Quick device detection question

I’ve had it for a couple of months + now. I’m learning to be “patient” (I think) and its figured out maybe 75% of the big stuff in the house - but zero lights, fans, lamps, clocks, etc… Does that sound “normal?” - Thanks

Yes. Sense has founds two lights of mine: one was a set of six fluorescent tubes powered by four ballasts and used 200 watts. I replaced the ballasts and fluorescent tubes with LED ones that now use less than half the wattage and it hasn’t redound them. The other light is a 230 watt incandescent or something that is small, bright, and HOT! I haven’t looked at what that bulb is as I don’t use that light much anymore. Both of those were high wattage and non-dim. My ceiling fan fades on and off, both the fan and lights, and although my LEDs in the living room, dining room, and kitchen all use 100+watts when at full, they’re all on dimmers and rarely at full. I don’t expect those to get detected.

Thank you !

If you have 75% of your big items in only a few months, you are doing outstandingly well. Many of us have only a handful of devices (and some of those not accurately) after more than a year. Count yourself successful/lucky!

Regarding small stuff, my experience is it never will get those and, while toe folks who write in to these threads are generally those with poor experiences, after following this for almost two years I’d have to think my experience is pretty common. Still, the biggest value of Sense is monitoring total consumption and what makes up the bulk of that spending…not the tiny uses.

Thanks - yep, kind of different from what one expects in the beginning but useful, I guess. 🤷 Perhaps improvements will arrive in updates…?

I saw an interview of the CEO/Founder of Sense few days back. In the past, he worked on Speech Recognition. There, it is ‘easier’ (today) to know whether Paul or Steve are talking because each has different frequencies/tonal signatures (I’m dumbing this down a bit).

He started Sense with the hope that whatever he learned/developed in Speech Recognition can be applied for Device Detection as, each device, when powered on, pulls current from the mains, and has a distinct and often unique energy signature. Nice idea! However, with electrical devices (not speech), there is a single frequency (60 Hz) so the task gets a bit more complicated. Add to that, that now you’re not trying to understand what Steve or Paul are saying. Instead, you’re in a room with 50+ people (how many devices you have in your house?), and trying to comprehend what each person is saying. Of course the task gets way more complicated, and typically the loudest persons in the room ‘dominate’ the sound. That is why (I think) Sense detects first the largest energy hogs. It still has not detected my double-wall oven though.

The human ear is very different from Sense. Notice that, when you’re at a large gathering and two people are speaking far from you, somehow the human ears+brain can ‘focus/spy’ on that specific conversation? The brain (computer) can do this with the help of 2 binaural sensors (ears), even though the specific conversation is not the loudest? Well, not sure we can replicate that anytime soon in Sense, though I’d love to be proven wrong.

One possibility would be to augment the detection algorithms to look not only at the current+voltage amplitudes vs. time but also possibly at the instantaneous phase between them (Cos Phi, Power Factor). Whether it is in image processing (2D DSP) or use for vibration/sound for machinery health & diagnostics, the phase was demonstrated on multiple occasions to contain much more information than the amplitude by itself. Then again, who am I kidding, as I’m sure Sense has their best DSP engineers already looking into that.


Yeah - and I can appreciate that the task is difficult. (I have a son who works in AI) but my frustration is more the disparity between what’s advertised and what’s delivered.

I look at it (Sense) as a work-in-progress. Granted, it does not yet have all the features for everyone, but it’s a good starter for energy monitoring, albeit not for every single device out there. I’m hopeful that, with the recently formed Smart Home Working Group (Alexa/Google/Zwave/…), the future will bring us smart devices that broadcast their own energy consumption, and those will complement Sense’s capabilities quite nicely.

In the very old times, you buy your groceries and you pay whatever the cashier asks you to. Today, you get a very detailed receipt with everything you bought, the price per pound, quantity, taxes, … In some future time, we won’t pay the utilities just whatever the bill says, but we’ll know exactly which devices are consuming how much energy. Not to be patronizing/lecturing at all, but technology is changing our world.

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