Skip to main content

Nest Thermostat Installation Tips (2nd Generation)

I've been looking to add a Nest Thermostat to the house for years.  I'm probably the only person in our house that enjoys voice commands, but being able to voice control the thermostat is something I want to do. This weekend an awesome neighbor that had a spare Nest, let us borrow one to see if we like it. 

The unit I'm borrowing, pictured above, is a 2nd generation device. 3rd generation Nest thermostats are currently in stores with rumors of a new version around the corner.

Of course the industrial design is really good, but I want to briefly share my installation experience in bullet form:
  • Installation isn't physically hard. Nest includes a screwdriver that will help you remove your old unit and install your Nest thermostat. The white plate in the picture above is included in the box. This plate eliminates the need to patch holes or paint when removing larger thermostats.
  • Getting the wiring correct is another more difficult story that required trial and error. For example, it seems like my unit is working fine without the "common" wire. My previous thermostat used the "common" wire, but the Nest complained about it. Most posts I've read strongly encourage connecting the "common" wire. 
  • Speaking of wires, the main power source connects to either RC or RH. The installation manual seemed to imply you could use either. When connected to RC my unit blew hot air even when it said it was cooling. I'm currently running the unit connected to RH, but I'm already wondering what will happen when it gets cold and I need to turn on the heat. You can see my current wire configuration below.
  • Nest has an embedded battery to maintain device state, but what's really strange is that a low battery level greatly limits the ability to software configure the device. I suggest charging your nest with a micro USB if you have a low battery warning. 
  • While troubleshooting issues, it seems like many of the current articles reference features that require a software update. However, you can't even connect the device to wifi with a low battery warning. Furthermore, once you get connected to wifi, the device says, "new firmware available and it will be installed within the next day." So you are waiting for the latest and greatest software with no way to force the update.
  • Somewhat minor, but I had to create a Nest account. Despite being owned (for now) by Google, I wasn't able to use my existing Google account. 
Granted I'm testing with a 2nd generation loaner device, but I spent way more hours than I anticipated on the setup. Installation was quick. Setup was long and left me guessing. I'll give this loaner Nest a few days and see how it goes. Based on setup alone and limited exposure to using it, I'm not convinced it's necessary. 

My wiring setup:


Popular posts from this blog

Make Me Smart, Mini Review

I try to be task driven and agile. I use Todoist to maintain my personal backlog with each day being a new sprint with the goal of four to five tasks completed per day. One of today's main tasks was to write a mini review of Make Me Smart - the new podcast from APM hosted by Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood. I've been a fan of public radio since I began listening on my short commutes to work way back in 1999. My favorite public radio show by far is Marketplace. I'm a business news junkie. Marketplace is hosted by Kai. Kai is one of the few news people I follow on Twitter. I follow him because he's a good filter and retweets things that might prove to be important. I don't think Kai and I would be good friends, but I do respect him. He's smart and makes a very honest attempt to stay connected with how business impacts people in regular places like Erie, MI and Athens, GA. He has hosted Marketplace from these two cities. When Kai interviews people he pushes them to an…

31 Days of July

A few days before July started I had a realization that I was destined to be in an unhealthy state well into the future unless I tried something different. An idea came to mind to try and really push myself for 31 consecutive days to be healthier. For the month of July (including a week of vacation at the beach), I was going to focus on three tactics to improve my health.

My idea was pretty simple. One, I wanted to track my caloric intake with a goal of less than 2,000 net calories per day. Net calories for me was caloric intake minus exercise. My second goal was to drink 100 ounces of water daily. The third and final goal was to walk more than 10,000 steps every day. Let me say that I'm relatively healthy. I didn't consult a doctor before I started this program, and I'm not providing any health advice. Before you start any program you should consult your primary care physician.

In addition to the three goals above, I also decided to go to battle against sugar. I started r…

Voice Is the Future Input Device

2017 is the year we really start talking to our computers. Without question, Amazon's Alexa kicked off 2017 at CES by dominating the show. Amazon didn't even have an official booth at CES for Alexa, but the Amazon voice assistant was mentioned throughout the four day event.

This is also the year I purchased a Google Home (one of Amazon Echo's competitors), and my Nexus 6P phone was auto-updated with Google Assistant (one of Amazon Alexa's competitors). Google Home and Google Assistant allow natural speech to Google's vast services layer and knowledge graph. As a family we've enjoyed talking to Google Home. I've paired the Google Home with several Belkin Wemo switches and we can rather naturally turn off a few lights around the house.

I also wrote a basic Google Action to learn more about the guts of natural language processing (NLP) development. I used Google's API.AI to create the voice interactions with almost "drag and drop" ease. The only …