Welcome to the GridSpy FAQ page. These questions and answers are based on real discussions with clients.
We intend this to be a living document and will regularly review and update this document and recommend you check here regularly for answers to your questions.
Still have questions? Please get in contact and we will respond as soon as we can.
Review Date: 02 August 2013.
GridSpy Limited is a privately owned New Zealand company that specialises in engineering complete and elegant Energy Monitoring Solutions. All development and engineering is proudly New Zealand based. As much of the manufacturing as possible is kept in New Zealand. We pride ourselves on our customer service and our quick responding to needs, this includes responding to the market with the right product for the right time.
GridSpy aims to be the go to off the shelf Product in energy monitoring and prides itself on ease of install, use and functionality. Gridspy can be used to measure any circuit, be it part of an embedded network or not. This makes it ideal for installing into an existing building and is perfect for new builds, or additional monitoring on loads such as reheats.
Once monitoring is in place information is uploaded to secure servers. All sensor information is then presented to through a Cloud Dash that is accessible from anywhere and can be opened up to stakeholders as required. There you can see up to the minute data and can watch the power usage second by second as it updates on the screen. This makes it far easier to educate and engage staff with energy saving. We have found that businesses that install GridSpy monitoring report changes in staff behaviour are fast, resulting in almost immediate benefits to reducing energy use and the bottom line.
GridSpy energy monitoring can be used to measure a variety of other things apart from electricity. From customers through the door, to water, gas, temperature and air quality. It also works in with a range of off the shelf analogue sensors.
The GridSpy Energy Monitoring Solution has been designed to remain simple, modular and adaptable. To begin all you may require is a GridHub and a GridNode with associate circuit transformers (CTs) to clip on to loads. The standard 15amp 60amp CTs are provided with the kit (see the pricelist for upgrades for larger loads). These clips will plug into the GridNode. Over radio the GridNode will send this information to the GridHub, usually within 100m or so away. The GridHub requires an internet connection and will upload this collected data (Connection Overview) to your personal Cloud Dash to view.
The System is designed to allow you to ‘drill-down’ into the data and pull live data from the loads, not wait around for 30-minute or 15-minute updates. The simplicity of the circuit clipping and the amount of circuits the system can tolerate means you can measure very specific loads if you wish, like that fourth floor kettle.
The GridSpy energy Monitoring Solution is compliant with NABERS Australia when Nodes and Hubs are installed alongside the 3-phase Voltage Monitoring Kit. GridSpy has worked successfully across business in Australia wishing to become or remain NABERS Australia compliant.
GridSpy has carefully combed through the NABERS New Zealand rule book and consulted with experts and as a result tweaked our technology to comply. Yes, GridSpy meets compliance in New Zealand with our NABERSNZ 3-Phase Voltage Kit with embedded GridNode+. Give us a call to discuss further.
We can verify that the device has an on board cumulative counter (viewed on the Cloud) and is accurate within 2% for measuring kWh today. We are constantly improving this accuracy.
All GridSpy devices have the relevant laboratory approvals and safety ratings for their use in New Zealand and Australia, and for the wireless solution used. We are in the process of gaining approvals for use in North America (including Canada), The United Kingdom, and across The Pacific.
See http://gridspy.com/devices.html for more information on our devices. Regularly review this page for updates and the launch of new products.
GridSpy was designed from scratch to be very easy to install and remains the easiest solution on the market. This makes it possible to have it installed and comissioned in a single day using the labour of your favorite electrician.
It is equally easy to remove a system so that it can be transported to different site.
GridSpy is well suited to installations into live boards without interrupting the power supply, and it is physically impossible for it to fault and interrupt power to the monitored loads.
See the complete Installation Guide to see for yourself just how simple a GridSpy installation is.
The GridSpy 100m-1000m radio link is extremely robust.
The 1000m communication guide between the GridNodes and the GridHub is our line of sight rating without obstruction and without aerial assistance. We usually use 100m as a conservative figure accounting for obstructions and no aerial use. We have found in optimum conditions and with aerials they have a much longer range. Issues that impede range include being placed in solid metal boxes or near very very dense concrete walls. The provided aerials usually assist with this and we have yet to encounter topography that we cannot design a work around for.
Most likely you won't obtain the full 1000m line of sight if there are obstructions, however you can use a long range directional aerial to boost the signal (this is more than our standard aerial).
You'll find info on our Terms and Legal stuff here:Legal
An install at a large Port in New Zealand where the GridHub is installed in one building and the GridNodes are installed in a near-by concrete substation building. These are separated by about 100m including a train track, several other buildings and shipping containers. No communication difficulties were encountered.
On a different part of the same site a GridHub is installed in a small office 100m away (and through a concrete wall) from a distribution board feeding the lights of a very large storage area. The same GridHub is also communicating with another GridNode 200m away (through 3 concrete walls) which is monitoring the other "shed". In both these case the GridNodes communicated with the GridHub without issue.
GridSpy is also installed in several office buildings, some schools and various mobile phone cell sites, to name a few. All sites are carefully considered and scoped to make the maximum use of the GridSpy system. The System and the GridHub itself is carefully engineered to avoid communications issues and recover from them should they occur, i.e, if the GridHub fails in its internet connection for any reason it will hold the data for up to six months in 1-second resolution and upload it once the connection has been established.
We have many sites where Hubs and Nodes are communicating between floors. In our own building the GridHub is located on the 3rd floor and the GridNodes on the ground floor
We find in that case that the transmission to the ground floor is less of a radio issue than the fact that the distribution board is behind the lift shaft and the signal has to penetrate the structural internal walls of the building (on an angle!).
Typically you can put a GridHub on every 5th floor. It then communicates with the floors immediately above and below. Eg 2nd Floor hub for Ground to 4th floor. 7th floor Hub for 5th - 9th floor and so on. Often however enough GridNodes are required that you put them closer together.
There is a logistical issue here around pairing GridNodes to the correct GridHubs. This is currently manual but we're working on a software solution to do this automatically.
Yes, extremely so. For large orders we request notice and you should expect at least a 6-week delay prior to delivery of the full order. We can handle 100s and 1000s of sites, with up to 20 GridHubs (600 circuits) within radio range of each other.
For more than 10 sites installed at once, we'll help you stage the installation to get you installing the first site quickly (often within a week) while we get the balance of your order to you.
The system is also extremely modular so it is easy to specify the right system for a given site and to grow your system over time. It also means that additional kit can be installed on an as-needed basis.
The simple install reduces the cost of multiple site installations as the install time is short and predictable.
Yes you can do all of this with the GridSpy System. We can grab additional data from other monitoring and alternative energy sources and display in the one GridSpy dash. A single Dashboard can combine data collected from multiple physical locations anywhere in the world and you can view this on your cloud dash in whatever manner works best for you.
We can also ‘white-label’ the dash for you if required so you can integrate it into existing display software.
We synchronize and consolidate the data from many GridHubs spread across the same or multiple sites into one dashboard for you. This is particularly useful when exporting data from GridSpy.
The GridHub uses your internet connection to synchronize its internal 6 months of data storage to the cloud whenever you are online. Point your most technical people at our Connection Overview to learn exactly how this works. Typically no configuration is required at your end unless you're installing into a Bank or similar complex network.
Our servers in the cloud then store this data and present it to you when you access your Cloud Dash. They also send live readings each second directly to your browser while you watch.
Yes we can. Please get in touch to discuss your needs.
Raw data can be exported in CSV. Historic data at 1 minute resolution is stored forever and always accessible. 1 second data is stored for up to 6 months on the GridHub but is not currently user accessible, instead being transparently aggregated and synchronized to the cloud. What you see on the dash is the aggregated data, and the period of that aggregation (i.e 5, 15 or 30 minute) is specified by you when you export.
We can also provide a live feed of raw 1 second data to the users of your dashboard should that be useful to you.
Finally we're happy to white-label our Dashboard, applying your brand to our system. That can then be embedded within your site using a variety of technical means. Many cloud dashboards embed GridSpy data.
The current reporting suite in the system is limited. GridSpy provides the best Energy Monitoring tools for you and your experts to pull data and apply third party analysis to.
Alerts are a feature that will improve the GridSpy System and is currently under development and will be applied the cloud dash when available. Like most new features, alerts will be applied to your account when available.
Please talk to us and we can talk you through the install process. It really is simple. We suggest you look at
GridSpy PDF resources (in particular the installation guide)
and decide for yourself how much training is really required. GridSpy really is considerably simpler than any other monitoring solution. GridSpy has been engineered from the ground up to remain elegant, and this includes in its ease of use.
Note you will require the services of an electrician to fit the CTs to the loads of interest.
GridSpy has an up-front equipment/product charge and a Subscription Service monthly charge. The Base Subscription Service charged per calendar month will never increase for existing clients (even for inflation), though we reserve the right to decrease it. The Base Subscription is calculated against the amount of GridNodes on a site. Please see more on this in our Terms of Service and on our Price List.
Beyond the Product purchase price and Subscription Service charge there are no charges at all. No incomplete kits requiring more components, unless the scope increases. No surcharges, license or maintenance fees. No hidden costs.
Our complete pricelist is available online. Note that all monitoring kits come complete with 15A or 60A CTs, depending on need. Upgrades up to 5000A are available at your cost.
The GridSpy Base Subscription fee covers, but is not limited to, all ongoing software upgrades, secure and ongoing offsite storage of data, maintenance of and access to the data in the cloud, improvements to the access and presentation of the data and the online dashboard, all ongoing email and phone support for the life of the product including during commissioning, all supporting administrative and infrastructure support required to bring you this service. This is the Base Subscription Service and is the base for all future tiered offerings.
The GridSpy subscription is paid whether or not you are regularly uploading data to the web or accessing your dash. Once you have purchased a system you have agreed to the full Terms as set out in The Terms of Service document and the Terms of Sale document.
The Subscription Service is calculated against the amount of GridNodes per site, but is in no way related to only the GridNodes or to the collection of, or the uploading of, live data; it is the full service as outlined above. We find calculating it against the GridNodes allows us to accurately scope the level of service, infrastructure and support required.
As it currently stands, the Base Subscription Service is charged out at NZD $20 per GridNode per calendar month. GridSpy will never raise this amount for established sites and reserve the right to reduce it. For large sites or across many sites by the one organisation GridSpy reserves the right to offer a discount to the subscription calculation. Note: you cannot use the GridSpy Products and access the Cloud Dash without at least the Base Subscription Service.
This is unlikely. A Base Subscription calculated per node is for the secure offsite data storage as well as all ongoing support via phone and email and for continual software updates and all the infrastructure the supports the GridSpy System and Service. It is not simply related to whether the hub goes online or not, or if the GridNodes are sending data to the Hub. There is no waiving of the fee if you keep the Hub offline.
Additionally, we do not offer the product in a standalone format or for uploading to a local server/computer due to the problems inherent with an onsite storage system. The GridSpy System was designed with this in mind and to operate best on the cloud where we look after the secure storage of your data and you can access it in real-time from any location and where the System can be regularly updated and the data receive the correct time stamps.
Yes we are open to discussing a discount to the subscription service for an upfront payment of 12+ months of service.
Additionally, as standard for nodes installed in the one site, once the first $100 (5 x GridNodes at $20 each) in subscriptions has been reached all following nodes are charged at half price ($10 a month). In limited cases and at our discretion this discount may be extended to multiple sites.
When quoting on provided specs the team at GridSpy will be able to provide more clear information on discounting according to the needs of the quote. Let us know the scope of the monitoring and we will provide you with a competitive quote.
No maintenance is required beyond ensuring that the GridNodes, GridHubs and the internet link is not disrupted as part of another project or business activity you partake.
The online software platform (the Cloud Dash) will continue to evolve during the lifetime of your installation and these improvements will be provided to you as part of the Base Subscription Service fee where technically possible. Any improvements to the software that runs the GridHub will also be auto downloaded.
Please make sure you have installed the system correctly including clipping the CTs the right way round on the correct circuits. Please use our Install Guide and Trouble Shooting Guide to assist you in this. Check also that you have commissioned properly following the guidelines found in the Configuration Guide. If you cannot work it out please email us or give us a call.
Each GridHub supports 5 GridNodes, each GridNode supports 6 AC inputs (also 2 counter inputs and 1 temperature input). That is a total of 30 AC inputs per GridHub.
There is a maximum of 20 GridHubs in range of each other on the same site. That means that one site can have 20*30 AC inputs for a total of 600 circuits monitored. If these are 3-phase loads then you need 3 "points" or "circuits" per load, for a total of 200 different loads.
If you have a highly distributed site and decide to use HalfNodes, there is still a limit of 5 Nodes (half or full) per GridHub.
The GridHub has 6 months of storage at 1 second resolution for all the inputs collected on the site.
The server then stores aggregated 1 minute data from all configured sensors forever.
We take regular backups of the database server. The GridHub's storage also acts as a backup for our server or for any communication issues that may occur. This prevents you from experiencing gaps during the inevitable internet outages that many of our clients experience within their own networks.
Our backups coupled with the GridHub's storage mean that you will not experience data loss with the GridSpy System.
We have several sites where the internet connection is periodically shut down for power saving or operation reasons and the system automatically and correctly synchronizes when the power is restored.
GridSpy has been designed to just work on any network, but that can be prevented with strict firewall settings. If you can't physically reach a network or change the firewall then 3G is a good solution.
Because GridSpy isn't fussy about a network, any 3G device with a Ethernet adapter will suffice. However, we recommend you use a device that takes a SIM card as the common type that take USB sticks are typically not reliable enough for "unsupervised" usage.
Expect your 3G connection to use around 60MB per month if the GridHub has 5 GridNodes and you view live data semi-frequently.
Read more: GridSpy Network Communications
The GridNode measures Amps and Power Factor. Assuming the voltage, it then measures Watts and takes power factor into account. It does not measure Harmonic distortion and loses accuracy if there is extreme distortion. Because it does not measure Volts directly, it is not suitable for NABERS ratings without the Voltage option.
Our current Voltage monitoring option provides the voltage component and so makes the system suitable for NABERS Australia. We are checking suitability with NABERS New Zealand.
We're also working on a new Voltage monitoring solution that can measure harmonic distortion in the voltage readings and thus both report on them and provide more accurate readings. This device will offer better than 1% accuracy measuring kWh, better still for Volts, Amps and Power Factor.
Our devices are fully enclosed, however they are expected to be installed within a distribution board or similar. For hostile environments you can install them within a larger IP67 sealed box. They have no ventilation requirements.
The GridNodes are in boxes with Ports for access. If you wish to make the installation tamper proof, you will need to seal the entire system within a tamper proof box.
We expect you to rest these into your IT cabinet. We don't currently have off the shelf mounting options available. However GridHubs are small and elegant and some clients simply rest them on their desks.
Our cables have a 2 meter length from the connector that plugs into the GridNode to the CT itself. Since the GridNodes are linked with a radio network is usually easy to place the GridNode within 2 meters of the measured load's cable.
Access to an AC circuit is required. This can be via a power point or wired in directly (see below). This is then used as a reference for calculating Power Factor as well as ensuring GridSpy maintains access to a reliable power source.
Each GridNode requires power from an AC power pack. We provide single power packs with 1 AC input cable and 2 AC output cables. These can then power 2 GridNodes.
You can cut the appliance lead off the power pack and wire it directly underneath a 10A breaker if that is available and then place the entire power supply within the distribution box.
We provide a DC adapter with the GridHub that must be plugged directly into a GPO, however the GridHub can also accept power from a GridNode AC supply if that is more convenient.
The GridSpy system is designed to be modular and adaptable. As the needs of the site develop GridSpy can respond to that need. Additional GridNodes and Hubs can be purchased as per the pricelist and be integrated with this system at no additional integration cost from GridSpy. Naturally they will still require physical installation and for someone to configure them online. Your Subscription cost will be adjusted to account for the new devices.
The GridSpy System is highly adaptable and is designed to be plug and play and user friendly. It is also usable alongside a range of ‘off-the-shelf’ measuring systems and can accept readings from many of these.
Yes. The Gridspy system has been designed and passed relevant testing with the expectation that an electrician familiar with your site will fit the CTs. We do not recommend that you clip the CTs onto loads yourself. GridSpy is not responsible for any failure in product and damage to the product, yourself, others, or the site if you fit the product without assistance of an electrician.
Note however that the system is generally plug-in and clip-on, so it is extremely simple and does not require running live wires, interrupting loads or anything complex. You should just be cautious and methodical when working near the live terminals and wiring found in distribution boards.
That is our current solution. We feed the voltage through a transformer and then into the AC input on the GridNode. The GridNode requires factory configuration to be used in this way, and we also calibrate the transformers.
However, we are currently developing a new device that will accept the full 230V signal from the mains for each phase directly on screw terminals and will not only measure voltage but also harmonics. It will also have AC inputs for CTs like a GridNode does.