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August 22, 2009

TED 5000: Installation Notes and Observations

Category: Technology – Tom Harrison – 6:52 pm

I installed my new TED 5000 (“The Energy Detective”) today, and it’s working — here are some notes for anyone else who may find some of the available documentation a little lacking.

While anyone interested should feel free to read this, it’s mostly intended for other early-adopter types and to save the TED Support folks from questions. It’s pretty detailed, and probably only applies to a subset of TED users. So feel free to skip this post :-).

Inside the Electrical Box

The electrical box installation is actually easy, and while I’m no electrician, I have done enough electrical work to be dangerous. So for those of you who like me know almost enough, here are a few details I know now.

Update: 8/24: I emailed the TED Support folks to give them a heads-up on this post and they responded. One item that apparently was just a mix-up is that there is a CD for the new version, and it contains a pretty good visual guide for installation in the electrical box. Some of my questions at the breaker-box part of the install would have been cleared up by the doc I missed. Otherwise, they indicated no other major errors with what’s written here.

  • Turn off the main power when you’re ready to start. OK?
  • Write down the 6-digit serial number of the MTU before you install it; you’ll need it later. The documentation does point this out in red.
  • US homes typically have a three-wire main supply: 1 neutral, and 2 hot 120V lines (phases). Most circuits (e.g. to receptacles, lights) use one or the other line; high-load appliances will use both to make a 240V circuit. The breaker box is set up so that each vertical position has power from one then the other phase — phases are not split left and right, but up and down, which allows two (vertically) adjacent breakers to supply a 240V load. A dual pole breaker looks like two normal breakers with a plastic tie linking the pair; if one phase trips, the tie will trip the other.
  • If you have two vertically adjacent spare breaker positions, you can buy a dedicated dual-pole breaker for the TED connection, but it’s probably fine just to use one already installed, e.g. for your dryer, range or some other appliance; this is what I did (and the manual says its OK, too). Don’t just use any two adjacent breakers; while this would work, an electrical fault in one circuit would not cause the other to trip; maybe not good. If you are doubling-up connections on an existing dual-pole breaker, I found the existing wires were heavy gauge (#12), while the black and red wires for the TED were thin (#20, maybe). I twisted the two together as well as I could, and made sure to tighten the clamp connection on the breaker firmly, but I could see this being a problem if one wire became loose. Don’t be afraid to crank down on the wire clamp lugs (screws) hard; they are designed for it, and make sure to tug firmly to ensure everything is tight and solid before re-installing the breaker. Another option would be to use a wire-nut to link the two sets of wires together (one for a phase of the existing load, one for the TED) before the breaker, and then have a single lead for each phase into the breaker lugs.
  • It’s nice to have a couple light plastic wire-ties, some dual-stick tape, and a pair of scissors in addition to the two main tools needed: screwdriver and flashlight. The MTU installs in the breaker box; I stuck it to the inside with double-stick tape, and organized the wires with ties to make a neat job.
  • Watch the excellent video of TED 1000 installation on EnergyCircle’s site (it’s the installation video on the bottom) — there are some differences (the old TED worked only with one phase and needed only a single breaker) but the advice and guidance is applicable otherwise.

Footprints Software, Gateway Setup

I was a little confused by the instructions in a couple cases, and have a Mac which doesn’t support one little feature that Windows has. Anyway, here are my notes on the next part of setup.

  • The MTU (installed in the electrical box) and the Gateway (installed near your router) communicate over your electrical lines. The gateway needs to be plugged in, but the documentation makes a point of warning about electrical noise on the circuit used, especially from switch-mode devices on the same circuit or power-strip. But how do you know what a switch mode device is? I have two answers:
    1. “Switch-mode devices” would be any electronics having “good” transformers — the ones that don’t heat up and suck power up. Transformers are usually on the plug — are the bulky “wall-wart” that clogs up power strips and receptacles. If the transformer brick is very warm or hot to the touch, it’s probably not a switch-mode variety. Also, switch mode transformers tend to be smaller — iPods, iPhones, iTouches and other devices made by responsible electronics companies tend to use switch-mode transformers. But it’s also possible that the transformer is inside the device; for example, my router is an Apple Time Capsule (wireless router + hard disk), and then it’s pretty much impossible to tell. Anyway, I plugged the gateway into a power strip that also had the router on it (a potential “switch-mode device”, but these are the only things on that circuit. We’ll see if line noise is a problem over time.
    2. Well, time told the tale: apparently either the router or other items on the circuit were interfering with the power line communications. After writing this post on the 22nd, I started noticing that the data was not actually updating every few seconds. And then I noticed that there were bizarre readings in the data. I did several tests, including rebooting the gateway (which you can do from the web UI), unplugging the gateway, reinstalling firmware, and so on. It would work for a while, then get “stuck” again. So today, I moved the gateway to a circuit right next to the power box that has nothing else one it (at the moment … or should I say “currently” ;-)). It seems to be working now: within a few seconds of turning on anything, even my 14W CFL desk light, I see a reading. Also: I now see that the LED on the side of the gateway is blinking green, yesterday it was blinking amber, if it was blinking at all.
  • The box included a mini-CD. When looking for documentation, I attempted to see if it was on the disc. It’s not — it’s the old version of the Footprints software, which is irrelevant for the TED 5000 and inexplicably included in the box. (Side note: if you have a MacBook, don’t put a mini-CD in the drive as it won’t work, and won’t come out without some effort. Lesson learned the hard way ;-)
  • The gateway gets warm to the touch — I guess it’s a really an embedded computer CPU and memory. It’s probably a good idea to give it a little air to keep cool. 8/23: I have an update on this, as well: as I noted above, I was having some sort of connectivity issue, probably due to power line noise, and when the gateway was in this state, it got very hot — now it seems to be much cooler (which is good: hot indicates power consumption, which would not be a good thing for a device like this!)
  • With the MTU installed, and the Gateway plugged in, and connected to an Ethernet port on the router, you may be confused, as I was. There is an LED light next to the Ethernet port on the gateway, which indicates a successful Ethernet connection. This is different from the LED on the side which indicates status, and successful connection to the MTU (over the electrical wiring). When you first plug in the gateway, the LED on the side will flicker amber and green for a second or two, then go out. This is normal. You need to configure the gateway, telling it about the MTU before they’ll talk — at that point you should see occasional amber green blinking on the LED every few seconds — if you’re seeing amber or sort of a green-then-amber blink, this could be the problem I was having initially that I resolved by moving to a different circuit.
  • The instructions tell you to open your browser and go to http://TED5000 — this will work on a computer that supports WINS, in other words Windows, but not Mac OS X, or at least not mine. I was able to determine the IP address of the gateway by using a Windows machine on our home network (type “ping ted5000″ from a command prompt and see the returned IP address). If you’re in a Mac only house, then try the first address after your router address (from a terminal prompt type “ifconfig” and look for the “inet” and/or “broadcast” line — chances are broadcast is either 192.168.1.255 or 10.0.0.255, suggesting that the router is at 192.168.1.1 or 10.0.0.1, respectively). By default, the gateway seems to use DHCP to check with the router to determine what address to use, and that seems to be one higher than the address of the router. You should be able to ping the router: try “ping 192.168.1.1″ — if you get back a line every second, then try pinging 192.168.1.2 — that’s the TED 500 gateway. Otherwise, try 10.0.0.1 and 10.0.0.2 respectively. I used http://192.168.1.2/ in my browser to bring up Footprints. Hurrah! (I’ll investigate if there’s a reasonable WINS client that works with Macs, or with my Apple Time Capsule router)
  • The Footprints setup doc is available online as a PDF. This address is noted in the quick-start guide, but I missed it a couple of times.
  • Once you go through the setup wizard, you should be able to see data in the Footprints web software. Very cool indeed. If you don’t, there may be some communications issue between the MTU in the electrical box and the gateway. The amber green LED on the side of the gateway should be blinking every few seconds if all is well, amber if there’s a problem.
  • To my surprise and delight, Footprints even works nicely on my iPhone (when connected to my LAN)! I had figured it was a Flash application, but it’s not. Cool! (On the downside, it kind of takes the fun out of writing an obligatory iPhone application :-)
  • The device seems to support SSL (https) on a configurable port. This could be potentially useful if you wanted to see your footprints data from outside your house. But when I tried to use the https:// address, there was no password prompt, and SSL was much, much slower. Perhaps this would be useful for the API, but it would be good if you could set the SSL password from a LAN http connection, or some other means.
  • I was also about to write an email to tech support asking for the URL for the API, but found it on the TED 500 site, listed as http://gatewayip/api/LiveData.xml , which in my case would be http://192.168.1.2/api/LiveData.xml — that worked fine.
  • The API data seems not to have access to the full set of data stored on the gateway — Footprints can display a graph of data the last two hours of seconds, for example, whereas the API seems to roll up data to the hour. This means I would need to poll the device every so often (maybe eveery 5 seconds, minute, or whatever), in order to collect the level of granularity needed to do stuff with the data. It’s possible to do, but the API doesn’t seem that fancy. It would be nice if there were a way to get at the level of granularity requested, up to the limits of what is actually stored on the gateway.
  • I have seen several cases of drop-outs in the reporting data, suggesting that maybe there is a problem with line noise (the data is transmitted over the electrical wires between the MTU and Gateway), perhaps this is the issue that they warn about in the manual. It doesn’t seem to be a big deal, but I’ll see and report back if it persists. If you see drop-outs in data, it indicates a problem with the power line connectivity.

Display Unit (optional)

  • If you have purchased the display unit, plug it in and charge it up first thing. It doesn’t matter where it is, and can be plugged in anywhere within wireless range of the gateway.
  • The quality of the display stand is pretty poor, if you ask me. It’s kind of a bulky boxy thing that the display slips into; you can take the display out and walk around with it (it has a rechargeable battery) which is good. But I suspect the stand will break if not treated with care.
  • The display unit also seems pretty poorly designed, having a questionable rechargeable battery, and I am also finding the wireless communications (Zigbee) to be extremely short range. The display unit is designed to sit in the cradle most of the time, but you can take it around and observe power changes in near-real-time. However when I had the display within a couple feet of the gateway, I got four bars of wireless signal, 2 or 3 after ten feet, and 0 or 1 bar much beyond that. The display’s wireless reception seems to be directionally sensitive relative to the gateway. To be fair, mine is updating successfully with 0 bars from about 30 feet and one floor away.
  • The display has a transformer to charge the battery, one which I think is a switch-mode type (see above). So while it’s unlikely that you would want the display in the same place as the Gateway, these two parts of the same system may not play well together.

So bottom line is that while a few things are a little rough around the edges, this is a very cool device, and it basically worked as advertised with minimal hassles. I suspect the TED folks will sort out details like documentation, diagnosis of line noise, and the other little issues I noted over the next few months.

If you do have a TED 5000 and have any corrections or additional notes, please add them in the comments.

51 Comments

  1. fwiw there is an iphone app out already. it’s just a simple user made interface that taps into the API to display current readings but is handy to have as I dont have my display yet…!

    Comment by jasper9 — August 24, 2009 @ 4:51 pm

  2. Good write-up, Tom. I also have a 5000 system (and an older 1001 system at another home), and a home Mac network. I’ve posted over at MapAWatt a bit about the issues I’ve been having with the 5000 system. Without going into all that, I’m wondering if you could corroborate something on your end? I’m in the process of checking the various calculations and projections that the Footprints software does, as well as looking at the data exports. Assuming you have more than three days of data collected on your system, would you mind doing a data export for the DAILY data and checking to see if the data associated with the third day back (4th row of spreadsheet data since there’s a header row) is corrupted? Doesn’t matter how many days of data are in the export as long as there are at least three full days. Trying to see if someone else can replicate this.
    Thanks,
    Bryan

    Comment by Bryan von Lossberg — August 27, 2009 @ 7:45 pm

  3. my ted5000 is looking like the 4th day gets corrupted now that you mention it. i just setup my own graphing via the api today that i’m going to use until they get it figured out…

    Comment by jasper9 — August 27, 2009 @ 8:09 pm

  4. I have a Ted5000. I have a second one, I wanted to monitor a friends house with the 2nd one and they have NO computer. My footprints will allow me to only submit ONE gateway serial number to use even though I state I have 2 MTU’s.
    How can I leave my Ted for my computer, and periodically download my friends information (when I conncect the second gateway to my computer to export data.)

    Comment by susan — September 12, 2009 @ 4:24 pm

  5. I have received TED 5000 and planning to install however I have question to to install. It MTU has three wires: Red, Black and White. I know where the white should go. Since I don’t have any reserve breaker how should I install the Red and Black wires. I have double breakers for my washer and dryer. Should the Red and Black can be twisted together or should I twist each wire with the existing wires separately.

    Comment by moos — September 12, 2009 @ 7:58 pm

  6. Moos — any double-pole breaker (such as the one for your dryer … probably not the washer) will do.

    Do NOT twist red and black wires from the MTU together!!

    The breaker for your dryer should currently have two wires going into it, one is certainly black and the other may be red, or black. It doesn’t really matter which of the MTU wires goes into which pole of the dual pole breaker, but if you do have red and black wires from the dryer circuit, put the red with the red and the black with the black … just because it’s good form.

    The two black wires (one from the existing dryer circuit, and one from the MTU) go into the breaker where the black wire for the dryer came out of. Your breaker may have a clamp for two wires — if so, use one for each; if not twist the black MTU and existing dryer black wires together, and insert them back into the breaker and clamp it down hard with a screwdriver. Make sure both leads are connected firmly. Repeat on the other pole with the other to wires.

    Read the post above really carefully, as I tried to explain this.

    Comment by Tom Harrison — September 13, 2009 @ 12:57 pm

  7. Susan —

    If I understand correctly, you have two TED 5000 systems — two sets of MTUs going in separate electrical boxes; two gateways connected to a single network (yours).

    The neighbor’s gateway needs to be plugged into one of the neighbor’s electrical outlets — this is how the MTU in their electrical box sends its data to the gateway, over the electrical lines.

    However the gateway would then need to have a wired Ethernet connection between their house and yours to that their gateway can be plugged into your router. There are other ways that you can make that connection — maybe wirelessly between houses with something like Apple’s AirPort express. That sounds complicated.

    If you are able to get all of this connected (two gateways connected to a single router, it might work, but each gateway will have a separate IP address. Typically the router is set up to provide IP addresses using “DHCP” in order to avoid conflicts, however the TED probably establishes a network name of http://TED5000 for both. So you could use an IP address, if you can figure out which one is which. Another variant would be to install one of them, and then change the name, using the setup panels of the Footprints software, for example from the default “TED5000″ to “MyTED5000″. Once that’s working, set up the neighbor’s, and change it’s name to “TheirTED5000″ or something. Now you’ll be able to use friendly names to see the separate configurations.

    One other point to make: I think the TED folks will sell a single unit that supports multiple MTUs — this might make sense for an apartment building, for example — you should probably check in with their support folks (who were very helpful and responsive when I emailed), explain the problem as carefully as possible, and see if there’s something more clever you can do. Write a note back here if you do find something useful.

    Hope I got it right :-)

    Tom

    Comment by Tom Harrison — September 13, 2009 @ 1:15 pm

  8. Good news. Just talked with ted support and they advised that they are currently in development of a new update to allow a username/password solution and it will be released as a free update sometime soon.

    Comment by Adam — September 16, 2009 @ 1:53 pm

  9. @Adam — thanks for the update. That’s good news, I think. Based on what I saw, their SSL (https) version is way to slow to be useful, so I hope they either tune that up, or just provide plain-text authentication. The other thing that would be nice would be to have a “read only” user, so that we could just publish our individual Footprints instances without worrying that someone is going to reconfigure the device remotely :-)

    Any day now, I’ll have a simple application anyone can use that 1) allows you to register your TED gateway address (and auth info), 2) polls it periodically to collect data, and 3) makes the data visible in some pretty chart. The API provided is simple, and should make this a simple task.

    Thanks for the update.

    Comment by Tom Harrison — September 16, 2009 @ 10:18 pm

  10. I am having the same problem with the gateway sending false data that i export, and you mentioned you moved the gateway to a “circuit right next to the power box that has nothing else one it ” What are you calling a power box….just the plug outlet, or beside the electrical panel? My gosh this is confusing. But will try it…my gateway is not blinking.
    By the way, you are brilliant….you know your stuff.
    And, the TED is amazing. Too bad the smart meters weren’t as smart.

    Comment by Susan — September 18, 2009 @ 1:17 am

  11. Hi Susan -

    Thanks for the nice compliment. I appreciate it.

    The problem you’re having sounds like “noise” on the electrical circuit that the gateway is plugged into. This can happen if there are certain kinds of electronics plugged in to the circuit — cell phone chargers, computer peripherals, or, in my case, I think it was my router.

    I believe that I was able to solve the problem by plugging the gateway into another circuit — I think it’s irrelevant that the circuit was close to the circuit-breaker box (what I referred to as the “power box”). The gateway communicates to the MTU using the electrical wires to carry the signals and data (I had initially thought it was wireless, which is why I tried a circuit that was close).

    Once I did find a clean circuit, the data being recorded was perfect and reliable. It’s a little disturbing that a device billed as being suitable for metering does not know when the data it is getting is incorrect — a flaky or noisy connection may be a fact of life, but the gateway firmware should be able to know when something is not right and protect the integrity of the data is does have, rather than just recording garbage. But I digress…

    Finding a “clean” circuit can be challenging, as it’s not just what’s plugged into the same receptacle (outlet) that you use for the gateway, but what’s plugged into any receptacle on the same circuit. Moderns houses are wired with circuits for a small number of receptacles, and most houses have a circuit just for the refrigerator, or dishwasher, for example. These would be good candidates for the TED 5000 gateway, since their use of the power line is good ol’ motors and stuff, nothing fancy like switch-mode transformers.

    Of course the other problem with locating the gateway is that it needs to be connected to the router with an Ethernet cable. I happened to have one of those next to the clean circuit I found in the basement, so that was great.

    The final issue with locating the gateway is that it does establish a wireless connection to the display (that shows current power consumption). In my case, the gateway was out of the wireless signal’s range of where I wanted the display unit. Unfortunately, that was only about 40 feet and one floor away.

    So, as long as you find a clean circuit that has an Ethernet cable close to it and is within range of your display unit, all is well!

    I agree that TED is amazing, but I am beginning to conclude that this device is not quite ready for prime time. I cannot really imagine a typical home owner being willing or able to go through all of this stuff. I hope the TED folks are reading everyone’s comments, as I do think most of my issues, at least, are ones that are fixable.

    Comment by Tom Harrison — September 18, 2009 @ 8:08 am

  12. Thanks for the nice post. Here’s what I found when I installed my TED 5000:

    http://philipmjohnson.blogspot.com/2009/09/first-experiences-with-ted-5000.html

    Comment by Philip Johnson — September 29, 2009 @ 1:50 am

  13. Hi Tom,

    Nice article above. I have been waiting for a device like this for a *very* long time since I am rather neurotic about monitoring my electricity usage.

    I want to install a TED 5000, but I’m not sure if I can. You see, I live in a 1930s Manhattan co-op. We have our own individual power meters (brand new, digital) and power boxes, but the old boxes are the 4x round-fuse type boxes and not modern circuit breaker boxes, so I dont know if install can be done (the company has not responded to my queries).

    Since people here seem to have a good sense of the TED units and installs, any idea if an install can be done on a 4-fuse (round screw in type) box? I am guessing not :(

    I’d love to monitor my electricity since NYC electricity is about the most expensive in the country (I pay about .25 per kWh), and small changes in electricity use cause big changes in monthly bills (I average about 290-310 kWh per month total use).

    Thanks in advance for any advice you might have.

    Tommy
    -nyc-

    Comment by Tommy — October 7, 2009 @ 12:44 pm

  14. @Tommy –

    A circuit breaker is just a fancy fuse, so no issue there. The question is whether your panel is a sub-panel that has both phases. Do you have a dryer, electric range, or some other high-load appliance in your apartment (or even, is there a hook-up for one — a roundish plug whose prongs are triangularly oriented)? If so, then I think you have everything you need.

    So, there will be two lines coming into your fuse box, plus a ground, and you’ll need to attach the MTU part of TED to the connector clamps for wires served by each phase of the 220v circuit.

    If all of this doesn’t work, you can hook up a Black and Decker PowerCost Monitor to your electric meter. The ability to see usage at the moment is one big part of helping identifying where and what is being used unnecessarily. Having a device like TED 5000 gives you the wonderful advantage of being able to see your consumption over time and measure with finer detail, but that’s admittedly incremental compared to having any meter.

    Still, unless your apartment is only served by one phase, there’s really no reason I can think of that the TED 5000 wouldn’t work.

    Tom

    Comment by Tom Harrison — October 9, 2009 @ 7:50 am

  15. Tom
    OK, I know your up with your stuff, I have a dilemma. First, I love my Ted and trust it. I have been monitoring, as well as doing calculations, using Kil-a-Watt meter sponsored by my energy supplier, load tests by an electrician, done calcs per the labels from the manufacturers to see what they draw. And, I know what I use daily, so I KNEW my electric meter was not right. It was out at different percentages daily.
    Here’s the clincher…..I sent my meter to the gods of meters. They ran it at a constant 10,000 watts, and they ran it in their lab under ideal conditions. It was bang on in their lab. But I still say its not right. Since Ted is not approved by them, they can only go by their test. However, my electric supplier put a NEW meter on my house, it has been on for over a week, and the kwh’s showing on Ted as well as the new meter are bang on.
    What to do?
    I don’t know enough about these things, but my theory is that under the elements, this old meter won’t function right, and I am questioning whether electronics in the old meter may not be right. Just because their lab test (dial test) was ok, does not mean that this old meter was functioning right.
    What are your thoughts. Thank you.

    Comment by susan — October 9, 2009 @ 9:24 am

  16. @Susan –

    My only thought is that what the meter measures is the total power delivered, which can vary substantially if the voltage supplied by your power company is high. The following is based on my college physics recollections — I think it’s right, but I could be all washed up (I didn’t get an A in the class :-)

    Most electrical devices are designed to handle a certain voltage range (e.g. 110 to 130v or something). For simpler devices like motors or heaters, the voltage change will result in higher or lower speed, or heat.

    But in the case of devices using electronics … which is most of them today (even CFL light bulbs!) the voltage needs to be carefully managed. This is done by using a transformer, but that basically just dissipates the extra power through heat.

    Power companies don’t really have any way of knowing exactly what a given house uses, so they deliver high enough voltage to keep the house furthest away from the substation running at the minimum allowable voltage (113v I think), at the cost of supplying excessive voltage to some houses. Some people get higher voltage so pay more than others, even though they don’t really get more useful electricity.

    So it’s possible that your new meter is designed to measure the voltage and adjust its calculation of wattage to the standard 120W that’s supposed to be delivered.

    This is one of the advantages of a smart meter — it could communicate back upstream and tell the source to adjust voltage accordingly, rather than just waste it. So perhaps your new meter is smart?

    Still, I don’t think this explains why the TED would be reading wattage correctly — presumably if higher voltage is being supplied, this still goes to the circuit breaker box, so should be measured by TED.

    Check your TED (if you have the 5000 model, you can just look at the dashboard) — mine says Month to date low voltage is 119.9 V, and high is 126.2 V. There’s a fairly steady day to day pattern.

    I don’t know — it’s a theory, I guess :-)

    Comment by Tom Harrison — October 9, 2009 @ 1:01 pm

  17. Tom,

    Thanks – that helps a lot. I bet I only have one phase since my range is natural gas, and I have no dishwasher, washer, or dryer (ah, the joys of living in Manhattan!). I do have a window a/c but that plugs into a regular receptacle on a 20a circuit. I cant recall seeing a high load receptacle (I know the kind you mean since my parents have them at their place in FL), but when I get home today I am going to poke around behind my range and fridge and see if one is there bychance. Thanks again!

    Comment by Tommy — October 9, 2009 @ 1:09 pm

  18. Thank you Tom. I have been monitoring it constantly. For example, my high and low today so far is 120 and 124. Usually it’s more like 120 and 123, but it’s not a big variance.
    I guess I am going to have to get them to prove the old/bad meter is correct. The one on now, as I mentioned is running and to what I am actually using, and Ted agrees.
    The result of the testing surprised my electrician as well. I still say the old one is not functioning correctly on my home under my conditions. Maybe they will put it back on to test it. This is sooooooooooo baffling. Thanks for your time and knowledge.

    Comment by susan — October 9, 2009 @ 4:55 pm

  19. @Tommy — by coincidence, I learned today from a friend who had talked to TED’s support folks that attaching to both phases is optional. I think you’re good to go.

    (in fact, he said it helps reduce the change that line noise will interfere) — the only issue for two-phase customers is that you need to know which phase your MTU is attached to and be sure to plug the gateway into a circuit on that phase. This won’t be an issue for you since only one phase serves your apartment.

    Tom

    Comment by Tom Harrison — October 9, 2009 @ 4:57 pm

  20. [...] out the IP address of the gateway. This is undocumented, which led to some Googling, which led to this set of instructions, which didn’t happen to work for me but probably will for many of you. In my case, I ended up [...]

    Pingback by Google PowerMeter Installation and First Impressions | The Deets — October 13, 2009 @ 10:34 am

  21. I’ve had a TED5000 running for about two weeks now. It has been neat to see energy usage going on in my apartment, in the Silicon Valley, CA.

    One concern I’ve seen, and makes me wonder even more with your posts above, is my voltage readings.

    Current Voltage: 103.8 V @ 11:48 PM
    Low Voltage Today: 102.3 V @ 10:16 PM
    High Voltage Today: 104.8 V @ 6:01 PM

    This seems flawed for 120V no?

    Comment by Derek — October 16, 2009 @ 1:45 am

  22. Derek –

    That does seem low indeed, in fact, I think the requirement is that the utilities provide a minimum of 107 V to the meter (I’m not sure if this is right, but I know it’s higher than your numbers).

    I worked for Ask Jeeves during the whole rolling blackouts thing in in 2002 or thereabouts, and was out in Oakland several times when they happened — so let’s just say, it’s possible :-)

    Check that the LED on the side of the TED Gateway is blinking green periodically (not an amber/green). If TED is happy this way, I think you can probably trust your voltage readings.

    I would check in TED’s Footprints web interface in the history section and look over some longer period. I have seen a couple other cases where power line noise affects the TED readings, but they have typically been either sporadic, or so consistent that the TED can’t connect at all. If the readings (of Volts or Watts) seem consistent, with no crazy readings, then I think it’s reasonable to trust the TED data.

    Another way to cross-check would be to get a Kill-A-Watt or borrow one from a friend (or send me an email — I would also be happy to send mine out for you to borrow).

    It’s possible that you could check on your meter — not sure about this, but I think PSE&G has been a leader in installing smart meters; if there’s not a reading on the meter itself, it’s conceivable that the utility could actually read your voltage remotely. That’s a long shot, but no doubt Silicon Valley is going to be amongst the first region to get smart metering hooked up right.

    But it’s probably worth checking into one way or the other; low voltage can be bad for certain equipment and fixtures.

    Let us know what you find out.

    Tom

    Comment by Tom Harrison — October 16, 2009 @ 7:42 am

  23. Tom, thanks for the reply.

    I am in an apartment complex, so I don’t have a meter to check myself.

    The gateway does blink Green every few seconds.

    Graphs in FootPrints don’t move much, this pretty much explains it:
    Low Voltage MTD: 102.3 V on Oct 13
    High Voltage MTD: 105.0 V on Oct 14

    I do have a few X10 devices, which with TED installed randomly turns on an lamp, grr. I am not alone with that problem: http://www.perceptiveautomation.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=28711#28711

    I also have some PowerLine Networking devices too. I will try and disable those for a bit this evening, and see if the reporting is any different.

    Kill-a-watt’s are around $20-30? I may just go buy one at Fry’s.

    Comment by Derek — October 16, 2009 @ 12:43 pm

  24. Derek –

    I think the X10 stuff could be playing into this, potentially — X10 uses PLC (power line communication) and is very sensitive to power line noise; check out SmartHome.com for example for several devices that can help detect and suppress noise from devices. We’re waiting for an order to come to see if this will help address the noise issues I initially reported when I first installed the TED.

    My email address is on the About page — pop me a mail and I’ll be happy to send my Kill-A-Watt out to borrow, if you just want to check. Otherwise, yeah, they are in the price range you mentioned.

    Tom

    Comment by Tom Harrison — October 16, 2009 @ 6:46 pm

  25. Tom,

    Thanks. I already picked up a Kill-a-Watt at Fry’s today, $19 heh. It is reporting 120.1V.

    I’ll try and remove all X10 and PowerLineNetworking devices this weekend to narrow down what will let TED report the proper voltages.

    Comment by Derek — October 16, 2009 @ 8:50 pm

  26. There is also a TED user group on Yahoo.

    http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/TheEnergyDetective/

    Comment by TED5kSolarUser — October 16, 2009 @ 8:51 pm

  27. Tom, I un-plugged all the X10 and PowerLine Networking (HomePlug 1.0 I believe), and TED still reports ~103V. But the Kill-a-Watt is reporting the correct ~120V.

    Guess I’ll have to query the TED people, see if they have any ideas as to what is going on.

    Comment by Derek — October 19, 2009 @ 11:47 pm

  28. Derek — this is strange indeed. A couple things to check:

    1. Have you updated to the latest firmware? (the link here takes you to the page to do that)
    2. When you installed the bits in the breaker box, did you ensure that the red dots on both CTs (clamp that goes around the two incoming phases) were aligned, either both up or both down? I actually have no idea if this would matter, but if this sounds like something you might have missed in the installation it’s probably worth checking.

    Let us know what you find. This could be useful for others if you come up with a solution.

    Comment by Tom Harrison — October 20, 2009 @ 8:41 am

  29. Tom, Yes, running latest firmware, to use Google PowerMeter. I can confirm the red dots were aligned. I may try reversing both CT’s though to the other direction, see if that makes any difference.

    The MTU connects into a double-breaker (on both phases?). I forget if it was one that my A/C uses or the Washer/Dryer. So Black/Red/White were all connected the right way. The watts it reports seems to be correct, and the portable display works decent, just the voltage is off for some weird reason.

    Comment by Derek — October 20, 2009 @ 12:27 pm

  30. Why is Ted 5000 calling out of my private network at home? I’m tracking what clients or servers are using my router. Ten has called theses IP address.
    66.102.7.99
    209.237.247.192
    My router captures only 50 outgoing to log table. Then discards them. This is whats on the log today.

    Vern

    Comment by Vern Baker — December 22, 2009 @ 9:47 pm

  31. Vern –

    TED 5000 is talking to Google PowerMeter (if you use a “whois” tool, you’ll see both IP addresses are Google’s). I assume you have this (incredibly useful) feature of TED 5000 enabled. If you do not, I would be very interested to know.

    Tom

    Comment by Tom Harrison — December 23, 2009 @ 8:52 am

  32. Has anyone tried a zigbee repeater between the gateway and the display? If so, who’s was it, and did it work? The range is pretty bad for the control unit, and a repeater would solve this.

    Comment by Rich Ortt — February 25, 2010 @ 10:36 pm

  33. I haven’t tried — it’s an interesting idea, but frankly it’s pretty lame that the range of the display unit is so very, very short (not to mention battery life). If I really wanted to walk around my house to see the impact of turning things on and off, I would use the iPhone app (great, if you have an iPhone). Walkie-talkies also work :-)

    It is my sincere hope that the TED people deal with some of these issues — there’s really no reason that a single ZigBee signal shouldn’t reach the far corners of even the largest house … especially if you have a noise-free circuit that is near the center of the house.

    But alas, we wait…

    Comment by Tom Harrison — February 26, 2010 @ 9:54 am

  34. Hi Tom,

    Nice write up. In your installation instructions, you should probably mention the little red dots on the current transducers need to point in the same direction when putting the clamps around the wires.

    As for the ssl connection. I too am having trouble with the performance of it (even on the local network). I suspect the cryptography needed to support SSL is overwhelming the embedded processor. This is on low end of my priority list for things to do with the TED5000, so I may get to it. There is a setting on one of the advanced pages (I’m not on my local network at the moment) that you can configure it so that unless you authenticate you cannot change the settings. I think you may be able to set it so that someone cannot see your data without authenticating. This is where the https would come in handy. (I’ve applied the latest firmwares for Gateway and MTU as of a week ago – so that is probably why I see this option)

    I have also found the display disappointing in construction, battery life and range. I much prefer accessing it on my iPhone as well.

    Here are my initial reflections of my TED5000 :-)
    http://www.greenlifestyleconsulting.com/2010/02/first-days-with-our-ted-5000-home.html

    Thanks!
    Jon

    Comment by Jonathan Hunt — March 1, 2010 @ 4:27 pm

  35. Derek, late update to your older post so hopefully still useful to you or others.

    Since you live in an apartment building, your electrical service is probably taken from 2 phases of a 3-phase system. This means that while each ‘leg’ will measure 120V (say, at a receptacle), the voltage measured across both phases will equal 208V, that is 120V x 3(sqrt).

    The issue is the TED5000 is made for 120/240V ‘split-phase’ residential service, so it is just halving your 208V and reporting ~104V per leg. I don’t think that this would necessarily result in incorrect power reporting, since W = V x A and presumably the TED is using your 208V in that equation.

    A friend of mine has asked the manf directly about this, I will reply again with the definitive answer if he gets it.

    Comment by hi3girls — March 1, 2010 @ 9:12 pm

  36. hi3girls, thanks for the info, makes sense.

    Comment by Derek — March 1, 2010 @ 11:27 pm

  37. hi3girls (and Derek) –

    I don’t think this is a correct explanation. In some apartment buildings, it is true that a given apartment was served by only one phase of a split phase system, in which case the service would have only one hot and a neutral.

    I believe I recall correctly that building codes require services provide between no less than 106v; most appliances for North America are designed to handle 110v to 120v. See a fuller description (especially the section on single-phase loads) at WikiPedia’s article on 3-phase power. I may be wrong on this, but I think it’s correct.

    There’s some good new stuff, including a link to a TED 5000 troubleshooting guide at Energy Circle’s site that might help isolate the problem.

    Tom

    Comment by Tom Harrison — March 2, 2010 @ 9:04 am

  38. Of course I am not there to take measurements, but just postulating that a service as large as an apartment complex would probably not be single phase, more likely 3-phase ‘Y’ (120/208V) to take advantage of the increased efficiency. This can be verified by measuring a regular outlet (120V) vs a dryer or range (208V if it’s 3-phase sourced)

    From Tom’s wikipedia link, 3rd paragraph under ‘Single Phase Loads’…

    “In multiple-unit residential buildings in North America, three-phase power is supplied to the building but individual units have only single-phase power formed from two of the three supply phases.”

    Comment by hi3girls — March 4, 2010 @ 9:08 pm

  39. The answer from TED is as follows:

    “If they have two phases from a 3 phase system, the math is not going to be right across the two phases. They can connect power to one phase, cap the red wire and set up the system as 2 wire to give them a value, but it will not be accurate.” :-(

    OTOH, I see some mention in the TED forum of providing a ‘manual calibration’ capability via firmware update in the near future. Hopefully that will allow users in this situation to work around it. Or maybe wait for the multi-phase version projected for this summer?

    Anyway, I hope it works out for you and the many apartment dwellers who’d like to use one.

    Comment by hi3girls — March 5, 2010 @ 10:05 pm

  40. @hi3girls — I stand corrected. After hunting around I found some dryer specs and it appears that they (and other high voltage appliances) are designed to work at both 208V and 220-240V.

    Thanks very much for setting me right!

    Tom

    Comment by Tom Harrison — March 6, 2010 @ 3:21 pm

  41. Is the double stick tape method of mounting the MTU in the panel NEC-compliant?

    Comment by Scott Hertzog — March 31, 2010 @ 9:57 am

  42. Scott — you’re probably right that double-stick tape in the box isn’t a good idea. A better recommendation would be to route the MTU wires outside of the box. The MTU also has a screw-mount attachment.

    Thanks for the correction/alert.

    Tom

    Comment by Tom Harrison — March 31, 2010 @ 10:02 am

  43. Tom – I’m not saying it’s not NEC compliant – the installation manual says you can use tape if your local codes allow it. My local follows NEC, so I’m trying to figure out it NEC allows the tape method or the screw method.

    I think the manual (for TED1001 says to mount the MTU *inside* the panel.

    Comment by Scott Hertzog — March 31, 2010 @ 10:32 am

  44. Ah, sorry Scott, I misread your question. My Mass Construction Supervisor’s License (yep, I had one) expired in 1989, but this question is beyond my pay grade :-)

    I am quite certain that using a knockout and cable clamp and running the wires outside to the MTU would be acceptable, and has the added benefit that if you ever need to know the serial number on the MTU it’s visible (lesson learned the hard way :-).

    Tom

    Comment by Tom Harrison — March 31, 2010 @ 11:47 am

  45. Tom nice write,
    I’m hoping that you can help me with a problem I’ve created. I was trying to set configuration to view footprints outside home network, but failed badly. What ever I did, I can’t access dashboard of footprints at all. I believe I changed the ip address to the ted gateway. Do you know if there is any way to reverse this huge mistake. I miss my footprints display on the computer and hope I can retrieve it back somehow. I’m hoping you can redeem me from this problem.

    Thanks!

    Marcello

    Comment by marcello — May 14, 2010 @ 11:39 pm

  46. Marcello –

    Marcello –

    The first thing to try is the utility the TED makers provide; it will scan your network to find the TED it’s called an Installer and is located on this page: http://www.theenergydetective.com/ted-5000/firmware-upgrade.

    That should work, but if it doesn’t you can do a hard reset of the TED, which will likely erase all the data, but leave you in a known state. On the right side of the gateway, there’s a hole — insert a paperclip or pen or something for 5 seconds while plugged in. Unless you have only a little data, this is obviously a less desirable option. The installer should work.

    Comment by Tom Harrison — May 15, 2010 @ 12:05 pm

  47. Question on the TED. I understand it can monitor the whole house via the clamps around the 2 individual 120 phase lines. Can it also monitor individual 120v circuits by just using an extra set of clamps around the circuit braker lines?

    Comment by Mike - San Diego — June 16, 2010 @ 12:33 pm

  48. Mike — you can buy addition sets of CTs/MTU to monitor individual circuits; each set is an additional $70. The TED 5000 comes with 1 set, 5002 with two sets, 5003 with 3 and 5004 with 4. I believe that’s the maximum. I would guess that for each set you could monitor 2 additional circuits.

    Tom

    Comment by Tom Harrison — June 16, 2010 @ 1:19 pm

  49. [...] to deal with a home energy monitoring system that has a complicated installation process (see the Ted 5000). It's a quandary that many energy-conscious consumers have to deal with, and one that Intel thinks [...]

    Pingback by 3 Ways Intel Is Changing The Energy Landscape — June 8, 2011 @ 12:35 pm

  50. [...] to deal with a home energy monitoring system that has a complicated installation process (see the Ted 5000). It's a quandary that many energy-conscious consumers have to deal with, and one that Intel thinks [...]

    Pingback by 3 Ways Intel Is Changing The Energy Landscape | Fast Company — June 8, 2011 @ 12:41 pm

  51. I just installed the TED 5000-C. Issues I am having are with it losing setup information for Date/Time, MTU, and Display. It maintains Utility Setup information.

    Also the Firmware and Footprints Software were bears to update. The Firmware especially was difficult as it would crash each time.

    Another item of note is that it is important that the Metering Clamps be in the correct direction(?). I was initially getting readings that seemed to be exactly half of what they should be. By taking one clamp off and flipping it 180 degrees on the wire to be measured it corrected the problem.

    Comment by Brian — October 23, 2011 @ 5:31 pm

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