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Cold weather concerns with Nest Doorbell Battery

fernadno
Community Member

Hi,

Similar to some other posters here, I recently noticed that my Nest Doorbell battery (activated 2021-08-28), although wired, had lost much of its charge (down to 3%, indicated a 23 hour time to charge in Google Home app).

The 23 hour recharge estimate remained unchanged for 3 hours when kept wired to doorbell wiring.

From another recommendation on the forum, I decided to try unplugging from the doorbell wires and taking the doorbell indoors to charge via USB cable until 100%.

My doorbell remains plugged into a USB port, showing 2% charged, and an 18 hr 29 min time until full. It has been plugged in now for 1 hour, with no noticeable change in charge condition.

Outdoor temperatures have only recently dropped to below 0 degrees Celsius for longer than a few hours (max -7 degrees C).

Should I be concerned about the battery condition and how this doorbell is reacting to colder weather? Winter has yet to truly begin, and I am worried that this doorbell will not be functional as temperatures continue to drop. I know that ambient operating temperatures fall within -20 and +40 C (as indicated here).

 

 

 

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Brad
Community Specialist
Community Specialist

Hey folks,


We appreciate the feedback on our battery Cameras and Doorbells. Our team is looking closely into this behavior, and we will continue to pass along reports we see here in the Community. To learn more about cold weather battery charging behavior in Nest cameras and doorbells, please stop by our Help Center.

 

Best regards,

Brad.

View solution in original post

606 REPLIES 606

Well said and of course I agree with the outrage of everyone else. I appreciate that Brad came back with a response but for all intents and purposes it made it even worse. What I indeed now hear Google saying that they falsely advertised a product and instead of denying there is a problem - are digging themselves an even deeper hole.

 

I certainly do hope this will get more press to force Google to make this right somehow voluntarily - and if not pursue legal action.

I'm still an anything Android user around my household but this is making me very happy I decided not to get a Pixel phone and instead upgrade to another Samsung. They're by no means perfect either- but if you're Google and your actual Google branded product line is this narrow/limited compared to them then it should be expected that Google has no problem looking after the quality of the things they do sell.  

This is as I expected, honestly.  It is the reality of the physics involved - both with regard to the battery chemistry and the electrical constraints of being in series with the doorbell chime.  Ring has more or less the same issue with their battery devices, but they noted these limitations for potential customers, at least in their product documentation.

The real issue here is that Google did not make these limitations and design choices known in their advertising, or even the documentation (although there are some vague hints there as to the battery-only design). 

There is an opportunity for Google to make this right, and this is the time to do it and earn goodwill going forward.   They should modify their marketing/advertising/packaging to clearly speak to these limits and design choices - both the temperature related charging limits and that it is a battery only design, with limited trickle charging, and thus a balance exists between usage and battery life, even while wired.

For those that have purchased the device to this point without this information, they should offer refunds upon request and/or credit toward a Nest Hello or the follow-on next generation Wired Doorbell.

Tbf to Ring as well (I had the Ring 2 which also has a battery and can be hardwired) - I had that one for years and it never had an issue maintain a charge/but if charging did slow down it would be able to stay alive on the wiring (and also didn't require an upgraded transformer like the Nest Hello needs for instance). 

firmwaredev
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

Agreed, Ring has done better with their Battery doorbells, overall.   However, I don't think they have any local AI, do they?   That would significantly increase the local processing, and subsequently required power.  If Ring does  have local AI, I need to take a look!  That's the main reason I bought this over the Hello, and it is quite good (as long as it's charged up 🙂 ).

Exactly.  Google is making it easy for a class action suit to be won by us.

Keep digging yourself a hole in the ground Google.

MplsCustomer
Bronze
Bronze

Google Nest Help has a newly-published support page on "Cold weather battery issues in Nest cameras and doorbells" that itemizes when the battery cannot be charged:

https://support.google.com/googlenest/answer/11830989

"9to5Google" has this article today (Feb. 18):

https://9to5google.com/2022/02/18/google-nest-doorbell-battery-cold-charging/

This info should have been disclosed back when they started selling these doorbells. It certainly would have affected my decision on whether to purchase one or not. Google needs to do the right thing and offer refunds or replacements.  Putting this envelope now doesn't really do anything to help those of us that have already purchased these poorly designed doorbells.

I'm glad to see them disclose this to future customers.   Now they need to work a plan to take care of current customers that didn't have this information available to make an informed buying decision.

If they offered me a credit against the upcoming next gen Wired model, I'd probably take it.  If not, I'll keep this model, as I have been able to strike a balance of detected events and battery charge/drain in the ups and downs of Indiana weather.  It's still possible it wouldn't make it through a really long cold spell, but those are rare here.

@firmwaredev 

Well, I'm not sure they're disclosing this to future customers, at least not yet. The Tech Specs on the Google Store for the Google Nest Doorbell (Battery) and the Google Nest Camera (Doorbell) still do not mention the "minimum charging temperature".

Good point - this also needs to be prominently displayed in marketing and packaging.  I'm the type that *always* reads a product's support documents (including manuals, etc) before I purchase anything, but most don't do that, nor should they be expected to.

Abonitatibus
Community Member

The Verge now has an article doing Google’s dirty work for them.

Sure let me remove my fing doorbell every day in the winter to charge it for 6 hours so I can stick it back out to die overnight and then do it all again the next day. 

What does the verge get paid by google to write this trash? Seems like they are burying the lead story here that google falsely claimed the product specs and now doesn’t have any plan to fix the mistake. 

Nothing to see here folks. Just unwire that doorbell in the 20 degree F balmy weather and spend all day charging it and those wires sticking out of your front door will certainly detect any packages or creepers for you. 

https://www.theverge.com/2022/2/18/22941018/google-nest-video-doorbell-nest-cam-cold-weather-chargin...

The solution for future customers is really simple. Just rename the product Google Nest Seasonal Doorbell (battery) 😉 It is fascinating that one makes an outdoor video doorbell that "doesn't like to be cold." That's really not realistic for at least half of the nation. Had I known this product is virtually useless in late fall, winter, and early spring. I would have bought something else. The performance specs were grossly overestimated. The device should use a different battery technology, or come with a proper AC power bypass kit so it can function continuously without having to trickle charge through the chime solenoid.

Chazz182
Community Member

Google just updated the support page. The device doesn't charge below freezing. 

 

https://9to5google.com/2022/02/18/google-nest-doorbell-battery-cold-charging/amp/ 

Given the false advertisement of operating temperatures for these doorbells and the fact that many posters here seem to be in Canada - think it would be a good idea to contact the Canadian Government's Competition Bureau and let them know what has happened.
Info about this: https://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/h_04459.html
Form to fill out: https://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/frm-eng/GH%C3%89T-7TDNA5

At least this way, the government can hold Google accountable given the games that they like to play by changing operating temperature specifications etc.

mpb65
Community Member

OK Google.

You've now confirmed you have a defective cold weather product:

https://9to5google.com/2022/02/18/google-nest-doorbell-battery-cold-charging/amp/

When will you offer either a REFUND or a PRODUCT RECALL for current owners?

Do you really want this to go to Court, the Better Business Bureau, or government Competition Bureaus?

mpb65
Community Member

ATTENTION CANADIAN OWNERS

Enough is enough.   Google has confirmed that the cold weather issue exists.  They have not offered either a refund campaign or a recall campaign.

Time to complain.

In Canada, you can file an on-line complaints form with the Competition Bureau of Canada.

The product was advertised to work within certain parameters.  It doesn't.  This is false and misleading advertising.

Here is the link the to the form:

https://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/frm-eng/GH%C3%89T-7TDNA5

 

Brad
Community Specialist
Community Specialist

Hi folks.

 

I thank you again for all of your feedback! I can understand the frustration y'all must feel about this issue. I just wanted to pop in and go over some additional information for you. 

  • Nest Doorbell (battery) will work at temperatures down to -4F (-20C). If it's connected to your home's doorbell wiring, the battery will charge unless the temperature falls below freezing. This means in temperatures between -4F to 32F (-20C to 0C) the doorbell will continue to work but the battery will not charge. When the battery is completely drained the doorbell will shut down and you'll need to take it inside and connect it to USB to charge. Note the doorbell will need to warm up to at least 32F (0C) before it starts charging.

  • Nest Cam (battery) works differently when it's wired. The wires not only charge the camera's battery, but they also power the camera. Thus Nest Cam (battery) will continue working at temperatures as low as -4F (-20C) as long as it has power, but the battery will only charge at temperatures above freezing.

Please continue to provide any methods that have worked for you to reduce battery loss if you have any so we can help our Community out as best we can. Of course once I hear any updates I'll let y'all know.

 

Best regard,

Brad.

Gefremidis
Community Member

I think this is an accurate answer. My Nest Doorbell battery is wired and it just went off line. It's 56 degrees here in CT. Battery shows 5 percent. My other Nest doorbell battery which is also wired is fine for now. This sucks. If I knew this was going discharge the battery wired or not, I wouldn't bought them. Now this is outside my return window so I'm stuck with junk. Never again! I'm done. 

firmwaredev
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

I presume you meant to say "inaccurate".     The problem is that it trickle charges at a low rate, even when it's not cold.  Cold makes it worse (in fact zero charging below 32F), but it will charge at a low rate regardless because of it being in series with the chime.  See the prior mentioned new support article - it talks about it only trickle charging in all circumstances.   As such, if power usage vs charge rate goes into the red, the battery will eventually be depleted.  You mention that you have one that is doing better.   Likely, that one is not seeing as many events and/or movement.   Before I trimmed down my detection zones it would deplete the battery even in relatively warm temperatures  (say, between 35F-40F).   The more events/motion you have, the worse this gets.

jonen
Community Member

Brad,
The issue that most of us have today is that we would not have purchased the product if these limitations were properly explained at launch. I would have purchased the Nest Hello if I knew the doorbell would be rendered useless if the battery drains to 0% , even while plugged in. It seems like Google is now just trying to avoid future customer complaints, but there doesn't seem to be a plan in place to support current battery doorbell owners.
I bought my Nest Doorbell (battery) as soon as it launched after waiting for the release, so I feel like I've essentially been left in the dark by Google after intentionally wanting to trust a product released by Google. Jumping on the new release right away means that I've had it for almost 6 months, so I'm clearly outside the standard return window which I would've used if I bought the unit within the last 30 days.

Please read and listen to all of the valid responses on this forum. 

CastenS
Community Member

Brad, we have been mislead by Google. Simple as that. 

 

I bought the Google Doorbell battery knowing that I maybe below -20°C and I accepted that. But I did not know that the battery does not charge below 0°C. I live in Edmonton Alberta, Canada and while we had a somewhat mild.wintwr this year, a normal winter.the temperature dropped below 0°C in November and will not reach above 0°C until March. 

 

I would not bought the doorbell if I knew it was a "Seasonal" product. 

 

 

 

 

You are leaving out the fact that the battery does not work in cold temperatures. It drains within ############ hours, meaning in winter cold weather climates you would have to take the doorbell indoors to charge every other day and the cold weather also impacts charging times making it take 4-6 hours for a charge. 

Don’t patronize your customers. It’s embarrassing. The product is junk. Period. Tell your superiors that a full refund is the ONLY thing you will be communicating to this group moving forward.

Why is ############ hours getting censored?  The battery drains in 1 to 2 days once the temps hit mid 30s F. So the notion that only charging is impacted by the 32 F or below temps is entirely inaccurate. 

The reduced charging is a physical process due to slowing of the chemical reactions in the battery.    So yes, this does occur at warmer temperatures.  Warmer temps mean better charging, colder temps, less charging.   Even in warm temperatures, the design is limited in how much it can charge the battery ( as they mention in the new support article - it trickle charges only).  As such, if the balance of power usage (which is driven by number of motion and detected events) is net negative, it will deplete the battery.  It's a continuum, not a black and white thing that happens at 32F.

chemgeek
Community Member

The reality is that even when video recording events are reduced to the bare minimum (about 2-3 events per day) The doorbell must be unwired and removed for charging about every 7 days when the temperature is below that required for trickle charging. This product should not have been advertised as usable when wired to maintain a constant charge in any climate where temperatures are seasonally below freezing. This product should be replaced with one that can properly operate from 8 to 24 VAC using an appropriate bypass adapter to provide sufficient operating current.  As designed, this product cannot operate reliably when wired. It is basically a battery powered device unless you live in a tropical climate. The engineers and/or marketers were wildly overoptimistic about the performance and usability in much of North America climes.

grandbeach-ca
Community Member

I have a question,  can someone run a cold test with the doorbell in   doorbell only mode with o alerts for person  detection?  How much does the battery drop?

nicholas247
Community Member

This is not a cold weather issue. I leave in south Florida, it's 70F outside. The issue is that the unit is designed to operate only from battery and the battery can not charge fast enough, so it runs out and shuts off. Regardless of the power of the transformer. Return the battery unit and buy the wired version. fixed

Um, it is a cold weather issue.

I have the hard-wired one.  It does have the issues everyone has described in these threads.

Product defect.  Does not trickle charge when under 0.

The hard wired one doesn't have a battery. You have the wireless version with battery that can be hard wired for charging.   The wired version has a black front. Yours is white. 

firmwaredev
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

It's both.  The device trickle charges the battery at all times, and thus will be deleted if power used exceeds charging rate.  This can happen at any temperature if the device is active enough.  If one were to just sit on the live camera feed, it would deplete to zero in fairly short order.   Cold weather makes this much worse, because the charge rate drops from low to zero below 32F.

So fix it.  Engineers can put a man on the moon, but they can't design a door bell to work in cold weather?!?!?!

firmwaredev
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

Well, putting a man on the moon cost billions of dollars and was at the limit of our technology.   You don't get a limit of technology design for $179 bucks.  As an engineer, there is one thing that rings (no pun) true to all designs I've even been involved in and that is that compromise has to be made.   From a purely engineering perspective this device is quite impressive.  It does a lot given the intrinsic constraints.  It's hooked to a power source that is highly variable from home to home, and does so *without* a chime adapter.   The device has local AI processing, which takes more power than one that does cloud processing.   Thus, it can't run off of available current and trickle charging only is required.    Are there downside to that?  Absolutely, but they can be managed for some, maybe most, users.  It can't be managed for everyone, and that's where the problem is.   The marketing and advertising did not make it clear that this is fundamentally a  *battery powered* doorbell, with all of the expected issues that any battery doorbell would be expected to have - even more so for a battery doorbell with the features that this one has.  I think if they had been clear about that, most everyone here  having problems would have steered clear of it, because it would not have been a fit for their use case.   I do think, even beyond the lack of disclosing the design implications while wired, that their performance numbers are exaggerated.   I don't think anyone would be getting three months of battery life if not wired - aside from all of the cold weather issues.

Exactly as you described - thank you for acknowledging the defect! 80F here in South Florida, plugged in to 24v/40VA transformer and runs out of battery by mid day. It is an engineering defect that cannot be fixed by a firmware upgrade. It should have never been marketed as a "wired" camera, only battery. I replaced mine with another brand already. I was thinking of getting the wired version of the nest doorbell but I don't trust it anymore after my experience. I hope Google does the right thing and issue a recall. Looks like people started dumping these units on ebay already. 

firmwaredev
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

Just wanted to clarify that I don't represent Google, so I can't acknowledge it for them 🙂 .   I'm just a member of the forum with the same issues.   That said, they have acknowledged it, in the sense of publishing statements about its performance and overall design.   I doubt they'll be issuing a recall, as it is "working as designed", even if the marketing (and documentation until they added this recent support page) doesn't make these things clear.  I do think they should offer replacements for anyone that asks for one.   They should also modify their marketing to make these operating limitation clear.  Many/most don't look at the product documentation or support articles prior to purchase.

hayesti
Community Member

I just wanted to reply and say this is happening to me too.

I am in the UK where the temperatures can be a little cool at night, but not freezing. My nest doorbell (battery) is plugged in to a transformer/chime but the charge only goes down. It is facing a busy main road but I've drawn the activity zone to just our driveway where there three or four events a day. The battery has gone from 100% to 18% in six days. Tech support are taking me through a canned set of replies: I have to do a factory reset. I had this professionally installed less than two weeks ago. What are my statutory rights? Will the electricians be obliged to come and remove the device and repair the holes drilled in my property? Will they in turn be compensated by Google?

It's unbelievable this was allowed to leave the labs and go to market. 

Aloha_papa
Community Member

I tried to remove my doorbell few minutes ago to charge it because you know … and the tool to remove it just doesn’t work well neither. My doorbell separated in two pieces and a piece broke inside. IT IS THE LAST F&))%#*ng CRAP I BUT BRANDED GOOGLE OR NEST. 

grandbeach-ca
Community Member

Has anyone tried charging the doorbell with the usb power outside in the cold  ?    Or tried charging while being wired to doorbell at same time?   Maybe i missed that in the thread its pretty long now 🙂

Lithium ion batteries cannot charge below 32 degrees. This is a major design flaw in an outdoor device that depends on the battery for operation. The only function of the wired connection during cold weather is to ring your mechanical chime. The marketing of the wired function was misleading and grossly overoptimistic.

CastenS
Community Member

So, first time since January 17 I have to remove the brink and charge it. 

I forget, but should the LED not come on when I plug the USB in? NO LED is coming on to charge. I have the brink in the house for an hour now, which I think should have been enough to warm it up. 

 

**bleep** you Google. If I know this I would not have bought this thing. You miss lead us and now you don't take responsibility. 

 

Anybody started a class action suit in Canada yet?