Inaccurate Readings from Vue Utility…

Emporia Energy Community Support Center Emporia App Inaccurate Readings from Vue Utility…

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    • #6407 Report Abuse
      e2russ
      Member

      I’m not sure why the Vue Utility would have a different reading as it monitors my smartmeter from PG&E directly.  But I was seeing different readings on the daily chart so I downloaded the data from PG&E and this is what I am seeing.  (I do have solar, but the smoke has reduced the output most days)

    • #6473 Report Abuse
      Chuck
      Member

      I had a Vue Utility for a while, and I am with PG&E and have Solar.  Unfortunately, from the day I put it in service I was never able to get accurate readings because of an apparent bug in the Vue’s Wifi module firmware.  Every 68 minutes the Wifi module would reboot, so it would go offline for 2-8 minutes.  During this time a random data value was sent to Emporia.  Emporia support worked with me on the problem, even sent me another Utility Connect, but the problem was never resolved.  They eventually gave me my money back and I removed it from service.  It was a shame, I liked the product a lot, but it’s next to useless if it doesn’t report accurate readings.

      You can tell if your unit has this issue by powering it up and then setting a timer for around 65 minutes and then eyeball the lights on the Vue.  Like clockwork my wifi light would change from solid to blinking, indicating it was not hooked up to the wifi.  This blinking usually lasts for around 4-5 minutes, and then it would lock onto the wifi, but the cycle will repeat in 68 minutes.   Thinking it might be a compatibility problem with my wifi, I set up a completely different access point from my regular Wifi, and put it right next to the Vue and it made no difference.

      By the way, while the Wifi went down every 68 minutes the link to the smartmeter never wavered.  The light stayed steady at all times.

       

    • #6474 Report Abuse
      e2russ
      Member

      Thank you Chuck for sharing your issues with the Vue Utility.

      Looking back at my 1 minute data I can see every 76 minutes the data goes flat for 6-7 minutes.  Happens day and night…

      That sure is a bummer as if is a great idea…  I’m sure they have this on their bug list. 👍

    • #6476 Report Abuse
      Chuck
      Member

      Yes, that is exactly what I see on my graphs.  It’s pretty obvious there is a firmware bug in their code.  The Vue Utility has an ESP32 Wifi/Bluetooth combo module that is quite powerful.  It has an on-board microprocessor that is responsible for all the functions of the Vue Utility.  I suspect there is a bug in their firmware that is causing the module to reset at regular intervals, or possibly the code they are using accidently enabled one of the watchdog timers that is resetting the module and causing this problem.  It just seems like it would be an easy fix to me.

      As I mentioned before, I did work directly with Emporia support on this, but they were unable to resolve the issue so they gave me my money back.   Because the bug is easily reproducible I found it hard to believe the developers could not find this bug and squash it.  I suspect ALL the Vue Utility devices have this problem, including the ones they are selling today (I purchased mine back in April of this year).  Maybe other customers who use the Vue Utility don’t watch the data as closely as you or I.

      So unless new firmware is released for the Utility that fixes this bug the data reported by it will always be inaccurate and will never match up with the totals reported by PG&E (and, I assume, for SCE customers as well).  A shame, because it’s a great product for the price … if it only didn’t have this fatal flaw.

      I don’t miss it all that much since I recently purchased a Vue Gen2 and it’s energy monitoring capabilities are great.  However, it has a much more difficult installation process that simply plugging a device into an AC outlet, like the Vue Utility.

       

    • #6477 Report Abuse
      e2russ
      Member

      I am also on PG&E. Do you think it could have something to do with the smartmeter pg&e uses? It doesn’t sound like that would be the case. Do you monitor solar and pg&e with the Gen 2? How is the accuracy?

      I already have a energy monitoring system from another company that attaches to the mains(2) and the solar(2), but the CT’s that they use are NOT directional and they don’t factor that into their monitoring software. So when my solar comes online my consumption follows it. Not really happy with it, but I also connect it to PVOutput. So it would be a big pain at this point to mess with it. That’s why I bought the Vue Utility, thought I would be able to get accurate readings from my PG&E meter to feed into PVOutput as Net data but I guess not at this point.

      I do have some of their smart plugs that are nice to use in the same app as the Vue Utility. So at this point, i’ll be waiting for a fix.

      PG&E follows the solar

    • #6478 Report Abuse
      Chuck
      Member

      No, I don’t think it has anything to do with the Smartmeter.  I reset one of the units I had so it would not connect to the smartmeter and just set it up on Wifi.  After 68 minutes I saw the Wifi light flashing, which means it was doing the exact same thing even when not connected to a smartmeter.

      Inside the unit Emporia uses two modules.  The “brain” is the one I mentioned before, the ESP32.  It also handles the Wifi & Bluetooth.  There is a whole separate module (radio) that communicates with the smartmeter.  The ESP32 apparently communicates with the other radio and collects the information obtained from the Smartmeter and sends it on to Emporia.  A bug in the firmware running on the ESP32 is probably causing the problem, but I don’t know that for sure.  The fact it can be reproduced without connecting to a smartmeter should make it easy to find the bug, I don’t understand why the developers (I assume they are in China) cannot find and fix this.

      I have my Gen2 hooked up so it gives me both my consumption and Solar generation.  If you put main current sensors between the main breaker and the load breakers you will get total consumption.  If you place the current sensors BEFORE the solar breakers you will get NET.  My solar setup is Enphase, and my box is setup so power comes into the meter, then goes to the solar breakers and and then the main breaker, followed by all the branch breakers.

      I had the Gen1 originally and when I first hooked it up I got NET values, and I didn’t like that.  The way I have it hooked up now I get my total consumption, my total solar generation, and I am monitoring 8 individual circuits.  My panel is very tight, so I had to pick and choose what circuits I wanted to monitor because I can’t easily fit them on all my breakers.

      The accuracy of the Gen2 is quite good.  The Gen2 monitors voltage on both phases, so it can take into account power factor.  The old Gen1 couldn’t deal with the standby current used at night on my microinverters, so my solar generation numbers were always off.  The Gen2 is spot on.  Enphase provides monitoring of my solar generation as well, and the numbers it reports is within a few watts of what the Gen2 reports.

      On a daily basis I can take my total Solar Output & power consumption as reported by the Gen2 and compare it with what PGE says I netted out (when they finally get around to post the numbers) and they have been within a couple hundred watts, depending on rounding.

      What would really be nice is if the Emporia App would allow me to designate a calculated “NET” power and report it on the screen somewhere (and optionally track it).  In other words, let me designate circuit 1 as my solar generation (which it is) and have the app subtract it from my Mains on the fly and display my net at any given time.  That would be cool.

      Gen2 Installation

    • #6480 Report Abuse
      e2russ
      Member

      Thanks for sharing your install and review of the Gen2 system 👍.

      I don’t think that large CT would fit over my mains. My CT’s are even smaller then your small single circuit CT’s.

      I did find some info about the ESP32 – The 70 minutes is probably coming from a combination of the 60 minute token expiration set in the JWT payload combined with the 20 minutes of clock drift allowed by the authentication backend.

      Unfortunately I don’t know anything about programming… So I will have to wait for the Emporia team to solve this.

    • #6486 Report Abuse
      Chuck
      Member

      The stock CTs (200A) that came with my original Vue Gen 1 would barely fit in the space I had available in my panel.  Even so I had to put them BEFORE the solar breaker which gave me a NET energy reading, which is what I didn’t want.  Emporia made available some “slim” spring clamps that worked much better an enabled me to put my CTs between the main breaker and my loads so it would track consumption.  I see they now have “flexible” 200A current sensors that may make it even easier in tight electrical panels.

      Yeah, I looked at the data sheets for the ESP32 and I didn’t see any way to easily track down the issue, short of dumping the firmware and reverse engineering it, which is beyond my skills.  Let’s hope Emporia makes an effort to identify and fix the problem, although they don’t appear to be in a hurry to do so (I purchased mine back in April and apparently the problem is still there in the units being sold today).

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