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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Mike, Great comment. I think pool pumps/heaters are going to surprise a lot of people! I asked the engineers at TED awhile back about the iPhone app. and they said they know of one in development, but I havent heard anything back. I'll check again. Thanks for the summary.
After a $660 electric bill in July, I gladly dropped the cash on the TED 5000 to take the reins of our energy usage. I installed it earlier this week, and have been overall happy with the results. However, I'm seeing energy spikes several times a day. I upgraded to the newest firmware and still have the issue. The most likely culprit that could be causing the erroneous data is a wireless ceiling fan controller. I'm going to shoot an email off to the folks at Energy, Inc and see if they have any insight. Now I've got to turn off this computer so I don't go over my kWh ration...
Matt, $660!!! Are you growing marijuana in your basement? I'd love to hear what the high energy consumers you find are and if the TED was able to find them out. How much do you pay per kWh?
I'm not, but may need to consider it to offset my energy costs :) The high cost of the bill is at least partly my fault for not shopping around in the Texas deregulated electricity market. I was paying 14 cents/kWh when the going rate was about 10 or 11 (I'm getting 9.1 now). Still, the actual usage for the month was a whopping 4300+ kWh. We did have a house full of guests for a couple weeks, which would lead to an increase, and it was the hottest month of the year so far. My biggest energy consumers are most likely my pool pump and my air conditioners. Right now we're experimenting with leaving the thermostat set a couple of degrees higher to see the impact.
anybody else having problems with daily kwh or projected kwh on the ted 5000? (being way too high) Energy says there is a software problem causing bogas calculations, possibly electrical noise not being filtered by the noise blanker in the gateway. They would not give me any more information.
I too am having problems with the daily total not always adding up properly. Sometimes it's 6-8x what it should be and other times 1/5th what it should be. If you export the hourly numbers and add them up manually you can confirm that it is a bug with daily calculations. I have the latest firmare for gateway and footprints (214 and 103). My emails to them have gone unanswered, but hopefully Energy is working on it. -Scott
I just got mine and installation was smooth except the gateway couldn't get a reading from the MTU on the outlet next to my router (this was the only circuit that had such a problem). I tried different wiring configurations on the main panel, but nothing worked. However, moving the router was easy (and made my wife happy since it is no longer visible) and everything then went according to the manual. You can set the signal strength of the MTU and the gateway to help getting a good reading on the display in all parts of home (it has a signal strength bar-meter on the screen). My MTU is installed on the top floor; no trouble getting a reading on the main floor; but a much weaker signal in the basement. No big deal though because I can use my home network to easily get readings on my laptop in the basement. In the alternative, you can plug the gateway in a circuit in the basement and easily get readings with the display. Very versatile, and I have used the display to wander the house and see the energy impact of various appliances and electrical equipment. Very enlightening. You can control the back light settings through the software and also how often the display is updated (default is every 5 seconds). There are screws on the back of the display, and it would appear possible to replace the rechargeable battery. I leave the back light off always (the display is easy to read) and leave the display in the charging cradle.
Great comment Kevin. I forgot you can adjust the back-light display through the software. I'm going to do that right now. TED has done a really great job with this device.
Does the TED 5000 require two breaker slots? Thanks for a response as I can't find installation instructions anywhere. The panel is full. I guess I'd have to invest in more tandem breakers, but I hate the thought of doing so.
Patrick, I have one of the TED wires in a breaker that already has another wire in it. I just chose a breaker that didnt have a big load on it (i.e. a bathroom, not my office). I'm pretty sure the instructions said this is fine. You may just have to try a few breakers, because when I did this the first time the breaker kept tripping, so I had to move it around. The important thing is that the TED wires are hooked into breakers on different phases.


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