TED 5000 is installed! It's alive!

TED 5000 Home Energy Monitor Efficiency Smart Meter Grid

TED 5000 opened

In the future, when the smart grid is finally here, every home will have a smart meter.  But the future is a long ways off, so there is no sense in waiting. Energy, Inc., the manufacturers of The Energy Detective and the TED 5000 announced on Tuesday, June 30th that the TED 5000 was ready to order. Well, my TED 5000 came by FedEx today and I had it installed and running in around an hour. While I have only had it a few hours, I am very impressed. While I have already covered the TED 5000 once in my post announcing its release date and some off its features, this will be an overview of some of the first things that have caught my attention.

The TED 5000 installs much the same way that the TED 1000 does.  I really dont want to cover installation that much because if done wrong, it can be dangerous.  While I'm not an electrician, I do have a decent amount of knowledge around electrical equipment, so I felt comfortable installing it.  The biggest thing is to ensure the main breaker is turned off so no electricity is in the panel.  But please don't take this blog post as installation instruction.  There are good installation instructions, getting started guide, and instruction manual that comes with the unit, but if you aren't that comfortable around electrical equipment call an electrician.  If the electrician is competent he will be done in under 30 minutes as it is not hard at all for someone who knows what they are doing.

TED 5000 Home Energy Monitor Efficiency Smart Meter Grid

Display Unit

I purchased the TED 5000-C, which is the model that comes with the Display Unit.  You can purchase the TED 5000-G which does not come with a display unit and you would just access the data through your computer.  I think the display unit is very cool, so I paid the extra $40 bucks and got it.  The total amount I paid was $239.95 before taxes and shipping.  When I opened the TED 5000 there were three smaller packages containing:

  • MTU - this comes with the current transformers (CTs) and wires and installs in your breaker panel.  It sends data to the...
  • Gateway - This is plugged in an electrical outlet by your computer.  It receives signals from the MTU over your home's wiring.  It then sends data over an Ethernet cable to your router or directly to a computer.  It can also send data wirelessly (ZigBee) to the ....
  • Display unit - This is an option but I highly recommend it.  It plugs into the wall for power but gets its data from the Gateway over a wireless connection.  It looks like a big silver Ipod video.

Aside from separating the Gateway and the Display unit, the biggest change with the TED 5000 is the Footprints Software.  They have done an amazing job with this.  Unlike the TED 1000, which sold the software as separate and came on a disc, the TED 5000 includes the software in the price, but the software is retrieved directly from the Gateway, meaning there is no installation necessary.  You simply have to type "ted5000" in the  internet address bar to access the software after the Gateway is connecting to your network.  (see screen shot of software on my computer at the end of the post)

Initial configuration is all done through a set-up wizard.  I did notice one error in the "Quick Start Guide" when setting up the software.  The guide instructs you to start from the "Setup Menu", but they must have made a revision, because there is no "Setup Menu".  You have to go to "Edit --> System Wizard Setting".  From there it is very straightforward.

The guide highly recommends plugging the Ethernet cable that comes out of the Gateway into a router, and not directly into a computer.  I would also recommend this because it makes things much simpler. The beauty of having the software reside on the Gateway is that as long as the Gateway is connected to your home router, you will be access the data from any computer on your home network!  I had to do this because my laptop is wireless and I use a VPN to get on my work network.  When I tried to access the TED 5000 software while on the VPN, I had trouble connecting.  When I booted up the desktop, which is not wireless, I was able to access the software right away.  This is the beauty of having the software reside on the Gateway and connecting the Gateway to the router!

Energy, Inc. has definitely beefed up the footprints software and it is much more intuitive and helpful.  There are many, many features.  The biggest of which is that you can EXPORT THE DATA!  If you recall, this is why I returned my TED 1000 unit.  The Gateway unit has internal memory that stores the data (up to 90 days of hourly data, 24 months of daily data, and 10 years of monthly data).  The TED 1000 had no internal memory so it had no way to store and export the data unless you used your computer for that function.  Since the Gateway has internal memory it can store data when your computer is off.  This is great for seeing how your house uses energy while you sleep or when you are on vacation.

Exporting the data is vey simple and the data is exported in a .CSV format so you can easily view it in Excel.

Finally, another great feature is that the Footprints software has a widget that displays your local weather.  All you have to do is tell it your zip code.  Now, my only suggestion for Energy, Inc. is that they store the average temperatures and export those values with the energy data.  This way, you can see how the local weather is affecting your energy consumption and track those changes over the season.

Overall, the TED 5000 has been greatly improved and is one of the best tools I can think of to get control over your electricity consumption.  Much more to come in the following weeks!

***Update - 8/18/09 - The TED 5000 iPhone app has been released and is available in the app store.  Check out my review here: TED 5000 iPhone app

***Update - 9/13/09 - See what kind of stuff you can do with the TED 5000 data once you have it installed in my latest blog on outside temperature impacts on energy consumption.

***Update - 10/07/09 - Several comments have noted you can't purchase the TED 5000 from Energy, Inc.'s website, but that has now changed and they do list them for sale and purchase online at the TED 5000 store.   Click here to buy a TED 5000.

TED 5000 Home Energy Monitor Efficiency Smart Meter Grid

Footprints Screenshot

The below update is no longer viable since Google has shut down PowerMeter.

***Update 10/6/09 - Google has announced they are working with the TED 5000 as a device partner for their Google Power Meter software. Follow the link above to learn about it and to update your firmware. This is pretty big news and will no doubt send sales of the TED 5000 through the roof! I spoke with TED customer service and they said that if you already own a TED 5000, the Google Power Meter software update will be on their site on Friday, 10/9/09. If you don't already own a TED 5000 but buy a new one, the new unit will ship with the Google Power Meter software. I'm looking forward to seeing if the Google Power Meter software will have many advantages over their Footprints software!

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I had a solar system installed in June of 2010 with a TED 5000 to monitor the system. At first, it worked flawlessly, but after a few months, something happened and it stopped working. I spent hours going back and forth with customer support from The Energy Detective. They finally said the display was broke. I returned it and in a few weeks, they sent me a replacement. That still didn't work, so I called their customer support. I cannot describe how rude the person who helped me was other than to say that I was treated like a second-class citizen, which is somewhat surprising because I am fairly capable handling electrical issues in the house as well as working with computers. But the tech who helped me expected me to know as much as he or one of his co-workers and was very rude and impatient when I didn't. He finally said the gateway was broke. Two more weeks to get it replaced, and still it didn't work. I spent 2 hours on the phone with them trying to fix it. They finally gave up, said I had to buy a special cable in order to troubleshoot the problem and told me to call them back once I purchased the cable. Instead, I called the solar company. They sent out a tech who took 15 minutes to completely troubleshoot the system and fix it just the way I wanted it. When I talked to the solar tech, he said he also had bad experiences with customer support with The Energy Detective. If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't take a TED 5000 if they were giving it away. If you decide to buy this, you'd better hope it doesn't break down on you or be ready to spend hours and hours troubleshooting it, and if you have to call customer support, if you deal with the tech I dealt with, be ready to feel like a second-class citizen. Never again will I do business with this company. Not worth the headache!
ckmapawatt's picture
Thanks Kevin, I agree that while the TED 5000 is a good product, there are some technical issues they need to work out. I am not pleased at all with the quality of the display unit. The first one I had quit working, but their support was actually very good and they sent me another one. It's still cheap though.
I was ready to try a TED, but the many reports of bad support might stop me. There's nothing worse than a problem you can't get help with, or bad tech support. But another point I don't understand is about the discontinuation of Google PowerMeter. If I want graphs and logs on the computer screen of power use, will that be available after PowerMeter is gone? And what about the net negative issue? I'll have PV generation in excess of consumption. Will TED show the net negative or not?
Works great! Very useful software. Only issue is the signal. Filters are a must to remove noise in your homes wiring so the signal will reach the Gateway. TED 5000 unit should not be sold without an inline filter.
I've been running a TED 5000 for several weeks. I get no errors and have had no problems. I've seen no evidence of communication problems to the Gateway, except for a couple of times when the exact same reading persisted for 5 minutes (which seems unlikely). I'm sure this won't be true for everyone, but everyone won't need a line filter either. I'm concurrently running a meter reading system as well, and after 24 hours the current use of the two systems matches within 1%. This confirms the accuracy of both systems.
I was enthused and going to buy a 5000C but the above comments scared me off. I will check with our solar installers. We have both PV and thermal and a good monitor with the PV but a whole house unit would be interesting. Will hold off for now.
ckmapawatt's picture
Which comments scared you off? I've been very happy with my whole house unit and it's been over 2 years! I would just recommend not going with the display unit and instead just use your computer to show the energy dashboard.
A nice idea to monitor all your energy consumption. Yet, better it would be to tell which device consumes exactly how much and then you could correct it. Also from reading the reviews it seems that TED has some big flaws with customer service and the product seems lousy.
I was just looking for some device like this! I really want to assess the energy consumption in my house to discover when most part of the energy is spent. This is a crazy idea but you could also install this device to measure different rooms energy consumption, right? I probably will try something like that, as the current market prices are really affordable. Also, I loved the TED 5000 dashboard. Looks so modern! Thanks for the insightful review Chris! Cheers! Alfred, <a href="" rel="nofollow">Step Down Transformer</a>
Have my ted 5000 for 1 month, and must say, until I tried to export my data to plotwats, I had no problems. Great program and great setting up. I have the system monitoring 3 separate inverters for wind and solar generation as well as monitoring the net of the home. Did the installation in 3 hours with no real issues other than finding a suitable place for the display were it could read the gateway. When I updated the software, a file had been corrupted an completely crashed the gatway and footprints. All I had was the ability to ping the gatway and got a IP reply. With a few emails fired back and forth with there ticket system, they were able to diagnose the problem and have it back to normal in 3 steps. Great system, great support, great product.


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