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 finally received my replacement Gateway on Saturday. It came preloaded with the latest firmware. Everything is working ok but I get a lot of false readings. When my solar output is high my consumption numbers go up also. For example, when it is cloudy and I am producing about 1kW my consumption is usually under 1. When it is sunny and my production goes over 3kW my consumption rises over 1.5kW even with all of my major appliances off. My other issue is that the display does not reflect net metering but rather adds my production and consumption numbers.
How close are the solar CTs to your energy consumption CTs? What do you think the problem is?
Hi Trevor: (1) Yes. However, you have to "open a hole" in your firewall so that access from outside your network goes to your TED5000 gateway. If you do not have a static IP address from your ISP, you also will have to use some sort of dynamic DNS service so that you know the IP address to connect to. In either case, I recommend that you set the port of the TED5000 to use a "non standard" port (not the normal web port of 80). Because the FootPrints software does not have any sort of password protection, someone just pinging your IP address from outside would be easily able to detect that you're running a web server, and access your data (and potentially mess with your settings). I'm hoping password protection is offered in the future! In any case, I access my TED5000 from the Internet without any problems. For example, to access my TED5000, I can enter http://192.168.x.x:port when inside my home network, and enter when on the Internet, where "myname" is a domain name I've bought. Alternatively, I have a static IP address, so I could also do http://a.b.c.d:port if I wanted, where a.b.c.d is my static IP. (2) Actually, with the TED5000, the FootPrints software *is* a web site. There's nothing to load. FootPrints is accessible my accessing the internal web server of the TED5000. It works exactly like the demo. I've tried it in IE7, IE8, Firefox, and Opera on a WinXP box, as well as with Safari on the iPhone, and it works flawlessly in all these browsers -- although the FootPrints app is relatively processor intensive, so it takes a long time to load up on the iPhone. (3) If your BB has a decent browser, it should be able to access the web server no problems. An iPhone app was just released by a third party for TED5000, FWIW. (4) No Mac Widget that I'm aware of, though it in theory would be trivial to add, since the TED5000 exposes a very easily accessed XML API to grab data. (5) I don't think you can do Canadian postal codes, since you're supposed to add a five-digit US ZIP code. However, you can just put 00000 to not use this feature. Overall, I use the phrases FootPrints, software, web server, etc., interchangeably. Think of accessing FootPrints on the gateway no different than you access GMail, Yahoo Mail, FaceBook, etc. -- FootPrints is an incredibly rich web app (the richest I've seen actually!), and does not require any loading of code onto your computer (apart from within the browser of course). The demo on the TED web site is exactly what you'll see with yours, although (of course) with your own data. Finally, the TED5000 is available in limited quantities, but you actually have to call them to order it. I called them and they sent it out the same day, and I got it four days later. Not all the options are available yet -- just the main unit (gateway that plugs into the wall, and the parts that go into the panel), and the display. I didn't order the display . . . Total cost I think was $200 plus shipping, if memory serves.
Thanks for all the information Mike. Looks like you have answered all my questions. I will call them tomorrow and see if I am able to order the TED5000-SC. I am hoping to have the Footprints live viewable from my website. I will keep you informed on whether I can get the TED5000-SC or not. I am installing a GT photovoltaic system in a years time and am hoping to get a years worth of power use data before connecting. Hence why I am holding out for the TED5000-SC version.
Hey guys, I have yet to order my TED5000 as I have been told they are not available yet. It could be just the TED5000-SC's not available yet. I was curious on a couple of things if one of you have any answers: 1) Can you access your Footprints online? For example if I was at work and cared to see what my house is using in power in real time. 2) Is it easy to display your Footprints on a website? I would like to have it display real time like the demo off the Energy, Inc. website. 3) Can you retrieve your information via a mobile device such as a Blackberry? 4) Is there a Mac Widget for this software yet? 5) Is anyone on this blog from Canada as I am curious if the weather widget utilizes Postal Codes as well as Zip Codes? That should be the bulk of my answers. It is exciting to see all the great comments and excitement around this device. All these questions
AWESOME NEWS regarding the iPhone app! I'm very excited, and will be checking it out shortly! I looked into solar thermal. But, I'd rather dedicate the (relative scarce south-facing) space on the roof to true solar panels to generate electricity, instead of simply to heat the pool. That said, a neighbor down the street has installed an "attic system," in which the pool water is moved through a series of pipes within the attic. The attics in Phoenix get quite hot, easily exceeding 130 degrees at times. He said that it provides a notable difference. However, my concern about that is if a leak develops, then the water will cause inside-house water damage . . . .
Also, re iPhone app. I'm toying with the idea of getting a Mac just to develop iPhone apps. My first one would be a really simply TED5000 app, that shows the current power being used, sort of like the dial in the upper-middle of the screen on the FootPrints web server. Seems really trivial to do, since I'm presuming the iPhone SDK has the necessary UI elements, and the TED5000 provides this data via an XML page. Would anybody have any interest in that? I would price it at $.99. Then if I ever got around to adding more functionality, there would be a "pro" version at around $4.99 . . . .
Mike, A few things: In regards to heating your pool, have you thought about Solar Thermal? That would probably provide even a better payback between electricity OR gas! If you would like I have a little experience analyzing these systems, so I would be willing to help you out in this for an experiment. Solar Thermal for pool heating is incredibly simple. Also, I just found out (this AM) that the iPhone app for the TED 5000 is released! Just go to the App store and search for TED 5000. I installed mine and it is working. I'm writing a blog on it this evening. As always, thanks for the discussion.
My TED-5000 was delivered yesterday, and I installed it immediately. After some troubleshooting, I figured that one of my CTUs was also mis marked: I flipped it and now it's measuring the correct amount of current (based on previous KWH measurements from my meter). I'm not having any MTU/Gateway communication issues, the Gateway light flashes amber occasionally, maybe once out of seven times. Data collection seems accurate and I've already learned some interesting things (fridges not as bad as I thought.) Though, the measurements vary a fair bit (maybe 10%) when nothing in the house is changing, I guess this is to be expected based on the specs of the device. I have several X10 devices and sensors, and this has been a substantial problem for me. I'm narrowing on some solutions: For lights/devices coming on spontaneously, it's only been house code A: moving my A devices to house code D works - though it's a hassle. I had tried turning down the power (to low) on the MTU and the gateway, but that didn't make any significant difference. I'm also having trouble with devices not coming on when automatically signaled, maybe changing the data rate from 5s to 10s will help - we'll see tonight. Any other folks with X10 devices that are seeing an impact from TED5000? Thanks.
Mike, how far back are the wires split into smaller bundles? Can you get access to them further back, before they enter the panel and before they are Y'd into two pairs?


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