Question about how energy monitoring smart plugs work

Hi all,

I’m hoping to use some smart plugs with energy monitoring capabilities to determine whether a device is on or not (e.g. floor lamp, TV). The plan would be to leave the smart plug’s switch ON all the time, and use the energy consumption it sees as a trigger in WebCoRE or RM to tell if the device is on or not.

Not sure if this helps, but an example of my use case is a floor lamp in my daughter’s bedroom. It has a special light bulb that is not smart, that I want to retain, and I want to retain control of the physical built in toggle switch. But… also have Hubitat recognize whether it’s on or off.

1/ do energy monitoring smart plugs push changes in energy to Hubitat? Or do they need to be polled? So if I set an energy consumption threshold as a trigger and it gets crossed, how quickly will the hub see that?

2/ would the difference in energy consumption of one LED bulb being off or on be enough to use as a trigger? I would assume I could just use an expression like >O kwh.

3/ any recommendations on reliable plugs that are somewhat cheap? Was looking at the Third Reality Zigbee ones, or possibly the TP-Link Kasa smart plug minis, which are WiFi but I believe have a native integration. Open to any suggestions of what works well.

New to the community and loving it so far, thanks in advance for any insight!

Wifi will not be great here since it (typically) has to be polled. Zigbee will be a better option and will report to the hub right away. Usually you monitor the power (watts) since that is a direct reading and energy is power over time (kilowatt hours). You will want to verify if it can be set to reporting on 1 W changes if it is a low wattage LED bulb you want to monitor. I have a Sengled plug I use to monitor a LED desk lamp in a similar fashion and it only draws about 2w when on. I use the plug to determine if it is on or not, and also to turn it off at night if it gets left on.

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Yes depending on the device (particularly which driver it uses) depends on how it reports to Hubitat. I use over a dozen of Fibaro Wall Outlets, the Hubitat driver is very customizable on the reporting frequency of the power readings and how often the energy consumption is reported. But I wouldn't classify those in the "cheap" category you were looking for. Here is the device page of what is reported with these.

I believe you would be looking for "power" not energy reporting as the trigger. Energy generally gets reported on a certain designated time schedule. "Power" reporting generally gets update in real time. A single LED would be kinda tricky for a trigger but it could happen. I have one that turns a TV off if a laptop charger turns on which is less than 10 watts.

Thank you both for the information. You’re right, I was confusing the energy consumption and power attributes.

I will keep the Fibaro in mind, but I have about 4x plugs needed in this manner if it works, which is why is was hoping for less expensive. But I’ll do some research on what Hubitat drivers are available for what’s out there.

In my lamp scenario, the bulb is only 6 watts, so not very much. I’ll probably get a cheap zigbee plug like the Third Reality and see if it works. If not I can always just use it as a regular smart plug somewhere!

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