Problems with Nest Thermostat 4.0

Are you having trouble with your Nest Thermostat? You're not alone. My company has a dozen of them, and they've been great so far. We've cut our energy bills substantially and they were really easy to install. We'd never had an issue with them until today.

A few people complained that their offices were cold, so I went to to check out our thermostats. Six of them were offline, a mixture of both 1st and 2nd generation products. I saw three different behaviors when I walked to each unit.

Nest Sick Bay

  1. The Nest was working normally, but it couldn't see any WiFi network.
  2. The Nest was very unresponsive. I'm talking about a 3-5 second delay between turning the Nest dial and any on-screen response. When the Nest did respond, it stuttered badly. These units also saw no WiFi networks.
  3. The Nest had a black scree and would not respond.

I grabbed a multimeter and verified a proper 24 VAC across R and C. No issues there. So, I looked up a few articles on Nest's support site (which is now down). Nothing helped, so I called support. After a two hour hold–far longer than any call to Nest before–I was connected to a very cheerful support representative.

She told me that Nest pushed out a software update over the holiday weekend, and that "some" Nest thermostats drained their batteries because of that update. She told me to remove my thermostats from the wall and charge them with a micro-USB cable for an hour.

That's what I'm doing now, and I'll update this post with the results. Take note, 1st generation and 2nd generation Nests use different connectors. I'm guessing this issue is pretty widespread based on the long hold times, and the failure of their support site.

Of course I have a half dozen extra USB chargers.

UPDATE: After about 20 minutes of charging, two of my units are now connected to WiFI, even though they are on the floor and not connected to an AC unit. That's a good sign.

UPDATE 2: Wall charging only fixed two of our thermostats. A "forced reboot" was required to get the other four working again. To perform a forced reboot, take the Nest of its base, hold it with the screen facing the ceiling, and then press the screen and back so it clicks for 15 seconds. Finally, put the Nest back on its base.

A huge Kudos to both Nest support people I spoke with today. Despite what is obviously really high call volume, they were courteous, patient, and knowledgeable. Few things can maintain good product sentiment like fantastics support.