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Alarms not sounding on all Nest Protects

SteveD
Community Member

My home has 7 Nest Protects.  I recently tried a "real-world" test using a blown out match to create smoke at one of the Protects.  The Protect detected the smoke and sounded the alarm (an actual "emergency" alarm--not a "heads up").  However, the alarm did not sound on any of the other 6 Nest Protects.

  • In addition to the alarm on the single Protect, I get an "Emergency: There is smoke" notification on my phone so it did register the alarm
  • All of the Nest Protects show up in the app as green
  • When I run Nest's built-in test on one Protect (by pushing the button), it successfully tests all 7 Protects so they are interconnected
  • I've tried the real-world test on two different Protects with the same result--only the detecting Protect sounds its alarm

The response I received from Nest support wasn't inspiring.  The first (escalated) rep told me that Nest doesn't recommend testing the system that way and disconnected the chat.  A second phone rep escalated to their safety team and told me they would respond within 24 hours, but I haven't heard anything.

If this is a Nest bug, it's obviously a major safety issue (as well as violating at least my local fire code). 

Has anyone else run a similar test recently?  I don't see how this could just be an issue with my system, but I also find it hard to believe Google's QA could be so bad that it would release software with this problem.

 

 

 

15 REPLIES 15

JoelR
Community Member

This is a huge deal. I’m trialing one smoke detector  at moment before I invest into 9 more alarms. If they do not communicate then I will look elsewhere. Would love to see a response from google on this. Also curious if the WiFi router is down will they still communicate or are they dependent on being connected to router to communicate 

Ashepherdson
Gold Product Expert
Gold Product Expert

They form their own network to connect to each other Joel, so you would be okay there.  As for the smoke, and interconnection, it will set off the alarm at the point of fire initially, as well as broadcast to your phone and other devices.  it will all depend on the "level of smoke and heat" detected how the alarm goes off, dont forget these arent just dumb alarms, they detect both heat and smoke.   A small amount of smoke can be expected near a kitchen for example.  The other day I made lunch while my wife was at work, and burnt bacon a little bit, it set off the smoke alarm near the kitchen, but the others did not go off, however both my wifes phone as well as mine alerted of smoke near the detector, so it worked as expected.   

 


@Ashepherdson wrote:

As for the smoke, and interconnection, it will set off the alarm at the point of fire initially, as well as broadcast to your phone and other devices.  it will all depend on the "level of smoke and heat" detected how the alarm goes off, dont forget these arent just dumb alarms, they detect both heat and smoke.   A small amount of smoke can be expected near a kitchen for example.  The other day I made lunch while my wife was at work, and burnt bacon a little bit, it set off the smoke alarm near the kitchen, but the others did not go off, however both my wifes phone as well as mine alerted of smoke near the detector, so it worked as expected.   


That's consistent with my experience where only one detector sounded its alarm. Have you ever tested if more smoke will cause all the detectors to go off? 

I know the Nest Protects give a warning (both voice and phone notification) when smoke is first detected, but I can't find anything that says there are two behaviors when the alarm actually goes off (one detector and all detectors) or that this is even legally compliant:

  • The Nest support people I spoke to said that all the detectors should sound if any of them do. 
  • Google's web site says "when one speaks, they all speak." 
  • California building code (CRC R314.4) states "smoke alarms shall be interconnected in such a manner that the activation of one alarm will activate all of the alarms in the individual unit."

Ashepherdson
Gold Product Expert
Gold Product Expert

Personally my system has never gone past the Heads Up alert, which is what you have described.  If you see a yellow ring that is the heads up alert, where as an emergency alert (red light) is the one that is broadcast everywhere.  There is a good article about this linked below.  Also yes these are compliant to california law, see the link to the google KB below as well. 

https://www.cooksillustrated.com/articles/2126-testing-the-google-nest-protect-smoke-alarm

https://support.google.com/product-documentation/answer/9301332?hl=en#:~:text=Since%20Nest%20Protect....

 

Yes that's the issue.  I did a real world test where I forced my system past the Heads Up alert to the emergency alert.  This emergency alert only sounded on the detecting Protect--not all the units as they should and as required by code.

Ashepherdson
Gold Product Expert
Gold Product Expert

Well that is indeed worrying, okay let me escalate this thread to the Google team for you to get their input.  

Thanks. Here's the notifications from the Nest app:

Screenshot_20211031-142921.png

Ashepherson, have you heard anything back from Google on this?  They are completely ignoring my inquiries about the status on this issue--My only guess is their attorneys may have told them to keep quiet because of the liability issues involved.

I have purchased some canned smoke and verified that this behavior is consistent across my system. Nest is only sounding the alarm on the Protect which detected the smoke--not the other interconnected Protects in the house.  

Has anyone else in the community tried this test?  I'd like to know how widespread the problem is. At this point, I think the only way to get a response from Google will be an article in the New York Times.

SteveD
Community Member

I should add that the reason I was testing this in the first place is that some alarm systems (eg Ring, Abode) integrate smoke alarms by listening for the T-3 tones from a nearby detector and then reporting this to the central monitoring service.  If all the detectors do not sound, fires will not be reported until the detector next to the listener sounds its alarm.

KEDavis
Community Member

Steve, what do you mean when you say "reporting this to the central monitoring service"?  How is a central monitoring service connected to your Nest Protect system?  I thought when you disconnected the third wire from your alarms, the central monitoring system (if you were connected to one) was disconnected, also.  At least mine was.

SteveD
Community Member

A few different issue here:

The third wire was used to physically interconnect smoke detectors so that all the alarms could sound when smoke sensed by any one detector.  Nest detectors use a wireless interconnection for this function rather than the third wire (which is the functionality that is not working on my system).  Some burglar alarm systems could also be attached to this third wire to allow them to report a smoke detection condition back to the central monitoring service.

Some newer alarm systems (eg Abode, Ring) can also integrate your smoke detectors.  These work by placing a microphone near one of the detectors and listening for the sound of the alarm going off.  When they hear this sound, they will report the condition back to their central monitoring systems.  However, if Nest only sounds the alarm at the Protect that senses the smoke, the "listener" will not hear the sound and  report the alarm (unless it is next to the Protect which detected the smoke).

 

Ashepherdson
Gold Product Expert
Gold Product Expert

Let me flag this up for you, in fairness I have not experienced this with my protect system.  Can I ask, have you tried resetting the units and re setting them up to see if that might correct the issue? I'm wondering if the mesh network somehow failed?  I'll still escalate again of course. 

@GarrettDS 

@Brad can either of you two provide assistance? 

I haven't tried a full reset.  I have done the built-in test (by pushing the button on one Nest Protest).  That does cause a test to run successfully on all the other Protects in the system.  So it seems like the interconnect network must be functioning correctly.

This feels to me like a software bug.  I just don't know if it's widespread or a corner case that's coming up in my system. 

I certainly could try resetting everything and restarting from scratch.  But the problem is reproducible right now, so if Google does want to investigate this would be the opportunity.  And I'm in Cupertino so they could easily get physical access if they need it.

 

rw741600
Community Member

I just thought I would give a real world experience.  I have 5 Nest protects installed with one in a guest house (fairly close to main house) and 4 in main.  I had a very smoky kitchen fire in the main house and the Nest Protect in the guest house alerted me to the alarm. Needless to say I was very pleased with the technology.

 

 

SteveD
Community Member

Thanks rw.  How long ago did that occur?  I haven't yet been able to determine if this is a problem related to my configuration or if this is a more general bug introduced in a later version of the software.  The function must have been working at some point since the Protects were able to pass their UL certification.