Emporia Energy wishes to welcome you to our latest offering: the Vue Expansion Module for Gen 1 Vues! Our engineers have worked hard to build add-on capabilities to enhance the function of our Vue platform. The new features include the ability to monitor up to eight (8!) specific circuits in your panel. With no guesswork. The new functionality allows you to focus your attention on the electricity loads you find most important to your lifestyle. Whether your intend to monitor specific large equipment, save money, save energy, or save carbon, the Vue Expansion Module puts the right tool in your hands.
More Function, More Sophistication
We designed the Expansion Module to integrate seamlessly with our original Gen 1 Vue hardware (Expansion Modules cannot be used with Gen 2 hardware). Consequently, we kept ease and simplicity in mind. However, because the expansion allows monitoring of up to eight circuits, installation may prove somewhat more involved. As a guideline, we suggest allowing between 30 and 60 minutes for the initial work as opposed to the 15 to 30 minutes for the original Vue. Additionally, you may consider looking ahead to a few further 30-minute sessions over time as you learn more about the power workings of your home.
The extra time requirement derives from two sources. First, we need to install eight 50A current sensors (also known as current transducers [CTs]) as opposed to the two 200A current sensors required for the Vue. Second, most of us live in homes whose breaker panels lack (how shall we put this nicely…?) “complete” labeling. Therefore, we may choose to change the location of certain current sensors as we discover better how individual circuits operate.
The Good News
Ultimately, we will be rewarded for our work. Simply put, we will gain knowledge around the inner workings of our homes. And so doing will allow us to assert control over our energy use in ways that will surprise us!
More Good News
Those of us with an installed Vue energy monitor recall well the repeated cautions about the live mains. These warnings appear because we generally cannot turn off power from the utility meter at our own panels.
That said, the current sensors for the Expansion Module clamp to circuits located behind the main breaker. Therefore, when we turn this main breaker OFF, we work on un-powered circuits. Although Emporia still recommends working with a qualified electrician, some customers comfortable and experienced with electricity may choose to configure the module on their own. In all cases, Emporia cautions to wear appropriate protective gear as outlined in the Installation Guide.
Helpful Hints Beyond the Installation Guide
Emporia includes an installation guide with each purchased Expansion Module. The following supplementary information helps further guide those performing an installation. We hope that the additional color enhances your welcome to the Vue Expansion Module!
Connecting the Module to the Vue (Step 5)
The Vue connects to the module by way of a cable equipped with two identical 4-pole audio jacks. Both jacks must secure to their respective ports in an absolutely flush manner with the connected devices. So doing assures that power flows to the module — and that data flows back to the Vue for delivery to your phone.
To provide greater certainty around these connections, consider carefully powering the panel once you have secured both jacks. A blinking green LED inside the Expansion Module indicates a successful connection. Note that this light resides inside the casing and may be difficult to see in bright ambient conditions; simply shield the module with your hands to test. As an aid, the photograph in the section below indicates the approximate location of the anticipated green, blinking LED light on the Expansion Module.
If the light fails to illuminate, then attempt to push the jacks more forcefully into their respective sockets — being careful to avoid contact with any powered circuits. You can also try switching the direction of the cable (and therefore switching jacks) between the Vue and the Expansion Module.
Connecting Sensors to Circuits (Step 7)
Depending on the configuration of your panel and the number of current sensors you seek to use, the space might feel somewhat crowded! Once again, we fortunately can shut off power to all but the mains by throwing the main breaker switch. Doing so allows more secure tracing of wires in the panel and facilitates spreading the clamps out.
The picture below shows installation of a Vue and Expansion Module with eight current sensors in a residential panel. Note that Emporia offers packages of four sensors available for sale in its store. Further, note that the photo shows a basement sub-panel rather than a main panel. Therefore, no main breaker appears. Consequently, to ensure safe working conditions during installation, the breaker for this sub-panel remained in the OFF position at the main breaker .
Strategy Suggestion for Location and Installation of Expansion Module Sensors
The picture demonstrates how the eight 50A sensors have been spread out in the panel. Pay attention in particular to the left-hand side of the panel that contains six of those sensors. Clearly, the top several sensors are clamped well away from the breakers to which the monitored circuit wires are attached. Also note that the extra length of sensor wire remains spooled neatly inside its plastic wrap. This effect is achieved by pulling the jack end from the spool to the desired length without disturbing the tie fastener or the wrap. Kind of a nice Pro Tip!
Installing Multiple Vue Systems
As noted above, the installation photo applies to a basement sub-panel. The main panel in this home is located in the garage. In order to monitor both the main and the sub panels, the owner of this home chose to install a Vue and an Expansion Module at both locations.
The Emporia app easily handles the addition of multiple Vues, each with or without an accompanying Expansion Module. So doing not only helps homeowners with additional panels, but also property managers responsible for several properties. For convenience, all Vues and circuits can be labeled individually as shown below through Settings>Manage Devices.
The lead photo for this article demonstrates the app view for the main panel in the home described above. As indicated, the panel has its own name (“Garage Main”) as do each of the circuits monitored. Additionally, the same naming is available for additional Vues and Expansion Modules as shown below, where the sub-panel is labeled “Basement Sub” and the individual circuits have yet to be named.
We at Emporia Energy are committed to continued evolution of our products and services. Clearly, this spirit applies to this welcome for you to the Vue Expansion Module! As a result, you can count on future upgrades to our app to keep pace with new capabilities. As always, we thank you for your support and appreciate suggestions for how we can best meet your needs!