Smart plugs and device detection

Yes it does and something I really like about it. I haven’t tried but would assume since it still shows in the app that export would be possible also.

I think @samheidie has done this mod. If I’m remembering the wrong person, apologies.
Whoever did it and however it was done I sure would appreciate a share. Just for temporary use for me, nothing permanent. I had an idea and I’m sure I could make it work but I’d rather use a design or configuration that’s already been proven.

I think he modded 2 HS110s to do a 240V plug for a car charger. Unfortunately my EVs and AC units use more than the 15A limit.

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Hey @kevin1

I’ll take the task of putting together a list of the smart plugs in my setup and posting online and link somewhere. Sounds like this could be useful and not that hard to do as I’m in the middle of doing a complete smart home redesign and inventory is part of that. :slight_smile:

Understand about the smart plugs boiler plate code. just a dream as it seems like there’s a lot of people in the forums who have greater than average tech skills and would be willing to donate a bit of time and effort for a better experience.

Produce feature prioritization is always a hard task. Probably hardest part of the product managers role to honest ( it’s my day job ). Another reason why documenting an integration framework and open sourcing some boilet plate cold might not be a bad use of time and effort by the Sense team. Empower users to help themselves. Plus the fact that the value of the total solution grows as users contribute their integrations back to the community. :).

I’m running Alexa, GoogleHome, Homekit and others in the house, but I’m thinking the best integration would probably be to put it into something like HomeAssistant if I was going after a smart home. The ability to leverage the communties work and use the power state of Hass discovered devices could be a great hint to the ML Algo’s. (guessing here). Plus, if I REALLY needed it exposed to another ecosystem, HomeAssistant is pretty great at exposing interfaces to all the majors which, again, takes work away from the Sense team and puts it in the hands of the community.


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Wanted to ask the original question another way.

Is there any benefit to sense if I buy a plug or two and then use the integration for a short period of time for device detection. I get the limitations around the current implementation, but I’m wondering if running the integration with a specific device for X period of time would help to train the Sense algorithms for future detection of my devices.

If the answer is “yes”, then follow up questions are

  1. How long should I leave the plug in one place to gather enough data for this to be useful? 1 week? 1 month? 3 months?

  2. I don’t have a supported plug currently so forgive me if this is obvious in the integration, but how do I put in the information of the device that’s plugged into the smart plug? Assuming that I can put device type, manufacturer, model number, etc… in there to help label the data.

There’s no way I’m going to buy new plugs for the entire house, but if I can buy a couple and help contribute data back for a better experience for everyone I’m willing to do that, I just need to understand the effort involved and how useful it will be to the Sense R&D team.



Two thoughts Chris, and thanks for your interest.

  1. There is an informal API into the Sense server-side data collection that a number of people have used, including me. Sense has done it informally since the headcount to document and support, plus the reduced flexibility to change a productized API, are a bit prohibitive to a small company that is still rapidly evolving their core product. But what you are suggesting, the ability add integrations, resides in mainly in the Sense monitor, a place where I would not want to introduce 3rd party code, even with a robust API. Based on some of the issues I have seen, the monitor is the trickiest part of the codebase to keep operating smoothly given all the realtime constraints, plus it’s centrality in the operation of everything.

Here’s the location for the API, and associated Python client on Github. You can also find interfaces built on top of this

  1. You can also find a user supported interface between Sense and HomeAssistant, but that is focused (I think) on bringing Sense data from the server side, into Home Assistant.
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As far as your smartplug questions go, here’s what I know:

  1. There is no known magic length of time specified today that would deem the collected dataset “useful”. Knowing a little about machine learning, the real answer is that you have to run the collected dataset through training with the right architecture of LTSM (a kind of neural network), until the predictive error in the training set flattens out and the error term for the test set gets close to that of the training set. But until Sense figures out the right LSTM, or other neural network for that device type, which probably requires a lot of automated experimentation, they can’t know how big dataset is needed to be useful. A long way of saying “it depends on a lot of factors” today. In the future, it might be that Sense will have an indicator that tells when they have seen sufficient data via a smartplug to consider it “learned”, but I don’t think you will ever see a stated time period, since it could vary immensely.

  2. Sense offers a couple special options on the Device Manage card, plus a special card to allow you to configure info about your smartplug. You add the usual name, model, location info, but you also tell whether you want to control that smartplug from Sense, plus what type of device(s) it is connected to. In the case that you have it connected to a device that has already been detected they have an option for that as well.



@RyanAtSense Finally picked up a Wemo insight plug ( looking at TPLink in the future as well ).

Looking at the interface, why would I choose to connect a device I’ve already detected with Sense to the Wemo Insight plug (or TP Link assuming integration is the same-ish).

Is it purely for having on/off control capabilities within the Sense app or is there some other benefit to having a known device connected to a support Wemo/TP-Link plug?

Obviously there’s the benefit of providing Sense with more labeled data that makes me feel good about contributing back to a solution I’m using and helping make it better for everyone, but trying to Grok what else this is going to get me? :slight_smile:



If your detection is already great without using a smart plug, then really the only reasons are what you’ve described: remote control capability and helping to feed us better data. Remote control capability is pretty fantastic though, for certain use cases. I use it pretty frequently to manage my Always On loads, but I also used it a lot in the winter to turn off my space heater remotely (both my wife and I seem to have a serious issue with forgetting about it…)


That’s a great use-case for sure! Just curious - What about cases where Sense seems to be a bit confused about devices?

I have a June Oven and a Microwave that Sense seems to believe is the same device. If I plug one of them into the Insight plug, will this help Sense to understand they are different physical devices?

That would be nice if Sense could learn like that, but in my case not useful. When my hot tub was recognized I was happy to be able to have stats collected for just the tub so I can work on ways to reduce costs.

Only thing is, when I turn on my oven it thinks the hot tub is on. There isn’t a way to teach the Sense that one is on one circuit and the other another. With the pumps and ionizer not being recognized either, it will probably be a while until Sense actually knows my tub.

I didn’t even see a category for hot tubs, just pool pumps. I can’t be the only one spending 1/3 of my electric bill on this luxury.

@chris_young & @israndy I think for any devices within the limits of a 15A Smart Plug (<1800W) you would benefit from separating out those devices and putting them on a Smart Plug.

If the Sense algorithm doesn’t directly benefit from the data immediately it doesn’t matter because it will surely be able to use the data and improve as time goes by. In the meantime you will also immediately benefit from separating out the devices because you can then see and control them.

I imagine the hot tub (heater?) is a watt sucker and probably >1800W so a standard Smart Plug would not be possible. FYI: I have a SECOND Sense that is dedicated to my hot water tank (4.2kW). In the long run I think it will easily pay for itself because it gives me a very clear picture of my primary electrical consumption device … if nothing else it encourages me to take shorter showers. And anyway, in your case, how else do you really implement the Hot Tub Time Machine?

Hi @RyanAtSense,

Hope I’m asking the right question in the right forum, its my first try :).

I’ve had sense activated for a few weeks. It’s found quite a few devices and I’m impressed so far. I’m toying with this idea to drill into my “always on” bubble. I bought a few Wemo plugs and I want to put them in a few places where I “suspect” always on draw, my stepson’s room, my family room and a den with a tv and an xbox. My idea is to just plug Wemo into the powerstrips in each room and just label them powerstrips. (or maybe just buy the hs(?) which has a power strip built in if that helps the data science team more. I know its treated as a composite device from my end, not sure if it is or always will be on yours (haven’t opened the Wemo boxes and can return them).

So at the end of this process, my always on should be somewhat lower, I can shut my stepson’s room off when he goes to see his dad on weekends and I can kind of wait out the unknown bubble for a while. I’ll post a separate question for that on a different board.

One thing I noticed by reading the posts here is that I have a ton to learn and I don’t know if I’m happier about trying to understand my usage, saving money, or learning. everyone is so smart…



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Like others, I’m using a combination of Wemo’s (equivalent to, but pricier than, the HS110 – the single outlet TP-Link) and the HS300 power strips. A few notes:

  • If you end up plugging a small AC unit or other higher-power devices (less than 1800W) into a Smart Plug you should be plugging it into a dedicated plug. Having a strip it’s tempting to overload things.

  • The same goes for IMPORTANT devices like a fridge that you don’t want to fail or unplug/switch-off by mistake. See below! Use a dedicated Smart Plug for those.

  • The low overall power standby-energy-sucker electronics that will register in AO (Always On) are typically the least interesting Devices from a “geeking out poking around” perspective but all that individual device data (on an HS300, say) will help Sense in the long term and it will help you establish the individual responsibilities for aggregated energy use that you may miss. Once, though, you see a true AO device like a modem has a fairly flat profile it becomes an easy calculation. Putting a paper shredder or a laser printer on a Smart Plug is much more revealing and fun and you may find will save you more power. “Who keeps printing and shredding??”. Watching the energy spikes from a laser printer was a personal revelation for me.

  • Sense has expressed intent to develop a more sophisticated detection model (always!) where you will be able to move a Smart Plug around after having detected a device … i.e. to use just one plug as a mobile detector. Future Sense potential: “OK, I recognize your fridge now, you can take it off the Wemo”.

  • Not to lower expectations, but it’s a good place to start: Assume that most devices won’t be detected. Then every time something is detected you will be surprised AND, as you roam around attempting to help Sense disaggeregate your electrical devices by plugging things into Smart Plugs you will have a better idea of how your priorities match up with Sense’s abilities.

  • I’ll end with a reference to past lessons …

Thank you so much for the good advice!!! I’m pretty good at inadvertently doing dumb things. I had previously tried some “less expensive” smart plugs and ended up finding out my freezer was out.

So I’m very grateful for a timely reminder not to do it again. :slightly_smiling_face:

And I looked at the link from the laser printer and yes, it does change things. i had no idea. I think I’ll be a bit more creative (and safe) with my choices for my Wemo plugs.

Thank you again!!!


Not to knock the Wemos, but there is one situation where the TP-Link HS110s may perform better - for mission critical appliances like freezers. At least according to folks on these forums who have tried both, the Wemo defaults to off after a power outage, whereas the TP-Link remembers whether it was on or off. Important to have a freezer go back to on after a power outage.

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I’m also a fan of the T P link hs110 and more so the HS300. The one thing about the Wemo is the size. It appears to not take up so much space as to make the other side of a duplex receptacle useless like the HS110 does.

Yes @kevin1, agreed on that front. I actually couldn’t get the HS110s (on Amazon or anywhere local) when I was looking so ended up with the Wemos.

And as an interesting aside here there was/is just now a fairly major power outage in Manhattan. I’m not in the zone but these things tend to cascade. Better check my Sense voltages and see what they’re doing!

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Just for reference, I’ve never seen suffer a shortage of HS110’s and have always had the lowest prices at $15.99. Spend $35 and get two shipping included at no extra cost.


Huge thanks for that info…I didn’t know that and as you say (particularly around here where very brief outages happen all the time), it’s really important that refrigerators and freezers default to “ON” (or perhaps the pre-outage setting). I’ve looked at both devices, and stuck with HS110’s due to cost, but this is another important reason…and it works fine with Sense.