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How to use your Trio Accessible IHD

By Denise Wilton

This guide explains how to use the Trio Accessible In-Home Display (IHD). This is an accessible IHD, designed with RNIB.

A photo of the Trio Accessible In-Home Display. It has 3 LED lights on the top and 3 buttons on the left and right. The screen is in the centre.

What is a Trio Accessible In-Home Display (IHD)?

An In-Home Display (IHD) is a small electronic device which tells you your energy usage in kilowatt hours (kWh), pounds and pence. It talks wirelessly to your smart meters and updates every 30 minutes for gas and every few seconds for electricity.

We offer the Trio Accessible IHD to members registered as blind or partially sighted on our Priority Services Register. The IHD includes text-to-speech for the screens and navigation, 6 large tactile buttons with positive feedback, and 3 separate LEDs to clearly indicate current electricity consumption.

In-Home Displays don't control your energy

Your IHD is a useful way to understand your energy usage, but it doesn't control your energy. If you press the wrong button on the display, or ignore it for a week, everything in your home will carry on working just fine.

An IHD is the small screen that the engineer will offer you once your smart meters are installed. But it's not the smart meter itself. Smart meters physically replace your old metering equipment, and unlike an IHD, they're usually tucked away in a cupboard.

Where to keep your In-Home Display

To make the most of your IHD, it’s useful to keep it plugged in somewhere you can easily reach. But it needs to keep a good connection with your smart meter too. So wherever you choose to put it, check the signal strength on the banner bar at the top of the screen. If the signal is weak, move the IHD closer to your electricity smart meter.

It's best to keep your In-Home Display plugged in

Normally, you should keep your IHD plugged in. But it has an internal, rechargeable battery which lasts about 4 hours.

If it’s unplugged and the screen goes blank, reconnect it to the mains adaptor to recharge the battery. You won’t lose any data if that happens. It will all come back to life when you plug it in again.

Getting started

Your IHD comes in a box with a stand, a charger, and a quickstart guide. It's also fitted with a rechargeable battery. Your engineer should have removed the battery tab and set up the IHD on its stand. If not, when you’re ready to set it up, remove the stand and pull out the battery tab.

Start by plugging in your IHD. The socket is at the back of the device, on the right. You’ll hear a quick jingle and then it will speak the following:

Your energy display is starting up. The display is connecting to the smart meter network. This can take up to 5 minutes, please wait.

Once your IHD is connected to the network, it will speak to let you know. 

It can take up to an hour after the initial setup for the gas consumption to show on the screen. So don't worry if it's not available straight away.

Your In-Home Display can speak the contents of each screen

The button that controls speech is on top of the device, in the centre. It's the middle LED. Once it's spoken, to hear something again, or to interrupt the speech at any time, press this button. You can also turn speech on and off by long pressing the button. A ‘long press’ means holding the button down for about 1 second.

To adjust the speech volume and repeat options, go to the Talking options screen, via the menu button: Menu > Settings > Talking options

What the buttons and LEDs mean

A black and white illustration of the Trio IHD. There are large numbers, from 1 to 6 on each button in the illustration, which corresponds to the text on the page below.

There are 7 buttons on the Trio: 3 on the left, 3 on the right, and 1 on the top in the centre.

The buttons on the left, from top to bottom:

1. Home button, printed with a small icon of a house. Press this button to return to the home screen.

2. Back button, printed with an arrow which curves round to the left. Press this to return to the previous screen.

3. Left arrow button, printed with a chevron which points to the left. Press this to navigate to the previous item on the screen. For example, the previous item on a list, or the previous tab.

The buttons on the right, from top to bottom:

4. Menu button, printed with three horizontal bars. Press this to open the menu for different options.

5. OK button, printed with the letters O and K. Press this to select an item, for example, something from the menu. Or press this to change an underlined item, for example to change between the energy cost and energy consumption.

6. Right arrow, printed with a chevron which points to the right. Press this to navigate to the next item on the screen.

LED Lights

There are 3 LED lights on the top of the IHD, which indicate your electricity usage. From left to right:

  • green is for low usage

  • amber is for medium usage

  • red is for high usage

The amber LED in the middle (number 7 in the illustration above) is also a button to interrupt or repeat the speech. A long press will turn the speech on or off.

The banner bar

This runs across the top of the home screen. On the left is an icon with 4 vertical bars which show the strength of the signal between your electricity smart meter and the IHD. The signal is stronger the closer the IHD is to the meter. So ideally, you should keep your IHD within about 5 metres of your electricity meter. 

If the signal between your IHD and your electricity meter is weak:

  • you will be alerted, if your speech is on

  • a warning triangle will appear on the left of the banner, and the banner will change from dark grey to red

The banner also displays:

  • a battery indicator, if you’re using the battery to power your IHD

  • a speaker icon with a small x, if you have the speech turned off

  • a digital clock on the right hand side

The home screen

The home screen is shown by default when your IHD is plugged in, and has a connection to your electricity smart meter.

An illustration of the information shown on the Now tab, for electricity only. There is a consumption dial on the right and representation of budget on the left.
In this example home screen, Bulb is only supplying electricity.

If Bulb is only supplying your electricity:

  • the left half of the screen will show your current electricity consumption

  • the right half will show your usage so far today 

If Bulb is supplying your electricity and gas, the information is divided into 3 tabs. From left to right these are:

  • Now

  • Today

  • Prepay - only shown if you have a prepay (top up) meter

If you pay for your energy monthly, the Now tab is the default. To move between the tabs, press the left and right arrow buttons. They’re the bottom buttons on the left and right of the screen.

The Now tab

An image of the information shown on screen when the Now tab is selected. There is a dial for electricity consumption on the left and a flame showing gas consumption on the right.
In this example home screen, Bulb is supplying electricity and gas.

The information on this screen is divided into 2 equal parts. The left half of the screen will show your current electricity consumption. The right half will show your gas consumption within the last 30 minutes.

Electricity consumption

This is shown as a dial, divided into 3 equal segments. From left to right:

  • green is for low usage

  • amber is for medium usage

  • red is for high usage

Under the dial is a number indicating your current rate of consumption. This can be shown as cost per hour (pounds and pence) or as consumption in kilowatts (kW). Press the OK button to switch between these units.

As your usage changes, the display will speak to indicate low, medium or high electricity usage. It will also speak the cost per hour or consumption now. It won’t speak more than once a minute, and you can press the top button (middle LED) to repeat the speech.

As the needle on the dial moves between the segments, the corresponding coloured LEDs on the top of the IHD will turn on. This is so you can quickly check from a distance whether your home is using a small, medium or large amount of electricity.

If your electricity consumption stays high (red), the spoken consumption will be repeated after one minute and then every 10 minutes. If your display screen is set to off, the alerts will not be spoken.

Gas consumption

This is shown as a blue flame. There are three different flame sizes, indicating your usage from low to high. Gas consumption updates every 30 minutes, and the update will be spoken at the same time as your electricity consumption.

Just like electricity, your gas consumption can be shown in pounds and pence or kilowatts.

The Today tab

An illustration of the information shown on the Today tab. Electricity is on the left and gas is on the right. Each shows the usage in pounds and pence, and a percentage indiciating how much of the budget has been used.

Like the Now tab, if Bulb supplies your electricity and gas, this screen is also split in two. Your electricity is shown on the left and gas on the right. It will show your usage either in pounds and pence or kilowatt hours. Press OK to switch between the two.

If you’ve set a budget for each fuel type, the IHD will show the percentage of the budget used so far today. You can set the budget in the settings: Menu > Settings > Budget

The menu

Press the top right button, printed with three horizontal bars, to get the menu. The following menu items are available:

  • Usage history

  • System status

  • Meter balance

  • Tariffs

  • Meters

  • Support

  • Settings

To navigate the menu, press the following buttons:

  • left or right arrow to move between items

  • OK to select an item

  • back to go back to the previous screen

You can always press the top middle LED button to repeat speech at any time.

Your usage history

Electricity usage history

Use the main menu to access your electricity usage history: Menu > Usage history > Electricity

If you’ve only just got your IHD, you won’t have any usage charts just yet. So check back in a day or two, when your IHD has had time to settle in and record your usage.

An illustration of the screen showing usage history for the day. There is a bar chart on the left showing usage per hour. On the right there's a figure in pounds and pence showing the usage today, and a reminder that today's figure includes the daily standing charge. The cost of the standing charge is also shown in pence.
An example screen showing electricity usage per hour.

There are 4 tabs across the top of this screen: 

  • Hours - showing the past 24 hours

  • Days - showing today and the previous 8 days

  • Weeks - showing this week and the previous 5 weeks

  • Months - showing this month and the previous 13 months

Your Trio will start by speaking a summary of the screen, before speaking the screen in detail. To interrupt the speech at any time, press the top button (middle LED). And use the left and right arrow buttons to navigate between the tabs.

The Hours tab

The left side of the screen shows a bar graph of electricity usage for each hour of the day, either in pounds and pence, or kilowatt hours. The pounds and pence sum does not include the daily standing charge. Press OK to switch between the units.

The right side of the screen shows usage so far today. The pounds and pence figure here does include the daily standing charge. So at midnight, when the total resets, it might be greater than zero, even if you haven’t used any energy yet.  

The Days, Weeks and Months tabs

Just like the Hours tab, these screens are split in two. The bar chart showing the breakdown over time is on the left, and the total for the time period is on the right. The bar charts on these tabs include the daily standing charge in the cost. And if you’ve set a budget, the Day, Week and Month view will indicate whether your usage was above or below it.

Gas usage history

Use the main menu to access your gas usage history: Menu > Usage history > Gas

Just like the screens for electricity usage, your Trio will speak a summary of the gas history before it speaks the screen in detail. And you can interrupt the speech at any time by pressing the top button (middle LED). The information for gas usage is set out in the same way as electricity usage.

The system status

Use the main menu to access your system status: Menu > System Status

An illustration of the system status screen on the Trio Accessible In-Home Display.

This screen shows and speaks the status of your meters and their connection to your IHD. There are 4 icons on the screen. Use the left and right arrows to move between them and press OK to select one.

Selecting an icon will show the following information:

  • lightning bolt - status of the electricity meter

  • flame - status of the gas meter

  • 4 vertical bars ordered by size - signal status between the IHD and your smart meters

  • rectangular screen - your IHD, this is always in a green circle

If there is something that needs attention, there will be a red ring around the icon. And the banner bar across the top of the home screen will also change from dark grey to red.

Your meter balance, tariffs, meter information and support details

Your meter balance

Use the main menu to access Meter balance, and the left and right arrow buttons to move between electricity or gas. Press OK to select the one you're interested in.

The meter balance shows the cost of the gas or electricity you've used during the current billing period. It's important to remember that this records the balance on the meter itself. It's not the balance in your Bulb account. To check your credit or debit in your Bulb account, sign in online, or use the Bulb app.

Your tariffs

Use the main menu to access your tariff information: Menu > Tariffs

These screens show and speak your current electricity and gas prices. They include the details of your daily standing charge, and a reminder that the prices include VAT.

Your meters

Use the main menu to access your meter information: Menu > Meters

These screens show and speak the following information for your electricity and gas smart meters:

  • Current meter reading

  • Meter type

  • Meter serial number

  • Status - whether your supply is on or off

  • MPAN or MPRN - the unique reference number used to identify the electricity or gas meter, respectively

Support

Use the main menu to access your support information: Menu > Support

This screen is only shown if the IHD is close to the electricity meter. It shows your supplier name (Bulb, that’s us), and our member support email address. It also shows:

  • MPAN or MPRN - the unique reference number used to identify the electricity or gas meter, respectively

  • Supply type

This information is useful to help us fix any issues you may have with your smart meters. Press the left and right arrows to move between the screens and the OK button to select them.

Setting up the talking options

Use the main menu to access the Settings, and the left and right arrow buttons to move between the options in the settings list. Talking options is the first item in this menu. Press OK to select it.

An illustration of the talking options screen, showing the speech, volume and repeat buttons.

Your Trio is designed to speak the contents of each screen. You can interrupt the speech at any time by pressing the top button (middle LED). This button also functions as a repeat button if you’d like to hear something again.

These are the talking options available:

Speech, toggles speech on or off. You can also do this by long pressing the top button (middle LED).

Volume, set to medium by default, but you can choose from low, medium or high.

Repeat, can be set to:

  • Always repeat - alerts are repeated every 5 minutes

  • Limited repetition - alerts are repeated 5 times

  • Repeat once - alert is only spoken when shown

Setting a budget

Use the main menu to access the Settings, and the left and right arrow buttons to move between the options in the list, until you reach Budget. Press OK to select it.

An illustration of the budget screen. You can set a budget for electricity and gas.

IHDs are designed to help you understand your energy usage. And, if you choose, you can set a budget to help you keep track of your spend.

You can set a daily, weekly or monthly budget, with a different amount for electricity and gas. And once it’s set up, you can find out how you’re doing on the Today tab, accessed via the home screen. The home screen will tell you how much you’ve spent today, and what percentage that is of your total budget. But remember, this is only an indicator. If you go over budget, your gas and electricity will stay on.

You can also track how well you're sticking to your budget over time. Just head to your usage history, and it'll be shown on the weekly, monthly and yearly tabs.

If you're trying to reduce the amount you're spending on energy, our simple energy saving tips could help.

Setting up your In-Home Display screen

Use the main menu to access the Settings, and the left and right arrow buttons to move between the options in the list, until you reach Display. Press OK to select it.

An illustration showing the display settings, where you can set the brightness, andthe times you'd like the screen to go off.

IHDs are very useful, but they’re better when they don’t wake you up in the middle of the night. So, as well as adjusting the more obvious things, like brightness, you can also set the screen to go to sleep, or switch off completely at certain times of day.

Brightness

There are 3 options here:

  1. High - 100% brightness

  2. Medium - 50% brightness

  3. Low - 20% brightness

If you’ve unplugged the IHD and you’re using battery power, the brightness will change to medium automatically. And the screen will switch off after 1 minute of inactivity. It’ll switch back to your chosen settings when you plug it in again.

Sleep

There are 3 options here too:

  1. Always - the screen will switch off after 1 minute of inactivity

  2. Never - the screen is permanently on

  3. Timed - this will open up the ‘Screen off’ section

Screen off

This is where you can put in specific times you’d like your IHD to switch off, and come back on again. When the screen is off, it won't speak, but you can press any button to wake it up again.

Setting up your sounds and alerts

Use the main menu to access the Settings, and the left and right arrow buttons to move between the options in the list, until you reach Sounds & Alerts. Press OK to select it.

An illustration showing the volume and alert options available for the IHD.

The options here only affect the IHD’s sounds and alerts. They don’t affect your talking options.

Volume

There are 3 options here:

  1. High - 100% volume

  2. Medium - 50% volume

  3. Low - 20% volume

Alerts

To receive audible notifications and alerts, set this to On. When alerts are switched off, the IHD will show alerts in the banner bar, but you won't receive audible alerts.

Taking a meter reading

If everything is running smoothly, your smart meters will send meter readings automatically. And you can choose how often your meter takes readings, in your Bulb account. The options are once every half hour, once a day or once a month.

But it’s also possible to take manual readings from your smart meters, or to use your IHD to find this information. To use your IHD, use the main menu to access Meters, and the left and right arrow buttons to move between electricity or gas. Press OK to select the one you're interested in.

The meter screen will show and speak your current meter reading.

If Bulb is supplying your electricity and gas, press the back button, use the arrows to navigate to the other fuel, and OK to select it. Once you're there, it will show and speak the other reading.

Advanced settings

Use the main menu to access the Settings, and the left and right arrow buttons to move between the options in the list, until you reach Advanced. Press OK to select it.

You won't need these settings often, but it’s always useful to know what they are.

Device info

This is where you can find information about your IHD, including the serial number and software. This screen is not supported by speech.

Usage level

The usage levels, shown on the Now tab of your home screen and via the LEDs, are set to the typical usage of a standard home. But your usage might be different. So you can adjust this to closer match your own usage.

To set the maximum reading the usage dial can show, choose from:

  • Meter - use the standard settings for the smart meter

  • Low - homes with low electricity usage

  • Medium - homes with average electricity usage

  • High - homes with higher than average electricity usage

Reset device

You can probably guess what this is. Use this screen to remove all your custom settings, including your budget and historical consumption data. This screen is not supported by speech.

There are 3 options on this screen:

  1. Reset settings - clears all system settings including budget, display, sounds/alerts, and usage levels. 

  2. Reset data - clears all historic consumption data and totals, including user messages and alerts.

  3. Reset all - this does the job of both ‘reset settings’ and ‘reset data’.

Engineer

This is for engineer use only.

Troubleshooting

Hopefully everything will go swimmingly. But smart meters, the smart network, and IHDs themselves are all new technologies. So it’s useful to know what you should do in the following situations.

If your IHD isn’t showing any information

If your IHD shows Awaiting data, the banner bar is red, or the icon on the left of the banner bar indicates there’s no signal between your IHD and your smart electricity meter, this could be because your IHD is too far away from your electricity smart meter. Try moving it closer.

If your display keeps repeating the same speech every few minutes

The speech repeat setting has been set to Always or Limited. Change it to Once in your Talking options: Menu > Settings > Talking options

If your IHD is blank or has switched itself off

There are 2 reasons this might have happened:

  1. The IHD backlight may have turned itself off to save power. Press one of the buttons to switch it back on. You can change this setting by going to: Menu > Settings > Display

  2. If you unplugged the IHD, the battery may have gone flat. When you’re operating on battery power, the battery icon is shown on the banner bar across the top of the screen. The battery lasts for 4 hours, so if it’s run out, just reconnect it to the mains adaptor to recharge it. You won’t have lost any data. We recommend keeping the IHD plugged in, if you can.

If your IHD won’t stop talking

To stop the display from talking, long press the top button (middle LED). The IHD will tell you that speech has been turned off. You can also press the same button to interrupt the speech. If you just give it a short press, it won’t affect anything the next time it’s due to speak.

If your display has frozen

It sounds like it needs a reset. First, unplug the lead from the back. Next, press the home button (top left) while you reinsert the lead.

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