Google’s Nest Doorbell and Nest Cam stop charging when it’s too cold outside

Is your Google Nest Doorbell’s battery draining faster than usual or is it not working at all, even when plugged into your doorbell’s wiring? He doesn’t like being out in the cold. A new support page published by Google this week confirms that Google’s latest smart video doorbell, the Google Nest Doorbell (battery) and the Google Nest Cam (battery), cannot be charged in temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

The update follows complaints from users in the Google Nest forum that their Nest Doorbells ran out of charge faster than usual this winter, even when plugged into the doorbell’s wiring to maintain their charge. Cold weather also affects the batteries in the new Google Nest Cam. But Google says that if the camera is plugged into a wired power source (it sells a weatherproof power adapter for $35) there won’t be any charging issues at lower temperatures because the wire will power the camera directly.

The Google Nest Cam runs on battery power or can be plugged into a power adapter. In the latter case, it remains switched on even at lower temperatures.
Photo by Dan Seifert / Media Today Chronicle

The reason for the doorbell problem is based on a small but important distinction between battery powered and “true” wired doorbells. Battery-powered doorbells connected to doorbell wires are not powered by your home’s electrical wiring; the battery is charged “drop by drop” by the power of the doorbell wiring. If that battery is too cold to hold a charge, it will eventually run out. The same is true if you use a solar panel to keep your Google Nest Cam charged. That trickle charges and doesn’t feed the camera directly, so it’s out of juice in the cold, Google says.

While the battery-powered cameras (Nest’s first in the category) can operate in temperatures as low as -4 degrees Fahrenheit, Google’s new support page now lists a minimum charging temperature of 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The support article states that the battery can still power the device at lower temperatures, but it won’t charge and may drain faster. Google warns that at minimum operating temperatures, the battery can last less than half its life in warmer weather.

You can connect the Google Nest Doorbell to your doorbell’s wiring, but it will only charge the battery drop by drop and will not power the doorbell camera directly.
Photo by Dan Seifert / Media Today Chronicle

So what can you do if you bought a Nest Doorbell and live in a part of the country with freezing temperatures? Google says you have to take the whole doorbell down and take it inside “to a warm place” to charge (something you probably already do if it’s not plugged into the doorbell wiring).

If you’re not sure if your device is affected, check the Google Home app where the device says “charging paused” or “slow charging” with a long estimated charge time if your doorbell is too cold.

This isn’t a unique problem for Nest’s battery-powered cameras. Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries struggle in colder weather. Ring has a support article on its site that describes how the doorbell and camera batteries are affected when the temperature drops. However, most Ring cameras have the advantage of removable, removable batteries that are easier to charge indoors.

For those of us in warmer climes, Google says not to worry: the Nest camera’s batteries can still be charged up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

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