Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Energy Detective - TED5000 Installation and Setup Experience

I recently purchased an energy monitoring device - TED5000 - as an experiment to see if we were to understand our daily energy consumption, we'd take appropriate action to conserve our energy. You know, the whole green and environmental thing that each and everyone of us should care about...

In a nutshell, TED5000 consists two components - one component called MTU connecting to your house's electrical panel and the other component called the Gateway connecting to your router. The company - The Energy Detective - recommends professional installation for the MTU. You can certainly do it yourself but you are taking your life in your own hand. I am too chicken for it. I opted for the pro...

Once installed, the MTU senses the data and sends it to the Gateway via the house electrical wiring. This technique is called Power over Ethernet (POE). POE is a good networking technology until one figures out that it's very sensitive to noises - laptops, printers, compact fluorescent light bulbs, you name it. It took awhile to find an area of the house with minimal interference. Why couldn't TED be designed with wireless technologies - WIFI, ZigBee, or even Bluetooth? WIFI is so ubiquitous and it could potentially eliminate one component of the product... TED, are you listening?

The good thing is that the software came right up after installation hurdles. I didn't have to do anything. I just called up my browser and typed in the URL: TED5000. Kudos for the simplicity here. However, the fun part was yet to come.

I wanted to access the TED from outside of my house. It should be an easy task since all I have to do is to open a port in my router, right. As expected that didn't work... As it turned out, I got a few things networked together: DSL modem > Vonage modem/router > Linkssys router > 5-port switch. So for the geeky folks out there, I got a few NAT (Network Address Translation) running together... This is how I solved it: DSL modem: opening a port > DSL modem: opening the same port with an IP address pointing to the Linksys > Linksys: opening the same port with an IP address pointing to TED (TED connected to the Linksys instead of the 5-port switch). It seemed simple but took me awhile to figure it out. Now I can view my power usage from my iPhone at work. Let the real fun begin!!!

  • Buying a TED: $199.95
  • Shipping: $4
  • Installation: $100
  • Long Ethernet cable: $12
  • Frustration and solving the problem: Priceless
  • Tidying up the installation requested by my lovely wife: Even more priceless