Software bug shuts down Nest thermostats, turns off heating for unlucky customers

135

Comments

  • Reply 41 of 83
    gmacgmac Posts: 77member
    I recently installed an Ecobee 3 and so far, fingers crossed, no issues. It uses dedicated 24v power from the furnace rather than parasitic power. So no battery to drain and no impact on hvac system.  They look just as good IMO to the Nest. I was originally going to buy nest but lack of Homekit and all of these recurring issues were a deal killer for me.
  • Reply 42 of 83
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,293member
    Why do appliances even need software updates? They just do one thing. They are not goddamned PCs.
    Is this sarcasm I hope?  Almost all of my appliances have touchscreen interfaces.  Updates provide new features and efficiencies.  Again I hope you were kidding.
    What kind of new features would you get on a washing machine? A counterclockwise spin cycle?
  • Reply 43 of 83
    This happened to me on Sunday.  I tried to connect using my phone and it said it was offline because the battery was flat.

    I put it down to "one of those things" and when I finally got round to going and looking at the unit, it seemed to have fixed itself.  It's been fine ever since.
  • Reply 44 of 83
    knowitall said:
    Haha. Huge mistake.
    On top of that, "draining the battery" should not be a problem at all because all devices are on 220 (110 in certain areas)? Right?
    No.

    Most (all?) thermostats aren't connected to mains electricity.  They "parasitically" take power from the control lines for the HVAC system, which I think is 24v (and very little current, since it's basically just a signal wire).
  • Reply 45 of 83
    larrya said:
    Nest software updates - from the people who brought you Android. 
    Why do appliances even need software updates? They just do one thing. They are not goddamned PCs.
    Is this sarcasm I hope?  Almost all of my appliances have touchscreen interfaces.  Updates provide new features and efficiencies.  Again I hope you were kidding.
    Keep on hoping.
  • Reply 46 of 83
    "I love my Nest thermostat. I bought one for every room in the house. Even my garage. Thank you, Google!!!!"
    Deeeds
  • Reply 47 of 83
    jax44jax44 Posts: 79member
    I frequent all the tech sites and I haven't seen this reported anywhere. The first time I heard about it was in my Twitter feed with someone asking what the media coverage would be like if this was an Apple product. Of course that was a rhetorical question.
    This happened to me earlier this week. Dean battery, no control of thermostat.  Pulled the unit from the wall and plugged it back in later and it would work manually.
    Took two days to charge the battery.
  • Reply 48 of 83
    linkmanlinkman Posts: 1,027member
    knowitall said:
    Haha. Huge mistake.
    On top of that, "draining the battery" should not be a problem at all because all devices are on 220 (110 in certain areas)? Right?
    No.

    Most (all?) thermostats aren't connected to mains electricity.  They "parasitically" take power from the control lines for the HVAC system, which I think is 24v (and very little current, since it's basically just a signal wire).
    I would really like to know why the designers of smart thermostats (including ones that are much dumber than the Nest) make them so they stop working if the batteries die. They are almost always connected to a wired power source that is easily capable of operating them without batteries. The unit should have a very low power draw even if it has a backlight that is always on. They should require a small coin cell battery like a CR2016 for maintaining the clock (and hopefully not memory), but not the usual set of 3-6 AA batteries. If the electricity goes out then the HVAC won't work anyways and who cares then if the thermostat doesn't work?

    This rant comes from an EE. There are a bunch of EEs out there being quite lazy.
    Deeedscnocbui
  • Reply 49 of 83
    This is my first post on AppleInsider. I have been lurking for years. Been a Mac user since 1984. I have 3 Macs, 3 iPhones, an iPad, and an apple TV. So take all that with a grain of salt. 

    I'm semi-retired now from the construction business; I was a custom home-builder for 40 years. I've built some incredible homes, which included some really complex heating/cooling systems and, complex electrical and lighting systems. I was also deeply involved in energy conservation within the home. 

    What I have learned is: keep your winter-time thermostat at 68º and your summertime at 75º. We used Honeywell's programmable thermostats, but they don't really save you money. The best thing is to leave your thermostat alone at a set temperature; 68 in winter and 74-76 in the summer. When you turn your thermostat down at night in the winter, and then program it to ramp back up at 5:00 AM, you're not saving anything. There is a lot of mass within a house...furniture, interior wall, floors, etc. When that programmable  thermostat sets back the temps for the night or while your gone for the day, it has to expend an inordinate amount of energy to reheat the air plus the mass within your house.
    No reason for any type of smart thermostat. 
    It takes less time to manually reset your thermostat than it does to pull out your iPhone or tablet to regulate your home's temperature. Sheesh!

    Now the same goes for lights. A properly wired house has two switches for a hallway; one switch at either end (that's called a 3-way because of the way it's wired, 3 switches controlling the same lights is called a 4-way). So what is so hard about when you enter or exit a room or hallway to just flip the fuckin' switches. It takes less effort than grabbing you iPhone.

    We are turning into a bunch of techno couch potatoes, without even realizing we would expend less energy by manually turning lights off or on and manually adjusting the thermostat. Home automation is a joke!

    The only place I use any automation is for my home theater/listening room. I can click one button and my system turns on and then after a few seconds, the lights will dim or turn off. 

    I can program any of this stuff, but I still think it's a joke.




    eightzeroDeeedscnocbui
  • Reply 50 of 83
    jagnut said:
    I love my Nest thermostats, have two, upstairs and downstairs.  I preordered them when first announced and they have worked flawlessly since.  Even the software updates have installed seamlessly and they have saved me money on my power bill.  They have been a great investment.  I wish some other technologies would work as well as these have. 
    Did you copy and paste this?

    How many other sites have you done this on in the last day or so?
  • Reply 51 of 83
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,648member
    knowitall said:
    Haha. Huge mistake.
    On top of that, "draining the battery" should not be a problem at all because all devices are on 220 (110 in certain areas)? Right?
    No.

    Most (all?) thermostats aren't connected to mains electricity.  They "parasitically" take power from the control lines for the HVAC system, which I think is 24v (and very little current, since it's basically just a signal wire).
    So yes, indirectly so. My point wasn't the specific voltage (of course) but the fact that power is supplied by external means. So did they shut down the external power with the software update? That would really be insanely stupid and shouldn't be possible because the hardware shouldn't allow it (external power should charge the battery, not the other way around; when the battery is discharged external power should be used and vice versa).
    I think that only several errors by design can account for this failure.

    By the way my smoke detectors use mains power (with a backup battery that beeps when it's nealy empty).
    Works perfectly fine when main power is off and on, but it doesn't have the added complexity of software updates, luckily. 
  • Reply 52 of 83
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 2,351member
    Borderdog said:

    Now the same goes for lights. A properly wired house has two switches for a hallway; one switch at either end (that's called a 3-way because of the way it's wired, 3 switches controlling the same lights is called a 4-way). So what is so hard about when you enter or exit a room or hallway to just flip the fuckin' switches. It takes less effort than grabbing you iPhone.

    We are turning into a bunch of techno couch potatoes, without even realizing we would expend less energy by manually turning lights off or on and manually adjusting the thermostat. Home automation is a joke!

    The only place I use any automation is for my home theater/listening room. I can click one button and my system turns on and then after a few seconds, the lights will dim or turn off. 

    I can program any of this stuff, but I still think it's a joke.




    I use a motion sensor to turn on/off lights. I do not have to flip the switches at all. 
  • Reply 53 of 83
    linkmanlinkman Posts: 1,027member
    Borderdog said:

    What I have learned is: keep your winter-time thermostat at 68º and your summertime at 75º. We used Honeywell's programmable thermostats, but they don't really save you money. The best thing is to leave your thermostat alone at a set temperature; 68 in winter and 74-76 in the summer. When you turn your thermostat down at night in the winter, and then program it to ramp back up at 5:00 AM, you're not saving anything. There is a lot of mass within a house...furniture, interior wall, floors, etc. When that programmable  thermostat sets back the temps for the night or while your gone for the day, it has to expend an inordinate amount of energy to reheat the air plus the mass within your house.

    This one has a lot of debate behind it, but I'll have to disagree. Assuming heating and the house is cooling off during the day, it will either cycle on/off all day if the setpoint is warm or cycle on a lot less/just once to get it warm when the setpoint returns to a warm temperature. The total energy used in keeping it warm all of the time will be much greater than keeping it warm during limited hours.

    The key with a programmable thermostat in saving energy is to keep the programming adjusted to the usage needed and not having it run when it is unnecessary.

    Disclaimer: a constant temperature can be better in some circumstances with a few systems such as a heat pump, to avoid running it on "emergency heat" which will supplement with expensive resistive heating.
    edited January 2016 knowitallcnocbui
  • Reply 54 of 83
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,648member
    zroger73 said:
    I'm on my 4th Nest thermostat in 4 years. 
    ...
    I've threatened myself many times with ripping my Nest off the wall and reinstalling the "builder's grade", non-programmable, "dumb" thermostat that came with my heat pump. It did exactly what it was designed to do. Perfectly. Without fail.
    Nice account.
    I use such a default setup, but I have all 'programming' off.
    In the morning I '+' and in the evening I '-'; this is extremely efficient as my yearly energy bill shows.
    For most devices the IOT is nonsense, even undesirable because of privacy and server problems.
     
  • Reply 55 of 83
    linkmanlinkman Posts: 1,027member

    knowitall said:
    By the way my smoke detectors use mains power (with a backup battery that beeps when it's nealy empty).
    They apparently have motion detectors and sleep sensors to start that low battery warning a few hours into your sleep cycle. For me it's at 02:00. [linkman rips smoke detector off ceiling]
    cnocbui
  • Reply 56 of 83
    Borderdog said:
    This is my first post on AppleInsider. I have been lurking for years. Been a Mac user since 1984. I have 3 Macs, 3 iPhones, an iPad, and an apple TV. So take all that with a grain of salt. 

    I'm semi-retired now from the construction business; I was a custom home-builder for 40 years. I've built some incredible homes, which included some really complex heating/cooling systems and, complex electrical and lighting systems. I was also deeply involved in energy conservation within the home. 

    What I have learned is: keep your winter-time thermostat at 68º and your summertime at 75º. We used Honeywell's programmable thermostats, but they don't really save you money. The best thing is to leave your thermostat alone at a set temperature; 68 in winter and 74-76 in the summer. When you turn your thermostat down at night in the winter, and then program it to ramp back up at 5:00 AM, you're not saving anything. There is a lot of mass within a house...furniture, interior wall, floors, etc. When that programmable  thermostat sets back the temps for the night or while your gone for the day, it has to expend an inordinate amount of energy to reheat the air plus the mass within your house.
    No reason for any type of smart thermostat. 
    It takes less time to manually reset your thermostat than it does to pull out your iPhone or tablet to regulate your home's temperature. Sheesh!

    Now the same goes for lights. A properly wired house has two switches for a hallway; one switch at either end (that's called a 3-way because of the way it's wired, 3 switches controlling the same lights is called a 4-way). So what is so hard about when you enter or exit a room or hallway to just flip the fuckin' switches. It takes less effort than grabbing you iPhone.

    We are turning into a bunch of techno couch potatoes, without even realizing we would expend less energy by manually turning lights off or on and manually adjusting the thermostat. Home automation is a joke!

    The only place I use any automation is for my home theater/listening room. I can click one button and my system turns on and then after a few seconds, the lights will dim or turn off. 

    I can program any of this stuff, but I still think it's a joke.




    Careful. You're talking common sense. That doesn't help software "engineers" pay for selfie festivals in foreign lands.



  • Reply 57 of 83
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,648member
    Borderdog said:
    This is my first post on AppleInsider. I have been lurking for years. Been a Mac user since 1984. I have 3 Macs, 3 iPhones, an iPad, and an apple TV. So take all that with a grain of salt. 

    I'm semi-retired now from the construction business; I was a custom home-builder for 40 years. I've built some incredible homes, which included some really complex heating/cooling systems and, complex electrical and lighting systems. I was also deeply involved in energy conservation within the home. 

    What I have learned is: keep your winter-time thermostat at 68º and your summertime at 75º. We used Honeywell's programmable thermostats, but they don't really save you money. The best thing is to leave your thermostat alone at a set temperature; 68 in winter and 74-76 in the summer. When you turn your thermostat down at night in the winter, and then program it to ramp back up at 5:00 AM, you're not saving anything. There is a lot of mass within a house...furniture, interior wall, floors, etc. When that programmable  thermostat sets back the temps for the night or while your gone for the day, it has to expend an inordinate amount of energy to reheat the air plus the mass within your house.
    No reason for any type of smart thermostat. 
    It takes less time to manually reset your thermostat than it does to pull out your iPhone or tablet to regulate your home's temperature. Sheesh!

    Now the same goes for lights. A properly wired house has two switches for a hallway; one switch at either end (that's called a 3-way because of the way it's wired, 3 switches controlling the same lights is called a 4-way). So what is so hard about when you enter or exit a room or hallway to just flip the fuckin' switches. It takes less effort than grabbing you iPhone.

    We are turning into a bunch of techno couch potatoes, without even realizing we would expend less energy by manually turning lights off or on and manually adjusting the thermostat. Home automation is a joke!

    The only place I use any automation is for my home theater/listening room. I can click one button and my system turns on and then after a few seconds, the lights will dim or turn off. 

    I can program any of this stuff, but I still think it's a joke.




    Haha, your completely right.
    One thing I disagree a bit: I found out that it is a good idea to lower the thermostat before you go to sleep (it's even unhealthy if you sleep in a heated environment) but not too much; after all it all depends on the efficiency of the central heating system (the energy you lose when your reheating to the temperature delta in the morning) and the energy gain by not (or little) heating in the night.
    When your house is well insulated chances are that you gain by lowering the thermostat by night; in my case that really seems to be the case.
  • Reply 58 of 83
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,680member
    Borderdog said:
    This is my first post on AppleInsider. I have been lurking for years. Been a Mac user since 1984. I have 3 Macs, 3 iPhones, an iPad, and an apple TV. So take all that with a grain of salt. 

    I'm semi-retired now from the construction business; I was a custom home-builder for 40 years. I've built some incredible homes, which included some really complex heating/cooling systems and, complex electrical and lighting systems. I was also deeply involved in energy conservation within the home. 

    What I have learned is: keep your winter-time thermostat at 68º and your summertime at 75º. We used Honeywell's programmable thermostats, but they don't really save you money. The best thing is to leave your thermostat alone at a set temperature; 68 in winter and 74-76 in the summer. When you turn your thermostat down at night in the winter, and then program it to ramp back up at 5:00 AM, you're not saving anything. There is a lot of mass within a house...furniture, interior wall, floors, etc. When that programmable  thermostat sets back the temps for the night or while your gone for the day, it has to expend an inordinate amount of energy to reheat the air plus the mass within your house.
    No reason for any type of smart thermostat. 
    It takes less time to manually reset your thermostat than it does to pull out your iPhone or tablet to regulate your home's temperature. Sheesh!

    Now the same goes for lights. A properly wired house has two switches for a hallway; one switch at either end (that's called a 3-way because of the way it's wired, 3 switches controlling the same lights is called a 4-way). So what is so hard about when you enter or exit a room or hallway to just flip the fuckin' switches. It takes less effort than grabbing you iPhone.

    We are turning into a bunch of techno couch potatoes, without even realizing we would expend less energy by manually turning lights off or on and manually adjusting the thermostat. Home automation is a joke!

    The only place I use any automation is for my home theater/listening room. I can click one button and my system turns on and then after a few seconds, the lights will dim or turn off. 

    I can program any of this stuff, but I still think it's a joke.




    A great first post, thank you. I concur, and in the absence of any specific data on the issue (someone actually measure a home energy usage both ways) I will assume your experience is correct.

    It is some simple economics. These gizmoes are all feel good gee whiz type stuff. I installed a Wemo switch on my front porch lights. this can be controlled at the switchbox or remotely or set with a schedule. I think it is is nifty. But...it is a losing proposition. My porch lights are LEDs that are about total 15w. That means to leave them on continuously for a year, I'd spend about $7 in electricity. That means that switch takes about 4 years to break even vs leaving the things on 24/7/365. Nevermind the dorking around with the installation.

    I had zone programmable thermostats put in a couple of rooms. I very much doubt that they have saved me any money, but what they DO provide is a sense that I've stopped wasting something. That something is vanishingly small, but my depression era dad screamed as us kids to "turn the light off when you walk out of a room." The lesson stays with me. The gizmoe makes me feel good.

    These devices that require your cell iPhone when you are standing next to the device are total crap. When I want the light on, I want to use the switch on the wall. 

    And stay off my lawn.
    knowitallcnocbui
  • Reply 59 of 83
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,648member
    linkman said:

    knowitall said:
    By the way my smoke detectors use mains power (with a backup battery that beeps when it's nealy empty).
    They apparently have motion detectors and sleep sensors to start that low battery warning a few hours into your sleep cycle. For me it's at 02:00. [linkman rips smoke detector off ceiling]
    That's true, had that a few times already. 
    Maybe Nest shuts down the warning until you wake up, or/and your house is burned down.
  • Reply 60 of 83
    This is a perfect example where redundancy should be built-in with the system having it's standard functionality fail and a basic turn the heat cycle on if it goes below this temp fail safe.
Sign In or Register to comment.