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Google nest doorbell (battery) and the Wasserstein Solar Panel for Google Nest Doorbell

bluejet
Community Member

I just recently purchased both the doorbell and solar panel. However the battery still drains and it reaches 20% within a week or so. I thought it was supposed to keep the charge around 65%. It gets sun from morning to late afternoon. I can see the infinity sign in the battery settings when there is sun and the percentage displayed when the sun isn’t powering up the panel. 

I do notice that when its powered by the panel. It doesn’t charge and seems to be always in the live stat. 

Has there been any resolution for this issue ?

37 REPLIES 37

firmwaredev
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

The Doorbell (battery) only trickle charges from the two terminals on the back (normally connected in series with a chime, but in your case to the solar panel).   It is not capable of running completely off of that incoming charge, so the amount of events seen by the camera can greatly influence how much charge can be maintained,  The likely problem is that events in front of the camera are frequent enough that it just can't keep up.   During this past winter this issue was a lot more commonly talked about here because of how much worse cold weather impacts the situation.  However, even in the summer, this can be the case depending on what the camera sees.   My guess would be that that you just have too many triggering events within the zones you've set up (assuming you set up zones), or something constantly moving that is close to the camera.  In my case, mine will deplete to nothing while wired to the chime when I have a flag waving near the camera.  I've tested this extensively, and it is most definitely the flag.  When I remove it, it will slowly charge back to 70-ish % or so, and stay close to that.

So to address, I'd recommend you first look for things that are constantly moving in the camera's view.  If you're on a busy street..it could just be the traffic going by.  If that's the only thing you can find, you'll have to start using zones to trim down on those events. There are other settings to reduce video quality, length of event recording, etc.  Check in the home app for those settings.   Ultimately, you'll have to tweak things until you get power usage balanced with its ability to trickle charge.

I do live on a busy road. But I put the zones to the area where there is no movement in the frame. But it seems to not charge at all during the daylight hours. 

Does sound trigger recording?

firmwaredev
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

I'm not sure, but I don't think so.     In my case with the flag in view I do have zones set up to avoid the flag, but it still drains the battery down.  Now, I noticed that a shadow of the flag *is* in the zone, and that may well be the reason, but it's difficult to experiment with that, since I can't turn off the sun 🙂 .    It doesn't show any events due to the shadow however, so I suspect the issue is just that while it does not have to do full event processing/recording for the flag, it is constantly tripping the motion sensor (which would not be tied to a zone..it just looks at the entire scene in-view).  That is going to require some minimal amount of processing, and thus power.    There are some settings in the app to tune down the general sensitivity, and you might try that to see if you can get a power balance that is net positive.    

Roughly how many events per day are you seeing?

firmwaredev
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

I'll  mention a couple of other things.   Looking at that solar panel, there are some clues that it may not be able to help all that much with keeping it charged.   First,  it only provides 1.7W.  That is a very small amount of power.  Now, I've never measured what the current draw is while the doorbell is attached to my chime transformer, but based on the requirements listed, it likely provides more than 1.7W.  So you may already be in a situation where it's not going to perform even as well as a chime transformer.

The second thing is this bit from Wassersteins's page for that solar panel:

"LESS DOWNTIME - No need to take down the doorbell to charge the batteries so often, as our solar panel greatly extends the battery life of your Nest Doorbell" .

Note that it says "so often".   Now they're probably speaking there in comparison to using the doorbell completely unwired (e.g. take inside to charge via USB), but clearly it's not providing much power.

Im not getting that many events at all. Roughly less than 5 a day. And the setting for sensitivity is set to low. Assuming that the motion detector is based on distance. 

 

Brad
Community Specialist
Community Specialist

Hi there, 

I apologize for my late response and thank you for all of your patience while waiting for a reply. I understand how frustrating your situation must be, and I would love to help however I can. As this is not a Google or Nest device, I am afraid I do not know how to troubleshoot this issue for you. I would suggest that you restart your device if you haven't. If that company has a support, or customer service line I would suggest you contact them as well. 

Best Regards, 
Brad

bluejet
Community Member

what are you talking about? Its the google nest doorbell??? Its just draining when wired to the made for google solar panel???  

Brad
Community Specialist
Community Specialist

@bluejet

 

The device itself yes, is a Google/Nest device. I cannot assist you with troubleshooting the solar panel. It is not a product any of our Community Specialists have training on. Basically, I know of its existence, but as for troubleshooting issue with it, we cannot assist with that.

 

Best regards,

Brad

bluejet
Community Member

But like I mentioned. When wired it doesn’t seem to charge the doorbell. It shows the infinity sign. Its also always on live mode when wired. Which doesn’t seem right as it could be a firmware issue. I think the device should not be in live mode when wired in. 

bluejet
Community Member

Then explain to me. Why is the advertised duration 6 months to 1 month when the doorbell doesn’t even last a week on batteries. Even with a solar panel wired to it. With only averaging 5-6 events a day

Brad
Community Specialist
Community Specialist

@bluejet

 

Now that issue itself, I have seen before. Usually it's been associated with issues with charging in colder temperatures. However, in this issue if it is wired in, and receiving the power to run instead of running off battery, then I would think that it would have no use of the solar panel to power it unless it is on battery mode. I think the solar panel may be causing these issues. That is where the troubleshooting gets a bit more complicated.

 

I 100% think you should reach out to Support, escalate this issue with them so they can get you connected with some higher support who can assist you further with this tech issue. These Nest Community Forums are here for community members to discuss issues, but this is not the first step for troubleshooting something like this. 

 

Best regards,

Brad

bluejet
Community Member

It has issues in the cold? It is winter here. 

firmwaredev
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

I didn't realize it was winter where you are.   Yes, this could be a factor.  The battery doorbell  uses a lithium ion rechargeable battery, all of which are significantly affected by cold weather with regard to charging efficiency.   Below about 40 degrees F they will have a reduced charging rate, and it gets steadily worse as it gets colder.   At -4F (-20C) and below it will not charge at all.    If it is routinely cold where you are now, that may well be at the core of the issue.  Even if it is only occasionally cold, the combination of the busy street and the cold may lead to a net negative charge rate.

Here is Google's support article on cold weather use, and impact:

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

 

 

Oh our winters dont go as low as 0 degrees. Averaging 10 degrees during the nignt and 17 during the day. 

So from that link, a wired nest doorbell battery will get trickle charge. But will run from the battery. 

So is there a way to prevent the camera on the doorbell to go into live mode constantly and only turn on the camera when there is motion detected?

firmwaredev
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

I'm not sure what you mean by "live mode".  The battery doorbell is intrinsically an event triggered device.  It never just constantly records video.   Now that said, I have seen folks using home automation frameworks like Home Assistant (or possibly Homekit) that can be set up to constantly pull video from the device.  That will for sure run the battery down even if wired.     But outside of that sort of use case, it is an event triggered device.

Brad
Community Specialist
Community Specialist

Hello again,

 

Thank you @firmwaredev for your helpful information! 

 

@bluejet if it is cold, it will be harder to charge as it is going to trickle charge. I would suggest disconnecting it, and bringing it inside to charge it each time. If you have issues with the battery life, look over the settings and lower them where you can, and if you have too, get it installed as a wired device instead so it is always connected to a power source.

 

Best regards,

Brad

littleengin
Community Member

When you set up the doorbell using the solar panel, are you setting it up as worked or battery powered.  She say you have to set it up as wired.  Not sure.  I too am trying to figure out if it is actually getting charged.  

Does your doorbell tricke charge and go up in percentage?

firmwaredev
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

Mine does trickle charge when wired (attached to a traditional doorbell chime, but the solar panel you have should be more or less the same).  However, it will only charge and go up in percentage if the amount of power used is less than the amount of power coming from the charger.    It's a balancing act. Cold weather (even below 40F or so) could  alter that balance enough that you end up net negative (in which case it will deplete and turn off eventually), or maybe just hold ground and not increase charge percentage.

Its just difficult to tell when the percentage isnt shown during day. And at night the doorbell power just drains. When there’s no activity and quiet. So weird. Also its not below 0 degrees Celsius. So it should still work?

firmwaredev
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

You can actually check the current percentage via a google hub device, if you happen to have one (just ask it "What is the battery level of the doorbell").    I don't know why there isn't a way to see the percent charged in the home app (outside of it showing you when the battery is low on charge).

 

With regard to temperature, the device will continue to operate down to -20C, at which point it will shut off completely.   Between -20C and 0C it will operate, but will not accept a charge.  Above 0C it will accept a charge, but the physical ability for it to charge is reduced at colder temperatures.  Right close to 0c, it's going to charge quiet slowly, possibly so slow that it won't be able to keep up with usage and may loose ground.  It's a balancing act.   The ability to charge should get considerably better above 5C or so.  Again though..it's a balancing act.  If there is a lot of motion in view of the camera (even stuff that doesn't register as an event), you can still end up net negative.  As I'd mentioned in an earlier post, I had a flag waving in front of my camera, and it was constantly shutting off due to power depletion, and this is during the summer when charging ability is optimal.   It is wired to power, but it only trickle charges, so it can't keep up with a lot of activity.

It's difficult to tell what the exact situation is for you.  You might just try opening a help ticket with Google through the formal support request in case your device is defective.   It's possible that it is.  I think more likely however is that there is just a lot of motion going on that keeps waking up the camera (but not a triggered event), combined with colder temps not allowing the device to charge efficiently.

Brad
Community Specialist
Community Specialist

Hi there,

Just checking in to see how the conversation is going as there's been a lapse in activity on this thread.

Best regard,
Brad

bluejet
Community Member

Sorry. The time difference between Aust and US is night and day

Brad
Community Specialist
Community Specialist

@bluejet

 

It should still be trickle charging if it's cold, but it will be a slow process. That would be why I suggest bringing it in occasionally inside to charge, but this is up to you. Depending on how cool it gets, it may continue to trickle charge if it is colder outside. 

 

Best regards,

Brad

bluejet
Community Member

Is there a way to schedule via google home to turn off the camera on the doorbell at a schedule? Since I can manually do it through the app. Hopes this would save more battery 

firmwaredev
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

I'm not aware any way to schedule shutdown automatically, but it's not a bad idea...   Now the way the doorbell works is that it's supposed to be very efficient at power usage in general, so formal shutdown shouldn't be required.  But for whatever reason, your camera seems to spending a lot of time awake and draining power.   That or it is actually defective.  I am sort of leaning that way.  I know you've  already trimmed down all of the settings and are using zones.  There really isn't much else you can do, other than avoiding anything constantly moving in the frame.

So I turned off the camera the whole day from the previous night. It did not charge or increase. But it also did not decrease charge percentage at all. 

Also. I’ve been having difficulties contacting google support. The chat queue never starts. No call back and error when I try to call. Sigh. 

firmwaredev
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

It may not charge while it is in completely turned off.  Generally in devices like this power is not connected directly to the battery, as that would be unsafe.   In addition to the AC/DC conversion there would be a voltage regulator to make sure power going to the battery is within required limits and that would be an active component.  Without that it may not charge.

I'd recommend a different experiment.   Cut out a piece of cardboard and tape it over the lens area.  Leave the camera turned on.  Then let it sit for a couple of days to see how it responds.  I think it will also be important to cover the motion sensor.   Since I'm not right in front of it, I can't remember if it's obvious where that is located. It may well be right by the lens, but I'm not sure.  I'll check mine a bit later to see if I can figure that out, and I'll update.   Hopefully it is by the lens, and just covering that whole area would do it.   This should help eliminate the possibility of excessive activity.    This still leaves a number of possibilities - the solar panel, the camera itself, and temperature, but at least it gives more evidence should you successfully get a help ticket opened.

It doesn’t seem to help. I contacted support and they just recommended me getting the device replaced. But this device was replaced already. 

im still trying to test out just leaving the motion sensor on. But yeah. Definitely doesn’t charge or increase the percentage. Just keeps the percentage stable. 

firmwaredev
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

If you tried blocking the lens/sensor, and it still won't get up to the specified 70% then it really can't be due to motion.     Either it is faulty (which seems unlikely given it is a replacement), or the solar panel is just not providing enough power to charge it.  It is strange that it shows infinity, though, as that would suggest that the doorbell *thinks* it's wired properly.  It might just not be enough voltage to charge it.  It shouldn't need much though, if the lens is blocked.

I guess you could try testing the solar panel output with a multi-meter, assuming you have one.  It should be an A/C voltage so make sure you select that on your meter.  You should see between 14 to 24 volts A/C. 

 

I do have a multimeter and was going to check the current and voltage. 

yeah covering up the camera and sensor didnt help. 

bluejet
Community Member

So I looked at the back of the solar panel. It says 8volts and 2 watts. Which is approximately 0.25 amps. How much power does the doorbell consume watt hours?

Brad
Community Specialist
Community Specialist

Hi there,

Thank you, @firmwaredev for your help on this one! I am Just checking in on this thread and the activity on it. We'll leave this topic open for another 24 hours in case there are any follow up questions or comments.

Best regards,
Brad

bluejet
Community Member

I still haven’t gotten my answer. Or resolved my situation. And Im sure many others who have bought this product in conjunction with the solar panel wants to know as well. 

Brad
Community Specialist
Community Specialist

@bluejet

 

Please reach out to Support for further information if that is what you seek. It isn't available to me to share.

 

Best regards,

Brad

SteveT1
Community Specialist
Community Specialist

Hi folks,

 

I appreciate the help @firmwaredev. Checking in to see if you have further concerns about your Nest Doorbell? Feel free to update this thread, and we're happy to assist you further.


Thanks,
Steve

SteveT1
Community Specialist
Community Specialist

Hi there,

 

We haven't heard any updates from you. Please let us know if you still need help as we will be locking this in 24 hours if we won't hear back from you again. Feel free to start a new thread and we'll be happy to help.

 

Regards,
Steve