Nest Thermostat Review, Update #10: Wifi Settings Missing

One more brief update about our Nest thermostats. After a few weeks of limited use of our HVAC system due to a very unusually warm late winter and early spring, I’d set the whole house to AWAY mode last evening. However, a bit later, I heard the furnace running. Odd. I walked to the thermostat that I’d set to away and confirmed it was still “AWAY.”

imageI grabbed the iPad and used the Nest app. The thermostat that I had set AWAY to was reporting the same error that I’d seen back in January: the giant question mark. Tapping the image resulted in the message:

Thermostat Disconnected – The thermostat First Floor last connected to the nest.com more than 3 days ago.

Three days?

image

So, I went to the thermostat and checked it’s settings. Great, no wifi and no account information. It had apparently forgotten it’s wifi connection information completely and also my account information.

Seriously, I’d want to fire myself if I wrote code that was this bad. Why would it EVER dump that information? It’s literally its key to being a smart thermostat.

Thankfully, as we still have 2 other thermostats in the house, it was simple to add the account back to the thermostat after entering the wifi password again, as the thermostat recognized that there were other Nests nearby.

Without the wifi connection, you still have a thermostat (thankfully!). However, you loose all remote scheduling capabilities via their web site or apps.

I still can’t recommend these thermostats. While the “BETA” label has been finally removed from their remote access web application, the device itself still has numerous unresolved issues.

24 Comments

  1. Just send it back and get a refund. Clearly this thermostat isn’t for you.

    1. Thanks Joe. Very helpful.

  2. No problem. Just send me a 10% finders fee.

  3. Quick question:
    Why did you set them to (or try to) AWAY rather than keep your predefined schedule? If it was that warm, the furnace wouldn’t have kicked on, right? FWIW, during our warm run we kept the heating schedule but ran the fan 24/7. We also were forced to create a COOL schedule in Chicago, IN THE MIDDLE OF MARCH!

    1. I had it in away mode to prevent our basement from heating, as it’s just cold enough to run on its own. If we open the basement patio door during warm weather, we don’t need the aux heat.

  4. Well, after having WiFi issues with both of my Nest thermostats and talking to tech support they suggested changing my hub to channel 11. This has sovled my problem, as of now, but suggests that they are having a hardware issue with these units. This could be in the WiFi module or in the antenna, yet to be determined.

    1. @Ira — what channel were you using before? What symptoms were your Nest thermostats exhibiting?

  5. I agree with Ira. I’ve had intermittent issues with my iPhone connecting to my wireless router. Using a snooper application, I found there are a lot of other wireless base stations around me causing possible interference. I changed the channel to one that others are not using, and it’s been very solid. And, I haven’t had any WiFi issues with the Nest.

    Definitely find a clear channel and set the wireless router to that. Don’t use the “auto channel selection” default.

    1. Unfortunately/fortunately, I live out in the country-side with no close neighbors and where the only wireless access points are mine. :) I wish this was the simple fix for my Nest thermostats.

      I hope the suggestion works for others though as it’s worth trying if you know how to change the settings of your wireless router.

  6. HomeNetworkGuru April 8, 2012 at 3:37 am

    Aaron,

    My three nests all the “lose all wifi and account settings” dance too. They also drop offline then refuse to connect back to the APs. I have an enterprise quality robust Aironet netork at home, working flawlessly for everything but the nests.

    They randomly can’t associate, or fail to connect each time I try, and numerous tests with other devices show strong signal, and easy connections. It’s beyond frustrating.

    Worse, every time nest has pushed firmware up to 1.1.3, they drop offline again.

    I’m on the verge of taking a sledgehammer to one for a youtube video.

    1. I’m sorry to hear that others are having similar issues with their Nest thermostats, but at least it’s evidence it’s not just mine. Thanks for leaving the comment.

  7. I’m in week 3 with my Nests and so far no issues. Upgraded to 2.0 automatically last week (Wed night Thurs am) and schedule is still in tact. There was one night when my Nests went approx 15-20 mins from connecting to the Nest cloud but both were still on my network. Showed up again without any influence from me. I didn’t check the Nest service history to determine if they experienced a hiccup on their end. Both of my Nests are on my 5Ghz network but not sure if they has anything to do with my stability. Again, my 20 min missing was from the Nest cloud and not from my Network so I understand it’s different from missing WiFi. Maybe the 2.0 upgrade will help?

  8. Has Nest 2.0 solved any of your issues?

  9. I am also having issues with nest thermostat. With the price tag of $250, I expected a much better network connection capability. I installed it last week and thermostat part has been working fine, however, it did not connect to the home wifi router which is Actiontec Q1000 (this is not a newest model or anything). All other apple products in house (two iPhones, one old iPod touch, iPad 2, and Macbook) are connecting fine with this DSL modem/wifi router. I called tech support several time and they suggested to update the software manually (download the file and copy the file with USB cable connection to my macbook) . I did it but it gave me “update failed” message. Why?? I manually copied the file as they said and it should not fail! I have other mobile wifi hotspot through Verizon (reasonably fast, 1~2 MB/s) so I connected thermostat with it. The tech info of the thermostat showed the ping time of 3500~35000 ms which is 3.5~35 seconds! Really? I have never seen this long ping time. I checked the ping time with the mobile hotspot with my old ipod touch, and it showed only~400 ms (0.4 s). It is usually less than 1 second. I suspect the network speed of this device is too slow to keep up with other modern equipments. Also the tech info of the thermostat said the signal strength is 57. If 100 is the full scale, I must say signal sensitivity of the thermostat is very low since I put the hotspot right next to the thermostat.
    The network stability, sensitivity, and speed of the thermostat seems to be very inferior relative to all other network products I have in my house. With the price tag of $250, I must say it is lacking the basic functionality. I am very disappointed with this product.

  10. After a whole saga with a Nest my basic issue is with the company itself. We discovered a incompatibility in the power stealing feature on our 4 wire system.
    The internal fan and air handler ran normally but it turned out that unknown to us the outdoor compressor and exhuast fan was being cycled on and off. We happened to be outside one night and heard the start and stopping. We observed it for a few days and called our highly qualified AC company to check. They did two visits and eventually eliminated every possible before determining that the Nest’s power stealing a real problem, and that the Nest solution of hooking up the C wire would not eliminate the problem. Having done all that and spending $400 with the AC guys I wrote Nest to request a return and refund. After a day they decided that since it was beyond the initial 30 days since the purchase they would not take it back. Such arrogance for a company barely 180 days old. For my good faith honest effort all I got was a brush off. Basically these guys cannot be trusted if they hide behind one sided written disclaimers. So be aware that the Nest product may not work. I just checked the website today and my system is still showing as compatible.

  11. Update for above comment.Nest relented and took it back. They did the right thing and I wanted to report that. Thank you Nest.

  12. I’ve had two Nest thermostats, both with v2.0, over the course of the last 3 months. The first one had some type of error code (E4 I think) and I noticed that air was coming from the vents but not cold. Further inspection showed the compressor wasn’t running. After several calls to Nest support and trying this/that, I had to call an air cond service company, who come out and after a bit of diagnostics figured out that the 24 v wire from the A/C unit to the compressor outside wasn’t getting it’s 24v. They hooked up a temp cheapo analog thermostat and, whallah!, everything worked. Nest did overnight me a new thermostat and after I hooked it up, it all worked great, until…
    yesterday. I came home from work and again, air blowing, but not cold.
    This time no error code so I didn’t think it was the Nest. I called the ac company again and after another $100 service call, it was definitly the Nest again not sending 24v to the compressor. (They temporarily hooked up another analog thermostat).

    OK, so today I’m calling Nest and complaining (loudly). This is the second time, second $100 service call. I can’t afford any more. It’s not like my A/C unit is antique, only 10 years old and it’s been serviced every year and always checks out ok.

    I can’t afford the Nest after sale issues. I hope they have a more permanent solution for me when I call.

  13. I just got the nest and have similar problems with intermittent start of A/C compressor after reaching target temp. Stop & go of compressor at 5sec interval. This cannot be healthy for the unit. Talked to tech support and they told me that Voltage is low and after 2h of troubleshooting are now going to send me a resistor by overnite to bridge something in the control panel to stabilize voltage / current to Nest. I have a 2 zone Honeywell Minizone controller and am using only one zone with Nest. Hopefully this works.

  14. @Frank,

    I had the same problem (have a Honeywell emm-3 minizone) and like you called tech support and also got sent a resistor. I have two nests in the house and didn’t really like the resistor option so I pulled new 5-wire (to attach a common wire) to the upstairs thermostat. It was really easy because it only had a few feet to go and now the upstairs thermostat is working great. Unfortunately the downstairs thermostat wire wouldnt budge and it has to go up a wall across the ceiling and up another wall to the attic so it didnt seem feasible to pull new wire. I attached the resistor they sent me and it seems to be working well however the resistor is extremely hot and I’m now worried about it catching on fire or something. Did yours work out for you and is it hot?

  15. @Matt,

    I only use it in one zone and wired the resistor into that zone only.
    It does get very hot but Nest seems to work. I am currently leaving the cover off the furnace panel.

  16. […] has improved. I haven’t noticed the same problems as before and I THANKFULLY haven’t had to re-add my account or Wifi information in months to any of our […]

  17. I too have had numerous network issues with my Nest thermostats. They regularly forget the network password and have to be reconnected. This reminds me of the network issues that I used to have with my iPad when it was first introduced. Apple finally figured out the network issues – let’s hope these guys can do the same. If not, these thinks are $250 pieces of junk.

  18. I really, really wanted to love the Nest. But it seems two potential issues have come up based on what I’ve read:

    (1) Apparently Nest is incompatible with a large list of wireless routers, something to do with it entering Power Save Mode and therefore losing Wi-Fi connectivity:
    http://support.nest.com/article/Unsupported-Wi-Fi-Access-Points

    (2) Without a C common wire for Nest (my heat-only system with manual stat doesn’t have/need one), Nest will pulse or cycle your heating system intermittently (even in the summer) in order to draw power to charge its internal battery. I am concerned about this cycling/pulsing on my system and excessive wear/tear.
    http://www.marco.org/2011/12/17/nest-incompatibility-without-c-wire

    1. Tannhauer — I wouldn’t have bought a Nest if I hadn’t had the C wire for power. While I consider their solution to power novel, I wouldn’t recommend a Nest thermostat for an HVAC system without a compatible and reasonable power supply.

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