Setup and Usage Impressions

The UFO Power Center caught our fancy because power consumption measurement is something we do for almost all products that we review. Using a Kill-a-Watt is not very accurate, while the Watts Up? meters are very costly for our particular purpose. The UFO Power Center is continuing to serve us well. However, with more devices being tested simultaneously, and lab space at a premium, we started looking for something more down to earth in terms of industrial design. The mPower Pro fit our needs perfectly, but Ubiquiti was having some supply issues when we were looking for a unit to test out. In the end, we landed up with the mPower 3-outlet version.


The mPower unit comes with a wall mounting plate, screws, a CD with the mFi software and a quick start guide along with the main unit. From the outside, it looks every bit like a conventional power strip. In addition to the circuit breaker reset button on the side, it also has a factory reset button. A flashing LED on the front panel provides status information.

Setup Process

The setup process for the mPower is quite similar to that of the UFO Power Center. When powered up, the device creates an ad-hoc wireless network. Upon connecting a PC to the ad-hoc network, the unit's web UI is accessible. The browser interface allows for selecting and entering credentials for the Wi-Fi network to which the unit is supposed to connect. Our mPower unit was originally running firmware version 1.2.3 , but upgrading to 2.0.7 brought a lot of interesting features.

Gallery: mPower Setup

The firmware update could be processed only after linking up the mPower unit with a mFi controller instance. The mFi is a Java-based software which proved very difficult to install on my Windows 8 machine. It also got complicated a bit because I had mFi installed on multiple computers on the same network (not the usual scenario for most end-users). I eventually got it working on a Windows 7 setup. The default credentials for the unit are printed on the box (ubnt/ubnt). However, linking the unit to a mFi instance overrides these credentials with those used for the mFi.

Using the mPower

The controller software is a full-fledged automation suite with support for rules and other features. It will not be covered in detail because this review is about the mPower unit specifically. Suffice to say that all the parameters of the mPower unit (names and status of the outlets, power consumption recording etc.) can be viewed, recorded, used for rules and altered as applicable through the mFi interface.

The browser interface for the mPower in the firmware version 1.2.3 was minimal and only provided statistics related to the network connection and some logs related to it. In 2.0.7, the Controls tab was introduced and this provides a way for users to control outlet status and check up on the instantaneous values of the electrical parameters (as shown in the gallery above).

Introduction Inside the mPower
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • easp - Thursday, November 21, 2013 - link

    I'm intrigued by it for controlling some relatively dumb devices that draw a lot of power, like space heaters, a dehumidifier and a floor-standing AC unit. With this, a cheap wireless weather and temp/humidity system I've already hacked, and a few scripts, I could easily start controlling things based on things like presence, differences between indoor and outdoor temps, etc.

    That obviously isn't something your average person is going to do, but it isn't hard to imagine that sort of thing becoming turn-key.
  • bznotins - Thursday, November 21, 2013 - link

    When my home server (which I use as my personal cloud) hard-locks when I'm on the road, it would be nice to power-cycle it remotely. This will let me do that, so I ordered it.

    Sample size of one, but there are people that can use this kind of device.
  • jason32 - Friday, November 22, 2013 - link

    Why is your server crashing like that and often enough for you to consider getting the mPower? You should probably fix that first before looking into the last resort power cycling solution.
  • bznotins - Wednesday, November 27, 2013 - link

    It only does it about once a month. Pretty hard to diagnose.

    But that once a month always seems to be when I'm on the road and can't power-cycle it in-person?

    Is this power strip a panacea? No. But my point is that there is a use for it.
  • azazel1024 - Thursday, November 21, 2013 - link

    I feel like an important piece of information is missing. How much does the mFi mPower ITSELF user in terms of power. It sounds interesting and I certainly have tons of ideas on how I could use it (or other could). However, a large part of that would be power savings.

    If the thing burns 5w of power though...that just might tip it from possibly saving power in some usage scenarios to burning more power than it saves.
  • ganeshts - Sunday, November 24, 2013 - link

    I will update the article shortly.. It consumes slightly less than 1W when idle.
  • samsp99 - Thursday, November 21, 2013 - link

    Last weekend I found a similar product from quirky at home depot. In conjunction with GE they have a line of wifi connected products, including a sensor, egg monitor, guage dashboard, and a power strip with two outlets that can be remotely switched from an iOS or Android device.
    The cool thing is to program them you "blink" them by holding a smartphone screen against a sensor that detects a flashing sequence on the screen. This is based on tech from Electric Imp which developed the chipset and has a developer kit and SDK for building your own devices.

    I bought the power strip for fun, but with an eye to controlling the xmas lights, so I can have them on a timer, but also switch on and off on demand.
  • Kurge - Thursday, November 21, 2013 - link

    Might be moderately interesting if it support Vera. Would be even more interesting if it was a standard power outlet that fits in a normal box.

    As it stands - meh.
  • drizzo4shizzo - Thursday, November 21, 2013 - link

    Don't plug your wifi router into it...
  • nekoken - Thursday, November 21, 2013 - link

    According to your screenshot this device has 32MB of ram, not 16.

    I may have to buy one or more of these. This looks like a good way to kick my children off of specific electronic devices remotely. ssh in and BAM!

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now