Ongoing device detection issues

Wonder if other Sense users have given up trying to help Sense get device detection correct. I will admit I have. I got my Sense system in December 2017 to help learn about electric use in my home, capture the expense of running some devices - one being our electric pottery kiln, and to maybe reduce my electric bill.

In the last 18 months, I’m pleased with 2 of the 3 reasons for getting it. One is a total failure.

Sense has helped me learn about home electric use and I have reduced my electric bill. But, like many other Sense users, when it comes to device detection, it has failed.

In the first 12 months of using Sense, I spend a fair amount of energy working with support trying to help point out issues with device detection. I did focus on my kiln which got confused with my oven and dryer. It appears that any 220V device gives Sense headaches. Each time I opened a ticket, something would change. But, it never got corrected. Sometimes, it got closer to correct, other times it got worst. It wasn’t just my 220V devices that had issues. When I thought it got my freezer correct a few months later, something changed and Sense got confused between my fridge and freezer

I finally just gave up.

Then smart plugs became available. And they do help, but not with 220V devices. I still think they add confusion to ‘always on’ definition, but that is another topic.

I got tired of opening tickets, trying to provide information and help. I found that I had given up. I find this sad and wonder how many others out there have done the same.

Since I don’t open tickets anymore do you think Sense thinks my issues are solved?

Have others fallen into this state of mind where they just gave up?

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I haven’t given up, but have come to the conclusion that trying to file tickets to get Sense to recognize a specific device type isn’t a route to a new detection. It’s not like there’s a bug preventing the detections. Or like a simple enhancements of some rules that would suddenly make that device visible. More like a child that is learning to count and do simple arithmetic, and you are asking it to do calculus, even though calculus seems obvious to you with your post-calculus vision recognition system.

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I don’t know if I’ve given up, but I’m certainly feeling a bit defeated after I think ~1.5 years in. There are a large number of large devices in our home which are either not discovered at all or are constantly misrepresented due to similarities with other devices. Many are 220V and on dedicated circuits making me wish I had more CTs to dedicate to them.

When it works it is downright magical, but I’ve been on a plateau with little signs of improvement for a while.

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The good news is that you did better than I. I already had accurate power and solar monitoring (welserver.com, which monitors my whole home and delivers data over the internet), so Sense added nothing to that.

The bad news for both of us is that Sense added little/no value in accurately and reliably detecting our various devices, in particular our heaviest users. Oh well, some products live up to their hype, some products don’t. Personally I blame This Old House (Rich T’s son) for suckering me into it.

I’ve not filed a support ticket in over a year, and I mostly ignore it…maybe someday the technology will catch up with the marketing. Fingers crossed and wish Sense lots of luck.

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I agree with all the above comments. I had great hopes for SENSE, but have been very disappointed. Filing a ticker with support is somewhat a waste of time. I can not rely on accuracy especially on 220 volt devices. What ever method they use for 220 volt devices DOES NOT WORK, but they don’t seem to see this as a problem. I wonder how much longer they will be around if something doesn’t change. They seem to be against change.

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I wouldn’t put the cause on 240V detection per se. I have 12 240V devices in my house and Sense (somewhat) reliably detects 4-8 of them, and have seen Sense detect 8 of them.

  • Dryer heating element - detected
  • Oven heating element - detected
  • AC upstairs and downstairs compressors - both detected. More on that here:
    https://community.sense.com/t/sense-vs-ecobee-round-ii/6945/6
  • Tesla Model 3 - intermittently detected. Sense loses every time Tesla updates firmware
  • Tesla Model S - detected once upon a time. Was very special “hacked model” haven’t seen detection in months.
  • 2 outdoor heaters - never detected but hardly ever turned on
  • 4 in-floor heating wires - Installed one month ago. Sense spotted two of them where I had the thermostat set incorrectly (heating during the summer time ?). I believe Sense will find all of these fairly reliably based on early evidence.
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A couple points to make here.

  1. if you’re writing in here, I see it. I’m not Support, so I can’t really help solve your problems, but I do relay what I see here to the entire Sense team. This place isn’t just an echo chamber where you talk amongst yourselves. I truly do pass along info here to the company at large.

  2. We absolutely know that device detection is not perfect. This stuff (as I’m sure some of the ML experts here could vouch for) is very much in its infancy. If you don’t write into Support, we may not know the specifics of detection issues in your home, but trust me, we know about them on the larger scale and really are working tirelessly at them.

While @kevin1’s point is correct that Support can’t force a detection for you, Support does work hand in hand with the Data Science team and if they’re seeing a specific pattern of poor detection in tickets, they make the DS team aware. With that in mind, I would still encourage users to write into Support about their detection issues. That doesn’t necessarily mean to write in multiple times a day for the same device, but if you’re seeing a new issue, it really is useful for us to know about it. Immediate improvement isn’t super likely (though it can happen), but it does help us long term.

Improvements are gradual, and we’ve seen both in our data and in user reports, but this is a science very much dependent on the context. Local issues can cause problems for device detection. I’d recommend checking out this blog for some details on issues that can cause good detections to regress.

I would also suggest checking out the link above. Detection is very context dependent. There is not a global issue with 220V device detection, but it can be thrown off by a variety of factors. In any case, we certainly do see poor detection as a problem and have an entire team dedicated to improving it. In 2018, we increased reliable detections in homes by around 50%. For some more recent examples, throughout this year we’ve made a ton of progress on certain cycling ACs and just released some new EV models that should really improve the experience of EV owners going forward. There’s been all sorts of other incremental changes to other devices and the infrastructure that supports the entire process. I’ll try to write up something a bit more detailed about 2019 data science successes. Admittedly, we don’t do enough sharing of that news.


I truly do get the frustration. At the end of the day, I’m a Sense user too (as are most of my colleagues) and I have things that I wish were detected in my home but, alas, are not. That said, I sit next to the people who are working to improve it. I see their successes everyday and I know about the great stuff that’s coming next. On top of that, like @Fred_W, I’ve had great success with the non-detection related aspects of Sense. I think my biggest savings have come simply from using the Power Meter.

This is all a long-winded way to say “don’t give up.” By keeping Sense installed and reporting issues when you come across them (again, no need to go crazy doing so), you truly do help improve the Sense experience for everybody. Name your devices, fill out your Home Details, report devices as “not on” when necessary, fill out the “What’s plugged into it?” flow for your smart plugs. And write in here to let me know what’s going on. I’ll get it to the team.

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Great response, and helpful even for those of us “old timers”.

Since I’ve stopped sending anything to Support, should I think that they are (painfully) aware of all of us with “noisy” devices…in my case a well pump that masks pretty much everything else…and I don’t need to nag them further? From everything I’ve read, and my conversation with Sense Engineering a long time ago, it sounded like these might be a technical problem that never gets resolved, but I’ve kept hoping.

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I have had my sense since OCT 2017, and I have had my share of tech support tickets, I’m frustrated with unit detecting and maintaining devices also, giving up on sense! far from it. I think that some day, hopefully in the near future, things will get better but at the moment it’s just not there yet, I’m sure there are many instances through out the community that are positive but I also think there are just as many negatives. certainly not living up to what we all paid for, not always happy with the answers we get from our tickets, but if we quit sending our problems and concerns, how will they know there stills is gray areas out in the field and giving them the opportunity to correct them, I for one will keep being a pain in the butt and maybe some day we’ll get what we bought the thing for, to save us some MONEY$$$$

I honestly go back and forth. Call me a black or white onlooker, I ha e a hard time seeing the middle of the road.
While I ha e disappointments, the overall usage is enough to make this product very useful.
What I try to do now when discourages, is to think about how I can be a help to a user coming in behind me.

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Yep. Haven’t looked at the devices in a week. Got tired of the half baked detection learning and relearning the same devices. Honestly the electric meter provides more reliable usage and comparison to temperature and neighbors.

And thanks so much for doing so. That’s something I’ve been working hard at as well and am always open to suggestions on how we can do a better job of bringing new customers into the fold so they can get the most out of Sense right away, while device detection continues to improve in the background. In my personal experience, that was putting the Power Meter to use extensively and right away I was able to get my Always On down pretty low and just get a better overall awareness of what my devices used which resulted in some behavioral changes.

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What’s there to give up on? Sense doesn’t detect all of my devices but after a year and a half I still get new detections. There is no monthly cost and I still enjoy energy savings that sense helped me identify.

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My attitude toward Sense is somewhat like the way I have treated my digital image library … which goes back to the days before Apple’s Quicktake.

There were days past when I would carefully catalog and describe images; correct bad dates because I screwed up camera settings after Daylight Savings or lost power; enter location info manually because GPS didn’t exist yet; delete bad pics and so on.

Then a number of years ago after playing around with early releases of image ML software well before Apple & others Clouded it, I gave up all the fiddle and just threw the pictures into Apple’s iPhoto bin awaiting the inevitable …

I mean, who knew I’d be able to type in “toast” and actually get images of toasters and bread; “cheese” and there’s definitely some cheese in there … so eventually I imagine I’ll type “Sense” into Photos and get all those orange pictures.

I arrive at: What are the other options to capture your electrical usage data in the same lazy way?

(Comparing Apples to Oranges, so to speak, I’m also impressed, if a little nervous, by the low cost [read: zero-cost] of Sense’s long-term data storage and retrieval)

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I gave up long ago. Bought mine in February 2018. I don’t consider it a waste of money. It has helped me to figure things out more than just my usage. I only wish Sense would implement some of my ideas into the app. I’m still waiting for an update that notifies me when power usage (or connection to the Sense entirely) drops below a certain threshold so I catch tripped breakers and power outages as soon as they happen.

Device detection worked pretty well for a few months, but the longer it collects data the worse recognition of detected devices becomes. And then it isn’t even worth bothering with. Personally, I’d like to turn device detection off. Just declutter it lol.

In the end, knowing how much energy my refrigerator uses doesn’t really do much for me. It’s not as if I can just unplug it. And the stuff I can “unplug” I can view the immediate change to the usage graph and make a pretty decent judgement. Turn on less lights, turn my thermostat up a degree and see how many times it runs and for how long. stuff like that doesn’t really need device detection to work. It’s just a gimmick. I’m happy :slight_smile:

edit: Entergy is supposed to be installing a smart meter in the coming weeks. I wonder if it will replace my Sense.
At any rate, as some said above, in order for technology to evolve, you have to be willing to throw money at it even though it isn’t at Star Trek levels yet. :slight_smile: Get what use you can out of it, and eagerly await for the next rendition.

@senseinaz device detection is meaningless if it isn’t accurate. Device detection is what a lot of us (it seems based on this thread at least) have given up on. Sense is still useful for other things, just not device detection.

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@RyanAtSense

That Blog is helpful. @samwooly1 So deleting the devices every months like I was doing wasn’t completely crazy. In my case it didn’t end up helping a whole lot because, I guess the sum of my data kept creating the same ruts. Confusion between AC and Dehumidifier, etc. But it was worth a try.

I kind of went into it not expecting device detection to work all that well. I don’t know if it is my training in Physics, Life Experience, or just general negativity/pessimism (or all of the above). But like you and @RyanAtSense , for me the most value as come not from device detection, but the realtime graph and usage charts.

I still wish I’d get a notification when my usage drops. But since I was having issues before with the AC breaker flipping, the app is keeping me from having to stay home and keep an eye on the AC unit, or crawl out of bed in the middle of the night to make sure the new breaker for the AC was the solution. I have to log in to Nest, see if the AC is on, then log into sense and make sure I’m using 4500 Watts, but it’s useful. If I’m at work, or in bed, I can check and shut off my AC off remotely if I’m not using the appropriate amount of power.
stuff like that is useful. This invention, to me, is like duct tape, ketchup, or the slinky. or whatever of number of inventions that fall into the category of: They ended up being useful for a host of purposes that do not include the one they were invented for :slight_smile:

@Grandpa2390
You’ve got me curious about this A/C breaker problem.
If this has worked for some time properly then started tripping, there is definitely something out of whack.
Has there been any change to your system as far as components?

I agree on device detection. This was supposed to be the claim to fame. It’s okay, just not what I expected based on the marketing pages.
I’m having a current problem going on that support can’t seem to understand. The last tech told me it looked like it was working correctly but I’ve got alerts for my water heater and fridge defrost to warn if they run over 20 minutes. I’m getting alerts saying “water heater has been on o Er 20 minutes” and the same for the fridge defrost. I go to the power meter and neither has been on that long. Usually less than five minutes.
While all these new features that have come along have been neat, I think they have gotten too far ahead of themselves. Get device detection working better and iron out ALL the bugs for existing features before adding more. I would be a lot more satisfied having the basic product work with the first intended features and have all of that work than tons of things that are hit and miss.

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@samwooly1
I agree with you on features that require device detection. like the alert that says your water heater has been on for 20 minutes. It makes no sense to have such a feature if device detection is unreliable.

the features I want have nothing to do with device detection. Like an alert to let me know when usage drops below a certain amount. That’s a feature I want that works around the poor detection of devices. I think there comes a point when, you tried your best to get a feature to work, but now you need to focus your energy on adding and ironing out features that are useful and we know we can make work. and keep the ones that give us issues, simmering in R&D. If they wait until they get Device Detection Ironed out before they do anything else (that doesn’t involve device detection), then it is unlikely it will ever be anymore useful than it is now.

As for breaker, the blower on the condensor gave up the ghost after about 20-30 years (I think it went underwater in Hurricane Katrina, and was fixed up into running condition by my father. Or he replaced it and it is 15 years old instead 20-30). In the process of it failing, the breaker tripped a couple of times. I had the blower motor replaced and all went well for a week and the breaker tripped again.

The new motor isn’t a more powerful one. It’s actually a cheaper one at that. Instead of a 2 speed, I got a one speed. After he explained the purpose of a 2 speed, I agreed that there was no need for a 2 speed down here. And I saved some green.

anyways, about a week later the breaker tripped. I flipped it back and it tripped again and I flipped it back. then it was good for about a week and it tripped again. Then I was like grrrr… There is no reason why the AC should be causing it to flip, maybe it’s the breaker gone bad. So I replaced the breaker. It’s been a month and a half now without issues, so I’m hoping it was just the breaker.

But it will probably trip again today just because.

I know it’s not exactly what you’re seeking, but there is a notification available for if Sense goes offline. If your Wi-Fi connection tends to be pretty stable, it can essentially work as an alert for a power outage. In any case, I’ll pass this request along to the team.

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I was in the same boat, device detection had stalled after 18 months of data. it would randomly “Find” new devices but they were already devices it had already found and I decided to try a full reset.After the reset it detected some things within a couple days that it had never gotten previously but will not reliably detect AC units and 220V with them bouncing between labeled devices and the “Other” small loads sometimes show up sometimes do not. I start to wonder if the unit is defective, my power is so “dirty” its not detecting well or if it’s loction n an outside panel box with extreme variation between heat/cold/humidity is a factor. I mostly now use it for the meter part so I can see when devices draw what and I can monitor them or adjust their usage and for the comparisons between my home and similar homes.