What are bubble sizes based on?


My son asked an interesting question today on the Sense App.

He wanted to know if it is the the radius or the area of the bubbles is proportional to to the power being used.

He also wanted to know if the bubble size was relative to all the other users, or was absolute to the total power.

Any ideas?


It appears to be proportional to total power seen by my Sense device.


Hi @miracj, when I saw your post I initially thought "of course they are proportional!"
On second thought it’s probably not quite as simple. I guess we can agree that the bubble size is a way to depict relative power consumption - the bigger the bubble, the more power a device consumes (or produces - in case of the solar bubble). You probably also noticed that during “quiet” times, low-power devices/groups of devices are depicted larger than when lots of devices are drawing.
Earlier this morning my Sense app was only showing Unknown (~360W), Always On (300W), and a small fridge (107W). The three bubbles were sized to fit comfortably in the space available on the screen. Then my geothermal heat pump kicked in (5800W) - and its bubble initially didn’t even fit on the screen. It took a moment and then all bubbles were resized to fit on the screen again. Of course now the 3 initial bubbles were much smaller - but you’ve probably seen this already.
Now, what about proportionality? It looks to me as if the lower power devices are getting relatively more real estate than the high-powered devices. Otherwise, in my example above my fridge would have been a tiny dot next to my heat pump, and I probably wouldn’t have been able to read the label anymore. In other words - yes size is proportional to power, but it’s weighted towards the smaller devices so we can still see them.
With my interest piqued, I was trying to figure out an actual formula. I took a ruler and measured the diameter of the circles and dropped them into a spread sheet - alongside their respective wattages. Then I compared the relative ratios (each device’s wattage in % of total current wattage, and also in % of wattage of largest device) and compared it against the area of the circles as well as the volume (if they were actual 3 dimensional bubbles). The volume comparison actually came the closest, but was still a bit off. Maybe the Sense developers will let us in on the secret at some point. But I can probably live comfortably without ever knowing the exact formula… :slight_smile:


[quote=“martin.scheyhing, post:3, topic:327”]
and compared it against the area of the circles as well as the volume (if they were actual 3 dimensional bubbles).[/quote]
Thanks for the analysis. I have some saved screenshots to do exactly as you have done, but just haven’t got to it. I have seen the readjustment of the sizes, although sometimes the largest doesn’t always fit the screen. I do think the area should be the relative percentage, as this is what our brains would normally interpret appropriately.

But who knows, maybe they’re based on the volume of a 4D sphere? :wink:


Hey guys, thanks for the question! The area of the bubbles is proportional to the power being used and it’s user-specific. Hope that clears it up. :slight_smile:


Its proportional, but not an exact proportion.

My dishwasher shows up as 1 watt when its between cycles. That 1 watt bubble is disproportionately large in size when compared against the other bubbles.

This screen snap shows the 1 watt dishwasher and 5000 watt EV charger. The 1 watt bubble is much larger than it should be if things are truly exactly proportional.


Some logarithmic proportion? They’re limited on the bottom end by font size…

closed #8