Archive for the ‘Nest Hello Doorbell’ Category

Nest Hello is up and running!

OK, you like a challenge if you are reading this. And installing the Nest Hello Doorbell is definitely a challenge, but worth it in the end.  I found the real issues were more with the doorbell than the doorbell system.

Nest people: please come up with a way to set this up using a wired connection. The Bluetooth version had too many problems.  I was able to set this up, but there were far too many headaches associated with wireless in a highly congested frequency band.

But it was worth it in the end.

I can see events. So, if someone were to be a porch pirate, or worse, I wouldn’t have to scroll through hours of footage to find it. The segments would be highlighted. I also signed up to have my video stored for 10 days in “the cloud”.

Personally, I find that CCTV is far more of a crime deterrent than a firearm. Toss in how many people have been killed by CCTV as opposed to family members killed with a gun.

Two high profile crimes were solved through CCTV in my neighbourhood. I can name a lot more where the CCTV being backed up to a remote location foiled criminals (including bent cops).

So, keep your gun. I would rather have big brother watching out for me.

What they don’t tell you about installing the Google Nest Hello Doorbell.

All the videos out there that show how to install the doorbell using the app neglect something very important about how to set up this unit: you need a Bluetooth device which is connected to your wifi.

Highly important since one of the design flaws in this unit is that this is the ONLY way to set it up to work with your wireless network. Yes, even though the Nest Hello Doorbell has a USB port on the back, you can’t set this up using a computer: only some sort of tablet or phone via bluetooth.{1}

That neglects that there are so many wireless devices out there in the 2.4GHz range that there is a high likelihood of interference. I literally had my phone on top of my nest when I was setting the thing up. People who do this professionally and have advanced degrees in electronics/electrical engineering complain.

I am but a mere technician (and end user), but I can see a serious design flaw!

Toss in that you have to restart the app (and start at the beginning and go through the installation process again REPEATEDLY) to pair the unit. No way to jump to pair my device and skip all the other steps in the installation process.

Also, they only give you one tool/key. So, don’t lose the thing or you will end up using a small hex wrench to try and pop the unit out!

I would also add that having a multimeter is useful for this process: especially if you are installing a new transformer.
Anyway, the easy stuff.

I ended up putting the chime connector on this doorbell. I put the white wire where the white wire is in this pic. The grey wire replaced the red.

It worked like a charm. Both bells make noise!

Only complaint about the chime connector is that the Nest people should have used something darker than grey. I was using a flashlight to do the wiring. It was a little difficult to differentiate between the white and grey in low light situations.

This video: Use Nest Hello With Nearly Any Incompatible Doorbell was interesting, but not really appropriate for my situation. I’m linking it for people who might have an “incompatible” chime they like.

In my case, all I needed to do was to put the chime connector between the two screws above.

Whatever, the Nest Home people aren’t really good at explaining what all needs to be done.  You can download an installer’s manual here: It isn’t more detailed than the app, but worth a look.

Oh, yeah, and something which should have taken me maybe 45 minutes tops has taken about 9 hours altogether because of poor design. You read the literature and it leaves a lot to be desired. Especially if the Bluetooth won’t pair.


[1} I ended up buying a chepo android tablet since my iPhone 6S was having difficulties pairing with this device. I had to balk at spending the price for an iPad if my only reason for getting it was to set up the Nest hello!

Installing the Nest Hello Doorbell

OK, I decided to get a Nest hello Doorbell. Not so much for the security aspect, even thought CCTV is probably the best crime stopping tool out there. Nope, I’m doing it because I can’t hear my doorbells: especially when I am out back.

The Nest people have instructions for what they are worth out there, but the gist of it is like:

As long as you have “front”, “trans”, “rear” connections on the main chime you should be fine. Swap the Hello with the front doorbell button and put the chime connector/puck on the front and trans terminals/screws. If you have multiple wires on a terminal then only use one of the wires, leave the others connected.

Which isn’t really helpful in my circumstances. I have a house that is nearly 200 years old (which isn’t that old for these parts) and wiring which is antique. This is a picture of the transformer and one of the bells (“chimes”). Actually, these suckers are bells that go “zing”, which was really grating. These must be early since there was a movement in the 1930s when the manufacturers started pushing “Chimes”.  Anyway, this is a two bell system with an old transformer. I was able to find markings that tell me the system is at least 70 years old!

The joy of the internet! I was able to track down the transformer. I found similar doorbells. There is even a modern version of this bell being sold which takes 16VAC 10VA.

120-240 isn’t really an issue as much as dealing with electrical antiques. So, this is applicable pretty much all over the world.

It’s also the standard 10VAC system found around here, which means I need a new transformer to up the system to 16VAC 10VA required by the Hello. That’s the easy part. I know I can push the power to 16VAC, but not so sure about the higher 24VAC. Anyway, the transformer I bought can do both 16 and 24 VAC, which means I am covered.

I’m not going to get into which transformer I bought since there are a few ones out there that will do the job. The real issue is whether I am going to go with 16 or 24 VAC. Also, I don’t have “Chimes”, which means where do I put the Nest Chime Connector.

I’m going to start with the 16VAC and see if it works. I may go higher if things don’t work out well. the issue is that this system runs two doorbells. I have a feeling that the 24VAC would work if needed, but I am not keen on running more than twice the power that this system has run under for 70 odd years.

Second issue is where to put the Nest Chime Connector. Not only don’t my “chimes” have F,R,or T markings: they don’t have any markings. Fortunately, doorbell systems are AC which means there is no polarity involved. Nevertheless, I’ve decided I can tell which wires are Transformer (T) and which is Front (F) in the wiring diagram. I will then put the connector right on the new transformer using the chime wires.

Nest has its tech manual for the doorbell online, which goes into a bit more detail, but not that much more, than the app’s install.

However I found the most useful item was this: .

Anyway, the  fun will begin when everything is brought together. I am currently waiting for the Nest Hello to show up.

OK, personal opinion on transformers: get one which does multiple voltages from your region to make sure it is either 120 or 240 as your needs go.  Getting a 120 transformer for a 240 household would give too much power. Likewise, a 240 would give too little power in a 120 situation