Here's my sense story and why I returned the unit


#21

I have a GMG. It’s right next to the corner of the house. I ended up putting an access point about 20 feet away from it and that AP can broadcast to the entire back yard for my phone or laptop.


#22

A compounding problem is that the internet company support have no idea how to handle these problems, or they’re willfully complicit. When we were having trouble, they suggested… Faster internet speeds! Instead I did some learning, bought a second access point, and our problems have generally resolved.

/don’t trust your provider’s advice, seek the advice of someone with more experience and less financial incentive to screw you over.


#23

It seems to me that a WIFI signal reading display in the settings /about sense would solve many questions if the signal was present and strong enough for proper operation. It might be nice to display the units MAC address also so one could identify it in the AP connection list. A little feedback is a good thing.


#24

Brad, I have been installed about a month and so far detected gas water heater power vent, Microwave, Main kitchen fridge,Spa room wall heater, Coffee maker,Kegarator Fridge,
I can see my Mitsubishi Split heat pump / AC unit but it isn’t being detected. I noticed there is a 35W load every 15 seconds or so.(A nice little square wave running on the top of everything) I believe it is the rotation servo on my AXIS Q6045 MK II IP PTZ security camera. Is it possible that that activity could be masking the signature of other devices including my heat pump? I can disable it to test if you think it would help.


#25

Don’t know if you are still receiving. But would you be interested in selling your unit? It is not for everyone, but I know a local non-profit that would like to give it a try but does not want to invest the $300.


#26

Great suggestion dave_n_s - could I take this a step further? Regarding the need for decent WiFi signal, perhaps Sense could build in a WiFi signal strength and bandwidth check into the installation process? The app already directs the user how to install the Sense step-by-step, so this could be integrated seamlessly early in that installation process. If the signal strength or bandwidth are lower than the Sense minimum recommended levels, Sense could offer a pre-baked list of tips for improving and then give the user the option to continue or pause while they troubleshoot the WiFi.

What say you, @RyanAtSense? Good improvement suggestion?


#27

My 10 cents here - note I work in IT, so that does color my view a bit. Sense is an interesting experiment. I don’t set my expectations higher than that. If I needed RIGHT NOW to know which appliances/units consumed what, there are more direct methods - very expensive, very time consuming, but I can get the data I’m looking for by adding a simple “kilawatt” infront of the most important devices and manually collect the data. Go a bit further and have them send the data to an aggregator and a simple web site; still a lot of time and I need to disconnect devices to make them plyable. This is why this experiment really is intriguing - but my Electronics Engineering colleges all see it as a toy that won’t measure up to real professional power tracing. I never saw Sense as that - so I’m fine with it being a “toy” from that angle.

So far, sense to me has been quite expensive. A $2000+ electricians bill (new sub-panel, re-running wires etc), sense itself and hours spent in frustration trying to get some data out of sense. Well, I got SOME and that’s pretty interesting already, but not the ones I really wanted. Our AC went bust last year and our new one is supposedly very energy efficient compared to our old unit - but we don’t see that on the electric bill after the unit was replaced. So Sense seemed the right tool (toy) for the job - if it could split out the main (big) stuff it would really help to see what caused the power-use and if it really was the AC.

This is where I have to remind me about how this technology works, and how much guess work there is - or rather, it needs a rather large customer base to have enough data to make reasonable decisions. And to be honest, I don’t think that will happen - the price point is too high (not just the price of sense). And because of that I probably have to get used to not seeing the AC or kitchen appliances non which are “standard” - rare models or at least uncommon use models will not show up in Sense’s DB and I understand that. I see it for what it is - and I take the data I can get and enjoy it. I do wish there was more, and if I don’t see some of the real large power consumers soon, I’ll have to do it the old proven way to get some answers.

If someone bought sense thinking it was complete and proven technology, yeah that’s a mistake. It’s about as beta as it comes, and until the customer base increases dramatically the DB and knowledge of devices will be limited. And if $300 as a price point seems expensive, then this is NOT the device for you - there are more costs than just that. From proper wifi, networking, electrical setup etc. - you can end up spending quite a lot before Sense will work.


#28

Much of this thread was before my time at Sense, so let me take some time to digest the whole thing and I’ll definitely get back to you! I just don’t want you to think I’m ignoring your comment.


#29

I’m the original poster of this thread. I didn’t feel like digging into the panel again and removing the sense so I just left it. The times it worked, it was interesting. Not a particularly helpful gadget but at least interesting.
I got a wifi extender, programmed it and put it near the sense. Now, our sense is online MORE than it is offline. It’s still offline a lot though. It’s super frustrating when I open the app and want instant info to see how much usage turning an appliance of or on causes. Usually, the app just tries to connect and tries and tries. Sometimes it will connect immediately but usually it connects minutes later or even won’t connect at all.

Another thing that really drives me nuts is that there’s no QUICK OR EASY way to see past usage spikes by minute & hour during each day. I have an arcade (with 45 games on freeplay) that I allow my guests to use 24/7 on their own. I like to know exactly when & how long the guests use the arcade… because it’s fairly expensive to run.

So, I go to TRENDS then USAGE THIS WEEK and then USAGE BY DAY. You can click a certain day but the info here is nearly useless! There’s a small green bar graph that goes from 12AM to 12 noon and 12AM. There’s no other info! It doesn’t show hours of the day (although there are 24 individual green bars. Maybe they are the hour dividers?) or the amount of kWh used during each hour. So, you are shown a different height green bar for each hour but the height of the bars do not correspond with kWh so you really have no idea exactly when, how long an appliance is used or how much kWh were used.

HOWEVER, you can go to “NOW” (current use) and scroll backwards (literally by the minute which takes forever!) to see when spikes occurred and for exactly how long. So, If I want to see when and for how long the arcade was used last night, THE ONLY WAY is to scroll backwards (from the current time of day) under “NOW” for a painfully long time until I see the spike on the graph. One finger swipe is equivalent to roughly 4 minutes!!! If it’s 11 am and and I want to see what happened at 11PM last night, I have to swipe my phone screen backwards through 12 hours using 4 minute intervals! That’s 15 swipes per hour. 15 swipes x 12 hours = 180 swipes! That’s ridiculous.

Am I doing this wrong or is there a better way to see when and for how long a spike happens? Yes, I know I could move the sense to the panel IN the arcade but then I lose all info before the garage panel (panels in our home).


#30

I would sell it in a heartbeat for $300 if you come take it out of my panel. I’m not interested in losing money so selling it for less wouldn’t be possible.


#31

@dnh,
I tend to analyze spikes by zooming out to the last 24 hours in the Power Meter or Device views, (a second or two to execute and render on my iPad). Then I traverse, zooming in on peaks in context to a resolution of about 1hr for the entire iPad screen (1-2 seconds when iPad needs to re-render). If you zoom out much further than 24 hours, zooming with high accuracy seems to take much longer.

Much better than scrolling at full screen = 2 min setup of Now view. I think the spike/surge tags that give instantaneous power spikes only remain attached to the previous hour or so. If you want to look at a specific well-identified device, you can jump straight into the high res 24hr Power Meter view from the lower res Power Meter at the bottom of the device usage page, with the newest version of the app. Hope they do the same for the Usage and Solar Trends cards soon - very convenient.


#32

ahhh ok maybe I have an older app then. thanks

I just want to know when a roughly 10Kwh event started and when it ended on any given day.


#33

@dnh1263,

I have a similar usage - I use to examine and assess EV charging - 12kW up to 20kW. Good luck.


#34

So because your WiFi sux you are down in Sense? Don’t get it…


#35

My wifi doesnt suck… the sense receiver isn’t powerful enough to pick up semi-distant wifi through walls reliably. Everything else in my home that runs on wifi has no problem connecting to and staying connected to our wifi. The sense just can’t handle it.


#36

Sense receiver or transmitter? Did you locate the antenna properly? Mine works very well through a wall and maybe 25’ away from the modem.


#37

How did you mount your sense? All the power panels I’ve seen are metal. When I had mine installed, we not only cut a hole in this case, but a small hole in the dry-wall where the antenna sticks out. There’s really nothing any antenna can do if placed inside a metal box (heard of Faraday cages? Same principle). Besides consumer AP are weak to begin with. If you have concrete walls good luck unless you have an AP in every room. The WiFi spectrum is also extremely full - nobody realized back in the days that the 2.4GHz spectrum would be full of that many transmitters and receivers. Take any spectrum scanner - lots of mobile apps will do i - any go anywhere in a city and you’ll see 10s, some times several dozen of AP show up. At my house even though there’s some distance to all neighbors I see more than a dozen other APs. All chattering at the same frequences - and no, changing channel doesn’t really work - the overflow between the channels is pretty high (look at a spectrum analyzer). When we just moved in, my cheap consumer grade Netgear something wasn’t powerful enough to handle the neighbor’s signal and I had a lot of drops because of it.

What am I trying to say here? WiFi is not a given - there’s plenty of reasons why a signal is low, and it’s not just the receiver that’s to blame. On the other hand, the Sense.com “requirement” of being 10 feet from the AP is nonsense. Power panels are usually outside, where lots of utilities are (lots of electrical noise), basements, garages etc. - what you need to read that as, that if you have a cheap-ass AP you need to have a direct line of sight to the antenna of the Sense. As you upgrade and get more power/range of your WiFi mesh that comes less of an issue. That’s not a problem with Sense - it’s a problem with the residential WiFi Access Point(s).


#38

Linksys ea9500. It’s one of the best rated, most expensive ap made. The sense is mounted inside the panel with the antenna sticking out of the wall through a hole in the drywall. Half way between the ea9500 router is a linksys re4000w extender. It’s no more than 50 ft from panel to ap.


#39

You may try to lock the 2.4Ghz spectrum, check how it compares using a simple scanner. Your AP is optimized for 5G mainly - Sense does not connect using 5G. 50ft is not exactly close - so install a simple wifi scanner on your phone, and see what things look like where your power panel is.

As to being the most expensive, well, not really - but you’re right it’s not the cheap basic consumer model either.


#40

For what it is worth, I initially had problems keeping my sense connected. I was frustrated at first too, but knew my wifi network was weak in my garage. The sense is located in a panel built in the wall outside my garage wall. I also have/had problems with my wifi sprinkler controller, car etc getting a strong connection… I moved one of my access points a bit closer to the sense ( about 40 feet away now). What fixed my problem was to go to our local electronics store and buy a wifi extension cable. I got one about 10 feet long. I attached it to the sense antenna port and the antenna. I then played with a few locations. Running it closer to the sense through a hole in the garage wall did not give me better connectivity. What turned out to work the best was to run it higher up about 10 feet off the ground on the outside of the house. Since then have 100% solid connection.