Device Detection - Multiple AC Units

Thanks for the detailed explanation. I think this is more than I’m willing to do. I’m 9 months into owninng this and I feel a single $300 device should be able to do as advertised. I keep reading and getting told that it will get better and more accurate and that more time is needed. I do understand that it’s further complicated in situations like this where people have multiple instances of the same hardware. I just think it should be able to differentiate between my 2 units because visually they look different enough…at least to me.

I agree with this and many other posts by frustrated users.
Change the software to allow user identification and labeling of electrical loads.
We have paid a premium price for this product!

I think it does as advertised, maybe not as well as some would like as all homes are so much different. I have seen improvements in the 7 months I’ve been using Sense.
When we see another home with the same devices we have but ours are not detected, it is frustrating. But everything they claim the monitor will do, it does.
It’s like Babe Ruth being known as the home run hitter. He had almost 3,000 hits but only 700 home runs. Just because it can be done doesn’t make it where it will be each and every time

I’ve said this before and will say it again. The marketing is ABSOLUTELY NOT accurate. It fails to tell potential customers that Sense is incapable of detecting significant numbers of devices, nor that it will be rendered pretty useless by certain (e.g. “noisy”) devices. Nor does it say that most of your devices might not be detected for months/years/(decades?)

While Sense clearly works for some devices and situations, it’s a science project in process for a significant number of situations/customers. For those who want to pay to be experimented on, that’s fine and probably a lot of fun. For those who thought they were buying a finished product that would accurately monitor most of the electricity consuming devices in their homes, it’s clearly less acceptable.

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If you’ve seen any of my past comments, you’ll notice I’ve also made the same statements about the omission of facts. I have also felt that they should make it clear about “noisy” devices. ESPECIALLY those with geothermal pumps that never get much for detections. I also complained in the beginning about not being able to directly view usage on my iPhone without internet (it didn’t list internet as required for simple viewing). @RyanAtSense quickly took car of my complaint but the “noisy” device issue remains.
Their biggest failures have been in marketing in my opinion. Sense will do everything they say it will but they fail to provide accurate expectations.
Am I gathering your feelings are similar to mine where the product has the capabilities to what they say but it’s a marketing error that it’s somewhat overstated?
I just noticed it was you @andy
Sorry to see your detections haven’t improved

Trust me, if this was a simple software add, we would do it. Training Sense is not nearly as simple as training something like Alexa or Siri. Many, many discussions on this forum go deeper into the challenges there, but this thread is a good start: Why can't you train Sense?

@andy I think we’re pretty upfront that Sense will not detect everything and that many devices will take a while to find. This information is included on the FAQ right on our main page. I’ve said this before, as have others, your situation is pretty unique. I’ve yet to come across another customer with a similar setup that prevents proper device detection due to a single device. If you, or anyone, has ideas on how we can better set expectations, I manage the bulk of our blog and help content and will happily take all ideas into consideration.

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@andy’s issue (IMHO) is a scaled-up version of of what every Sense user (and the Sense itself) is confronted with.

Meaning, @RyanAtSense, while I understand what you are saying to @andy and do not disagree with your statement, it is also true for every Sense installation otherwise our expectations would all be high because every detection would be trivial!

Essentially, the more your Device signatures standout in the background noise (i.e. from each other), the more likely they will be detected. As silly as it may seem to say it: Detection is defined by devices & devices are defined by detection.

In “The Great Animal Orchestra”, Bernie Krause writes eloquently about the biophany of a noisy rainforest: insects & birds evolve to occupy different regions of the sonic spectrum in their particular part of the world. They can hear one another through the cacophony, if only because they may be deaf to the spectral region of certain other species. Planes flying over rainforests, it seems, can be very problematic. As are ships to whales.

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I don’t disagree with any of this. Disaggregation is finding that signal in the noise. My point was that instances where a single devices (or small subset of devices) blocks almost all detection in the home are incredibly rare — rare to the point that I’ve only seen it once. Support has possibly seen it more frequently than me, but in any case, it’s very uncommon.

I love Bernie Krause. I had the pleasure of seeing him speak while I was working on a PhD (alas, unfinished) and it was incredibly eye (and ear) opening. That’s a pretty apt metaphor here too.

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I think it’s important that everyone read @2uskiwis’s linked post that explains his original problem and solution.

At any rate, he solved the main problem having to do with the fact that the panel in his picture includes a feed to a subpanel, so he had to move his CT clamps into the panel with the meter. Kudos to @2uskiwis for that work, I would be equally freaked out about opening that panel and doing work. Are there non-conducting gloves that one is supposed wear for that kind of work?

At any rate, the issue in this thread is the subsumation of “Other” into “Motor 1” aka “air handler 1.” This is indeed a seeming oddity.

Just to confirm, after you moved the CT clamps, did you end up doing a full reset or are you still hoping to avoid that? I’d contact Sense to see if they’re going to recommend that you do that since you moved the clamps over. I’m not certain about this, but I think that 240 volt equipment may not be affected by the clamps switching over but 120 volt will be. I’d hesitate to condemn the product until doing a full reset. Regarding being hesitant about a recurrence of the wifi issue, think of it this way, if your unit is faulty, better to detect it now than years from now after the warranty runs out.

You said “should be able to differentiate between my 2 units” in a reply. What did you mean by that? It’s not clear to me.

Note: The OP has a real technical issue. I don’t think it’s helped by people coming on this thread in the technical support forum and repeating their general product complaints. In fact, it makes it 10x as hard to actually follow and focus on the real technical issues that the OP is having. Note to OP: To be fair, you did seem to bring in the topic of whether you had the right to expect more from Sense. Such feelings are understandable but it does seem to cause people to come out of the woodwork with their anti-Sense agendas and doesn’t help you solve your real technical issues. Just some friendly advice and you don’t have to follow it.

Back to the original issue: @2uskiwis, do you know what the original 1291 watt “Other” really is? I had assumed it was other regular stuff in the house but do you have a reason to think it is one of your other air handlers or compressors?

That’s offensive @dianecarolmark

You want to tell everyone what they’re should read but don’t want to respect what they’re have written?
Referring to people “coming out of the woodwork” makes it sound like cockroaches.

I haven’t seen anything “Anti-Sense”. A valid complaint does not mean anyone is against Sense. Did you bother to read the praises about Sense from the same users?
This linked, “important read” actually has nothing to do with what the OP posted here.
This is not the “Technical Support” sub forum, it’s “Device Detection”.
Finally, your complaint was people making it “10x harder” to help the OP, did you have a solution here that I missed?

I’ve never seen an electrician wearing gloves…they are careful not to touch the wrong things. I also DO NOT recommend that people mess around inside their breaker box without both training and experience. As a rescue squad member in my younger days, I saw multiple cases of the damage people did to themselves, including more than one death.

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I’ve seen electricians wearing glove when they’re working in a live electrical panel - particularly when they have to work on powered circuits. If you search on youtube, you can find some of these. I find them hard to watch because they make me too nervous. Lol

I’ve mostly only done work in the panel where there is an external shutoff. When there’s only an internal shutoff, I don’t like even opening the panel due to the possibility of loose wires straying if they’ve been pressured by whoever put the panel back on, since the main service connection is still live in that case.

Yes…a big chunk is the pool equipment…
““Other” is large as it includes pool equipment, that has never ever been detected.”

Oops, I missed that.

I will say that about a month ago I saw quirks in the Sense allocation where it allocates power to unrelated devices. This was in the devices view and I think it showed up in the bubble view as well. If I had been thinking, I would have reported it to Sense and here, but I wasn’t thinking at the time. It ended up being the case that the usage reported for that one device was actually greater than the overall usage in the “Now” view.

Never had a recurrence, and I seem to recall that looking back later at the “Usage” view, that device usage didn’t show the anomalous usage.

I remember it because it was electric resistance storage water heater usage at 4pm, which is outside of the time I’ve programmed it to normally come on and I saw that it had come on earlier in the day for the hour or so during the regularly scheduled time of 11:30-12:30 or so. There’s a chance that it had come on because it was inside the timer period of 11:30am-5pm, so I was at first trying to figure out who was taking a long shower in the middle of the afternoon (at my sister’s house).

Is the issue still recurring? Has Sense contacted you to get access to your detailed data?

Note: I seem to recall there being another thread out there from someone with a similar problem and Sense said it was a duplicate device and had that person delete Motor 1, but you’ve already done that so I’m not sure what they would recommend in your case.

I have a ticket open with Sense Support on this. The last correspondence was back on June 25…

"Hi John,

Thanks for sending along all of this information. I have been able to take a look into all of your AC units and noticed a few things.

I do see a number of the things that you mentioned occurring in the data in terms of periodic inaccuracies with the detection of each of these appliances. I do see instances where ‘on’ or ‘off’ events for one of your ACs are missed by Sense, causing these inaccurate wattage reporting that you had brought up. We do apologize for the inconvenience here. However, there are a few bigger picture items that I wanted to point out. First, is the fact that, since you recently reset the data associated with your monitor, the device detection process is still in the very early stages. In addition, each of these AC units are often overlapping in terms of operation and, in certain places have similar electrical signatures. All of these factors are contributing to the difficulties that Sense is currently having with the detection of the ACs.

With all of this in mind, there is a suggestion I would like to make in terms of the best way for you to proceed here. Namely, I would recommend that you continue using each of your AC units and allowing Sense a bit more time to learn about their unique patterns within the context of your home. Given the complexity of this situation, a bit of time may be required before Sense can nail this down in a more accurate way. With this time, however, I would expect to see some improvements here in the coming 1-2 weeks. I would suggest keeping an eye on it over this time and, if you are still noticing issues, feel free to get back in touch and we can certainly take another look

I hope this all makes sense. Please let me know if I can clear anything up!

Thanks,
Zach
Sense Support

John, thanks for the info.

I think the response of waiting several weeks is a common one. It’s hard to be patient but it’s actually good advice if you’re dedicated to achieving whatever your end goal is. What is that goal for you? Oftentimes I’ve been able to gain enough insight from Sense to achieve my goals even without proper device identification. For example, at my sister’s place it’s useful to know what the power usage was from the resistance water heater, the electric dryer, and the dishwasher. Sense still hasn’t detected the dishwasher but I’ve been able to manually see it on the real-time usage chart. I’ve used this plus solar generation info to schedule the water heater, the dishwasher, and the dryer to optimize usage of generated power to maximize savings from HECO. I’m resigned to the fact that Sense may never detect her mini-split AC, but I can estimate that usage subtractively, however inconvenient that is.

I’d definitely contact Sense again about your issue, the only question is when is the ideal time to maximize the value of the support time and thus the probability that it’s going to be most helpful to you. It’s certainly helpful to give them the most relevant information possible. You’ve given the models of the condenser units. I assume there’s an air handler for each of the compressors, right?

I’d be interested to see if Sense will be able to separately detect the two individual LR/MBR condenser units or whether it will stay in its current confused state. Has the MBR condenser been detected yet?

Do you know what the major power hogs are for the pool system. Is it just the pool pump? Do you know whether it is a single-speed, dual speed, or variable speed? Can you manually identify it running in the real-time chart/graph view? One thing I’ve learned here is that the experts here are currently better than the AI in many cases. :slight_smile:

Absolutely agree with you about false advertising of the Sense product.
The device has never figured out my identical air conditioning units even when they run at different times!
The company has made provable false and misleading claims about the product.
The power companies are finally using the smart meters to give some use data to customers.
This will make the Sense product useless.

The sizable advantage that Utility Smart Metering has over Sense is the typical scale of the deployment.

The (much more) sizeable disadvantage they have is also the scale of the deployment:

  • Device disaggregation requires long-term high-resolution data that bridges a particular Utility.

  • The required data storage and processing is significant and not easily absorbed by a Utility on an unproven technology. This also applies to the hardware.

  • The best proving ground for disaggregation tech seems to be in fast-moving deployments (the technology itself is iterative) that are carefully integrated with other existing and future tech.

You will find this thread enlightening:

The takeaway there, if nothing else, is: Don’t expect your smart metered Utility to be able to separate out your two identical air conditioners anytime soon.

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Utilities have no incentive to separate out identical AC units. Their only goal is to get a relatively good long term estimate for each category in each house.

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I’ve complained about their marketing too many times to count but don’t agree on the above statement. Not completely anyway. I do believe they are very misleading but don’t about “provable false claims”.
I don’t think they are trying to mislead anyone but think it’s more an issue if putting forth a “best case scenario” idea of what to expect.
I’ve commented and given suggestions about how I feel they could better represent the product, hopefully others will do the same.