Revisit of the Nest Hello doorbell

Okay, so ... a while back I had the Nest Hello doorbell show up at the house for a review.  At the time I wasn't able to fully review it as it was just a loaner so we did just a quick look.  I was cautious about installing it, to only have to uninstall it... turns out that was the right decision because, as it happens, Google allows me to keep it.  Great, now I'll get to installing it.

That was about a month ago now.

Installing it seemed simple enough:
  1. Find the power breaker for the bell, turn it off
  2. Switch out the connections at the chime to put in the transmitter
  3. Disconnect the current button and put on the camera
  4. Flick the switch back on and you should be good
Except in my house, I found the breaker, but the fly in the ointment would have been to do it all and find out I didn't have a proper transformer for it to be able to power the new doorbell.  You need 16VAC.  I didn't want to go through it all to find out it was low power.  The house was built in the 60s, so chances are it's probably an old one.

Just took me FOREVER to find where the person who built it (or the previous owner) put that dang transformer.

We have suspended ceilings and a few beams in the basement, and it definitely wasn't near the panel.

It took us a few days of trying to follow lines from the panel and ended up in dead ends.  Very frustrating.  Eventually just started taking ceiling panels out one by one to eventually find it dead centre of the basement.  Just the weirdest spot for it.  And, yup, it was underpowered, so off to the hardware store to get a new one.  They're not expensive, and super easy to replace.

Okay, that done.  That was Step 1b.  Step 2 was easy enough.  Take off the chime connectors to the front door, connect them to the transmitter, connect the transmitter to the chime.  

Step 3 was a bit more of a tricky spot because where I have my doorbell, the spot isn't wide enough to handle the new doorbell, so we put it on the brick next to it, but how to run the cable and whatnot.  It's not pretty, but it's working (I'm not going to show you what it looks like until it's warmer and I can put some sealant and whatnot up).

Masonry bits put on, mason anchors in place, grabbed wrong bell wire to connect, but made it work anyways... it's in place and we now have a working doorbell with Nest.

Phew.  In all that commotion I didn't take any photos to show you the steps, it was pretty frustrating.  Not because of Nest, but because of our specific home situation.  Hidden transformers, wires going every which way, awkward inset of the front door.  But it's done.

What's it like?  I tell you, I like it.

Now, we didn't pay for the service, so we only get 3 hours of history on it, which is still cool to look through.

Then it alerts me when it sees someone or someone rings the bell, or it has some motion... you can fine tune the alerts you get to suit your needs.  I don't need to know any time a car goes across the street.

But getting an alert on my watch when my son gets home from school and I can see him is fun.  Yeah, on Android Wear, the picture shows up in the notification.  Definitely fun.

With the app, I can load up in either Nest or Google Home and see what's going on and talk.

When someone presses the doorbell, I see it on my Nest Hub Max and Nest Hub and can talk through that as well.  Super handy.

It works very well in the dark too.  Which is good as we have it pointed at the front (we had to use the angle adapter) but also slightly to our mini driveway... just in case we need to see if anyone gets at the van.

It was also somewhat satisfying registering our camera with local enforcement that if needed.  You can see across the street is a business (who have their own security) but 2 other homes that just in case if it's needed... 

Now, could the police go back more hours if they needed it, whereas I can only go back 3?  Hopefully, I never have to find out.

I'm hoping though at some point they'll totally integrate Nest with Home... with the Home app I can just see and talk, I can't go back in time.  If I uninstalled the Nest app I wouldn't get notifications when Dean comes home, or when the mail came ... or was useful one day to see that the garbage guys came (where I put the cans is off screen) and one of the cans blew into the driveway.  

I could see it in the doorbell, then talked to my son via the Nest Hub Max to go and get it before it blew away entirely.

Also in the Nest app, I could instead of have a timeline and scrub through it to see what's happening, I could just get the list of activities.  

I do find that scrubbing through is tricky, and although I get a notification of the mail delivery, when I click it I'm either brought to the live time, or probably about 10 seconds after where they're gone.  So I have to scrub up and down to see anything.  And you have to be patient, it's not super 'real time' when you do it.  It's still fun.

Love my smart home integration.  Love it.

Now to get the Yale Lock next :)