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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 Recommended Answer

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 Recommended Answer in original post

606 REPLIES 606

mpb65
Community Member

For those of you active on Twitter, please keep posting these threads!!

FXL
Community Member

That's a good idea, and Google would be more interested in fixing the problem when the tweets and replies make potential customers in the Northern area think twice before buying it.

 

I'd like to suggest the communication be focused on the tweet link below.

 

With #NestDoorbell, you can get notified instantly when a package is delivered or picked up.*

Snag a deal** on this device and more during the last day of holiday savings on the Google Store ➡️ https://t.co/XaZ3ilYdK3 pic.twitter.com/1nuX1kNOT0

— Made By Google (@madebygoogle) December 26, 2021

mpb65
Community Member

It's not just Northern customers, it's customers wherever there are temperature drops below 0.  Lot's of places will be affected by this defective product.

CastenS
Community Member

So here is what I learned over that past two weeks: 

I received the doorbell as Christmas present and I installed it on NYE-day when it was -11°C. The camera worked fine but after NYE we went into a deep freeze. A day later with daytime highs in Edmonton below -25°C the camera no longer worked for days. 

This past weekend, temperatures started to raise. At -22°C the camera came back online and as soon as it cooled off again to below -23°C the camera went offline again. This makes me believe that there is actually a sensor inside the camera. 

Now we are above -20°C and it's warming up even more this week and the camera is fine. And battery is showing plugged in and infinite.  

The specs online at the Google store do say that the operating temperature is -20°C to +40°C 

So with all I am seeing, the camera is 100% working as spec'ed by Google. Different story if your camera is not working when temperature is above -20°C, but otherwise I would say it's our fault to operate a device in conditions that the device is not designed to work in. 

firmwaredev
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

I agree with regard to being below -20C.   It's not what most people want to see, particularly as compared to the Nest Hello, that can and does operate in much lower temps due to not being a battery device.   But, it is within spec.

The problem is that the expectation for the device for most that buy it is that it can run when above -20C (and below 40C) indefinitely when wired.  That unfortunately is not true for all use cases.   My device has never been below -20C, but it has been off for days at a time due to low battery level.   This was prior to me setting up a tighter notification zone that has since allowed my camera to operate through a cold spell of a few days long below -10C and as cold as -17C.   

As such, it's a balancing act between camera settings and battery life, made worse by extended time at cold temps.   At my initial settings, I had the camera shut off due to battery (while wired) above 0C one time.  With enough events, this could happen at even higher temps.

I agree, I think the device can be usable as-is for a lot of people, but it does require trimming down settings to keep the battery sufficiently charged to ride out cold spells where no charging occurs.

I have "trimmed down" as much as possible.  It is -7 and dropping in Toronto.  No charging happening at all.  I'm at 1% battery.

firmwaredev
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

Yep, it's going to depend on your individual circumstances and number of events, and duration of cold.     In my case, I'm in a cul-de-sac, with very little traffic, so even with more wide open zoning I don't get a huge number of events.  Even with that, my camera would routinely spiral down to low charge and shut off.    My current settings work well, because I'm pretty hermit-like and have no visitors :). Also, I'm in US, Indiana, so lots of up and down on temps.

If google had been much more straightforward and clear about these limitations in said conditions and we knew what we were getting into at purchase time I would have no qualms whatsoever. At that point it's up the consumer to weigh the pros and cons for their particular use case and cross shop.

 

What I don't agree with is the following from google:

  • At no point did they specify that technically the camera can not run of off power if the battery is completely depleted. Our tests seem to show it's running off of battery at all times...
  • All the power save options and balancing measures always seemed applicable to those customers who would use it in a disconnected fashion.... Never was this advertised that it could be applicable for those of us in cold weather situations...
  • It's one thing to have it shut off at temperatures lower than the advertised spec, but another completely to have the battery unable to charge itself at all for some of us when we are at temperatures lower than -6 or -10 C as I read in this thread, again further exasperating my points above.
  • In this day and age having this disconnected issue resolution and customer service stance is not acceptable. Many of us here are huge google and android fans, however we know this stuff would not happen with Apple... We would be given a global ticket to follow with updates or they would flatly say it's by design. I am very agitated by the responses we've seen here by community moderators who lack the decency to read the posts sometimes and just ask if the issue has been resolved so they can "lock" the thread.... 

Here is my tweet regarding this thread:

https://twitter.com/MikeRioG/status/########################0?s=20

mpb65
Community Member

Thank you!  Please keep Tweeting.  My doorbell has now completely shut down after two deliveries this morning.  Pathetic.

firmwaredev
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

Agree on all points.   Any reasonable person looking at their advertising for this device would expect that it could run solely off of doorbell A/C.  If you look in the documentation for the device, there are a few hints that that might not be the case, but that's not a proper way to set expectations with ones future customers.  They should have been forthright about this apparent design decision.

mpb65
Community Member

Please keep posting this thread!  Google still isn't paying attention to us.

The infinity sign is shown even if the battery isn't full, I can almost promise you that it hasn't charged at all for you, it just doesn't show it. For me I had the infinity sign for weeks after charging it to full and just one day it jumped to a critical level... For me it doesn't hold the charge as soon as temperature gets below 0 and there is a lot of people here with this problem. Even with all battery saving stuff active it can't keep charging when the temperature is below -5... 

Yep.  To get real battery level you have to ask a google assistant device associated with your account what the level is.

mpb65
Community Member

I'm at -7 in Toronto today.  Down to 1%.  No charging taking place at all.

Mikeriog
Community Member

Unacceptable if you read the marketing on this thing. What a let down. 

mpb65
Community Member

Mine is useless today at -7C.  Just shut down.  Laughable product.  And Google's silence, pathetic.

twliv
Community Member

Want to add my voice to this. Mine first drained in November around the time of the original post. In Edmonton has been down on and off basically since then with it being down for the entirety of December and all of January so far. Last time it connected to the home app battery was at 17%. Currently -11 in Edmonton, so well within the stated operating range. Waiting for things to warm up the next few days to see how the doorbell behaves and if there is any charge left.

Lior
Community Member

In Montreal. Issues started during the autumn and now the device is practically useless when the temperature is getting colder than -5 degrees. At -12 now it’s just not charging and the camera is off. This product is a failure and deserves a recall or a class action. 

mpb65
Community Member

For those of you active on Twitter, can you please start posting your threads there as well so Google will pay attention.  Seems like we are being ignored here.

MplsCustomer
Bronze
Bronze

We've had one of the new Google Nest Battery Cameras--plugged in with the optional power adapter--for four months now, and it has functioned fine through several stretches of Minnesota weather down to -10 to -18 degrees Fahrenheit. Since it's stated range is the same as our existing Google Nest cameras and doorbells--which have functioned just fine in weather down to -20 degrees Fahrenheit over the last couple of winters, this is what we had hoped for.

We were also considering purchasing the Nest Battery Doorbell for our third entrance, which was never wired for a doorbell, until we saw the poor results posted here for the battery doorbell in cold weather. When we discovered the OhmKat Video Doorbell Power Supply we instead purchased a Nest Hello wired doorbell, connected with with the OhmKat Power Supply, plugged it into an outlet near the door, and connected it to the OhmKat Video Doorbell Chime. Setup was simple and straightforward and it all works great. Even better, when we discovered we had somehow mistakenly ordered the UK version of the chime and called on New Year's Eve, OhmKat service answered the phone and quickly shipped us the US version, asking us to simply mail back the UK version.

Since the new Google Nest Battery Doorbell has the same stated operating temperature range as the existing Google Nest Hello Doorbell and provides the option for running in wired mode, I for one would expect it to function like the Nest Hello. Further, the Google Store's own link on battery life for this doorbell (https://support.google.com/googlenest/answer/10901611?en-US#cam-life), under "Protect your camera from extremely cold temperatures", says "you might want to connect your camera or doorbell to a power source so that it stays charged." That certainly implies the doorbell can function in cold temperatures if it is wired. Nowhere does it state that the doorbell will shut off automatically when it reaches -4 F (-20 C). Nor does it mention that the battery seems incapable of remaining charged at lower temperatures well within the doorbell's operating range. And the stated battery life estimates seem ludicrous given the experiences noted in this thread.

When you add in the fact that this Google Nest Battery Doorbell does not work with the Google Nest app (and therefore lacks several important functions of the Nest Hello) and is  also incapable of providing 24/7 continuous history even when wired, the battery doorbell seems a real disappointment.

FXL
Community Member

I think Google should be responsible for misleading people that hard-wiring would be the winter-proof solution. The truth is, my hard-wired doorbell keeps shutting off when temperature drops below -20 degrees C.

Mikeriog
Community Member

Yes, i'm happy you came across this. I don't recommend for your use case. I also have the battery cameras and corroborate that they work fine in -20 or lower. It seems this issue is really related to the doorbell. 

mpb65
Community Member

It's -8C in Toronto.  Snowing.  Doorbell completely dead and off-line.  Thanks Google.

MartyMcFly
Community Member

An update on my end:

Google Support suggested to me last Thursday to bring it inside to recharge it fully and then reconnect it back to the wired state. I did that. NOTE: It had not shut down completely last week but was hovering around 3-5% charge as seen on the Nest Hub and the app (which stopped showing the infinity symbol.)

Between Thursday and yesterday temperatures have went from +1 to -10 Celsius. 

 

Today is -22 and has been all day. No issues so far. The Doorbell cam has been working throughout the day. The app has an infinity symbol and the Nest Hub shows it at 83% (this has been the case since about Saturday).

 

I am triggering on all events , although I have a zone of my front yard defined. It has triggered 24 times so far today.

 

mpb65
Community Member

Right, but I have no intention of un-wiring and then re-wiring a hard-wired door bell each time the temperature drops.  Does Google think we are complete morons?  Make your product work on trickle-charge regardless of the weather!!!

Hey Marty , how has your unit been?  What voltage is your unit getting?

Tommy_Thompson
Community Member

Reading all of these issues with the battery doorbell hardwired is not very reassuring...
I've hardwired the Doorbell battery since today. I bought a 230V to 12V/24V doorbell transformer. It's rated for 12V 1,5A (18VA) or 24V 1A (24VA) depending how I connect the secondary winding.
Before I hooked it up to the doorbell, I checked the output voltages of the transformer with my digital multimeter and I found out that they were way higher than specified. 17V and 32V to be precise.

So to be safe and stay below the advertised maximum voltage of 24V, I connected the doorbell to the 12V output (17V measured) and the infinity symbol showed in the Google Home app after turning on the circuitbreaker. At that point the battery charge of the doorbell was 47%.

After a few hours I turned off the circuit breaker again and the battery level had dropped 1%... The outside temperature today was around 3° celcius. I will monitor the charge the next few days. Temperatures are going to be around -1° to +5° celcius.

Do you guys recon that I can wire it up to the 24V output of the transformer to make sure that the battery will charge? I'm scared that it will fry the Doorbell because of the 32V that it spits out in reality... 

Also, I don't have a chime. The transformer is directly connected to the doorbell with 2m of 17 gauge (1mm²) copper wire.

pkprotoplasm
Community Member

I really need to stop buying Google products.

Google's silence on this issue has convinced me to never buy another one of their products.  Pathetic customer support on this issue.

Lior
Community Member

firmwaredev
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

Unfortunately the forum software corrupts links.  I don't know if it's intentional or not.  It also does the same ### substitution when you try to include a range, and use a hyphen character.

Try this: https://bit.ly/3I0hh5J

 

firmwaredev
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

Yep using an url shortener solves it.  Thanks.

mpb65
Community Member

Thank you.

Tommy_Thompson
Community Member

My wife bought me this doorbell for Christmas. I'm using it for 2 weeks on battery power now and since today I hardwired it.

I bought a 230V to 12V/24V doorbell transformer. It's rated for 12V 1,5A (18VA) and 24V 1A (24VA). Before I connected the doorbell to the transformer, I measured the output voltages with my digital multimeter and found out that they were way higher than the specifications on the transformer housing. 17V and 32V to be precise.

So I connected the doorbell to the 12V output (17V measured) and checked the Google home app. The infinity symbol showed up in the battery setting of the doorbell. So far so good. The battery level right before that moment was 47%. After a few hours I disconnected the power to the transformer and checked the app again. The battery level had dropped 1%... The outside temperature was around +3 degrees Celsius today.

I will monitor the battery level the next few days. The outside temperatures will be between - 3 to +5 degrees Celsius this week. 

Do you guys recommend that I try the 24V output on my transformer? I'm scared that it will fry the doorbell because of the 32V that it spits out. The specs of the doorbell recommend between 8-24V. Or will it not make any difference for that battery charging issue?

Also, its directly connected to the transformer without any chime. 

The transformer you have connected is fine.  Using the higher spec one is not going to make a difference for this issue of cold weather charging.  It appears to be limited by design to trickle charging to avoid tripping the chime solenoid (even if you don't have a chime connected).  This leads to low charge rate overall, and much worse charging rate (or none at all) at low temperatures due to intrinsic characteristics of Li-Ion batteries.   How long the battery will last for you will depend on how many events your devices sees, average temperature over time, etc.

Note, it will also shut off regardless of battery state of charge at around -20C.   This is presumably for battery safety issues and battery health issues at those temps, and matches the spec for the device (although, still quite disappointing).

Thanks for the advice.

Yet my cheap outdoor Christmas solar lights manage to charge during the day when sunny and come on at night regardless of the temperature.

firmwaredev
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

Well, that's a different charge/use cycle, though.   For one, the charging circuit would not be substantially limited in current/voltage, which helps overcome the increase in internal resistance due to cold weather.   The lights also likely heat up some just due to the sunlight itself, which would further aid in charging rate.   At night, it's just discharging so the impact of cold is limited to its ability to discharge.    I'm sure at very cold temps it does struggle, although not much current is needed for such lights (especially if LED, which I assume they would be).  It's a lot more simple situation than powering a fairly complicated computer (which is what the doorbell is).   

It's no excuse for marketing the product as they have done, of course, but just saying it's a lot more complicated than a solar light.

After 2 days since it has been wired to the 12V transformer, it has charged to 54%. So that's only +7% in 48 hours... There have been a lot of recorded events. On average 5 each hour during the daytime. Temperatures were around +3 degrees Celsius. These are normal temperatures during the winter were I live, so I hope that I won't encounter the same charging problems caused by those extreme colds that you guys are enduring. But I will keep monitoring it. 

 

I have an off topic question about the wiring without a chime. If I accidentally turn on the "ring indoor chime" slider in the settings menu. Will this cause a short circuit in the wiring? If I understand it correctly, the doorbell acts like a switch when someone pushes the button. And it will close the circuit to trigger the chime solenoid. But in my case, there is no chime solenoid. So is there a safety build inside the doorbell to limit the current flow?

In the installation guide in the Google home app, they mentioned that a resistor is needed. But there's no further information about it.

Obviously, I turned that slider off but its a quick mistake to make when changing something else in that menu.