Motor 1? Six seconds run time many times a day?


The first thing Sense found was “Motor 1” which has an average run time of 6s, average consumption of 630w, and seems to run every 20-60 minutes with no apparent rhyme or reason.

I’m still trying to learn how to get useful information out of the application, a graph of all the run times would be nice but all I seem to get is bars representing the total power use by hour, day, etc. Not helpful. If there’s a “How to Figure Out What a Device Is” tutorial, I haven’t been able to find that, either.

According to Sense most people either label it “Pump” (very descriptive, thanks) or “Sump pump” (36% or 28%, respectively).

I have a sump pump, it has not been running. I have a lift pump to move waste water from the basement plumbing up to the sewage line. If I run the sinks/flush the toilet in the basement to make it come on, that doesn’t show up as “Motor 1”. I have a well pump that feeds the irrigation system which does NOT run 40-some times a day, and certainly not for only 6 seconds. I have an upright freezer that (again) should run considerably longer and less frequently than that, and a mini fridge (same reasoning).

The only other things in the house I can think of that might be able to pull that kind of draw for so little time is maybe the three UPS I have protecting the computers? They’re 1350VA units and one of them runs the entire comm panel for the house (cable, internet, switches, phones) so I’d rather not shut them down to test, particularly as they’re three identical models meaning I’d have to lose all TV, phone, and Internet along with all the computers for long enough to be sure “Motor 1” had stopped running. Unplugged they’re good for 40-60 minutes run-time, but that’s not long enough to be certain.

As I’m typing this “Motor 1” showed up pulling over 850w on the web panel, but not on the phone app. The last few cycles have all been 25-26 minutes apart (if that helps) but it doesn’t seem to always be a reliable interval.

Any ideas?

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Okay, found the Power Meter. When it comes on it seems to start at 607w, and then after a very brief time at that level (probably under a second) jump up to 893w. One occurrence was simply a tiny fraction of time at 607w.

So the riddle is: what goes off every 25 minutes for a few seconds, looks like a motor to Sense, and can pull 900w for just a few seconds before it’s “done” until the next cycle?

Screenshot below of one of the more typical runs - this one is about 9 seconds total.


Actually that wattage signature does not look like a motor. Motors typically have a spike where they first start up. This looks like a heating device or something the draws a fair amount of watts over a short period of time. Can’t imagine it being your UPS for that does not sound like a six second charge up cycle. However, if it comes on to check to see if it needs to charge, that might explain the short cycle. How about you shut the power off to the UPS for a safe period of time, running your communications so the batter drains some, then turn the power back on and see if this ‘motor 1’ comes on for a longer period of time to charge the UPS back up. Just a suggestion.

Good luck.


Good points. It definitely didn’t look “motor-y” to me, but I didn’t really stop to think about what it might be if not a motor.

So I need something that doesn’t move and can pull frankly quite a few amps on a regular 25 minute interval.

I think we can rule out the UPS’s simply because there’s three of them and the likelihood of all three being spaced apart so uniformly in their “recharge cycle” (if that’s even a thing) is pretty remote. I was thinking I’d need to take them all offline to test, but as you point out I should see a much longer recharge time if I were to unplug one of them for 30 minutes or so and then plug it back in.

I’ll probably do that just to be sure, and just for routine cycling of the battery that I never remember to do, but I expect it won’t turn out to be them.

Now most heating elements pull gradually fewer amps as they heat up, don’t they? As they warm up they get more efficient and demand fewer watts? Or am I mistaken on that. Where a motor should be a large spike followed by low sustained power draw, a heating element is a small spike that slowly ramps down to a steady draw… correct?

How frequently does a defrost cycle tend to go off?


Update: overnight sometime Sense decided to rename this as “Fridge 2”. The last time it ran the graph looked a lot more like my kitchen fridge, but that’s the only one I can find that does. We have a wine fridge that (if this isn’t it) hasn’t been found and an upright freezer. The whole “every 25 minutes” thing doesn’t jive with what I understand about refrigeration, however.

Not that I’m an expert, but I do know a thing or two.


I also have a Motor 1, which I’m still scratching my head on. It’s run times don’t match any device I can think of. And YES the tools (and instructions) are pretty poor. Guinea pigs just don’t get any respect.

Re the web app vs the cell app, from what I’ve seen they rarely match up. I’ve given up trying to sort that out. It does appear the data on the cell app is both more complete and more timely…frankly the web app is really poorly done and really incomplete


Doubt very much this is a UPS signature. I’d bet on a component of an appliance. One thought that comes to mind is the heater in an ice maker that allows the ice cubs to drop free


Every UPS I’ve worked with trickle charges all the time, and only the power consumption from attached devices could be causing this. That said, it does kind of look like a printer “clearing its throat”. Both of mine do kick on for very brief moments while idle. Since you have fairly short intervals to deal with, you might power down individual units.

It still seems like a component of an appliance to me. Even there you can often disable things for a bit to see if the pattern changes. I did that with my icemaker to pin that down


My fridges and upright freezer show the compressor which has a spike at the beginning of the power on cycle (much like a motor). It could be a heating defrost element in a freezer part of the fridge, but I didn’t think they would on so short and frequent.


Sense has failed to capture my new refridge since October, but my old one clearly showed defrost element cycling, and it looked very different than this.

This looks more like my current icemaker (which it did find) and which does a brief, fairly high power, use when it’s getting ready to dump ice into the bin. I’ve been told this is necessary to loosen the cubes from the tray and is both powerful (to loosen them quickly) and very short (to avoid messing up the freezer temperature). That’s why I though this might be what’s going on.

Easy to check…just stop the icemaker for a while so it’s not dumping ice. And, of course, this is pure speculation based on far too little data. Frustration of dealing with Sense!


Looks very much like what Sense identifies as ‘ice maker’ here. Looks likely. Still not 100% confirmed by me, though.


Similar to mine, which I checked by disabling the door ice dispenser for a while. Sure wish Sense had been able to detect the large refrigerator/freezer, though (or much of anything else).


I have 4 refrigerators, all of different types. Sense has identified them all (though I had to verify them - just see when they were running, and which one).


I have three refrigerators and sense found them all. A couple of weeks ago it found another fridge. Does it ever think something is a fridge when it actually isn’t? I’m pretty sure the other three are accurately detected.


Well this is super-helpful…

Sense has decided to mix up some devices, and has something new showing up as the old Motor 1 now Fridge 2 device. Further, whatever the original device is doesn’t appear to be included. So none of the every-25-minute-runs, and a new graph:

That, I assume, is actually a fridge. I’m guessing it’s probably my mini/wine fridge. Either that, or the big freezer. I’ll pop the GFCI on the mini-fridge’s circuit to test, as I’m not about to unplug that freezer. It’s full of tasty things and the wine won’t suffer if it reaches room temperature for a little while.

I switched off the ice maker in the regular fridge, but looking back in the history the activations that might have been it stopped prior to me turning it off, so that doesn’t help. Also, I’m skeptical that the ice maker actually runs every 25 minutes - we don’t use enough ice to keep it working all day and all night. It should not run that regularly, unless I don’t understand how they work.


Probably the final update on this:

I caught “Fridge 2” running while I was at the wet bar. Quickly reached over and hit the test button on the GFCI that rules the circuit it’s on and sure enough, off went Fridge 2. Reset the GFCI and bang, it came back on.

So it’s definitely the little “wine fridge” we have. I still haven’t seen the first device again (the one originally labeled Motor 1 with the heater-like energy graph).

I’m up to a whopping 4 devices now. I’d suspect my 7kw of server hardware in the Always On bubble is throwing Sense off it’s game if I hadn’t already read so many variations of the “it’s been X months and Sense only found Y devices?” posts.

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