Devices getting mixed up with each other

I’ve had three devices confound themselves.

First device is a boiler ignitor - a very straightforward device that was the first detected. It’s a small red-hot heating element that starts the propane burning in my boiler - about 200 watts and runs for about 20 seconds each time the boiler starts.

The next device was identified as “dryer” and runs when the dryer runs - about 2,300 watts. But it’s not the entire dryer as a lot more power was consumed as “unknown” every time the dryer ran.

Then a couple of days ago the “dryer” suddenly became a 4,800 watt device and the former 2,300 watt dryer started reporting as the boiler ignitor. Now the dryer when operating reports as both of these devices but I no longer have proper tracking of the boiler ignitor. When the boiler starts it’s no longer picked up by sense.

Suggestions? Should I delete the “boiler ignitor” device?

edit to tag @BradAtSense

Easy first step:

If you haven’t already, set the ignitor to alert you when Sense thinks it’s on. Then make sure you can find the “device not on” selection via the ignitor device page, manage, report a problem.

Next time Sense alerts you the ignitor is on and the power meter or bubble display indicates it’s detecting something else, hit the “device not on” selection, which helps Sense sort out what is happening.

I suspect that the frequency content and some other parameters are very close between these devices, leading to the misidentification. Intuitively we expect gross differences in steady power to be the first thing Sense uses to distinguish devices, but steady power is just one of many parameters used in the detection process.

One or more “device not on” pings may result in the ignitor being correctly identified or not.

If that doesn’t happen, send an e-mail to, explaining the story so far. It will be good info for the smart folk who build the device models that Sense uses as the basis of its detection process. Perhaps they need to refine the ignitor model a little.

Is your dryer a 220/240V device and Sense was perhaps just picking up one side of it when it was a 2300W device, now being correctly identified as a 4800W device?

Hope that helps.

Thank you; I did not realize that feature existed, I’ll report “not on” the next time this occurs.

on a similar note, I have a propane oven, which Sense had detected (very impressive since I don’t use it much), but then it started coming on when the oven wasn’t on.

At those times, I clicked through on the ‘device not on’, but now it still comes on at odd times, but NOT when the oven is on, and now I’ve had a second “oven” detected.

so now i have two devices Sense thinks is an oven, but not the actual oven. One of them popped when the dishwasher was on last night and I tagged it but it’s been coming on during the day when no one is home and the dishwasher is actually turned off during the day since I generally only use it on the weekend.

any ideas what else could mimic the heating element in a gas oven and a dishwasher? I don’t have a coffee maker or anything else like that turned on and I’ve already ID’d about four or five elements in my fridge.

Hi @sol - sorry to hear about these device conflation issues. I know a lot of people have been dealing with these kinds of issues recently, especially with heats. We have ongoing work to resolve this, and the suggestions that @dave_n_s made are spot on. That “Device is Not On” report is very helpful for us on the backend, even if it doesn’t seem like it fixes the problem immediately.

Thanks for your help on this on @dave_n_s! Hope that ends up helping you out @sol!

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Thank you @dave_n_s @BradAtSense and @becky

I did exactly as suggested and reported “device not on”. I have an alert set for one minute (since the proper device only runs 20 seconds at a time) and will keep reporting as appropriate.

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I agree it’s getting worse. Data is getting confused. I had no problems until a couple months ago. It keeps telling me my jacuzzi pump is on and the breaker is turned off right now. I keep telling it the device is not on but it still tells me it keeps coming in. Had no issues for the first few months it detected it. Now it can’t tell either water heater from the jacuzzi and it could before.

My sauna that is in every day never got detected nor did my pool pump. My other is one of my biggest usage areas

FYI, the “Device not on” feature simply notifies the team of “malfunctioning identification”. It does nothing to automatically alter the behavior of the algorithm, unfortunately. This is one of my biggest issues with sense right now. The algorithm doesn’t seem to be learning from users, it’s learning from programmers :frowning:

I would speculate that what you suggest is not entirely accurate. “Device not on” labeling is likely used for ongoing training, just like when incorrectly identified photos are relabeled as incorrect in Google or Apple Photos. Most of the programmer activity would be focused on tuning the meta parameters for their existing neural network models and enhancing for broader device identification.

No, this is based on what I’ve been told from them, in this very forum.

Got a link ? I’m interested in what has been said.

Thanks @phillijw
Not sure Ben’s comment is inconsistent with what I was saying. “Not in use” data is collected and used to label data for the next run of model training by the data science team. Presto, the algorithm changes.

In the Feb. conf call, the data science team said that none of the data, including the “Not in use” info, is used on an individual case basis - no tweaking of algorithms based on specific piece of “Not in use” feedback.

Admittedly, there are times when it appears that Sense does not seem to be improving with feedback. But I’ve seen a few devices in my household where it has helped.

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I was able to consistently reproduce an issue where an outdoor flood light would be on and it would instead say my vanity lights were on. I reported over and over and over pretty much every time it occurred for weeks. At what point do you just give up? I no longer bother with the feature more than once as I have absolutely no clue if reporting it more than once is helpful or not, etc. I ended up changing the bulb to an LED so they no longer matched and went on with my life. How often does model training happen? How often are algorithms altered? If I know my button clicks are directly training a model, I would keep doing it, but from what I gathered, it’s not. If the “not in use” feedback is going to be useful, I think it has to provide some sort of communication back to the user about what is going on otherwise people will just stop using it. Black boxes aren’t very fun to play with unfortunately.

Hi @phillijw - sorry for the frustration here.

@kevin1 is correct: that “Device is Not On” data is very useful to us, but as is with any large dataset, there is a great deal of testing and tuning that needs to happen before it’s allowed to integrate automatically with any component of our system. We completely understand if it’s a pain to keep firing those messages off, and certainly don’t hold it against you if you aren’t able to keep sending the reports in, but whenever someone is able to send in an accurate “Device is Not On” report, it is making that dataset richer, and making a very small but important contribution to moving that implementation forward.

Sorry for the troubles and aggravation, and thanks to all for their patience as we keep trying to make things better.


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A followup question for @BradAtSense - I’ve flagged the device as “off” each time I detect or remember it running (I did set a notification for this purpose). But should I delete the device now to let it be discovered again properly? It has not been reporting the proper device in the home since it started reporting the improper one. And the proper one is something that runs many times a day (boiler ignitor heat element) and was my first ever device detected.

I am also having an issue with my Dryer and my Heat Strips using the same “device” slot called Dryer. I will try the “device is not on” feature. I was considering deleting it to see if that would affect anything.

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If you had the Heat Strips also detected as a device, but being picked up as the Dryer, it would be worth deleting the Heat Strips.

However as they haven’t been detected, I’d leave the Dryer alone and use the “device not on” feature.

This is odd though, assuming the Heat Strips don’t have a motor. Is the steady power consumption of the two devices similar?

If the heat strips don’t include a motor of some sort, this is worth an e-mail to as the detection algorithms (which use frequency content over time as well as steady consumption) should not be mixing up a device with a motor with one without a motor.

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Hi @sol - sorry for my delay in getting back to you!

It does sound like deleting the “Boiler Ignitor” and letting Sense try and re-identify might be the best solution for the moment. I do hope that fixes it, please let us know!

Great point here, @dave_n_s -

It’s possible that the heating element in the Dryer (presuming it’s electric) looks similar to the profile of @rogerbarnhouse’s Heat Strips, and the dryer’s motor may get detected separately at some point. With those massive heat sources inside dryers, sometimes the motors take longer to get pulled out from underneath the noise.