The Energy Detective (TED) Interface

June, 2012

In an effort to improve the visibility of the power consumption in my house, I purchased “The Energy Detective” (TED).  This module sat on a shelf for about 6 months after I bought it because the instructions sufficiently scared me into believing that I should hire an electrician to install it instead of attempting it myself  (It involved installing components into the fuse box).  After many months of procrastination, I finally got around to calling electricians and was surprised to hear that most of them did not want the job, stating that they had no experience with installing those kinds of devices and did not want to try.  Long story-short, I finally found an electrician that was brave enough to have a go, and when I watched him do the install, I realized I probably could have done it myself.  Oh well.

There are many power monitoring solutions on the market, but the thing that really drew me to the TED solution was the excellent API that it provided.  Their web site even has a sample of their product online so I was able to write some code to the API and confirm it could do what I wanted to do before I bought the product.  It was great!  Why don’t more companies do this!??!

Once I had the TED installed, I started fiddling around with it and did some disruptive things like update the firmware.  I ended up losing several months of data doing this.  Unfortunately, there’s no way to upload historical data once you query it.  The vendor says it’s on the roadmap, but I’m not holding my breath.  It has lots of good reporting tools integrated into the browser-based interface, so I had no need to re-create these features in Watchdog.  The main data that I wanted to get out of it included daily power usage, peak power usage, and brownout/blackout warnings.

Once my TED was installed, I added some new functionality into the WDSummaryReport module to query and then send me information about the amount of Kilowatts the house used on the day of the report.  I’ve not yet been successful in finding a way to monitor brownout/blackouts – I think the voltage drop also causes the module to reset, and it doesn’t happen often enough for me to test effectively.  TED has an alert feature, but after much testing, it does not work either.

One final note:  The community around the TED products are wonderful.  They were responsive to my posted questions and to the questions and suggestions made by others.  I love working with vendors like this.  They “get” it.

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