Forum Replies Created
Here’s an excerpt from the reply that I received from Emporia Support when I asked about providing block diagrams of the hardware so that custom firmware could be written (and save Emporia from doing the work to provide local data access themselves). Emphasis mine.
“… Our focus is to be a cloud-based distributed energy management company. Monitoring is the first step in that direction and the reason we’ve been building hardware/devices. The next part is the management functionality itself and how to control/optimize energy consumption and production. We’re in discussions currently about how opening up an API would affect this aspect of our future plans. Some argue that wouldn’t hurt revenues at all (or even help) while others are concerned that allowing our devices (currently sold at cost) would provide a hardware platform for other management companies to control. The main confusion I think is whether or not we’re considered a hardware/device company or an energy management company. Our vision is of the latter, but many customers consider us as part of the former. …”
So, if Emporia are really selling hardware at cost and they are not monetizing their customer data, then the next logical conclusion is that Emporia plan to start charging for their cloud services. Maybe that will be in the form of some premium service while still offering a basic, free cloud service. Or maybe it will be a bait-and-switch where they start charging everyone with their hardware installed in the hope that most customers would rather pay than remove the (otherwise useless) devices. You can draw your own conclusions.
I bought a Vue2 several months ago and have been working to reverse the firmware and hardware. I’m not a hardware or software engineer so it’s been a slow process but every step has been a learning experience about IoT devices and electronics in general and I am enjoying the journey. I haven’t installed the Vue2 yet as I want to keep it in factory-fresh / unprovisioned mode while I work on the reversing.
There are others who have made excellent progress on this front. I won’t link to them here but they are easily found with a quick search. If your device is unprovisioned, there is an option to modify some config data in the device so that it sends data to your own local MQTT server without needing to replace the firmware entirely.
I’m disappointed in Emporia’s general apathy to the hobbyist community but with their response above, I know that there’s no point in waiting for them to provide an API or method to collect data locally. They’ve given me all the motivation I need to see my reversing project through to the end.
Updates to follow.
- This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by blahblahblah. Reason: Fixed mangled HTML
I’ve got a suggestion : Provide technical details of the Vue2 circuit board and signals to the ESP32 controller.
If Emporia aren’t monetizing the data in the cloud, it would be awesome if they share some technical information about the circuit and signals to the controller. I can see that it has a ESP32 and a secondary controller (presumably to multiplex all the CT channels). With some information on which pins connect to what and how the multiplexing works, the community could easily create custom firmware to meet our needs. It would be easy to solder on some Swiss machine pins to have ready access the serial interface of the ESP32 (I cannot confirm nor deny that I’ve already done this).
Once any customer starts soldering on the board and installing new firmware, they’re not going to have any reasonable claim to warranty or technical support. So, by simply providing some documentation, Emporia would be making many of the technical enthusiasts happy and not have to spend development resources on a local data API. Plus, any semi-technical customers that want to go the custom firmware route would be helped by the community.
Once the custom firmware gets going and word is out in the home automation community, it will only help sales. (And it would build a lot of good will with the enthusiast community!)