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Emporia Vue is an Interesting Companion to Solar and Powerwalls

holeydonut

Active Member
Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
3,668
3,185
East Bay NorCal
I'm not sure what is the forum policy around this, but hopefully this post isn't considered a schill-type of thing since I'm not affiliated with the vendor.

The Tesla app is great to see the balance of the grid, solar, battery, and home consumption, but it doesn't provide much insight to what is actually happening in the home. For the extra data layer, I installed the Emporia Vue a few weeks ago. Big thanks to @Oceanwolf for originally mentioning the tool here.

The Emporia Vue allows a homeowner to stick a current transducer (CT) on the load side of individual circuits at the breakers. The hardware then measures and logs consumption each second. This has been a great way to see energy use by zone instead of being beholden to EnergyStar/EnergyGuide stickers or manufacturer claims. It also lets you get that one level deeper than just seeing the total home graph on the Tesla App. Emporia also make devices that track individual outlets, but that just seems like a bit overkill and a poor ROI compared to CT tracking on circuits.

With all this data, you can see the kWh consumed by a load of dishes, laundry, etc. So now I know that "extra dry" setting on my dishwasher actually uses 2 kWh of power. I can also quantify the snazzy wine fridge, upstairs mini-fridge, and garage-freezer to a daily energy cost. This data is useful knowledge to start energy-managing my home in conjunction with new self generation equipment.

Another interesting thing, I found that each of my two air handlers use a continuous 35 watts each even if the blower motor is off and the HVAC is not operating. I have no clue what this 35 watts is actually doing other than powering the blinking Lennox control board and thermostat. But this means the two systems together bleed 70 watts 24/7 no matter what unless I de-activate the HVAC breaker. This is interesting since that means 613 kWh per year is going away to just then enable me to pay more energy costs for air-circulation, heating, or cooling. That underlying 70 watts bleed came out to be $200 worth of energy I paid in 2020 to PG&E and MCE based on what my tiered rates were costing in 2020.

Also of note, it turns out my smart-home, AT&T gateway, set-top-boxes, mesh-wifi, and cameras are taking about 200 watts continuously 24/7 by just existing. Such "vampire" loads add up; and it's something I don't think I would have seen so clearly without tools like the Emporia Vue.

The most major cons lie their user interface. Navigating their app is rather poor, and their API is very limited. You can get CSV exports, but no cool automated reporting/dashboards like what @bmah could dream up. And as with all smart-tech, if Emporia goes belly-up, then your tool will be worthless since all info has to run through the cloud. This doubles as a potential privacy risk as well.

Oh and one last downside... if your wife likes to run a space heater, this extra info will kill your soul. You'll now see just how bad that space heater is, but you'll never convince your wife to stop using said space heater. So maybe it's not worth the money.
 
Last edited:

jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Moderator
Nov 28, 2018
17,563
23,587
Riverside Co. CA
Individual member reviews of products they like (or dont like) is (more than) fine. Its welcomed*. Thanks for taking the time to review something that is likely interesting to many in this section.

*(as long as its not commercial advertising which this isnt)
 
Last edited:

h2ofun

Active Member
Aug 11, 2020
4,132
1,073
auburn, ca
I'm not sure what is the forum policy around this, but hopefully this post isn't considered a schill-type of thing since I'm not affiliated with the vendor.

The Tesla app is great to see the balance of the grid, solar, battery, and home consumption, but it doesn't provide much insight to what is actually happening in the home. For the extra data layer, I installed the Emporia Vue a few weeks ago. Big thanks to @Oceanwolf for originally mentioning the tool here.

The Emporia Vue allows a homeowner to stick a current transducer (CT) on the load side of individual circuits at the breakers. The hardware then measures and logs consumption each second. This has been a great way to see energy use by zone instead of being beholden to EnergyStar/EnergyGuide stickers or manufacturer claims. It also lets you get that one level deeper than just seeing the total home graph on the Tesla App. Emporia also make devices that track individual outlets, but that just seems like a bit overkill and a poor ROI compared to CT tracking on circuits.

With all this data, you can see the kWh consumed by a load of dishes, laundry, etc. So now I know that "extra dry" setting on my dishwasher actually uses 2 kWh of power. I can also quantify the snazzy wine fridge, upstairs mini-fridge, and garage-freezer to a daily energy cost. This data is useful knowledge to start energy-managing my home in conjunction with new self generation equipment.

Another interesting thing, I found that each of my two air handlers use a continuous 35 watts each even if the blower motor is off and the HVAC is not operating. I have no clue what this 35 watts is actually doing other than powering the blinking Lennox control board and thermostat. But this means the two systems together bleed 70 watts 24/7 no matter what unless I de-activate the HVAC breaker. This is interesting since that means 613 kWh per year is going away to just then enable me to pay more energy costs for air-circulation, heating, or cooling. That underlying 70 watts bleed came out to be $200 worth of energy I paid in 2020 to PG&E and MCE based on what my tiered rates were costing in 2020.

Also of note, it turns out my smart-home, AT&T gateway, set-top-boxes, mesh-wifi, and cameras are taking about 200 watts continuously 24/7 by just existing. Such "vampire" loads add up; and it's something I don't think I would have seen so clearly without tools like the Emporia Vue.

The most major cons lie their user interface. Navigating their app is rather poor, and their API is very limited. You can get CSV exports, but no cool automated reporting/dashboards like what @bmah could dream up. And as with all smart-tech, if Emporia goes belly-up, then your tool will be worthless since all info has to run through the cloud. This doubles as a potential privacy risk as well.

Oh and one last downside... if your wife likes to run a space heater, this extra info will kill your soul. You'll now see just how bad that space heater is, but you'll never convince your wife to stop using said space heater. So maybe it's not worth the money.
very cool, 16 channels per unit.
I'm not sure what is the forum policy around this, but hopefully this post isn't considered a schill-type of thing since I'm not affiliated with the vendor.

The Tesla app is great to see the balance of the grid, solar, battery, and home consumption, but it doesn't provide much insight to what is actually happening in the home. For the extra data layer, I installed the Emporia Vue a few weeks ago. Big thanks to @Oceanwolf for originally mentioning the tool here.

The Emporia Vue allows a homeowner to stick a current transducer (CT) on the load side of individual circuits at the breakers. The hardware then measures and logs consumption each second. This has been a great way to see energy use by zone instead of being beholden to EnergyStar/EnergyGuide stickers or manufacturer claims. It also lets you get that one level deeper than just seeing the total home graph on the Tesla App. Emporia also make devices that track individual outlets, but that just seems like a bit overkill and a poor ROI compared to CT tracking on circuits.

With all this data, you can see the kWh consumed by a load of dishes, laundry, etc. So now I know that "extra dry" setting on my dishwasher actually uses 2 kWh of power. I can also quantify the snazzy wine fridge, upstairs mini-fridge, and garage-freezer to a daily energy cost. This data is useful knowledge to start energy-managing my home in conjunction with new self generation equipment.

Another interesting thing, I found that each of my two air handlers use a continuous 35 watts each even if the blower motor is off and the HVAC is not operating. I have no clue what this 35 watts is actually doing other than powering the blinking Lennox control board and thermostat. But this means the two systems together bleed 70 watts 24/7 no matter what unless I de-activate the HVAC breaker. This is interesting since that means 613 kWh per year is going away to just then enable me to pay more energy costs for air-circulation, heating, or cooling. That underlying 70 watts bleed came out to be $200 worth of energy I paid in 2020 to PG&E and MCE based on what my tiered rates were costing in 2020.

Also of note, it turns out my smart-home, AT&T gateway, set-top-boxes, mesh-wifi, and cameras are taking about 200 watts continuously 24/7 by just existing. Such "vampire" loads add up; and it's something I don't think I would have seen so clearly without tools like the Emporia Vue.

The most major cons lie their user interface. Navigating their app is rather poor, and their API is very limited. You can get CSV exports, but no cool automated reporting/dashboards like what @bmah could dream up. And as with all smart-tech, if Emporia goes belly-up, then your tool will be worthless since all info has to run through the cloud. This doubles as a potential privacy risk as well.

Oh and one last downside... if your wife likes to run a space heater, this extra info will kill your soul. You'll now see just how bad that space heater is, but you'll never convince your wife to stop using said space heater. So maybe it's not worth the money.
Looks pretty cool. Looks like max of 16 per unit? I am trying to void going to nuts looking at or adjusting stuff :(
 

holeydonut

Active Member
Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
3,668
3,185
East Bay NorCal
Individual member reviews of products they like (or dont like) is (more than) fine. Its welcomed. Thanks for taking the time to review something that is likely interesting to many in this section.

Awesome, thanks jjrandorin!


very cool, 16 channels per unit.

Looks pretty cool. Looks like max of 16 per unit? I am trying to void going to nuts looking at or adjusting stuff :(



Yes, the Gen 2 Vue comes with the CTs to cover the mains so it always knows what is coming into the panel. And there's a bundle that includes 16 separate 50 A CTs for each breaker you want to monitor in that panel. If you want to monitor more than 16 circuits, you'll need a second Vue.

If a breaker is not connected to one of the 16 CTs, it goes to a unallocated "balance" line item, and you cannot report on it. So it's not so much a pain adjusting stuff as it is a pain confirming which breaker actually controls what.

The biggest hassle I have is my house was wired by a drunk person. One breaker covered 2 outlets in my living room, in a closet around the corner, and for some reason one plug in my dining room. I'm like... wtf. So I struggled a bit to figure out exactly which outlet in my house went to which breaker in my breaker panel. In some cases, I used my wife's space heater and turned it on to see which CT reported the watt-spike and wrote that down.
 

h2ofun

Active Member
Aug 11, 2020
4,132
1,073
auburn, ca
Awesome, thanks jjrandorin!






Yes, the Gen 2 Vue comes with the CTs to cover the mains so it always knows what is coming into the panel. And there's a bundle that includes 16 separate 50 A CTs for each breaker you want to monitor in that panel. If you want to monitor more than 16 circuits, you'll need a second Vue.

If a breaker is not connected to one of the 16 CTs, it goes to a unallocated "balance" line item, and you cannot report on it. So it's not so much a pain adjusting stuff as it is a pain confirming which breaker actually controls what.

The biggest hassle I have is my house was wired by a drunk person. One breaker covered 2 outlets in my living room, in a closet around the corner, and for some reason one plug in my dining room. I'm like... wtf. So I struggled a bit to figure out exactly which outlet in my house went to which breaker in my breaker panel. In some cases, I used my wife's space heater and turned it on to see which CT reported the watt-spike and wrote that down.
I thought only my house was built that way :)

So far my lessons learned. Yep, space heaters suck the suds!!! Pool pumps take suds. My christmas lights took lots of suds. But, I am trying to just be comfortable. Telling the wife when to run the washer, dryer or dish washer at certain times did not make a lot of points. If I have to pay some at true up, so what.

Your comment about heat/air was interesting. When I was researching mini splits, I remember a Youtube from a person who was measuring stuff and commenting that even in off mode, they still took a large amount of energy. I have no way to turn a breaker to each of my 10 mini split heads. Guess that might end up just being a cost for the units. Just like reading this 10% loss using batteries is the pits.
 

holeydonut

Active Member
Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
3,668
3,185
East Bay NorCal
Wow this is much cheaper (at aound $150 on amazon) than IotaWatt and has more sensors. It also gets power directly from a breaker instead of having to plug a transformer into an outlet. So to be me this seems better than iotawatt.


Yeah, the iotawatt would be an advanced substitute to the Vue. As far as I can tell, the iotawatt has better data access since it's API is open and seems designed for higher-end users. I think it even has a local web server software built in. And the iotawatt can measure line frequency while the Vue doesn't have that functionality.
 
So I took a look at this and am wondering how I would install the Gen 2 Vue if I don't have whole-house backup. I have my main panel with a sub-backup panel. If the Vue goes in the main panel, the sub will be totally lumped together as one value, no? Not sure how the plain Vue would work with solar/Powerwall, but maybe that's all I need? I'm with SCE, so smart meter is supported. Thoughts? Thanks!
 
So I took a look at this and am wondering how I would install the Gen 2 Vue if I don't have whole-house backup. I have my main panel with a sub-backup panel. If the Vue goes in the main panel, the sub will be totally lumped together as one value, no? Not sure how the plain Vue would work with solar/Powerwall, but maybe that's all I need? I'm with SCE, so smart meter is supported. Thoughts? Thanks!

I have a full house backup with 1 main panel and two subpanels (the house went trough multiple renovations before us) so when I looked into Vue I thought I would need to get multiple devices - one per panel.
 

holeydonut

Active Member
Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
3,668
3,185
East Bay NorCal
So I took a look at this and am wondering how I would install the Gen 2 Vue if I don't have whole-house backup. I have my main panel with a sub-backup panel. If the Vue goes in the main panel, the sub will be totally lumped together as one value, no? Not sure how the plain Vue would work with solar/Powerwall, but maybe that's all I need? I'm with SCE, so smart meter is supported. Thoughts? Thanks!


The wires and CTs for the Vue could possibly stretch enough where one singular Vue could have its two-phase 200 A main lug reading CTs extended to a common connection that feeds both sub panels (when the utility is online). And the CT cables might be able to stretch to cover breakers in two separate panels.

Their CTs seem rather simple (It looks like a 1/8 inch miniplug male connector). And you probably can splice/extend a CT cable, although I don't know what that does to the reading quality.

For most people, I think two Vues makes more sense (one for each sub-panel). If you get two Vues, Their app allows you to report on multiple Vues. But it won't automatically merge the two readings into one single master report (they say that feature is on their roadmap). So, you'll have to tab between the two in order to see detailed consumption.

Regarding adding solar monitoring ... I think this depends if you have a separate generation panel or if your solar is back-feeding one of the subpanels that has home loads. The Vue Gen 2 can be configured so one (or more) of the sixteen 50 Amp CTs can be configured for solar. This way it reads the inbound current coming from the PV source as a net aggregation of power entering the panel.

But, if you have Powerwalls, I don't think the Vue will give you what you want. I think you could technically connect one of the Vue's "solar" CTs to the load side of your PV+ESS generation panel. But even if you did this, you wouldn't be able to disaggregate energy being actually solar versus energy coming from the battery.

So Personally, I don't think the Vue is intelligent enough to deal with the in/out aspect of the ESS the way the Tesla app does. The Vue is primarily meant to be a loads-monitor. I don't see the Vue being a one stop shop for your home's micro-grid if you have Powerwalls (that's what the Tesla app excels at).

In a perfect world Tesla would just acquire Vue (or copy them) and add all this reporting into their own app and API set.

I don't know how the Vue works with the smart meters... sorry.
 
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Reactions: Yonki and SoCal Cal

holeydonut

Active Member
Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
3,668
3,185
East Bay NorCal
Too bad I cannot find the Youtube person who I believe showed testing current draw when the unit was off and it was not zero. But, maybe I forget :(


How are your mini splits plugged in? Like are they hard-wired into J-boxes are are they all individually plugged in? I wonder if you could get one of the Vue wifi/smart plugs and make your Minisplits "smart" with remote on/off scheduling. The Vue smart plugs will report out power consumption at the outlet which makes them somewhat unique in this space.
 
I don't know how the Vue works with the smart meters... sorry.[/QUOTE said:
You have to activate them through your utility. Not all of them are supported, but SCE is pretty simple. You log into your SCE account and put in the device MAC an IN and mine started working within a minute. I also have a rainforest EMU-2 at my office desk just to see a total on the display. It has LED lights on the left that are visible (even though the backlight for the screen stops after a minute). You can set the levels for red/yellow/green. Kind of nice at a glance. SCE was giving $20 or $25 credit on your bill if you added one.
 

sorka

Well-Known Member
Feb 28, 2015
10,003
8,144
Merced, CA
very cool, 16 channels per unit.

Looks pretty cool. Looks like max of 16 per unit? I am trying to void going to nuts looking at or adjusting stuff :(

If you have enough room, you can install multiple units and view them together in the app. However, a software update that is coming soon will allow you to virtually merge multiple units under a single main power draw so the second and so fourth unit in the same panel would only have one with the main 200 amp cts hooked up. This update, which they claim is coming soon, will also allow nesting so that units downstream in subpanels will subtract the total current off the upstream total usage so that subpanel usage doesn't show up in the unused balance.

One thing that is annoying is they don't provide a graph of the unused balance which would be handy for tracking down intermittent loads that you don't have an individual ct on since the unused balance sticks out like a thumb far more than the graph of the total usage.
 

holeydonut

Active Member
Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
3,668
3,185
East Bay NorCal
Storing data for the "balance" has been on their list for months, but their devs never got it implemented.

It appears the Emporia devs have gone silent in their own forum; which is one of the cons of this type of thing coming from a tiny company instead of the division of an established energy corporation.

Graph for 'Balance' | Emporia Energy Community
 

sorka

Well-Known Member
Feb 28, 2015
10,003
8,144
Merced, CA
So I took a look at this and am wondering how I would install the Gen 2 Vue if I don't have whole-house backup. I have my main panel with a sub-backup panel. If the Vue goes in the main panel, the sub will be totally lumped together as one value, no? Not sure how the plain Vue would work with solar/Powerwall, but maybe that's all I need? I'm with SCE, so smart meter is supported. Thoughts? Thanks!

Currently the total on the main panel will include the subpanels use and there's no way to subtract the sub panel use off the vue on the main panel. So if you don't have CTs for the subpanel feed in the main panel, the subpanel use will show up in the unused balance on the vue in the main panel.

They are working on a change to allow parallelizing multiple Vues and nested/child Vues into the "graphed circuit" layout which will allow as many sensors on a single panel as you want logically merged as well as as accounting for downstream vue usage.
 

sorka

Well-Known Member
Feb 28, 2015
10,003
8,144
Merced, CA
Yeah, the iotawatt would be an advanced substitute to the Vue. As far as I can tell, the iotawatt has better data access since it's API is open and seems designed for higher-end users. I think it even has a local web server software built in. And the iotawatt can measure line frequency while the Vue doesn't have that functionality.

Yea, nobody's going to be making their own splunk dashboards with Emporia and this is my biggest gripe but it is way less expensive than iotawatt. Hopefully they'll add API access. Even then if the company goes out of business, they're paperweights. The only way to really ensure the product works if the company goes under is to allow direct access to the data on the units themselves.
 

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