The Basic functions of Sense and adding TP smart plugs

New to the community and have been bouncing around reading many posts. I did read the one about using smart plugs. to help detect items. I have several questions.

  1. What current models are compatible with sense? The sense support article I read referenced some models but that article was from 2018? Four year old info is an eternity in electronic info and most of them have been replaced with newer versions.

  2. Once a item is “detected” can the smart plug be removed or is it a permanent work around to what Sense should be doing in the first place?

  3. Did I buy a money pit electronic toy that will require “assistance” to sense (pun intended) almost ever item in my home?

I’m going to answer your questions, with a little more explanation. First off, the current Sense native detection is likely to “find” some kinds of devices and miss others based on the kind of on/off signatures they give. If some of your devices don’t fit the Sense model, then you can (intelligently) put some of them on smartplugs so your Sense can track those devices. But given the current detection model, putting those devices on smartplugs, does NOT directly help Sense learn, though it might help Sense R&D target new detection models i the long run. And occasionally people will put a device that fits the Sense on/off model on a smartplug, because it hasn’t been detected yet, but eventually Sense sees the on/off enough to be detected. Likely / unlikely list below:

Likely to be detected over time

  • Dryer heating element (if electric)
  • Maybe washer and dryer motors, but only if the are AC old school motors (neither of mine are)
  • Oven heating and range heating elements (if electric and if Sense sees enough cycles)
  • Some kitchen appliances - dishwasher heating element, trash compactor, coffee maker, instant hot water heater, old school (non-inverter) fridges.
  • Incandescent and some florescent lighting
  • Printer - laser printer heating element
  • Vacuum cleaners, motorized plug-in tools

Unlikely with today’s Native Detection mechanism
On and off signatures masked by power supplies, etc.

  • TVs, receivers, AV components and DVRs
  • DC and variable speed motors - many pool pumps, inverter fridges, and battery backup garage openers.
  • Computers (laptops and desktops)
  • LED lighting (except for Hue) - I have seen some LED detected, but usually in homes that have a very low activity level of other devices.
  • Variable speed HVAC systems and many mini-splits, though Sense has been slowly improving

Sense does have some special models for EV charging and some kinds of variable speed HVAC systems, but those tend to be very make/model-specific.

And yes, the FAQ list of supported smartplugs is complete, though sometimes TP-Link/Kasa will put out a new model that is also supported, but not qualified.

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I appreciate you answer and explanation. Most of that seems reasonable too. However, the main site gives a much different version of what it can do. I suspect if your explanation was used Sales would plummet! Problem is much of you explanation and answers are very similar to the ones from 2018. Maybe R&D is doing a lot of R but not much D it seems. 4 year+ is a lot of data to accumulate with little results. The electronics world eats stragglers for breakfast. Be careful or Sense may end up “old school” too!

I suspect many or most of the people like us that buy a Sense are interested in saving energy so most have upgraded to “new” school items so not detecting them is a BIG problem. Or maybe got a Sense and upgraded all the Old school which has resulted in a less effective monitor.

Using smart plugs doesn’t look like a viable option. They are pricy and redundant. They consume power too and why do I need two items tracking power usage ?

From my quick research the WEMO has one items that works with Sense and it is obsolete. TP had 3 and all are old versions and the site gives no mention of if the newer ones will work with Sense.

Looks like most everything I have is on your Unlikely list so I’ll keep expectations low. But Hey, I do know my Hue LED is using 1 watt!


I think Sense got a little bottled up by the “gee whiz” instant bubble / instant detection UI they went with at the start. The electrical engineer in me knows that only works for devices that have a very specific kind of on/off profile. Since then they have been branching out to handle devices that don’t fit.

  • Specialized detection techniques for EVs and some variable HVAC systems
  • Hybrid detection / measurement using smart devices - smartplugs, Schneider / Wiser smart switches and outlets, Hue lighting, plus Direct Circuit Monitoring (DCM).
  • New Progressive Detection detection technology - alluded to, but not yet rolled out

I wouldn’t totally write off smart plugs. They use very little power and might only really be needed on a few wide swing devices. If I were you, I would buy a single “Traveling” KP115, set up the integration and do 48 hour+ traces on all the devices in your house of interest. That will give you two things:

  • A view of the usage range
  • An Always On value for each device

Many of the electronics in my house have a usage range that is very close to the Always On value. For those, you can simply annotate the values in the Always On listing.

Agreed! Maybe I’ll get one smart plug to help out. With Sense detecting an item and calling it Motor1, heat1 or device1 you get sent on a treasure hunt to figure it out. Pretty generic and the suggested name is not much help either. I have one item I am sure is a AC window unit. It will read it for a day and then stop. Maybe the next day it read it again for awhile then stop again. When it is detecting the unit it sees the compressor cycling but thinks the unit is off if the compressor is off. It does not see the fan running in the unit.

I find your list of “Unlikely” interesting. Sense detect my Samsung TV a year ago. Even knew the model number. After about six months Sense lost the signature. About two months ago it found it again, but has now lost it. About 3 weeks ago Sense found my variable speed HVAC evaporator motor, but only intermittently. I would not think the signature change that much for Sense to lose both of them. I do have four Smart plug on device that I felt needed to be monitored, especially both of my dehumidifiers.

The TV detection probably didn’t come via “native detection”, but instead via the hybrid method using Network Device Identification (NDI). That’s how it came up with the model number.

The HVAC evaporator motor might be a native detection or one of the specially tuned HVAC detections. Depends on what the on/off ramps look like.

Thanks for the iinformation. I read the attached article and checked to see if NDI was enabled. That option is not available in my app. Attached is a screen shot.

@bmarcella1948, things have moved around little since that article was written. Look under Setup > Connected Devices > Network listening. But be aware that Network listening also affects all the Integrations below.