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Tag: Nest Protect

It May be Time to Say Goodbye to your Nest Protect

No tech lasts forever. Here’s what I did when my Nest Protect let me know that its ‘life’ was ending.

My Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm recently informed me that it was about to reach the end of its life and cease all operations. I received the sad message via the Nest smartphone app that communicates with it. My Nest Protect has been stationed on the ceiling outside our bedroom for the past six years.

It has glowed reassuringly green as I passed by it every night on the way to bed. (A yellow color ring would suggest that all was not well.)

Feeling like You’re in a Movie
When I got the news, I felt like I was in a slick sci-fi flick, and my trusted AI bot had informed me that it was time to say goodbye. Its makers had programmed its end, and there was nothing I could do.

Wait. Scratch that.

The year is 2048. It’s my grandson’s bot. They’ve been inseparable over the years, while my son was away for long stretches conducting critical science experiments on Moonbase Alpha. The bot walks up to the eight year old and presents the bad news. There are tears and a huge hug. But my grandson can’t accept it. There must be a way to save his life-long friend!

Cue the opening credits…

My Next Protect Experience
Costing $99, my battery-powered Nest Protect was an expensive investment as far as smoke detectors go, but it has provided peace of mind over the years. And the fact I could check its status on my iPhone was pretty cool.

It would also talk to me in a friendly voice as opposed to projecting angry chirps like most smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Of course, it did possess the important capability to project a mind-melting alarm if needed. (Thankfully, I’ve only been exposed to that dimension-ending sound during tests.)

One of its big selling points, that it wouldn’t chirp when it was time to replace its batteries, didn’t quite work out for me. My Nest Protect was simply supposed to tell me that. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention, but over the years, I still got that blasted chirp… more than once.

And you should know that the Nest Protect is picky regarding what kind of batteries you feed it. It requires six Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA batteries, which are super powerful and can keep the Nest Protect happy for long stretches.

So the Nest Protect does need a little extra love. You can’t just treat it like a cheap, throwaway detector. And yes, eventually it will be time to say goodbye.

But not for long.
I’ve decided to re-up my commitment to this tech relationship.

Time for a New Google Nest Protect
I just bought the second generation model. And it’s now part of the Google product line.
So, it’s the Google Nest Protect.
$119 on Amazon

  • It has a split-spectrum sensor. (I think that’s like a warp drive upgrade for smoke detectors.)
  • You can turn off a false alarm from the smartphone app.
  • Its ‘pathlight’ is brighter.
  • This model is supposed to last for up to a decade.

Return to the Happy Green Glow
I’ve got my new Google Nest Protect in place, and tech balance has been restored in the Lester home (for now).

If all goes well, our home’s new guardian will be around past 2030.

That said, something tells me a newer model will show up before the decade is out to attract my attention. We’ll talk more then!

Use these Batteries in Your Nest Protect or Else

If you own a Nest Protect, you should pay attention to this picture. You’ll be needing to remember a particular detail to replicate in the future…

I needed to replace my Nest Protect’s batteries after the smoke and carbon monoxide alarm warned me it was time. I know that’s hardly a compelling start to a story, but what I discovered after I opened up the battery compartment’s door was rather surprising…

I found a big warning directing me to install one… and only one type of battery-
Energizer’s Ultimate Lithium L91 AA…

or else.

The Risk of Using Duracells Instead of Energizer Ultimate Lithiums
If I chose to install a less powerful battery, my human error would be “harmful to the smoke/CO alarm operation.”

All right then… I didn’t want to anger my Nest Protect. Nor did I want it to fail during an emergency. I took a look in my battery box for Energizer L91’s. And no, I didn’t have any.

So, I immediately went to Amazon Prime to order some L91’s.

But my Nest Protect was in its mind-melting chirping stage. So I had to either disable it for a couple of days or swap in some Duracell batteries I had on hand until the L91’s arrived.

I decided on the Duracells.

But I was worried that somehow the potentially ‘harmful’ Duracells would ‘destroy’ my Nest Protect. Perhaps less powerful batteries would simply not work as long.

It was only going to be for two days. So, I gave it a shot…

And guess what…?

The Duracell batteries worked just fine for the 48 hours.

Then, I replaced them with six Energizer L91’s.
My family was protected.

And life goes on.

Better be Prepared
If you own a Nest Protect, you might want to keep a package of Energizer Ultimate Lithium L91 AA batteries on hand so you don’t have to make “life-threatening” batteries choices like me.

But, what’s the deal with being able to use only one type of battery?
Are they so much more powerful?

Energizer Ultimate Lithiums are the Best Battery Out There?
Energizer claims that their Ultimate Lithiums are the world’s longest lasting battery in “high-tech devices.” And I haven’t found anything online to definitely dispute that claim.

So, apparently Nest Protect needs a serious battery to keep it going over the long haul. Will a ‘weaker’ model actual ‘harm’ the unit? I don’t think so… but perhaps other batteries would prevent the Nest Protect from operating properly over time.

I don’t think it’s the kind of rule you really want to question…

Obey Google’s Nest Protect instructions and use Energizer Ultimate Lithiums…

Let’s move on.

Is Nest Protect Worth It?

Stop being angry with your smoke and CO detector and consider getting a Nest Protect. But it’s a costly upgrade…

Stop being angry with your smoke and CO detector and consider getting a Nest Protect. But it’s a costly upgrade…

I came home from work on Thursday to learn there was a sudden breakdown in my house’s smoke alarm and carbon monoxide-sensing infrastructure. Apparently, the 9-volt battery powering the CO detector in my son’s room decided to suddenly quit, causing the tiny unit to emit a piercing ‘chirp.’

In an attempt to stop the deafening repetition, the smoke detector on the ceiling outside my son’s room was incorrectly identified as the culprit.

And let me simply say… in all the confusion, ‘someone’ broke the smoke detector away from its plastic circular mount.
(Names have been removed to protect the ‘innocent.’)

Broken Smoke Detector Tab







When it became clear that the wounded disc wasn’t the correct target, the CO detector’s horn was properly identified as the disruptor.
(Its dying battery securely jammed inside)

What’s a family to do when good home tech goes bad, threatening your child’s night-time rituals on the way to bed?

The next morning, as soon as my four-year-old son woke up, he ran downstairs to tell me what had happened.
“Mama put it somewhere where we would never hear it.”

It was banished to the garage.

Time to Make Some Lemonade
Of course, my wife had already relayed the ‘incident’ to me the night before.

And how did I feel about all of this?
(I’m not particularly known for my flexible attitude on home-tech malfunctions.)

I should have been sad.
The essential order of my little kingdom compromised by a bad battery.
But I wasn’t.

I was thrilled.

I had been waiting for this particular moment for life to throw a few lemons at me.  Looking for a reason to replace this smoke detector that had actually been taunting me for years.
(Whenever I’d cook a steak in the kitchen below, the slightest whiff would set it off.)

But a typical battery-driven smoke detector rarely stops working. Sometimes, it just annoys you… till you find a reason to throw it away.
(Usually because one of the delicate plastic latches breaks away when you’re pulling it down)

Now I had my excuse.
An excuse to buy a Nest Protect.

Thank you, family!

Hello, Nest Protect!
Nest Protect is a relatively expensive smoke and CO detector and alarm created by the makers of the Nest Learning Thermostat.
(now owned by Google)

But this $119 smart device is exceptionally cool!

  • You can purchase either a long-life, battery-powered unit or the wired 120V version, which also uses batteries for back up.
  • The six included L91 batteries are supposed to power the device for ‘years.’
  • It’s Wi-Fi enabled.
  • That means it can communicate with the Nest Thermostat in your home.
    If there’s a CO problem, the Nest Thermostat will automatically turn off your furnace.
    And Nest Protect senses your presence, which improves the Auto-Away feature of the Nest Thermostat. Sometimes mine forgets I’m home when I’m typing away in my office.
    (The wired Nest Protect is a better for this, because it gives the thermostat immediate feedback.)
  • Nest Protect talks to you in lieu of those vague chirps and explains if there’s smoke or carbon monoxide present and which room the problem exists in.
    (If you own multiple units)
  • It also uses circular color cues on its face to communicate.
    (green, white, orange and red)
  • It momentarily glows green when you turn your lights out at night, indicating all is well.
    (How civilized)
  • It can evaluate the ‘situation’ and give you a friendly ‘heads up’ notification or a full-on ‘Emergency!’
    (complete with loud horn)
  • Nest Protect lights your way at night by glowing white as you walk by it.
    (This feature can also be turned off if you like.)
  • You can keep track of it from anywhere with the Nest Mobile app, and it will send your smartphone a message if there’s a problem.

Welcome Home
Did I mention that $99 is rather expensive, regardless how cutting-edge Nest Protect is?

By comparison, Kidde makes a $33 device that senses both smoke and CO.
But Nest Protect does buy you a whole new level of connection.
(Plus, I had a Best Buy gift card I needed to use…)

A year and a half ago, you may recall I purchased my Nest Learning Thermostat.
Overall, I’ve been satisfied.
(That said, there have been a couple of glitches recently, but I’m sticking with my Nest. In fact, I’m doubling down…)

It was time to add onto my Nest ecosystem…
I hurried over to Best Buy and eagerly brought my new Nest Protect home.

My Installed Nest Protect









Installing it was a snap!
A few pointers:

  • You can only set up your Nest Protect with an iPhone, iPad or Android device.
  • You’ll first need to download the free Nest Mobile app.
  • You’ll be scanning the QR code on the back of the Nest with your phone.
  • And then temporarily connecting the two together via Wi-Fi.
    (Yes, the Nest emits its own tiny Wi-Fi bubble for this particular occasion.)
  • Finally, you’ll be connecting the Nest Connect to your home’s Wi-Fi network.

Setting Up Nest Protect







I was done with the activation process in five minutes. The installation on my upstairs ceiling simply involved unscrewing my old smoke detector’s mounting plate and screwing in the Nest’s mount.

As nifty as the Nest Protect is, its plastic mount works on the same principal as any smoke detector. It has plastic tabs to grip the unit. If you twist the Nest Protect on with too much force, you can break the tabs off. Just be careful…

Nothing Lasts Forever
One other cautionary note:
In the small print at the end of the manual, which you don’t need to read, you’ll discover that Nest Protect only lasts for seven years.
(I don’t think any smoke/CO detector is designed to work forever.)

Much like a “Blade Runner” replicant, this particular tech will self terminate.
(It’s supposed to give you two-week’s notice.)

I’m sure I’ll prefer a little more warning…
Maybe, I’ll set myself a calendar reminder for 2022.

Impulse Purchase?
So to summarize:
A 9-volt battery goes south. And the next day, I buy a Nest Protect.
I know… it doesn’t make complete sense.
But I was looking for an excuse to try out a Nest Protect, and I found it.

That said, I’ve got several other old-school smoke detectors around the house, and now, I’ll need to consider whether I should continue with my Nest Protect upgrade program.

It is all worth it?

I’d like to think my home is a bit safer.
It sure feels a little more fun to live in…

And isn’t that what living at home with tech should be all about?


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