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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Loren, Thanks for the update, I called and talked to the TED folks and basically got this explanation; Profiling works well if the load is constant. When it varies it has trouble. I asked if there were thresholds I could set and they said no. I was thinking, like you, that the AC or heating load is large enough to just log everything at those higher levels. Just using the error rate as a pseudo threshold sounds like it might work. I have a kill-a-watt but never tried it on DC...I need one for 220 for my AC, (they don't make on as far as I can tell). Your heat pump must be electric heat no? I ordered mine and it's en route. My primary goal will be to isolate my AC use and my blower for heat and air. If it doesn't I would have to say the unit missed it's real promise.
Mark, you might try using a Watts Up! Pro for 220v. I believe that in the last few years they changed the unit to handle 220v, although it may not appear that way on the outside and you may need to make an adapter cord (just give a call to their customer support). The unit is much more expensive than a killawatt, but it includes data logging and software for power analysis.
I found when I turned on CFL lights that my gateway would quit receving. Actually had to go back to incadescent bulbs in some rooms for the TED 5000 to work properly.
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.
Adam, If there is no + or – how does TED Graphing on Hours and Daily work? It appears accurate to me. When I look at the graphs it show how much energy was produced MTU2 always negative a number and MTU2 set for net metering shows + and - positive numbers when it’s cloudy and negative numbers indicating what I’m sending back to the grid when its sunny.
Chris, Any luck? The problem I see with a separate MTU for the AC is that it limits it to the compressor and won't include the blower. I know what the blower uses and I guess I could multiply that by the hours logged on the dedicated MTU that the compressor is on to get an accurate number. This wouldn't work for anyone with variable or multi-speed blowers. As I understand the profiler, it sees the increase in use and the amount and then looks for that same profile constantly. When it sees that again it logs it. If that's true, identifying when the AC kicks in should be flawless since that profile is so unique due to its size...
132.1vac is higher than normal and is therefore suspect. I suggest trying a different meter.
The TED 5000 and iphone app seem amazing to me. One element that seems to be missing is the ability to control the thermostat with your iphone. Has anyone tried Ecobee's web connected thermostat and iphone app? If both products could be combined, or communicate with each other, now that would be something!
I think this is wonderful news. I looked at Googlepower and didn't qualify so I found TED and ordered the 5002G set about a week ago, before knowing of the Google/Ted alliance. It should arrive Friday and I'll have it installed the same day. :-) I just installed a standby generator with auto transfer switch, so I plan to monitor both the main and then any use of the generator also. This was all prompted by my power company going to Smart Metering and coming up with this new rate plan that charges $2.70 a KwHr (NOT a typo) for 5 Kw minimum for the highest 15 minute period in a month. They tossed out tiered rates for this arbitrary Demand Fee and raised our base rate to $40 a month. So every residential customer will now be charged $53.50 base a month. I'm 7 days into my month and I'm at 16.554 Kw peak for the additional charge of $44.70. This outrageous charge is regressive and provides no incentive to converse power. They are using the smart metering as a tool to gouge their customers. They won't even tell us when we hit our peak and surely it is not directly correlated to their peak demand. I hope TED will provide the data for me to demonstrate to the utility and customers how wrong this is.
Wow Mike, that is definitely a raw deal. The smart meters should be about helping customers CONSERVE, not just to make more money for the Utilities. If you dont mind me asking, who is the Utility or what state do you live in?


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