Wattvision Power Monitor

Wattvision

Track your electricity use--by far the simplest monitor we have installed, it sends its readings to Wattvision's site and optionally Google PowerMeter. Very, very cool.

Description

Wattvision is the first power monitor that seems to get that not all people are psyched about opening up their electrical panel, or messing with complicated network configuration, wiring or any other baloney.

There are two basic parts (simple!):

  1. The meter sensor, which is designed and tested for your specific meter -- no configuration or adjustment required, just slip it over the meter and make sure it's reading,
  2. A Wifi enabled sending unit that sends information to the Wattvision site using your WiFi network.

(OK, there are two other bits: a nice long thin wire that you string from the meter and plug into the sending unit, and a plug to power the sending unit).  Things that are simple tend to just work.  And Wattvision just works.

Before you pay for it, you'll provide the information that ensures your Wattvision arrives ready to install.  This seems simple, but it's actually brilliant because:

  • You'll positively identify your meter before buying.  Unlike other meter-connected monitors, Wattvision will send you a specific sensor designed to work with your meter, all set up and pretty much guaranteed to work.  While other similar monitors typically can be reconfigured to work with most meters, many people are frustrated by the process and give up -- with Wattvision you get instant, positive feedback that you have aligned the meter sensor correctly -- just tighten the hand-screw and you're good to go.
  • Because you provide your WiFi information on their secure site, the sending unit comes pre-configured to connect to your home network without any hassle. Other monitors with networking provide some multi-step process, and frequently require a hard-wired connection or batteries -- all of which are a hassle. Wattvision make it simple.  (In fact, if you don't provide the information or need to change, Wattvision can even create it's own little temporary wireless network that you can connect to with your browser -- how cool is that?)
  • You set up the account that Wattvision will talk to.

Once it's installed, you can see your current consumption through their excellent web site.  You can see current or historical usage.  And then the fun begins.  You can set up alerts, send the data to Google PowerMeter, decide if you would like to share your data and other cool and unique features.

Wattvision also has a SmartPhone version of it's website -- no "app" to download or buy, and it works with anything with a browser.  The mobile version is available anywhere you've got 'net, but it's designed to be with you as you walk around your house seeing what uses power.  Turn on a light and a few seconds later, the display not only displays a chart, but helpfully calculates the difference in usage.  Want to know how much power your TV uses?  Turn it on and watch the Wattvision on your smart phone.  Hear the fridge come on?  Now you know.  Very cool.

Our quibble with Wattvision (and others) is that it doesn't come with a table-top display.  However, there's a family of 3rd party internet connected devices designed to display information, made by Chumby (what a name!) and Sony (what a name?) -- they're not cheap, but they do a lot more than just display energy.

Overall, Wattvision is designed to be extended.  We're looking forward to seeing what they come up with!

We Thought You'd Like To Know

Energy Circle does not actually sell the product -- Wattvision does (as explained above, that's part of its coolness).  So when you buy, you'll be sent to the Wattvision site.

Nitty Gritty

Wattvision makes its data available on their website for your viewing.  Their free plan offers 7 days of history ... but also provides Google PowerMeter integration.  To retain the granular historical data, as well as other features, such as alerts, you can get a service plan.   This service plan is free until April 15th, 2011 after which your account will revert to the free plan.

Please carefully check for your meter type, and if you're not sure, Wattvision provides a way for you to send a digital photo of your meter so they can confirm compatibility prior to sending out your meter sensor.