Frient test: an electricity measurement interface for home automation boxes

Our opinion on the Frient Electricity Meter Interface

Frient Electricity Meter Interface

frient Electricity Meter Interface | Electricity Consumption Monitoring | Wireless Meter Readings | Zigbee | Works with SmartThings and Homey

Price as of: May 16, 2022 18 h 58 min

Among the many possibilities offered by home automation boxes, there is one that appeals to many users: measuring your energy consumption. As we often say, "Knowledge is power", and as such monitor your electricity consumption can help spot any abnormalities and act quickly to avoid a painful surprise. Although many of us are now equipped with the Linky communicating meter, it may nevertheless be useful to add a device such as theFrient electricity measurement interface which, as we will see, is not limited to this use ...

Frient Electricity Meter Interface: the sensor that keeps you up to speed ...

Unboxing

As the ZigBee smoke detector, the Frient electricity measurement interface comes in a pleasing green packaging that promises us to become energy sensitive, or " energy-aware In the language of Shakespeare.

On the back, we learn that this sensor for electric meter uses protocol ZigBee 1.2 and that it is compatible with Homey, but also with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Very good news, isn't it? Note, moreover, that it is obviously possible to use it with most home automation boxes and even with a simple hub SmartThings.

Regarding the design, our Frient Electricity Meter Interface isn't a beauty cannon, but knowing that we're going to lock it in our meter closet, that's not really a concern. The device is composed of a black block of black plastic enclosing a electronic circuit EN 13757-2 and a optical sensor.

The body of the device measures 7,0 cm wide for 11,5 cm high et 3.5 cm thick. Its feeding is carried out using 3 AA batteries quite classic, and furnished, which offer it a two-year autonomy even as he goes up the information every 5 seconds to your box. The sobriety of the ZigBee is not a myth! It presents a coaxial input of 3.5 mm intended to receive the cable of the sensor…

Finally, we find a rather compact optical sensor. Equipped with a hooking system of the Velcro type, it is intended to be placed directly on the LED of your electricity meter. Indeed, you are not unaware of it, the rate of blinking of this LED is directly related to that of your electricity consumption. The principle is therefore based on its measurement.

For the most worried, note that this sensor is not likely to cause you problems with your energy supplier since it is non invasive and just counts the frequency of the counter LED for you. No need to "deplete" your meter!

Information

Before proceeding to its installation, here are the technical specifications of the Frient electrical measurement interface for the most curious.

  • Brand : Frient
  • Product : Frient Electricity Meter Interface
  • Hardware : EN 13757-2
  • Software : based on IEC 62056-7-5
  • Dimensions: 115 x 35 x 70 mm
  • Food : 3 x AA alkaline battery
  • Autonomy : 2 years (at normal room temperature),
  • Ascent interval : 5 seconds,
  • RF sensitivity : -98dBm
  • Range of use : -20 to + 60 ° C and 5 to 85% RH
  • Compatibility : Norwegian HAN, Linky, LED electricity meters
  • Protocol : Zigbee Home Automation 1.2
  • Compliance : CE, RoHS and REACH

Installation of the Frient sensor on the Linky electricity meter

Mise en Place

Installation is really easy. It is moreover by writing the test of Frient Electricity Meter Interface that we have consulted the instructions, the installation does not really present the slightest difficulty.

In short, all you need to do is:

  1. Remove the cover of the case,
  2. Set up the three AA batteries (supplied),
  3. Stick the Velcro around the LED of your electricity meter (Linky or not),
  4. Position the sensor on the LED,
  5. Secure the module (or not) nearby thanks to the adhesive provided ...

All we have to do is pair it to our ZigBee network ...

Installation in Homey

Having seen above that the interface was compatible, we chose to install the Frient electricity sensor on our home automation box Homey Pro. If you have already ordered the brand new Homey Bridge, it will be exactly the same procedure!

TO READ :
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  1. Press the "+" top right,
  2. Choose the app Frient,
  3. Select "Electricity Meter Interface",
  4. Press 15 seconds on the pairing button,
  5. It is done !

We now find our sensor in our Homey dashboard with the energy consumption in kWh and instantaneous electrical power in Watt. No additional settings available, the data reporting interval being fixed at 5 seconds, which is largely sufficient in our opinion.

But the most interesting thing is obviously to consult the statements over several days. This will allow you to follow the evolution of your electricity consumption over one or more hours, one or more days, and of course per week, month, year ...

Dance Homey Insights, all you have to do is select energy and / or electrical power, as well as the measurement range.

This can allow you, as during our test, to detect an anomaly in power consumption ...

Regarding automations, you are spoiled for choice and can create Flows based on energy consumption and instantaneous power, define thresholds and program alerts, and much more ...

Finally, you will find your sensor for electric meter in the Energy dashboard of the Homey application. Perfectly integrated, the Frient electric sensor is recognized as communicating meter and its measurements are not counted with those of your other devices.

Amazon Alexa and Google Home

Although indicated as compatible, we were unable to get the Frient Electricity Meter Interface back up with our voice assistants. It is possible, not to say probable, that this feature is only effective with a hub SmartThings, but we don't have any in our lab. Anyway, the interest seems relatively limited to us anyway knowing that this device will generally be used with a home automation box which will allow much more extensive automation than the routines. Alexa or Google Home.

Note, moreover, that in our case, our box goes back well to the Flows created in scenes in Alexa like Google Home. If you have integrated your Pregnant Amazon Echo in Homey, Home Assistant or even Jeedom, you are aware that you can use your voice assistant to enhance your automations.

TO READ :
Homey Bridge, a new home automation solution at a low price!

Our opinion

The sensor for electric meter Frient Electricity Meter Interface is an interesting product. If, of course, it is particularly suitable for those who do not yet have a smart meter, it can also be used for those who do not want or cannot use their API with their home automation box. This is the case, in particular, for users of the Homey box which does not yet offer Linky integration. It can also be interesting for measure the consumption of an addiction...

Easy to install, it is just as easy to pair it with a ZigBee gateway. The procedure takes less than 15 seconds and the first data comes back very quickly. The 5 second interval seems like a good balance between latency and autonomy, the latter being announced for 24 months. This period of time makes it possible to consider automations at the end of the washing machine cycle, for example.

During our four weeks of testing, we only had to deplore two small stalls, but these were probably related as much to the limited power of our Homey Pro as to the location of the collective meter cabinet located two floors lower in the common areas. The configuration being far from ideal, we can not blame him, especially since he managed to "hang up" the network without intervention on our part each time. In a house or an apartment with a meter located at a reasonable distance from your ZigBee gateway, you should therefore not encounter any particular difficulties and it can be considered that its range is excellent.

As for the measured data, they appear to us fair and consistent, completely in line with our various tests. The switching on and off of various energy-consuming devices has always been immediately visible.

Note, finally, that its optical operation allows to consider its installation on a gas meter, a simple accessory (for the Gazpar meter, for example) allowing it to be easily diverted from its original destination. We will come back to this in a future article, when the GRDF technicians have finally honored their meeting ...

Offered at a price of € 70 at Domadoo, the measurement interface for Frient electricity meters is therefore a smart connected object that we recommend to all energy control enthusiasts and other home automation fans. Another success for Develco and its brand Frient!
Fascinated by Alexa since the day I received it in beta test, I gradually became passionate about the subject, before deciding to go further by creating a site with Jean-Christophe. An activity that allows me to quench my thirst for new technologies and share my discoveries about the nicest of communities: Les Alexiens.