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Electronics & Test

Teardown: Inside Nest Labs' Nest Protect

iFixit.com
12/11/2013  
13 comments
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naperlou
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Blogger
good replacement
naperlou   12/11/2013 12:13:19 PM
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I need this.  We have a smoke detector that is in a bad (good) place to detect smoke from the oven.  Unfortunately, this goes off all the time and you have to blow the smoke away (we usually wave a towel).  I also like the communication options.  This is one useful device and it seems very well made.

Nancy Golden
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Platinum
Re: good replacement
Nancy Golden   12/11/2013 3:09:50 PM
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I agree naperlou - we usually grab the smoke alarm and remove it from the vicinity until the smoke dissapates when we get smoke from cooking - it would be nice not having to do that.. I wonder if it distinguisheds between a gas leak and a fire in the alarm mode? I would also like to see a battery level autodetect that would send out a signal when the batteries needed to be changed.

naperlou
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Blogger
Re: good replacement
naperlou   12/11/2013 3:33:51 PM
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Nncy, good points.  With all the processing power they heve in the thing your suggestions should be easy to implement. 

Nancy Golden
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Platinum
Re: good replacement
Nancy Golden   12/11/2013 4:24:57 PM
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I agree naperlou - just add some code. Maybe have two different frequencies for the alarm or a pulse versus a tone. They might need a HW mod like an additional chip for the battery level autodetect but I think it would be well worth it. I hate not knowing how close my smoke alarms are to not being effective.

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Re: good replacement
Charles Murray   12/11/2013 6:57:02 PM
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I'd like to have a nickel for all the people who've had the problem you describe, naperlou. Seems like there should be a simple solution.

Stephen
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Gold
Re: good replacement
Stephen   12/12/2013 9:37:02 AM
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There is a simple solution, one the Nest Protect uses: photoelectric not ionization smoke detection. The photoelectrics are less false alarm prone.

patb2009
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Gold
Re: good replacement
patb2009   12/12/2013 12:15:38 AM
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perhaps some software to program against false alarms, 

if it can recognize certain times of day it gets a false alarm, and 

starts suppressing during that time, while turning up the others

or sending a text msg, saying "Alarm suppressed by logic", approve?

 

 

radio-active
User Rank
Iron
Re: good replacement
radio-active   12/12/2013 9:17:42 AM
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Ideally, this thing would have voice recognition, you could say "alarm mute" and it would silence for 20 minutes until the cooking smoke cleared. Or a smart phone app that would mute it for you at the touch of a button. A lot of people can't reach the device to silence or remove it without getting on a step stool. The arm waving thing seems silly...

armorris
User Rank
Platinum
Re: good replacement
armorris   12/12/2013 3:50:33 PM
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As sophisticated as it is, how do you know that it doesn't alert you when the battery needs to be replaced? It would be extremely easy to do with what's already there.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
A major step im performance here.
William K.   12/12/2013 10:32:01 AM
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This detector is certainly a major step in both performance and complexity. Most of the consumer grade detectors appear to be designed with a goal of an absolute minimum of components and general expense. This one is orders of magnitude more complex.

While I don't see much reason for including a night-light function, I really like the amr-waving motion dtector for activating the temporary switch off. As a note, an automated switch off based on anything would be extremely unsafe, since it would have no means of determining that a particular activation was not a real fire. Arm waving to fan smoke away is something that indicates a human decision has been made that the situation is not a fire in progress. So it is a very good add-on. 

That coating of the electronics is probably intended mostly to protect the package from the conductive dirt film that builds up on some ceiling mounted detectors.

kenish
User Rank
Platinum
Read the website....
kenish   12/16/2013 2:17:11 PM
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Many of the great comments here are answered by a quick read of the Nest website (audible alert, nightlight, battery warning, etc).

BTW, an audible low battery warning is legally required for all smoke/CO detectors sold in the US and presumably everywhere else.

The suggested "features" are interesting...but keep in mind that safety-critical products have to ensure that the basic function works (or detects a failure) despite failure of components, user mistakes, or intentional tampering.  Software QA is extremely rigorous so adding "features" adds to the analysis task.  (Mute-by-time requires a clock...what if the time is wrong...even setting PM vs. AM could be disasterous!  How would the unit detect this?  How can consumers who can't be relied upon to renew the batteries be trusted to set and monitor the clock and change the time in the spring and fall?)

AnandY
User Rank
Gold
Re: Innovative
AnandY   12/30/2013 1:22:36 PM
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I think the combination of the photoelectric smoke sensor and the heat and humidity sensors within the same device is a great idea. We have all had false alarms where the alarm goes off simply because it detects smoke even where there isn't any fire. Adding in the heat sensor should tell the device whether the smoke is cause by a fire or not.

Cabe Atwell
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Innovative
Cabe Atwell   5/5/2014 11:24:47 PM
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@ armorris: indeed, the mechanism and simple data storage that coincides with the 'alert' tone is incredibly small and easy to incorporate.

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