere to be found in Sense’s sales pitch.

Regarding “willing to put undetected large-usage devices onto smartplugs”, that’s a nice fantasy except that most large usage devices are 240v, and don’t use plugs at all, much less smart ones. Sense’s answer is to repurpose their solar device only covers one device and none at all for all of us who have solar systems…one major reason for buying Sense in the first place.

What I can’t figure out is why Sense (or some partner) doesn’t offer a 240v wire in module, which would totally solve the problem. Kasa sells 240v smart plugs in Europe (not usable or approved in the US), so it should be very simple to offer a wire in block instead of a plug/socket.

After about a month of use I am pleased with Sense. About 10 years ago I was going to purchase The Energy Detective for about $500. All it would do, I believe, is monitor total KWH usage. Sense has gone a long way from this days. I do hope Sense could partner with someone like Shelly to offer current transformers to use in HCAC or other 240 volt equipment.

In the last month I found out that the new HVAC compressor was stopping for about one minute due to the cold air temperature leaving the evaporator. This was caused by a supply to return bypass valve. I showed this the HVAC contractor and he rerouted the duct bypass. Without Sense this issue would not have been detected.


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