Rj45 port - to solve wifi issues?

I worked in IT for most of my working career. There is a serious problem with wiring a RJ45 cable into a breaker box. The main problem is the electrical code and safety. The 220 volts has to be totally isolated from the data cable. That is the main problem. And as was pointed out, most router’s are not located in the basement so the RJ45 cable would have to traverse floors in the house. Wireless is the only truly safe communications method.


I’m not sure how feasible it’d be BOM wise, but what about an ethernet over power built in, with an add-on device to plug in and connect via RJ45, in my case I have a full UniFi setup, and one of the APs happens to be by the panel, so I wouldn’t buy the addon. But my brother in law would.

Saves running Ethernet into the panel and keeping isolation, and limiting added costs to needs.

Something like this SoC? http://www.st.com/en/interfaces-and-transceivers/power-line-transceivers.html?querycriteria=productId=SC923

That sounds expensive.

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I don’t know the design of the boards internally, they’re already modular, that much has been stated. This would have to go on the power board, and transfer the Ethernet in an isolated manner, aside from the cost of the chip, and engineering costs, I don’t think it would raise the raw cost of the monitor that much. The 2nd part of it (the add-on) would obviously be an added cost, and $50 would easily cover the cost of production at scale. I think they could easily keep the $300 price point and sell that ethernet addon for $50 to recoup any cost/additional profit.

But an example chip (497-5527-5-ND) is $8 from digikey, not including passive components.

Another option would be to add an option port with data pins (Maybe a modified USB connection, or serial?), and put the entire thing on a separate board/accessory designed to be placed inside a panel? Then the cost per unit is negligible, and the accessory would bear the full BOM cost itself, the downside would be that it would have 2 components instead of 1, but would achieve the same goal of keeping the ethernet wiring out of the panel.

The upside of the “Accessory” port would be that unforeseen addons would be relatively easy to make. That’s another idea.

It sounds expensive due to all the re-engineering and reprogrammimg that would have to take place. The cost per device isn’t much in hardware but the work behind it would be big. This technology is still very much in it’s infancy, I’m not sure if the sense team has the resources to support an effort like this.

I can’t comment on pricing other than to say that little things and backend work add up to big costs at scale.

We have looked pretty extensively into ethernet options and, well, they’re complicated for a variety of reasons. For most of our users, it’d just be little added benefit. The idea of add-ons is sold, but that’s where you get into major costs as it’d be a significant undertaking both in terms of part costs as well as the backend work involved. Powerline networking sounds like a good idea, but less so in practice. We’ve done some r&d work on it and it’s just lacking in reliability enough that it wouldn’t be worth the significant costs it would require. Maybe as that tech improves, it’ll become a more viable solution.

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Yeah, and that particular transceiver is expensive, even without all of the passives it requires. And further, I think that was the cheapest one I could find.

Personally for me, that would be a show-stopper. There are enough cables in that “cabinet” already. Everything is going wireless, I think the trick here is to come up with better support for things like 5G and a better way of applying an antenna. To me the issue is that the location of the electrical box is in a place deep inside a house or outside, where reception is “hard”. Adding more wires isn’t the solution but helping put solutions together for better antenna placement, perhaps a bigger antenna, would be a plus.

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5GHz also presents a problem for the same reasons. It’s considerably more prone to interference from obstructions. My electrical panel happens to be in my hallway, so likely no problem there for me, but for our users with basement panels, garage panels, or outside panels, 5Ghz would create even more issues. That’s not the sole reason it’s not supported, but it certainly plays a part. But I do agree…the ultimate solution is less wires. That doesn’t mean we’re not looking into how to get some better support for ethernet, but it’s really not the ideal, ultimate solution to connectivity issues.

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I’ve had good luck changing the included sense omni directional antenna with a directional patch antenna. Perhaps including a couple antenna options in the base product would be nice.


That was my thought, either go with a gain antenna, a yagi or maybe even an extension cable to get your antenna to a better place. If people are considering running cat5 cable it would be easier to run a longer sma cable than to run a cable from the router to your panel.

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Free idea for Sense 2.0: optical coupling option to an external ethernet dongle.
Uses a pair of cheap consumer toslink cables to implement an optically gapped connection to a WiFi or ethernet dongle.
Allows for a smaller device in the panel, and moves the comms bits to a new device that can be upgraded as technology improves.
Heck just put the minimal amount of hardware in the box behind the optical interconnect and keep as much hardware as possible outside the breaker box, to allow easier upgrades (and lower certification costs too, I’m sure)

My recent install was frustrating. I have a recessed panel located in the garage and didn’t really feel comfortable installing it myself so I called an electrician. He installed it no problem but being a recessed panel I asked if he could use the extension wire for the antenna and have it stick out of the panel which he didn’t want to do ( which I understood ) but then I asked if he could stick the antenna out of the side of the box and stick out of the drywall to try and maximize WiFi reception of the Sense unit but he refused. He kept telling me “as per manufacturer” the antenna will be fine behind the drywall. He also stated the extension cable wasn’t long enough and lastly there was no mount for the antenna. I know there’s a whole sense monitor bracket but maybe add another 2 foot cable to the box and a plastic drywall ring mount for the antenna. I wouldn’t mind spending another 20$ if I could install it the way I really wanted it.