Use of Smart Plug WITHOUT Energy Monitoring

Today Sense uses ONLY smart plugs that have built-in energy monitoring. Simplistically, Sense ‘delegates’ the task of identifying specific devices by capitalizing on the smarts and built-in sensor inside such smart plug.

However, there are many non-energy monitoring plugs that Sense could be made to ‘probe/query’. I’m thinking it would help Sense to know which devices are on and which are not, to help a bit with the detection.

Of course this does not work if I have smart plug for my TV, then use the remote to turn the TV on/off … as the smart-plug status does not tell me what’s truly happening. However, if I use smart-plugs in conjunctions with (non-dimmable) lights, then for sure whether the plug is on/off gives valuable info as to how many Watts I’m pulling to light the living room. Possibly not an attractive ROI, in terms of what one gets vs. how much programming resources one needs to invest.

Any thoughts on this?

3 thoughts on why simple, non-power-monitoring smartplugs might not be desirable:

  1. Can’t augment Sense output - simple on/off reporting doesn’t supply enough data to create a full “device” in the Sense GUI. On/off data can’t be used for device bubbles, trends, and power meter.

  2. Training - I would guess that simple on/off ground truth data is far less useful for training Sense as well.

  3. Cost- polling smartplugs and managing the response data once every 2 seconds costs network and Sense monitor resources. This shows up in Sense’s limit of 20 smartplugs. Why use an expensive resource (polling) when the data isn’t so helpful.

There is a cheaper way - the Hue integration and another user-built home automation, SenseLink, can convert on/off and dimmer data into “calculated power” data and share with Sense. Those slot nicely as standard Sense devices. More on SenseLink here:


Just be aware that as one approaches and exceeds 20 “Smart plug” devices, Sense will have a more & more difficult time keeping track of such devices. It seems to be a hardware-related limitation of the current version. (3 KS300 strips get you close to that point by themselves … but it seems to be the number, not whatever the “mix” is of devices.)

Aside: I have 38 … and would like to add more in the coming months. :grimacing: