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nest doorbell battery will not hold a charge while wired

mitr
Community Member

Making my own thread as the one ive been replying to is now locked.

I am having the exact same issues as @NutCase I have mine wired to a 24VAC 40VA transformer which is about as high power transformer as you can get and is supported by this and many doorbells and yet the battery still continues to drain instead of staying steady or charge.  I tried other transformers as well which were slightly lower in power output and they all do the same thing.  I am not sure that it does actually charge over the wire (I was told by support that it only charges via USB-C) but it should at least maintain battery level, which is what it states on their website then again that's sort of contradictory as that would mean it would be technically charging but trickle charging to "maintain" battery level while not enough power to actually charge the battery up.

 

Support is sending me a replacement doorbell but I've come across a few threads here that have the same information that many people are reporting this same issue so i don't suspect my replacement doorbell will fix the issue.

 

I have noticed mine used to have the infinity symbol but then after a while for some reason that goes away, does anyone know why or what metric triggers that?  At first after support told me to reset it it said plugged in, no infinite symbol or battery status under the battery in the devices settings in the google home app but after a few minutes i got the infinite symbol and a few min later that went away and i got battery percentage numbers yet it still says plugged in above that info and yet monitoring it the battery level daily it still decreases. 

 

I also have mine linked in a starling home hub which is integrated into homekit and also show no for charging status in the apple home app, again as above i don't think its actively charging, or it doesn't appear to be anyway as the battery continues to drain, at the same time i don't know if technically google would support any types of questions relating to homekit and the starling home hub as i don't think that is technically supported, its essentially homebridge which is a way to get non native homekit devices working in homekit (which is sort of hacky but it does work relatively well but i wouldnt count on support for that kind of thing) , but never the less the issues are presented the same in the google home app or the apple home app as not charging and the battery does indeed continue to drain.

 

i will update this once i get my replacement and see if it maintains a charge or at least maintains 75% battery as its stated it would do on the support site for the doorbell (battery) when plugged in.  I suspect it will not and i haven't come across anyone who's had an answer or success with having the doorbell (battery) charge while wired.  Not sure what to do if all fails other than potentially turning down settings to essentially save battery (even though its wired). Which IMO defeats the purpose, why even have a wired option on the battery version of the doorbell then if it wont charge over a wire or just barely draws enough power to trickle charge it to maintain battery level, which in a way would make sense, if your usage is heavy that would use more power than is being received to maintain battery level at trickle which would decrease the battery.  Kind of like using an ipad with a 5w charger instead of a 12w which comes with it and playing a game vs just sitting at the homescreen.  At the homescreen you arent using much power so that ipad might be able to hold a charge but the minute you do more intensive work it drains the battery and the incoming power isnt enough to maintain power so it drains, this is my theory on what's happening here with the google doorbell (battery) but i don't have any confirmation and if this is the case then this should be stated and IMO if true would be a terrible design flaw by google.

 

 

Update:

I took the doorbell off to charge it Friday night and low and behold it does say charging in the apple home app when you have it plugged in via USB C to charge so we know for a fact it is not charging via the house doorbell wire.  (mines connected to a 24VAC 40VA transformer) I charged it to 100% (took about 4-5hrs on a high power USB-C charger) reinstalled the doorbell and i once again have the infinite symbol. It seems the infinite symbol is just shown when your battery is above 75%.  As i couldn't check battery level when i had the infinite symbol i decided to go into the apple home app, here it did state its battery level and that it was not charging and indeed its battery level was dropping throughout the day, not a huge amount but enough that i know the battery wouldn't last another week at the discharge rate I'm seeing.

Monday morning as I'm writing this i decide to go into the google home app again to check the battery level,  to my surprise no more infinite symbol and now i have a battery percentage (4 Days, 66 percent, still says plugged in).  This is clearly not good news.

 

So what I've gathered is wiring this doorbell does not charge the battery, the doorbell runs off the battery power regardless, i think the only thing the wire does is trickle charge the battery to keep the battery at a high enough charge that you need to recharge it (at least my observations so far) However having said that if your doorbell is busy enough it will draw more power than is being provided by the wire so it will drain. My next theory is HomeKit,  there's a reason there aren't many "battery" powered HomeKit cameras directly without a hub on the market and its because of how HomeKit works and the amount of times it has the device check in for its status.  My theory is since my doorbell is integrated into HomeKit via the starling home hub that HomeKit is poling the camera fairly often and this is causing higher than normal usage, which comes back around to the above theory that the doorbell runs off battery normally and that the wire is just for trickle charging.  I have activity zones set and don't have that much of an active doorbell so the battery percentage shouldn't be dropping as fast as it seems to be so clearly that must be HomeKit .  I have not done any testing with the doorbell not linked to HomeKit .

 

One google support member did state that even if the battery runs out that the camera should still work with it wired regardless. Well i did test this theory last week and when it gets down to such low percentages like 4% the camera wont turn on, in my opinion its like the wire isn't doing jack.

 

I will update again once i have my replacement but i am in serious doubts that anything will be any different.  So far the wired option on this doorbell is absolutely worthless.  Anyone considering this doorbell that either has heavy traffic or wants to link it up to homekit via the starling home hub should seriously consider other options at this point unless we can get a solution to this problem.

 

Anyone from google support out there, what can we do about this? 

 

Update to this issue as of 1/17/2022:

Called support and they are sending a second replacement unit, they said if it exhibits the same behavior they will have to get a different level of support essentially to take a look and see what might be going on.

 

In my opinion this is what will more than likely need to happen.

2 ACCEPTED SOLUTIONS

firmwaredev
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

I have it seen it not charging or charging very slowly as high as 40F, actually, so that still sounds on par to me.   Just broadly speaking, Li-Ion charging become sub-optimal below around 40F, and gets worse quickly below that point.

With regard to the overall design, it likely draws too much current to work directly off of doorbell A/C, without risking tripping the chime.  This device is different from others on the market in that it has onboard AI, which requires higher performance processing. I suspect they just couldn't get the power consumption down low enough to run 100% on doorbell A/C.    The gamble they would have made is that the duty cycle of the device is low enough that it can ride through cold periods, and charge when warmer.   In my case, living in Indiana with somewhat up and down temperatures and cutting down the detection zone has changed the use/drain balance such that I think I'll be able to make this work.  Extended periods of very cold weather likely could lead to it shutting off due to battery (and it did so several times prior to tuning down the detection zone).   A lot of folks in that thread are in Canada, and for some of them, this just isn't going to be a workable device at all.  

Regardless of ability to make it work by cutting down events, Google should have disclosed this design decision right up front.  As you did, I just assumed it would/could run without the battery at all, and thus the battery would just provide backup.  I'm well past the return period (bought it in the fall), and I can probably make it work, so I'll probably stick with it.   Based on the above, you'll probably want to make a decision before your return period runs out.  I would not expect the new unit you're getting to behave any differently.  What you've seen seems to be "normal" operation.

 

One other thing, it will shut down regardless of state of charge at around -20C, likely for battery safety and lifespan.  But, that is per the spec, so can't really complain about that (although disappointing).

View solution in original post

firmwaredev
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

Sorry, I was working on a response to another thread, and mixed it up when I replied here.   

With regard to other battery doorbells charging when cold, I would be surprised if any were able to charge significantly when cold.  The issue is intrinsic to Li-Ion batteries.    Take a look at Ring's documentation for their battery doorbell(s): https://support.ring.com/hc/en-us/articles/############463-Cold-Weather-and-Battery-Powered-Ring-Doo...    This is pretty much the same as what is seen on the Nest Battery Doorbell.  Are there others that do better on this?  If there are, I'd be interested to learn how they accomplished it with a Li-Ion battery, particularly while charging from doorbell A/C.

In my opinion, the main issue with this Nest doorbell is more that the advertising/marketing sets an expectation that it can run off of the incoming A/C  alone, and hence the battery state of charge wouldn't matter, which is unfortunately untrue.  The documentation sort of suggests otherwise, but that's not something most purchasers are going to look at before purchase.

Edit:  Sorry, forum software here breaks some urls.  Here's a shortened one that will survive:    https://tinyurl.com/2p8cuk3y

View solution in original post

31 REPLIES 31

EmptyNester
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

Sorry,  I'm a bit late to the conversation.  Is this an older Nest HELLO doorbell?  Or the new Nest Battery doorbell?

mitr
Community Member

new nest battery doorbell

EmptyNester
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

Thanks for the reply.  That sounds to me like a defective camera or more likely a defective battery inside the camera which is not something the user can replace.  I purchased the new doorbell and it worked fine for me as far as charging goes.  I had it for about 3 weeks and ultimately returned it because of  the inability to use it on the NEST app and also the fact that even wired it doesn't record 24/7 like every other nest camera.   Really,,,, what were they thinking.  (just my opinion).  Oh and also there is no way to view the camera on my computer. And the fact that the camera is always in sleep mode so almost every recorded clip started to late and ended to soon.  

mitr
Community Member

ill update the thread when i get my second replacement, but my original unit and the replacement unit they sent me both had the same issues.  If its a bad battery what are the odds i got a second bad battery in a row.  I have a feeling support will end up getting the higher tier support involved.

firmwaredev
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

Is it cold where you live?  If so, you're probably just experiencing poor cold weather performance as described in the below very long thread.   With regard to trickle charging - yes it does appear that this doorbell only trickle charges, so keeping it running is a matter of how many events you get vs it's ability to keep the battery charged. When it gets cold (below around 0C/32F or so) it is not able to charge, likely due to intrinsic characteristics of Li-Ion batteries combined with only being able to use a small amount of current given it is in series with the doorbell (and would ring the chime if too much is  used).   

One tip... if you have a google assistant device of any kind, you can ask it what the current level of charge is, even when wired in doorbell A/C.  Yes, it's really weird that the app can not do this 😞 .

 

https://www.googlenestcommunity.com/t5/Cameras-and-Doorbells/Cold-weather-concerns-with-Nest-Doorbel...

 

 

mitr
Community Member

I do live in Des Moines Iowa, it has been below 30F so that could be a factor but there have been days where its been like 36F and I haven't noticed it charging.  Thanks for the tip, I will ask my google assistants what the current charge is.  Although I can also see this in the apple home app via homekit. 

What a horrible design flaw in this doorbell if they made it so the battery either doesn't charge at all or just trickle charges when above 30F.  What's even the point of having a wired option then, makes zero sense.  If you offer that feature it should work as expected within the operating temp specs as well as if you have more activity that might cause power to be used faster than it charges, absolutely dumb.  If i and anyone else had known these issues i wouldn't have purchased.  I suspect that i wont be able to get this issue resolved, hopefully support can do something for me but if not I'm going to return it, now hopefully i don't go past the return window working with support trying to get it working.

firmwaredev
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

I have it seen it not charging or charging very slowly as high as 40F, actually, so that still sounds on par to me.   Just broadly speaking, Li-Ion charging become sub-optimal below around 40F, and gets worse quickly below that point.

With regard to the overall design, it likely draws too much current to work directly off of doorbell A/C, without risking tripping the chime.  This device is different from others on the market in that it has onboard AI, which requires higher performance processing. I suspect they just couldn't get the power consumption down low enough to run 100% on doorbell A/C.    The gamble they would have made is that the duty cycle of the device is low enough that it can ride through cold periods, and charge when warmer.   In my case, living in Indiana with somewhat up and down temperatures and cutting down the detection zone has changed the use/drain balance such that I think I'll be able to make this work.  Extended periods of very cold weather likely could lead to it shutting off due to battery (and it did so several times prior to tuning down the detection zone).   A lot of folks in that thread are in Canada, and for some of them, this just isn't going to be a workable device at all.  

Regardless of ability to make it work by cutting down events, Google should have disclosed this design decision right up front.  As you did, I just assumed it would/could run without the battery at all, and thus the battery would just provide backup.  I'm well past the return period (bought it in the fall), and I can probably make it work, so I'll probably stick with it.   Based on the above, you'll probably want to make a decision before your return period runs out.  I would not expect the new unit you're getting to behave any differently.  What you've seen seems to be "normal" operation.

 

One other thing, it will shut down regardless of state of charge at around -20C, likely for battery safety and lifespan.  But, that is per the spec, so can't really complain about that (although disappointing).

mitr
Community Member

So 24VAC 40VA is the max my transformer can provide.  This being on the upper end of the supported voltage requirements for this doorbell.  It makes sense to me what you talk about it using more power than likely on AC and our suspicions the wire option is just for trickle charge to keep the battery up, having said that would that mean 24v at 40w would not be enough to run this doorbell fulltime, meaning thats not enough AC power to run the device full time?  I'm curious as to what the size and output is of the battery inside. if the battery is indeed providing more output than what i can give it via my transformer then this makes sense, however i feel if my transformer is able to give more power than would ever be drawn from the battery then why not make it so it could use that voltage/amperage. Perhaps im not understanding something about how it was possibly designed.

firmwaredev
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

It's not the transformer that would limit the current.  It is that the whole thing is in *series* with the doorbell chime (or could be, and they would have to design it as such).    Any current that goes through the doorbell has to go through the chime.  As such, you  can only draw a little bit to not trip the chime solenoid.   A regular doorbell is just a switch that closes when you press the button.  Using it to tap power is tricky, and requires that  you stay below a certain current level intrinsically.

mitr
Community Member

ok, that makes sense.  I used to have a ring pro v1 and that had a circuit you wired into the physical chime, which is what boosted the voltage to make that work, since the battery version of this doorbell didn't come with that they didn't design it to work that way. At first I forgot to take the old ring pro voltage boosting circuit piece off the chime and I was having the same issue, that is when I first noticed this whole problem, so I thought well ill just take that off and run as intended, got same results so I bought the same voltage and amperage transformer as the one that google sells for this particular doorbell (16V 500mA) and when that didn't work i bought the biggest output one i could find (24V 40VA) which is what im currently using but now knowing its all wired in series, now it makes sense and none of those transformers or my original house one, (the google one or my current new one) would have made any difference what so ever.

 

I do have my motion zones set to only my front step so it should be fairly tightly controlled, so that tells me its the integration in homekit with the starling home hub that's sending the video feed to homekit, which is making it use more power than normal as homekit checks in frequently (which is why you don't see battery only cameras that are homekit).  So either i don't use it in homekit and hope it will work better or i just return this doorbell and get something else.  I suspect ill probably be returning it.  I will see what support says when i get my second replacement, hell, maybe they would be cool and swap it with the older wired version of the doorbell.  Else ill probably get the new Wemo Homekit doorbell that was just announced at CES. Ideally id like the yet to be announced wired version of this doorbell because when it does work its pretty cool to have notifications on my google home speakers, as well as my nest display in the kitchen, and since ive got it integrated into homekit i get chimes on all of my homepod minis and if im watching apple tv a preview will show on my apple tv.  Ill only get the apple half of this equation if i go with a homekit only doorbell such as the wemo.  the older wired version of this doorbell im not sure has a tall enough view for me to see packages which is what i liked about this battery version.  I had to replace my ring pro v1 as the they made that with a plastic front and over the years the sun has beat down and just made to so cloudy you couldn't see anything clearly anymore.

firmwaredev
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

Ah, I missed the Homekit integration.  Yes, if that integration is pulling video frequently from the camera this probably isn't going to be a good camera for you, even aside from the cold weather charging issue.  This design is really depending on a low duty cycle to stay above water.   I'm sure that's one of the key reasons (in addition to the claimed heat issues by Google) that it can't do 24x7 video (as the original Hello doorbell could).

tjk
Community Member

I have the exact same issue and observations so far. Instead of homekit I am using Home Assistant, but during my experiments, I limited that integration. I've also limited the events the camera should record.
After I switched to 24v 40va transformer the doorbell lived for almost a week (an improvement compared to my previous 24V 20VA transformer), then just showed it has 7% left and turned off. 48F is the lowest temperature there was during that week. 
I am running out of options and chances are, this is just the way this thing is built. I'm starting to miss my older Nest Doorbell, even though it didn't support webRTC.

Keep us updated on the replacement, please!

firmwaredev
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

I doubt the transformer upgrade made any difference.    The current limit imposed by being in series with the chime would overshadow a transformer upgrade.   If it was warmer, that is more likely to be the reason for better performance (assuming events were similar, etc).

On the Home Assistant integration, what all is it doing?  Is it pulling video from the camera on a periodic (or even constant) basis?   That's really going to suck down the battery badly, if so.   Basically , this is a battery powered doorbell, with trickle charging.  They would have assumed a low duty cycle, with relatively infrequent pulls of the live video stream.

tjk
Community Member

You might be right about the transformer. By the way, it’s outputting 26.6v instead of 24 and I was thinking whether this can be a problem. Read that the doorbell might not charge to save itself.

home assistant - yea, it’s pulling a feed from the camera and displays it on the wall tablet when it is approached. Well, I got rid of this since the tablet would go on too often. That’s another cause of extended battery life.

firmwaredev
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

On the transformer, possible I guess. I doubt it though.  The incoming A/C would be rectified then put through some sort of DC->DC converter, which typically have pretty high acceptable input ranges. They don't just feed the battery directly without voltage control. 

On the general issue, back when I had mine set to trigger on a large zone (cars driving by, etc), I was loosing ground some times even at 40F.  This thing draws quite a bit of power when active.

mitr
Community Member

I got my second replacement doorbell Thursday and installed it Friday.  As to my expectations no change, its still doing the same thing which i totally expected.  I emailed support Sunday since they wanted to know how this second replacement would work out.  If i don't hear back sometime today ill give them a call within the next couple of days.

I will be curious what they will be able to do for me as they mentioned they would send my case to engineers to take a look at the issue.  Funny enough that a lot of people are having this issue that i came across a news article on 9to5 google mentioning Google confirmed that it is aware of this issue and a spokesperson said that the company is currently investigating the “root cause.” Nest Camera and Doorbells are having trouble in cold temps - 9to5Google 

Since this item was purchased from the google store, if we cant come to some solution ill see if they let me return it which i am hopeful they will.  Ive been battling with this for a month now.

firmwaredev
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

Yep, as expected.   That article at 9to5 was prompted by one of the folks over in the other cold weather thread.   It's good to hear that they have sufficiently acknowledged the problem such that a spokesperson even knows about it (which takes quite a bit of pot stirring in most companies in my experience). 

mitr
Community Member

so latest update, they finally got back to me and had it all the way up to engineering.  They say engineering says that it is designed this way and that basically there isn't anything they can do about it at this time, when i mentioned the 9to5 article to the help desk lady she said she wasn't aware of that but would forward my additional questions onto engineering to see if they would have any answers including my concern about returning the doorbell, she will be calling me back Tuesday.  Engineering mentioned that it wont charge when the temp is 32F or below.  Next week we are due to be in the 40s so ill be curious to see if it actually charges up.

we get homechef deliveries once a week so i really dont want to have to go outside in the cold and take it inside to charge every week or so to not miss notifications for those deliveries, thats just not going to work for us so well see.  Like i said so far its holding its own and its been 2 weeks so crossing my fingers that it wont die.

I suspect she will come back and say they cant do anything about it but will hopefully offer me a chance to return it.  Some good news is that I expected this doorbell to be dead by now and it seems to be slowing down on how fast it drains, currently at 23% and its been right at 2 weeks now. 

They also said their original nest hello wired doorbell operates the same way. I tried to get more information regarding the new wired nest doorbell but she didn't have any ideas on that and I'm sure wont say anything more than what's out on the internet now about it since it hasn't been officially announced yet.  Im hoping the new wired version doesn't suffer the same limitations.

tjk
Community Member

It's getting warmer for me too and I didn't have any issues so far. I decreased usage though so to test the temperature theory I will now increase usage 🙂

EmptyNester
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

This is so frustrating to hear.  Do they really think that it is acceptable to bring a product to the marketplace with this significant design limitation?  Aren't there about 10 other doorbell cameras from other companies that don't have this limitation but also have batteries in them?

 

firmwaredev
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

I think the key difference vs other models would be the local AI.  The processing required for that is substantial, and would drive up the power requirement to the point where running directly off of incoming A/C was likely not possible.  Result is a battery only design.

EmptyNester
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

Hi Firmwaredev, Sorry, I'm confused which question are you replying to?  Isn't this thread about the battery not charging in cold temps under 32F?  What does that have to do with AI?

firmwaredev
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

Sorry, I was working on a response to another thread, and mixed it up when I replied here.   

With regard to other battery doorbells charging when cold, I would be surprised if any were able to charge significantly when cold.  The issue is intrinsic to Li-Ion batteries.    Take a look at Ring's documentation for their battery doorbell(s): https://support.ring.com/hc/en-us/articles/############463-Cold-Weather-and-Battery-Powered-Ring-Doo...    This is pretty much the same as what is seen on the Nest Battery Doorbell.  Are there others that do better on this?  If there are, I'd be interested to learn how they accomplished it with a Li-Ion battery, particularly while charging from doorbell A/C.

In my opinion, the main issue with this Nest doorbell is more that the advertising/marketing sets an expectation that it can run off of the incoming A/C  alone, and hence the battery state of charge wouldn't matter, which is unfortunately untrue.  The documentation sort of suggests otherwise, but that's not something most purchasers are going to look at before purchase.

Edit:  Sorry, forum software here breaks some urls.  Here's a shortened one that will survive:    https://tinyurl.com/2p8cuk3y

EmptyNester
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

Hi Firmwaredev,   I think you nailed the issue exactly.  The fact that it can't run on AC only making the battery charge-state mostly irrelevant is a big issue.  Why do you suppose that was a limitation in the design since the Nest HELLO Doorbell can run off AC without a problem and so can all the other popular doorbell cams.  

This also explains why the new Doorbell (battery) can't record 24/7 with nest AWARE.... and that was the main reason I returned mine and went back to the HELLO.

firmwaredev
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

It's probably a combination of a couple of things.  First, they chose to not use a chime adapter as is done with the Hello.  The chime adapter is designed to change the structure of the doorbell circuit such that the chime is disconnected from the transformer power by default, and the doorbell can use whatever power it needs without ringing the chime (more about that in a moment).    Essentially, the Hello is sort of in parallel to the chime, instead of in series like a normal mechanical doorbell button would be.   When the button is pressed, power is diverted back to the chime so it can ring (temporarily).  Note, when the power is diverted to the chime, it's going to reduce the voltage to the doorbell, so there is likely some circuitry either in the adapter or the doorbell, or both,  to help smooth that out.    I know the Hello also has a small battery inside as well, which probably helps the doorbell ride out that nasty transient voltage situation while ringing the chime, without shutting itself off.

Now let's look at the Battery Doorbell.  It doesn't use a chime adapter.  It hooks straight to the chime as-is - just like a regular old doorbell switch.   This makes the device much more home owner installable.   However, the doorbell is now in series with the chime.  That means any current that flows through the doorbell has to flow through the chime solenoid.  You can get away with this, but you can only draw a small bit of power...something on the same order as the little lights that are often in regular doorbell switches (and maybe a little bit more than that).   If you draw over some threshold the doorbell chime will ring and/or hold the chime solenoid closed, which can cause a buzzing sound and eventually overheating of and possible damage to the chime solenoid.  Now, with a really good low power design, it might be possible to run directly off of that small bit of usable power.    But that is very difficult, even for a device that does *not* have local AI processing like this one does.   This likely would make running directly off of that small power budget impossible. 

The result of all of that would be a battery driven design, with trickle charging.  The gamble they would make is that the duty cycle of the doorbell is low enough that trickle charging, on average, would be plenty sufficient to keep the battery topped up vs demand.     This is probably a pretty good gamble to make, and I'm sure they modeled that against a lot of scenarios.   However, it looks like they didn't account enough for the reality of living in a consistently cold environment where the battery is very difficult to charge, or won't charge at all.  If you have a lot of available incoming power, there are some things you can do to counteract the difficulty charging.  You can trade off current for voltage, and overcome that to some degree.  But in this situation, you don't that luxury, because of the above mentioned limits on current draw.    In any case, even raising the voltage, if it could be done, will only help a little bit.  Once you get down to very low temps you can't overcome the increased battery resistance due to cold, and you run the risk of damaging the battery or even causing it to fail in ways that could start a fire. 

To your point about 24x7 recording - yes I think this is likely a primary reason for lack of that feature.  That would be impossible with a battery/trickle charge design.  They have made statements that it was because of excess heating in the summer (which may well have been true), but a battery-only design would be the main reason.

They really should make this clear in marketing, advertising, box labeling, etc...that this is a battery doorbell (with trickle charge only), and spell out the inherent limitations in their design.

mitr
Community Member

Yes, this exactly makes sense after you explained the design and how it works in series. I think what this all comes down to is will this doorbell work for you in your usage case in the climate you live in knowing all of this design and electrical information. It made sense the first time you explained it was in series, I hadn’t thought of that.  I think the only thing that threw me and possibly others off is the fact that you can measure with a multimeter more than sufficient voltage (so you would think by the voltage requirements) at the doorbell house wires and think this should be more than enough power but you are only measuring available voltage not the actual current draw by the doorbells circuit. Similar to measuring 120v at the wall and thinking that would be more than enough power for a computer even though the computer only draws a fraction of that on average. Part of me originally thought that if I’m measuring sufficient voltage at the house then that should be enough to charge the battery without the chime going off and if power was going through the chime first you’d see the voltage left over available to the bell switch essentially when you test with a multimeter but that’s not how that works and now makes sense.

 

im still on the fence of keeping it. I’m at 21% battery today. It will be warmer this coming week so I’ll be curious testing the charging vs use. I did receive this doorbell as a gift from what I said I wanted as a gift so I’m hopeful I can make it work somehow or just deal knowing the design. If I decide to return it I’ll be getting either the Logitech circle view or the new Belkin Wemo HomeKit doorbell. However if Google would have their new wired doorbell available now I’d probably choose that one.

 

if I accept as solution does that close this thread to further discussion?  I thought one thread I was chatting in about this issue someone marked as a solution and I couldn’t further respond. Else I will mark the above as a solution, although originally I wanted to wait until I had a final conversation with Google support but I suspect I know where that will end up and I think I’m ok with their efforts knowing the design. 100% agree with not fully transparent on the marketing of this device. So hopefully this entire thread helps others considering this doorbell and any that are designed similarly. 

firmwaredev
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

I don't think marking an answer closes the thread as one of my other replies here was already marked as one.  But it will probably get closed pretty soon anyway.  I don't expect Google will say much more here on the topic.  Their answer is pretty much to send people to the battery saving section of the documentation, which just says to use the various features to cut down events.  In either case, the thread should still be searchable/viewable by others, and that's good.   Hopefully it can help people make a better decision about pre-sale for the doorbell, or if already purchased, whether to return it or not.

For myself, I've been able to make it work, by more or less just trimming down to a nice tight detection zone. I'm actually running with Max quality video and "use more battery" mode right now, and I've been able to ride through a couple of weeks of temps below freezing, and a good deal of time in single digits F.  Now it is sitting at  20%, or sometime less at times, but with current event level, it's doing ok.  I also had a flag in view of my camera until recently waving around, and I think that also contributed to excessive drain.   It won't record for that of course, but the motion sensor was probably being tripped almost constantly (and waking up the device to run AI on the scene to detect for an event).  I'm sure that didn't help any.  At least for now, mine's in a balanced state that I think will be sustainable.

Now, aside from the charging issue, there is also the fact that it will shutdown below around -20C regardless of battery state.  That of course is per the specs, but something that no one really expects to happen.   From a technical perspective it makes perfect sense that it does that.  To do otherwise would be to compromise the battery life, and potentially risk a fire.  The problem is one of perception.   Face it...no one really pays attention to the operating temperature ranges of devices they buy.   The Nest Hello has the same range as the Battery Doorbell, but in practice it works to much colder temperatures with no problem.  That's because it doesn't depend on a battery that would be unsafe to charge or even use at those temps.   For the Battery doorbell, the temperature range actually has to be taken seriously, which is really unusual for an electronic device, especially on the cold side.  So, for folks that live in parts of Canada that are at those temps a lot....there just isn't a solution, outside of maybe insulating the device or actively heating it or some such.   Google should put that warning on the device packaging in big letters - "This device will shut off below -20C for safety reasons", or some such.  At least then people could make an educated choice pre-purchase.

firmwaredev
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

Wow...so I had replied to your last comment with a post just agreeing with a couple of your points, and it got marked as spam by someone (and subsequently deleted)....weird.

Brad
Community Specialist
Community Specialist

Hi there,

 

Just checking in to see if you still need assistance with this issue. Please let me know if you need further assistance. 

 

Best Regards,

Brad.

mitr
Community Member

nope, engineering basically came back and said there is nothing that can be done about it, its become more or less if you want to return it we will let you do so but there's no coming fix, its just how its designed to operate and sorry for the confusion in all of this.  Ana, my customer support associate, has been very nice and  supportive throughout the whole process, it just took me a few calls to get to her.  Since it was a gift and once the weather started to get above freezing i noticed it charging a bit i decided to just keep it and hopefully i can live with it next winter, depending how often it actually shuts off and stays off if i don't go out and bring it in for a charge.  So far here in Iowa its holding steady at a 29% battery.  If i find i cant live with it next winter ill probably sell it and get the up and coming wired version of this doorbell.

As far as I'm concerned this thread can be closed but id also like the ability for others to chime in if they wish just as discussion points.  With all that's been discussed here hopefully someone can find information and make an informed decision on if they want to buy this doorbell or if they already have, why it behaves the way it does and if its going to work out for them in the long run.  I know if i was that person i would have more than likely passed on this doorbell for my particular use case scenario had i had the kind of information here before i suggested it as a gift idea for myself.

 

A big thanks to Ana my customer support person and firmwaredev for the explanation on how the doorbell was engineered and his responses to questions here.

Brad
Community Specialist
Community Specialist

Hey Folks.

 

I am sorry that there was no resolution for this issue. At this time, I'll go ahead and lock this thread. If you're still experiencing problems, feel free to start a new thread and we'll be happy to help.

 

Best Regards,

Brad.