TED 5000 Household Power Meter – Improve Home Energy Efficiency

TED 5000 Household Power Meter

TED 5000 Household Power Meter (photo: The Energy Detective)

It’s no secret that cutting your household energy consumption is a great way to reduce your environmental footprint. It’s also a great way to save money on your utility bills. But to pinpoint the best places to reduce power use, you need to know exactly where your power is going – no small task considering the number of devices, appliances, and fixtures in an average home. Enter the TED 5000 energy meter, a nifty tool to precisely track your home energy use.

The TED 5000 is the latest model from the folks at The Energy Detective, and it allows wireless real-time monitoring of energy usage. The system is compatible with Google’s PowerMeter as well as TED’s own Footprints software. Data is presented in simple graph formats, and users can track energy spikes at certain times of day or when using particular appliances.

TED 5000 google power meter

Google PowerMeter Display (photo: The Energy Detective)

The TED 5000 can display energy usage in terms of kilowatts, dollars, or CO2 output. The system can also be programmed to factor in varying energy costs (for example, if your local power company charges different rates based on season or time of day). It can even calculate net energy use if a user supplements municipal power from the grid with their own household solar or wind power setup.

The TED 5000 is available with or without the wireless display, and the system can track data from multiple electrical panels. Prices start at $199.95 for the basic system.

For more information, visit the TED website.

Comments

  1. says

    TED is a nice looking product–does anyone have personal experience using it? I have used different power data loggers that cost several thousand dollar for industrial energy efficiency projects and TED looks like a good option for home-owners. It looks like Footprints software is necessary to DIY graphing of usage history.

  2. says

    We’re big fans of electricity monitoring at the company I work for, EnergyCircle.com. We sell this TED as well as a number of other monitors that serve similar or different needs (and price points). Monitoring energy usage is rather incredible in terms of how it can help you identify the little and big things that use electricity in your house — knowledge of power is power!

    Tom

  3. says

    @David Harris — yes, I have and use a TED 5000. The old version had optional software that was only accessible via a USB connection; the 5000 is a much, much smarter device indeed.

    It gets its data directly from the main power lines supplying your house. It sends that data to a “gateway”. The gateway is actually a little computer on a plug: it has some storage so it can retain a good deal of data, but it also connects (with an Ethernet wire) to your home network and has an embedded web server, so you can look at the Footprints software (with all the graphing, history, exports, etc.) through your web browser … as long as you are connected to your local network.

    The gateway can also accept wireless connections from the TED Display (that’s the part in the picture) — it uses ZigBee for what that’s worth.

    You can import data into a spreadsheet if the graphs it has aren’t cool enough for you. And if you’re a geek, TED 5000 has an API that allows you to write a program to fetch the data the TED has stored and do with it whatever you want.

    And an extra-cool feature is that it is able, with your permission, to send its data to Google PowerMeter, which is associated with your personal google account. When you’re logged in to Google, you can see your real-time (almost) readings in very nice graphs.

    TED 5000 certainly breaks some new ground in several ways. But there have been some issues reported with reliability; I’m a major geek, and it took me a while to get a few things worked out … but in the end, it mostly just works.

    I think for the moment, it’s the coolest game in town … although there’s certainly some potential competition nipping at its heels. I just installed a beta version of a product called WattVision — it’s still very early, but the design is far more elegant in some ways than the TED. I have written about both of these (and several others) on my personal blog at fivepercent.us and also on the website I work for, linked above on my name.

    Tom

    • Anon says

      @Tom

      The problem with WattVision is that it is (or will be) a subscription based service. You only have to pay for the Ted5000 once.

      • says

        @Anon
        Yes, Wattvision is still not out, and seems to be moving towards a service model. Yesterday, the old standard in energy monitoring, Blue Line Innovations, (finally!!) announced an add-on that transmits its readings to Microsoft Hohm. Hohm has come a long way in the last year, and this could make it a far more compelling service.

  4. Hans says

    Where I live the electricity comes at 127V and 50 Hz. Our energy price is very high (I pay about $0.45 per Kwh). Is your power meter useful to me?

    • says

      Hans — the TED is designed for 2-phase, 2 x 120v, 60Hz power found in North America. You might want to check directly with the manufacturer to see if your power system will work — it’s possible.

  5. Neil Wyman says

    I have just installed a 5KW photovoltaic system connected through an inverter to my electric panel and then to a bidirectional meter. I would like to monitor the power output of the inverter, the total energy used in the house and the energy consumed by my air conditioner and pool pump. Can the TED 5000 do this for me and if so, what model would I need?

  6. says

    @Neil — the TED may be able to do this; you would need the TED 5004 as it comes with enough CT sensors to accomplish your objective. However, this model is pricey, and while OK for the solar, not really intended for individual circuit monitoring. Several other products are available that might work. BrueTech makes a multi-circuit monitor (model ecm-1240, I think), but last I checked, the additional service needed to see the results was not running. eMonitor, by Powerhouse Dynamics would certainly work, and you would need the eMonitor 12r (which would also let you monitor 7 additional circuits, as well). Both TED and eMonitor have special modes used to configure, display and report on solar and wind; not sure about BrulTech, but probably.

    Full disclaimer: we sell both the TED products and eMonitor at my company energycircle.com. We have lately been very disenchanted with TED 5000 and have backed off our formerly glowing endorsement to “guarded” — if you can get it installed, it’s a good product, but I suggest Googling “TED 5000 installation” to make sure you’re up to that before buying. We do not sell the BrulTech monitor — after I evaluated it I found that the kind of complexity that has been getting in the way of successful TED installations is only multiplied — the product looked, to me, more like an electronics kit than a complete, thought out product (and pricing, as far as I could tell, was higher than eMonitor after adding in the service plan). I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusion, as my evaluation of that product was incomplete.

  7. Kevin says

    Yes, I had a TED 5000 installed on my solar system for monitoring. A few months later, it went down for some reason. To make a long story short, that was in November/December of 2010. Their customer support was anything but. After going bac and forth with them over E-mail, they told me the display was broke. 2 weeks later, I got another one, but it still didn’t work. Called their customer support and was treated like trash. After an hour or two, they said the gateway was broke. 2 more weeks waiting for another one. Spent an hour or so on the phone again trying to figure out why it wouldn’t work, and the tech who was helping me was unbelievably rude. I consider myself pretty handy and have done a number of household wiring projects. But this guy expected me to know as much as one of his fellow techs, and when I didn’t, he got very frustrated and was very rude. The ended up telling me I had to buy a special cable to reprogram the unit and telling me to call back once I had purchased it. Instead, I called the solar company. They sent a tech out to troubleshoot it, and he had it up and running in 15 minutes! When I talked to him, he said he also had very bad experiences with The Energy Detective’s customer support. My advice? Find another monitoring system. If you do buy it and it breaks down, good luck with their customer support. In hindsight, I wouldn’t install one of these systems again if they were giving them away.

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