If I was going to purchase a wemo or Tp-link, which exact model numbers should I be looking for? Also, if sense find a device thru the smart plug, can I name it the correct device and it will add to device list or if I move smart plug to a new device does it appear as previous device?
The two Kasa TP-Link power monitoring models that integrate with Sense are the HS110 (not HS100) and the HS300 power strip. The HS110 has been discontinued so they are hard to come by on the retail circuit. You can name each smart outlet whatever you want in the Kasa app when you setup and it will propagate to Sense (or change it again in Sense). You can move the Kasa plugs around and rename to match the device being monitored, but the the history for the earlier device sticks around with the plug, even if you rename it.
@kevin1 so if Sense sees the signature from the smart plug and you remove the smart plug, sense does not then recognize the signature without smart plug? If not, the smart plug may be better for confirmation of a device however I’m doing that now with my kill-a-watt.
Correct, the smart-plug samples power usage of the device(s) plugged into it and feeds results to the Sense monitor every two seconds. But every two seconds is very, very different scale than the every couple microsecond sampling that Sense does for detecting on and off signatures, so there’s no direct way to use what the smart-plug measures to “learn” an on-signature. Long-term, the smart-plug data can be used by Sense to improve detection models by providing “ground-truth” data.
I recommend two things. Buy one HS110, or HS300 if that is cheaper, as a “traveller”, that you use similarly to a Kill-A-Watt, to identify mystery detected devices and to see patterns from devices that haven’t been detected yet. My “Traveller” HS110 is vastly superior to a Kill-A-Watt in my mind, since you can leave it on a device for a couple days and to produce a detailed time history for that device. Once you have scoped out most of the devices in your house with the “Traveller” you can make decisions about which ones you might want on smart-plugs - ones that don’t seem to have clean off and on patterns and use a sizable amount of electricity.
@kevin1 since HS110 are hard to find, does the community have an opinion of TP-LINKs vs the WEMO?
A month or so ago when I was looking to add a few smart plugs I got the impression that the TP-Link HS110 (or HS300) are preferred to the WEMO plugs. IIRC, the main gripe with the WEMO plug is that it remains off after a loss of power - rather than defaulting back to the previous power state. In other words, if you have your fridge plugged into it and experience a power outage, all of your food is toast unless you remember to turn the plug back on. There may have been a few other reasons. I found most of the info on these forums. Try searching around.
There are several critiques of Wemo Insight vs. HS110 on the forum. The short of it:
Pros for Wemo
- Works with Apple HomeKit
- Likely cheaper than HS110 now that HS110 has been discontinued
Cons of Wemo
- Was typically more expensive on retail market
- Uses more bandwidth to communicate with Sense monitor
- Defaults to off when restarting vs previous state (HS110) as @matthew_lasorsa states.
History being hard linked to the device was one of the more surprising oddities I came across with the smart plug integration with Sense. IMO, it would be more logical for the history to remain with the device the plug was linked to at that time. I see two situations that need to be addressed:
(1) Device Not Yet Detected By Sense Connected to Plug… in this case a new device would be be created within the device list. If this device is ever removed from the plug, it would still remain in the device list. In the event that the device was removed from the plug because it had been retired within the home, an enhancement request I once saw to allow devices to be marked as “inactive” would fit in nicely here - that way the information recorded is still archived, even if these inactive devices are listed somewhere other than the main device list. If this device were ever to be reconnected to a metering plug, the record from the plug would then be pointed to that same device item within the app. If Sense ever finds this device on it’s own, the two could then be merged. The benefits here are more comprehensive device history logs and usage analysis.
(2) Plug Moved from an Existing Device to Another Device Already Detected by Sense… I suspect this is often done to identify mystery devices as you mentioned and compare total power usage vs the signature Sense credits to the device. Sense currently allows you to merge the history from a previously detected device with the plug data - this is a good thing. The issue is that this merges all the history from the previous device connected to the plug with all the history of the new device that Sense had learned. This is where the recommendation above for the history to remain with the device, rather than the plug, would add value.
I encountered this 2nd situation myself… the first device I plugged into the HS110 I was able to find was a fan that I run while I sleep. Running the fan allows us to get away with turning our thermostat up a degree or two, reducing A/C runtime. But running the fan continuously also draws energy, so I wanted to confirm the nightly cost was far less than relying solely on A/C for comfort. Once I was convinced this was the case, I moved the plug to my fridge. Sense had previously detected the refrigeration cycle, but not other fridge functions like defrost, ice making, etc. Unfortunately all the history for the fan has now been merged into my fridge history.
@matthew_lasorsa so maybe best to get a smart plug for items I want to control and use kill-a-watt for my confirmation device. Frankly, there isn’t a ton more things I feel are important devices to “find” there are some I want to know but would just wait for it to happen. Most important things are hard wired. Any experience with the HS300? I could see having control with this might be a benefit on multiple plug in things. I see a newer model for the HS300 but assume not compatible with Sense.
I have (1) HS110 and (1) HS300 at the moment. I rarely use either to control on/off - most of the devices plugged into them are ‘Always On’ type like my WiFI gateway or fridge. I use the plugs mainly for energy monitoring of devices I suspect Sense won’t ever detect, but still have reasonable power draw (my Technicolor CGM4141 from Cox surprising draws about 25W on average, with periods as high as 35W based on how hard the internal fan’s running). Only once did I use the on/off capability to cut power to the TV, sound system, cable box, etc. for a small reduction in vampire drain when I went away for a few days. A decent amount of my lights are Philips Hue, which also report power usage in the Sense app. My ideal end-point would be to have the majority of my lights converted to Hue and most of my other small electronics on smart outlets. But I agree that the focus should be on the big energy consumers as you pointed out. Sense hasn’t yet detected my washing machine, and only picks up snippets of my dish washers heat drying cycle. I’d like to find at least two more HS110’s for these appliances.
I’ve never used a Kill-A-Watt, but from what I understand Kevin already pointed out why an HS110/HS300 would be preferred due to the ability to collect a detailed time history. Kevin seems to be one of the most knowledgeable users within the community, so I’d value this opinion. I have no issues with my HS300 and find that it does a nice job pushing energy usage data back to the Sense platform. An obvious downfall of the HS300 is that it’s only practical for locations where you have at least 3-4 devices to plug in. My only wish with the TP-Link plugs would be the ability to send them a set of sequential actions at once. I have to power cycle my internet gateway occasionally to keep my connection stable. I can cut the power to that outlet on the HS300, but then can’t power it back on since I have no internet. I’d like to be able to send it instructions to “turn off, wait ~30 seconds, then turn back on”. I’ve expressed this to TP-Link… fingers crossed. TBD if I’m able to do this with the ‘Scheduling’ feature.
What is the newer model you’ve seen? An HS300 v2? Or are you referring to the KP303, which is the 3-outlet version?
@matthew_lasorsa yeah, the 3 outlet version. Anyone know if that also works to Sense? I suspect no since not really highlighted. In at least 1 maybe 2 spots the 3 outlet is all I would have plugged in but mainly for vampire load scenarios.
The 3 outlet version, the KP303, doesn’t have the hardware to do power monitoring. One of the big challenges when Sense first integrated with smartplugs, was that there were very few that had the combination of built-in power monitoring and WiFi connectivity. Many more are available today, but all “talk” via different protocols, most of them proprietary.
One interesting thing about the TP-Link interface - users have been able to write an interface that talks to the Sense monitor from HomeAssistant, so power info in HomeAssistant can be passed to Sense as if it was one or more HS110s.
@kevin1 @matthew_lasorsa Does the HS300 treat each individual plug separately meaning reports to sense individually and each can be turned on/off individually? Or does it treat it as everything plugged in as 1 item?
@norenlaw, good news and bad news. Each plug you use on the HS300 is separately measured and logged as a separate device (by both Kasa and Sense). The only problem is that you can rapidly hit the 20 smart-plug Sense limit with multiple HS300s. Depending on your household, you might not want to use up all the outlets in an HS300 just because the outlets are there. For instance, I plugged a couple AppleTVs into HS300s in my media centers - waste of 2 plugs from that 20 smart-plug limit, because the usage is so low, even when playing 4K streams. That’s why I recommend testing all devices with a “Traveller” HS110 or HS300 first.
@kevin1 makes sense. I was unaware of the 20 smart plug limit although I was thinking about the HS300 for my WiFi base, Ethernet hub, arlo base, emergency radio, tv and Blu-ray. All of which are on 2 regular surge bars in the same area. Only would the TV and Blu-ray be turned off. Most of which I suspect Sense would not pick up. I would see these as permanent on the HS300 since they would all report separately correct?
A traveler is still something I would consider as well as for my washer.
If I use the HS110 on my washer, and after some time will Sense still find my washer as a new device?
@norenlaw, that sounds like a good use for the HS300. Good chance that none of those would have single unique on and off signatures. Most consumer electronics give Sense two difficulties. 1) Power supplies hid the real usage inside the device by spreading it out over time and 2) most have usage that is highly variable based on content / activity… See my experiments with my TV - not so useful even if Sense could detect an on and an off-signature, since most of the variability depends on content when it is on.
My take is that modern washers with electronic controls won’t be detected by Sense. Too much stuff going on. Good use for a traveller or a permanent HS110.
Sense does seem to detect the heating element of some electric dryers and perhaps the tumbling / fan motors.
@kevin1 @matthew_lasorsa I did get an HS300 in today and have it setup on 4 items I will always need on. Due to plug configurations, I could not use the remaining items at the moment but will order some short extensions to do so. I also have 1 HS110 coming in as well with aspirations to locate another 2. Appreciate the help!!
Glad to hear you’ve started integrating smart plugs. Where did you order the HS110’s from? Some people, including myself, have had some issues with receiving HS100s (not HS110s), used parts, etc. The post below has some examples. If you don’t mind, let us know where your ordered from and if you were successful.
@matthew_lasorsa eBay but keep losing out on bids and not many available. Did get an used one in “excellent” shape today and got it installed. These will work with a new washer?
@norenlaw, I have used mine with two different washing machines - a Maytag and an LG. No issues - power stays below the power limits of the HS110