Sense vs TED, the good and the bad


#1

So, i ended up actually returning my Sense, and purchasing a TED.

Sense
Pros:

  • Polished interface (web and mobile)
  • Dedicated app from manufacturer
  • Very responsive and interactive graphing (really like the zooming and panning)
  • Device summary including isolated graph
  • (Future?) potentially warn you something is about to fail
  • Simple installation
  • Lower cost

Cons (currently):

  • No significant way to help Sense identify appliances
  • No TOU rates
  • No stand alone option (requires? up to date phone app or internet connection)
  • No advanced / expansion / api / power user features
  • Slow (days-months) device detection

TED (pro home)
Pros:

  • (optional) dedicated circuit monitoring
  • TOU billing, including base fees, taxes, tiered plans etc
  • standalone local network appliance (firmware upgradeable), runs even if WAN internet is down, no dependancy on phone app staying up to date with latest mobile OS version, or web service staying free
  • manual, url, and automated data exporting, second level for main, minute level or higher for circuits
  • more hands-on, power user friendly (in my opinion)

Cons:

  • 60 amp CT can lack sensitivity to low loads (<20w) even after additional zeroing calibration
  • additional (high) cost to expand number of individual circuit monitoring clamps
  • have to choose between better precision, and higher amperage rating / future flexibility when ordering 20, 60, 200, or 400 amp CT for additional circuits
  • clunky graphing and UI in general
  • third party mobile apps are clunky & limited
  • minor bugs and glitches when changing configuration options
  • no live / seconds level monitoring of individual circuits
  • no individual circuit alerts

I was on the fence between the two products, and bought the Sense on an impulse, thinking the price i was seeing was in my local currency (CAD). After using the Sense for a few days, and seeing a TED kit on sale, i decided Sense wasn’t really what i was looking for.

Even on sale, the TED was a bit more, but for me, i value having more defined labeling of dedicated circuits, and TOU billing available right out of the box. My utility provides TOU monitoring via a website, but it’s delayed by a day, so having that pricing information reflected in real time, and tied to dedicated circuits when i’m using an energy monitor was really what i was looking for.

I can certainly see the value of the approach that Sense is taking. For example, my blender isn’t on a dedicated circuit, and even if i always plugged it into a dedicated plug in the kitchen, other things could get plugged in and i would get false “total” if i relied on simply labeling a circuit vs the actual power signal that Sense would eventually (hopefully) identify.

But honestly the my main concern with Sense is the unknowingly long wait to identify appliances i’m interested in. I’m a fairly handy guy, so running a new power cable to an appliance is much more appealing than waiting to see if Sense will even identify my fridge, or my entire furnace.

Just my thoughts, hopefully it helps someone else who might be on the fence, one way or another.


#2

Thanks for giving us a shot, Derek! TED is definitely a great product and you make a fair comparison. Ultimately, we feel that we’re pretty different. TED, as you note, can get very expensive and has a more complicated install and is definitely lacking in UI and many other features that Sense can offer. Still, it’s an approach that has it’s pros for sure.

Thanks for contributing! Feel free to PM me if you want me to remove you from the forum, but you’re welcome to stick around. :+1:


#3

[derek.nheiley], I generally agree; mine’s been running about 5weeks, found 4, one twice which runs in two modes, one I can’t find on 28x 10m on one day. Yet no washer, dryer, coffee maker, microwave, etc. Some are really interest in the details, but for me an ident by breaker with a clip would work, as they are dedicated or cover a functional area. If there’s a issue on a multi-device plugins, interface with say a Kill-a-watt device to find the target device. Glad to see an export is available, although would like more details, don’t know what that is, or would need to approach the raw data. I don’t need to match the electric bill, but should be reasonably close.


#4

i’d like to keep an eye on Sense and stay on the forums, as a software engineer with some experience in data science, i find it really interesting (wish i could contribute in some way)

i forgot to mention, TED has a pretty full set of data exporting and API support, here’s a sample i started with when i was confirming it matched up with the billing info from my utility:

200amp  08/25/2018|14.969  0.97|
200amp  08/24/2018|14.647  1.21|
200amp  08/23/2018|10.511  0.91|
Geo1    08/25/2018|1.862   0.12|
Geo1    08/24/2018|3.647   0.23|
Geo1    08/23/2018|2.136   0.17|
Toaster 08/25/2018|0.061   0|
Toaster 08/24/2018|0.002   0|
Toaster 08/23/2018|0       0|
Stove1  08/25/2018|0.02    0|
Stove1  08/24/2018|0.091   0.01|
Stove1  08/23/2018|0       0|
Stove2  08/25/2018|0.174   0.01|
Stove2  08/24/2018|0.005   0|
Stove2  08/23/2018|0.001   0|
HW      08/25/2018|0.506   0.03|
HW      08/24/2018|2.898   0.23|
HW      08/23/2018|3.032   0.23|
Dryer   08/25/2018|0       0|
Dryer   08/24/2018|0       0|
Dryer   08/23/2018|0       0|
Kitchen 08/25/2018|1.636   0.1|
Kitchen 08/24/2018|0.074   0|
Kitchen 08/23/2018|0       0|

#5

Thanks for the comparison. I too was on the fence between the two and I went with Sense. So far I am very happy with what Sense has provided. Although I am fully capable of installing, configuring and using a TED, the cost and ease of use is what won me over to Sense. I would be interested to hear back from you after a few months of use to see how it goes for you. I also think there are somethings that TED does that the Sense team can and should implement (TOU rates, stand alone option, etc.). I guess time will tell.


#6

Sense is pretty good value for money, in my opinion. Also easy to set up.

TED does seem to support 240V, 50Hz and 3 phase (Something my brother has in Australia).
The additional sensors could also support Solar and batteries. Not something that would probably be a large market for sense. The additional features do cost at least twice that of sense, and likely 3-4 times for many situations.
:slight_smile:


#7

Ideally i would have been able to keep the sense for longer, but it just wasn’t feasible right now. Who knows, maybe TED will acquire Sense :smiley:

Jon, i think Sense supports solar with an extra set of clamps, (which is why i wish i could use those secondary clamps to help train device detection on dedicated circuits).

Anyone who would like to have a look at the TED software, there’s a live demo you can mostly interact with:
http://prodemo.theenergydetective.com/tedproxy/Footprints.html

Again, neither system is perfect, both have their strengths, but it will be interesting to see how that changes over time.


#8

I know sense supports solar. My request was for it to support solar and batteries, however, I appreciate that the customer base for this is fairly small at the moment. If Telsa and other batteries take off, then this could increase to a number that would make it viable for sense to support.


#9

“Wish I could contribute in some way.”

Couldn’t agree more! Many of us are quite capable of helping the Sense team with ‘outside ideas’ that maybe they aren’t seeing or never thought of. Instead we get, ‘we are actively working on this and hope to have this in the near future’ or something of that same spin.

Not that Sense should be open source, but look at how great open source projects can be do to the fact of many ‘takes’ or ‘views’ on how to solve problems or add functionality.