Introducing the Onzo Smart Energy Kit

We've been bold enough to describe the new Onzo Smart Energy Kit as 'revolutionary' but from looking at the images, apart from it's appealing design, you might assume that the Onzo is just another monitor.  But it isn't.  Onzo have created a wireless energy monitor system which makes saving energy easy for everyone by building intelligence into the display.  The Onzo monitors and learns your existing energy use pattern and then sets personal daily household targets to help you reduce consumption.  Onzo is the only monitor to do this.  We're also pretty smitten with the idea that you never need to change the batteries in the ingenious energy harvesting sensor.

To find out more about the exciting new Onzo Smart Energy Kit, you can read our full review below.

The Onzo brand

Onzo describe themselves as a company which "provides utility companies with customer intelligence solutions" and clearly, until now, much of their focus appears to have been directed towards the development of energy monitoring hardware and software in partnership with major utility group Scottish & Southern Energy.  Product research and development is carried out in-house by thier own engineers who work closely with the software design team to create original and patented energy monitoring solutions.  We've been following the development of the Onzo Smart Energy Kit with interest for a couple of years, primarily because it has been widely known within the industry that the Onzo transmitter unit would be the first designed to wirelessly 'harvest' its power from the cable to which it is clamped.  In practical terms, this would mean never having to replace batteries in the transmitter.  We found this clever idea intriguing and couldn't wait to get our hands on one.

Well now it's here, and yes, it does indeed have an energy harvesting transmitter clamp, but it turns out that this funky looking wireless electricity monitor packs plenty more groundbreaking technology than that, which has taken us completely by surprise!

Onboard intelligence

The Onzo display is strikingly simple and uncluttered, almost child-like.  There's no multitude of modes and sub-menus to navigate through to access stored data.  In fact, there are hardly any buttons at all.  So what makes the Onzo Smart Energy Kit so revolutionary?  Putting it simply, Onzo is the first to utilize what can best be described as 'intelligence'. While monitoring your consumption, the Onzo learns and understands how you use electricity within your home.  Through its 'Energy Tools' the Onzo display is then able to tell you how your energy saving efforts are performing against your own unique consumption pattern.  This is a first for wireless electricity monitors.  With the Onzo monitor you don't need to be smart to save electricity, the Energy Tools and personalised daily use target will guide you.

Revolutionary transmitter with no data lossOnzo transmitter & sensor

We knew the Onzo transmitter clamp would be harvesting free power to top up its own internal battery and we thought this was pretty neat.  We've been even more impressed to find out that the transmitter will run for several weeks without needing to harvest any power at all, so no problems with holidays and power outages.  Other wireless electricity monitor transmitters send data to the display every four to six seconds.  Incredibly, despite never needing to change the transmitter batteries, the Onzo display is updated every single second.  Combine this 'per second' sampling with Onzo's unique 'power factor' detection and we appear to have a recipe for pretty accurate electricity monitoring. During our own internal tests, we've found that the Onzo monitor tracks daily supply meter readings to approximately +/-1% making it the most accurate monitor we've tested so far!

Perhaps the most startling revelation is that the Onzo transmitter isn't just a transmitter.  It's actually a transceiver meaning that it can receive as well as transmit.  The display unit is a transceiver too.  We didn't understand the relevance of this until we curiously removed the battery pack from the display unit.  On replacing the battery pack we were horrified to discover that our accumulated energy use data had vanished!  To our surprise, after no more than a minute or so, the data magically reappeared.  But where did it come from?  Answer:  The transmitter stores the data!  When we powered up the display, it requested the data from the sensor, which was duly transmitted, and both units were 'synchronized'.  This two way system ensures that no data is lost, even if the transmitter and receiver loose contact with each other.

The only downside of having so much technology packed into the sensor is that despite being fairly small for a transmitter, for a CT clamp it's pretty big.  The unit measures 90mm x 67mm x 40mm.  The part of the transmitter which clamps around the power cable needs attaching to a fairly straight cable section at least 70mm long.  This means if access to the wires around your meter is tight, the sensor may not fit.

Accurate, inclusive cost calculations

We get a lot of enquiries from customers setting up their new monitors, asking how to enter the two different rates in pence per unit for the initial and subsequent units.  The answer for all monitors so far has been that it's not possible.  This has always meant that users either had to 'guestimate' a rate per unit taking into account the two charges, or just set the monitor to the lower rate.  This inevitably leads to somewhat hit and miss estimates of weekly/monthly energy cost figures on the display and in any computer programs written to interpret the data.  During setup of the Onzo display we were surprised to find it asking for the 'Standing Charge' to be entered in pence per day.  This may not seem immediately relevant because most consumers consider themselves to be on a 'No Standing Charge' tariff.  The reality is that all electricity tariffs incorporate a standing charge, which for split rate billing is simply hidden in the initial higher rate per unit.  You can calculate your own standing charge by subtracting the low rate from the high rate and multiplying the result by the number of units to which the high rate applies.  If the number of higher rate units is quoted as an annual total, you divide by 365 for the daily rate.  If the higher rate units are given for just a quarter, you divide by 91.

Setting the daily standing charge makes it possible for the Onzo to provide more realistic totals and targets for your electricity use in pounds and pence.

Onzo display -
Clever, yet simple

The Onzo display unit is clearly constructed to a very high standard from good quality high density plastics, its compact form fitting comfortably in the hand.  The green coloured outer trim is rubbery and tactile, giving the unit a tough, ruggedised feel which we find confident and reassuring.  For power, the Onzo display uses an environmentally friendly rechargeable RAM alkaline battery pack. Although the battery pack should last a few weeks between charges from the supplied adaptor, we'd advise charging more frequently to extend its useful life because unlike NiCads, RAM alkaline batteries like to be topped up.  The reversible back panel provides flexible free-standing, fridge magnet or key-hook mounting options.  The buttons for setting up the display are covered by the back panel, and we noticed that they need to be pressed quite hard.  On further consideration, we believe this to be a sensible intentional design feature making it less likely for the display settings to be 'accidentally' altered when Onzo is being used by young children.

There's only one external button, which toggles the display between Power and Cost view.  In Power view, the figures on the display are expressed in Watts and kWh (Units).  The main figure shown is Power Now in Watts.  This figure updates every second and constantly shows how much electricity is being used as devices are switched on and off throughout the home. Two further areas show your personalised Daily Target for electricity use in kWh and your accumulated use Today in kWh.  To save energy you just need to keep your accumulated Today use below the Daily Target.  A warning symbol from the Energy Tools bar activates whenever Onzo thinks that you may exceed your Daily Target, prompting you to switch off and save.  Three further Energy Tool symbols indicate (i) when your electricity use is excessively high compared to your normal use pattern, (ii) when the National Grid is experiencing high load and (iii) when you are managing to keep the household electricity 'base load' to your calculated bare minimum.  The accuracy of the Daily Target and Energy Tools increases as the Onzo system learns more about your electricity use over time.  For Cost view, the figures are shown in pounds and pence.  In the main display area, Onzo shows you how much you have spent on electricity so far this week.  The two other figures show your personalised weekly cost target and how much you spent last week.  Again, the Energy Tools will warn you if Onzo predicts that you may exceed your weekly target, prompting energy saving action.

The display also incorporates a temperature reading, a battery level meter, an indicator reminding you to synchronise the display with the Web Service when needed, and a sensor out of range warning - although from our range tests we doubt you'll be seeing this one very often!

 

Onzo:  Intelligent. Simple. Accurate.

We're really impressed with the Onzo Smart Energy Kit.  Despite being the most technically advanced system produced to date, it's really easy to set up and use.  There's something friendly and appealing about it.  The Onzo re-examines the reasons for using a home energy monitor and emphasizes the core energy saving principles in a new and intelligent way, using technology and ingenuity to make saving energy simple for everyone to understand.

£20.90

Onzo Smart Energy Kit

The Onzo Smart Energy Kit is a revolutionary new wireless electricity monitor.  Onzo's intelligent display learns and understands your household electricity consumption pattern and guides you to make savings with its unique and easy to follow Energy Tools.  The self-powered sensor and transmitter unit wirelessly 'harvests' free energy from the supply cable and stores up to ten years' daily electricity use data.  Onzo's per second sampling and automatic power factor detection promote reliable consumption figures and accurately convert these to pounds and pence, even taking into account standing charges and split rate tariffs.

With the new Onzo, everyone can be an energy saving expert.

Product Detail