Powerhouse Dynamics’ eMonitor uses CTs and a base unit installed in the electrical panel to collect data. The base unit communicates with the eMonitor Gateway, which in turn sends the data to off-site third-party servers over the home’s broadband connection. Users can view real-time usage information from up to 42 circuits wherever there is an Internet connection.
The basic model, the eMonitor 4-14, comes with the equipment to monitor total building electricity consumption, as well as usage in 12 additional circuits. The eMonitor 4-24 and 4-44 can handle 22 and 42 total circuits with the addition of expansion pods, additional CTs, and additional monitoring services. In all units, two of the circuits are reserved for monitoring the main electrical service entering the building.
The base unit needs a 15 A dedicated circuit, though these products consume only 3 to 10 W to operate. In addition to the installation of the base unit, CTs, and the communication gateway, setup requires inputting circuit descriptions via a computer connection. Further configuration and registration allow the opportunity to confirm that communication is operating as intended and that all circuit labels were input correctly.
There is no local display. To view data and graphs, an Internet connection is required. The base unit will store data for several days in the event of loss of connectivity to the host server.
The eMonitor also offers remote control of compatible, Wi-Fi supported, third-party thermostats. If you forgot to turn the air-conditioning off before you left home, you can do this with a smartphone app—from anywhere. In the works is a plug-load-level control device that will allow remote-control of various appliances, such as a computer or window unit air conditioner.
The eMonitor offers some unique features. User-programmable alerts can help inform you about potentially worrisome conditions, such as a sump pump failure. These messages can be sent by email or text message to your smartphone. Apps for the iPhone and iPad allow viewing real-time operation and interface with the control features. The number of circuits that can be monitored makes the eMonitor appropriate for large homes and small businesses.
The eMonitor 4 is available through a dealer network or online retailers. A two-year monitoring service contract is required.
Like the eMonitor, the eGauge has the ability to monitor multiple circuits. However, the eGauge monitor does not require a data monitoring contract. The information resides locally, rather than remotely on an outside web server.
The CTs are installed inside the electrical panel where the monitored circuits originate, so some electrical skills are needed to safely install it. The eGauge main unit, which also resides in the electrical panel or immediately adjacent to it, can accommodate input from up to 12 CTs. The main unit needs a 240 VAC, 15 A power supply which is supplied from within the panel being monitored. To view the data, the main unit is connected to your local network and computer, via Ethernet cable, or a HomePlug accessory or another variety of Wi-Fi adapter. While the eGauge data lives locally, it also can be viewed online. The eGauge doesn’t offer a smartphone app, but its data screen can be viewed with any web browser.
The eGauge does not include control features. The setup and monitoring interface are touted as intuitive and straightforward.