My device detection so far seems pretty good

I feel a bit like a detective when Sense says it has discovered a new device. If it is shown as on or running I go check to see if it is so I know if Sense is correct. Some things it identified quickly like refrigerators. We have 3, one in the kitchen, the garage and also a small wine fridge. Last week it detected the coffee maker which automatically starts at 6 am and finishes brewing at 6:15. I was surprised to see in the timeline that the coffee maker does several dozen cycles of heating the water, turning off the element while the water drips into the filter and then cycles on again.

Sense has identified our AC/furnace blower in the attic, it’s a motor so probably easy to identify but it has yet to discover the AC compressor unit outside. We have a high efficiency fancy model with a multi speed compressor and coil fan, so it runs at different speeds depending on the temperature and demand for cooling.

This morning I noticed that it suggested Light 1 turned on at 3:30 am and then off a few minutes later and then again at 5:15 am. Funny thing is I got up at 3:30 to use the bathroom and noticed our floodlight at the back door was on, it’s on a motion detector. So now I renamed Light 1 to Floodlight at back door.

Occasionally I notice that Sense does not recognize a device that it did recognize before. For instance it recognized our clothes dryer which is electric and draws a fair amount of power when on. But then a day or so later it just indicated it as Other.

Overall I am happy with the product.

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Glad you are having a good experience. Even though you are seeing the good, I’m going to shine a light on why experiences can vary between users. With the current “native detection” there are certain classes of devices that are likely to be discovered and other that are far less likely. Sense is working on new version of “native detection” that should handle a wider range of devices types, called Progressive Device Detection. There’s a link in the article above that gives a little more info on Progressive Detection, but until that comes along, my experience has been:

Likely to be detected over time

  • Dryer heating element (if electric)
  • Maybe washer and dryer motors, but only if the are AC old school motors (neither of mine are)
  • Oven heating and range heating elements (if electric and if Sense sees enough cycles)
  • Some kitchen appliances - dishwasher heating element, trash compactor, coffee maker, instant hot water heater, old school (non-inverter) fridges.
  • Incandescent and some florescent lighting
  • Printer - laser printer heating element
  • Vacuum cleaners, motorized plug-in tools

Unlikely with today’s Native Detection mechanism
On and off signatures masked by power supplies, etc.

  • TVs, receivers, AV components and DVRs
  • DC and variable speed motors - many pool pumps, inverter fridges, and battery backup garage openers.
  • Computers (laptops and desktops)
  • LED lighting (except for Hue) - I have seen some LED detected, but usually in homes that have a very low activity level of other devices.
  • Variable speed HVAC systems and many mini-splits, though Sense has been slowly improving

Sense talks a little about this in their FAQ, here:


How long after installing sense did the app start discovering devices? Its been 4 days and its discovered one light. Lol. Do i need to put the refrigerator and washer on smart plugs for sense to see them. I see people saying those appliances are on smart plugs but i dont completely understand why its necessary to do that. Can someone explain?

@deepbluepool, read my posting just above yours that breaks the world into devices that are likely to be discovered by Sense vs. devices that are unlikely to be discovered, at least via the current detection technique. The main difference is that devices likely to be detected have clean, fast ons and offs in their power usage at the wall outlet. Devices that broadly vary their power usage (variable speed motor and HVAC) and devices that have their wall usage moderated by a power supply (most electronics and inverter appliances) are difficult for Sense to fully detect.

If you want more explanation than that, be prepared for a physics discussion about resistance, capacitance, inductance and characteristics of semiconductor devices.

I’m my case it took months to find hardly any devices…days are pretty much nothing.

Re smart plugs “it depends”. Some, mostly older, devices can be detected reliably by Sense, but lots of modern devices operate outside of Sense’s abilities. There are hundreds of posts explaining why, but the bottom line is that it doesn’t, and probably will never, detect lots of devices, including most modern appliances.

The much bigger issue is that it can’t detect lots of 240 V large consumers and there still isn’t a wire-in 240 V equivalent of a smartplug. This means Sense does a pretty poor job of telling where the majority of the use is coming from.

Overall I have been pretty happy with detection but it does seem to find the oddest things first. Got me thinking about what a modern appliance has inside it nowadays. Case in point my refrigerator. It has at least 6 motors, two pumps (double ice maker), lights, compressor, and several circuit boards which are always ON. What did it find? The water dispenser !

I figured the electric dryer would be a easy one. When it first comes on it’s like a baseball bat to the head of wattage used. But, I use ECO mode and that after initial start the wattage constantly changes depending on the moisture it detects. So not detected yet.

I have a multi unit mini split system and it is constantly changing. Same for the OLED TV monitor. The only consistent measurement it has is when unplugged.

Since I’m retired and have the time I treat it like a treasure hunt every time it detects a “motor or device” and get to go play detective.

So I guess patience is the answer for detection and just enjoy all the other features that Sense has.

I’ve had Sense since March and so the detection has been great too.

In my first week Sense found my refrigerator, microwave, kettle, washing machine, water pump, jacuzzi and toaster oven.

I use smart plugs for most other stuffs that are applicable and will be adding more.

I’m not expecting Sense to find my dryer or any of my AC split units but wish that Sense would integrate with Sonoff because they have 240V smart switch that I’m using on my dryer and AC split units

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