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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Steve, There are so many scams out there. Hair loss, erectile disfunction, ab machines and many debt relief programs. I'm not sure why anyone would think this is different. This is the way videos and commercials are made. There are no miracle weight loss pills, stretch mark destroyers, get rich quick plans, real and quick degree programs, or anything else out there that fraudulent companies claim. Why did I participate in making the video? It's a job. It's not like we are making porn or a youtube video on "how to sell drugs". Do I have an axe to grind? All I can say is that I was bullied and that is one of the problems we have in America. Cooperate thugs need a wakeup call. Don't believe me yet? Maybe I should put together a video with the unused footage. In the words of someone who works there.... "we make shit". The unit NEVER worked like it shows in the video and I can prove it. In closing the TED 5000 may work for you but I doubt it.
Chris - After having read your original review, and then seeing the comments posted by Robert, I at least am a bit perturbed and confused. If Robert has an ax to grind with TED then why did he participate in the "fraud" he alleges was involved? Very ambiguous, not at all helpful - mapawatt needs to act of this quickly else your credibility will be down the tube. Respectfully, Steve
Chris, I recently made the video for their website. Trust me, I had to edit the TED 5000 to appear as if it were working. The TED 5000 failed on almost every single take we did. Most of the video is faked! We would turn off several things simultaneously to make it show the display change on time. The power of video editing. If you are patient and don't mind not using the "wireless" part of the display you may find some entertainment using it. If you want to save money on electricity bills then simply keep the money and be aware of what you have turned on in your home.
Read the reviews on The TED 5000 doesn't always live up to what you expect. In my opinion. The TED 5000 is a good idea but just short of a scam at this point.
ckmapawatt's picture
But most of those reviews are two years old. I wonder if the company has made any technical advancements since then...but maybe not. Seems like the majority of the issues area result of a less than robust powerline communications.
ckmapawatt's picture
Steve, how would you like us to "act quickly"? We allow comments as long as they arent overly offensive. It is up to readers to make their best judgement on whether to believe them or not.
Richard - I'm curious about your success interfacing with PlotWatts. I'm looking at using both PlotWatts and Bidgely to analyse/monitor usage, have heard that TED 5000 supports the Green Button format. Any light you can shed on this? Thanks, Steve
I’ve spent a lot of time researching alternative energy and the options that it provides for both consumers and businesses. As someone passionate on the topic, I find that monitoring energy use is one of the most important pieces in a “green” transformation. Many of us are still in the dark on how much energy we consume, and those of us making the leap into photovoltaic technology can still continue to decrease our energy use by being more aware of what we utilize. While different models don't have the same capabilities as the TED 5000, we’re having a sweepstakes for the month of September where we are giving away a free TED 1001! Take it home and share it with your friends!
Ted 5000 is a wonderful thing. There is a game called PowerHouse that allows you to hook up your Ted 5000 to it, to earn points and bonuses to use towards planting trees and such. It's really fun to and teaches ways to save on energy.
$239.95 is a bit steep for me, the Envi, which I believe functions better is only $129. A much, much, much better deal. It is also a featured device of Google PowerMeter so you get the same functionality for a lower price


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