Device Detection and Smart Plugs question

So I understand you can use a smart plug and then name it within Sense for tracking a device while it its plugged in the smart plug. My confusion is with removing the smart plug later. I have seen people mention using them in a roaming/training kind of way, like moving the smart plug from device to device. Does this train sense on the individual devices pattern? Like once you leave it on the smart plug for a while does it remember that pattern and no longer need the smart plug to continue monitoring it? If not I wonder if a special plug could be made to help sense do that…Thanks!

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Welcome @dping28 ,
No, a Sense-supported smart plug will not train Sense how to “learn” and “detect” a device. You’ll need to deploy a dedicated smart plug long-term for each plug-in devices that Sense AI hasn’t yet “learned” and “detected” and that you want to monitor. Using a smart plug as a Roamer, on all your plug-in devices, is a good way to assess the best devices to use a smart plug on, to fill in the blanks.

A Roamer will provide Always On usage measurements for every device you cycle through it, as well as showing you the overall usage pattern of each device tested. You only really want to deploy smart plugs on devices that have a large variable component. There isn’t much value in deploying a smart plug on a device that is mostly Always On. There also isn’t much benefit in deploying smart plugs to all the devices you use as a group (home theater, or PC + monitor + peripherals) - better to use a dumb outlet strip with a smart plug instead of an 6 plug HS300 (a mistake I made).


Thank you for clearing that up for me. I have only had sense setup for like a week so I am not planning on doing any smart plugs right away but wanted to find out more on that roaming bit. We do have a rather large always on section so may be useful to do that to figure out what some of it is. Thanks again!

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At 1 week in, you’re at a pretty good place to do an assessment of all of the 120V plug-in devices in your house with a Roamer smart-plug. The Roamer won’t just help with Always On. You’ll also get a pretty good idea of where some of your other large variable loads live. And if Sense doesn’t learn and detect those, they are the best and most likely candidates for long-term smart plugs.

At 10$ a KP115 is a bargain, plus can give you a better view of how the plugs integrate and what they bring to the party.

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I actually have a box of 4 of what looks like Kasa HS103 smart plugs. May need to see if those will work and play with them. :slight_smile: They look almost exactly like the ones you posted.

A lot of the Kasa smart plugs look alike, you are correct about that. However, not all the models have the same stuff inside the shell. HS103 smart plugs do not have energy monitoring capability, so can’t be integrated with Sense.

There are only five smart plug models which integrate with Sense. You may read about these five plugs at the webpage below, but the one Kevin mentioned is the most economical single plug. If you need 4 plugs, the EP25 can be slightly cheaper per plug.

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As Jeff points out, one has to be very careful when buying smart plugs to work with Sense.

  • They must be energy monitoring models. TP-Link offers as bunch that all look the same but some are energy monitoring, but the cheaper ones are typically not.
  • Kasa plugs cannot be the M (Matter) versions of their energy monitoring smart-plugs. KP125 is OK. KP125M is NOT. Matter is a new, nascent protocol standard for home automation. But Sense was originally built out for proprietary TP-Link, Demo and Wiser protocols, and those are the ones that work today. TP-Link Kasa has chosen not to offer backward compatibility in the M version of the plug, probably for security reasons, but that means they are a no-go today with Sense.
  • Beware of Amazon offering options - Amazon treats the Kasa EP25 as the Apple HomeKit version of the HS103, even though the EP25 offers power monitoring (and HomeKit compatibility), while the HS103 does not. Not as interchangeable as Amazon treats them.
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Ah! Thank you both for the heads up on that! I’ve had those 4 for a while sitting in a box. They came with a Kasa KP303 power strip I got a while back. Was hoping I might finally have a use for them oh well :wink: I will check out those KP125/EP25’s and see if I cant get a couple for playing. May even need to replace my KP303 with that HS300 mentioned in that link. It is so interesting to see the usage of your power in real time with this thing. Kevin you mentioned using a single plug for a power strip. So in Sense I am guessing that shows as a single bubble? Like if you plugged your computer, monitor, network stuff, etc into a power strip that was in a single smart plug you would just have the one bubble i sense that you would name what every you wanted right? So it shows the total of all those devices as one? And just to make sure I got what you meant right with the roaming plug you are just making note of those devices average usage so you know later to mentally remove that amount from your always on/other totals? Since once you move that plug off to something else you wont see it anymore. Thanks!

A few quick answers.

Yes - Sense will show all the usage of a single smart plug outlet as a single bubble, so your computer/monitor/external hard drives on the same outlet will roll up into a single “device”. But with smart plug “devices”, you’ll have some threshold options (standby vs on) when it comes to determining how much power makes the bubble appear. I’m also specific about “single outlet” because the HS300 has 6 independently monitored outlets.

You, you can name your outlet strip “device” whatever you want. My laptop/monitor combo is called “Office Cluster”.

Yes - all the components of the Device View will show the combined values for the power flowing through that smart plug. Here’s a partial view of what the Device View looks like for my Office Cluster. The Device Power meter shows laptop not hooked up, then connected and in use, then in sleep mode, then back to full usage. You can kind of see why it doesn’t make sense to look at the monitor and laptop separately.

Yes - take notes on the values showing after 48 hours on the Roamer. Even better, also take a screenshot of the Roamer Device Power Meter for the past 48 hours for each device you rotate through. I actually keep a spreadsheet that has Always On and max variable power values for every device I rotated the Roamer through.

I have found the HS300 to be overkill when all devices on an outlet strip are connected in usage

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Yeah I can see now how it may be better having items clustered like that verse a million little bubbles for each device. Thanks for the cluster pic! Visuals always help me! Definitely got my mind going now, have tons of areas to test and think where clustering might work out. :slight_smile: Thank you for taking the time to help me understand the process. I will be ordering a few compatible smart plugs this evening!

Yeah I can see how the 6 independent outlets might be overkill for most standard power strip setups. In my case I have one spot where I have 2 3d printers, a desktop cnc and a raspberry pi for octoprint that I use at different times and like being able to control independently with voice. My little KP303 works well for that without the power monitoring. I think in that situation the HS300 would be nice, I wouldn’t mind seeing the power for each outlet so I know how much a printer or cnc is using individually. But yeah def not for like my tv/entertainment center setup. Those I def see now how clustered is best. Thanks again for taking the time to answer my questions! Have a great nite!

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There’s one potential benefit for certain devices, though it has nothing to do with the Sense. I have an OLED TV, internet switch, TiVo, Roku, and Hubitat on an HS300. The TiVo box is a controller for other satellites and if it has a problem, all the other boxes in the house get hosed. I’ve created a “reset TiVo” macro that cuts power, waits 10 second, and then powers it back on. Same thing for the Hubitat which once in a blue moon seems to get buggered. Admittedly, and HS300 is overkill for that as you don’t need the power monitoring. It is useful for the OLED as I believe sense has a hard time detecting OLED TVs given each pixel can draw varying amounts of power and as such doesn’t have a constant signature given the draw is dependent upon what image is being displayed on the screen (with black being virtually no current, and a white screen being the maximum draw with all RGB pixels at 100%).


Good point @joeciarcia - if you have additional automation requirements, you might choose to deploy a smartplug or commit an entire HS300, beyond the measurement benefits. I did the same - I put a doorbell with a Ring camera on a Traveler Kasa EP25, but eventually kept it on the doorbell, because it seemed to need a power cycle every once to keep online. So I do an auto power cycle ever 7AM.

Based on my experiment with another Traveler, it looked like my OLED TV usage was more driven by video processor usage than screen luminosity. A static image occasionally had massive dips in usage.

Sony 77” 4K OLED TV

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