NEST Home FAQs

Posted on
Fri Jun 05, 2015 1:54 pm
Chameleon offline
Posts: 611
Joined: Oct 04, 2014

NEST Home FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why do I have to get a NEST API Key?

There are a number of ways to access the NEST API but the authorization key is the easiest method I’ve found. You don’t need to transmit passwords in clear sight, the key lasts for 10 years and it’s free. I’ve found it the simplest method to use and it’s robust as a security system. It also has the great advantage of downloading data directly and not via screen scrapping tools which are subject to changes in layout & content. It’s also the recommended approach from NEST and fully supported.

Can NEST Home operate if I'm not connected to the internet?

No not at the moment. You must have an internet connection to communicate with your NEST. There is some talk about opening up access from a local LAN but no dates yet. I'll include it the moment it arrives.

How do I get an API Key?

NEST Home can now generate your API keys for you automatically. If you install NEST Home and then use the new feature "Get Help with API" you can quickly get your key and get going. I know it's been a problem for lots of you so I thought it would be good if I could make it easier. When you first install NEST Home you'll be asked to create an API key. If you click on 'Get Help' and and click Get Nest PIN - NEST Home will lead you through the process.

    STAGE1 : NEST Home will open up your browser and navigate to the home.nest.com site. You'll be asked to log into your home.nest.com account using your username (typically your email) and password. When you login nest will display a short PIN code (like ZASDRE). Write this code down, or paste it to the clipboard. Now you're ready for stage 2.

    STAGE 2: Close your browser window and return back to the Configuration dialog. Select 'I've got a PIN' and enter your PIN CODE into the textfield. When you click Generate NEST API Key. NEST Home will automatically create a key and enter it in the correct field at the top of the dialog.

If you're asked to recreate your key at anytime you can follow exactly the same process.

You can now check boxes for any information that you'd like to see in the event log as well as enter your email address for notification of future updates.

Once you've finished then click Save

NB: If you're using NEST Home 2 for a second location you need to generate a different key when you install NEST Home 2. Don't attempt to copy your old key across as the plugin will fail to start.

I'm a bit worried about logging into my NEST account and getting a PIN for a central API client

NEST don't share any information from your account with NEST Home. I don't know who is logged into the client, usernames, passwords, PIN details or even your API Key. All of these are held on the NEST server. So you shouldn't worry that your information is in the 'cloud' and the central server means that we get great customer service :D

How often can it refresh from the Nest API?

There is a limit on the number of calls that a client can make to the NEST API per second before getting the HTTP 429 error (Too many requests). If this happens you'll probably have to wait about an hour before the NEST site forgives you :roll:. Apparently the NEST device can lose battery power below a minimum to run wifi which is why they limit access. The plug-in recovers from this error but I don’t recommend going lower than 60 seconds for the refresh period. If you do get this error you'll need to disable the Plugin for about 90 mins and then it should work again fine when you re-enable. If you still can't get any joy then regenerate your API keys.

Can it support more than one device?

Yes – there is an internal limitation of a mix of 10 of each device but I don’t think many people will have the problem of hitting that barrier! If you do you can download NEST Home 2 which allows you to control a second site at the same time

Can it support Thermostats and Protects in the same set up?

Yes – and in any combination; just thermostats, just protects or any mixture

Is it easy to configure?

Yes I think so. Well I would say that but when the plugin is running it automatically maps the Nest infrastructure in your house and scans for changes (new devices or deletions). If you physically add a new device to your home and set it up on http://home.nest.com it will immediately become available as a device in Indigo for you to manage on the next refresh. You can edit the device created to update the name to something you’ll recognise. Devices in indigo are automatically created in the NEST Home folder (or NEST Home 2) (don't worry it will create a folder if you haven't got one already) when a new device is added to the network. Conversely, devices are automatically deleted if a device is removed. You can drag any device to a specific folder if you prefer once it’s been completed.

Can I have more than 10 devices or run two independent sites?

You can. You'll notice that there is a second download link for NEST Home 2. This package is installed alongside NEST Home and will control another site independently. Theoretically I can also create NEST Home 3, 4, 5... so if you've got a lot of devices we can scale your solution. If you've only got one location please install NEST Home only. If you've got two locations or more than 10 devices then install NEST Home AND NEST Home 2. Any problems then PM me.

Can I add a device in from scratch?

There's no need because the plug-in is designed to manage the indigo devices and ensure that the live map matches on home.nest.com matches the one in indigo to maintain integrity. On the plus side, you don’t have to worry about adding devices and configuring them every time you make a change to your system. If you do create a device in indigo and it doesn't exist on your home.nest.com account then it'll be deleted on the next refresh.

I just deleted a device and it’s appeared again?

NEST Home automatically syncs the plug-in map in indigo with the real life infrastructure in your location. If you don’t want to use a device just disable it in indigo or remove it from your NEST account and then delete it.

What fields can I write information in?

The number of fields that can be written is limited by the API. They include all Target Temperatures (Heat, Cool or both) in either Centigrade or Fahrenheit, Switching the fan on and changing the type of system your NEST is attached to (Heating only, Cooling only or Heating & Cooling system)

What fields are in the API?

Check out the API here: https://developer.nest.com/documentation/api-reference . If you click on one of the fields it will tell you exactly what it is and whether you can read or write the field.

Is the Plug-in supported by NEST?

No but the API is.

Does it allow geofencing?

Not yet but you can use LIFE360 http://www.life360.com , a free solution for all types of phones (IOS, Android and Windows) and get the trigger information that you can use to control your NEST. Alternatively you can link your NEST directly to this service

Can any of the fields be used as triggers?

All of the fields can be interrogated and used as triggers. So if the NEST system sets the house to AWAY you could switch off all of the lights. You could also open a window if there’s smoke or CO detected or sound an alarm. It’s up to your imagination.

Can it be used with IFTTT?

Yes – IFTTT has an automatic link with NESTs so you can access information that way. You could also add a trigger in Indigo to act on an IFTTT request.

Do you offer support?

Plug-in development is a hobby and a bit of a passion but I’ve a real job to do as well. I’ll support and answer questions but it’s always going to be on a best endeavours basis. Feel free to contribute to the forum, get to know the plug in, create a pull request and change it. The more of us that get to understand and use the plug-in the better.

Will new features be added?

Absolutely - mainly based on suggestions from the people who are already using the plugin in live situations. So far we've added Coloured icons to represent what's happening to your devices, Direct HVAC control, Fan Management, NEST Device Mapping & Printing, Additional fields to improve what you can display on control pages and additional temperature fields. Some of these features aren't actually available in the NEST API yet :shock:

I'm always looking for new ideas so if you'd like the system to do something that it doesn't right now or you'd like some additional states added (e.g. last time since a CO emergency) then let me know through the Feedback topic or PM me.

Is there any copyright?

In the true python tradition you’re welcome to use the code free of charge on an individual basis. It should not be sold commercially or as a separate product and I’d also like to see recognition of the work that we’ve done to date if you generate any solutions using our code. Otherwise, I’m really not precious about it.

Are there any rules on using the NEST API?

When you sign up and get your API key you’ll have to agree to their terms of service. They’re fairly standard but they do contain rules on managing NESTS and Branding. Given the restrictions placed on the API it’s actually pretty difficult to break the development rules :roll:

I can't get the fan to switch on or off?

Either you don't have an independent fan attached to your NEST Thermostat or it's incompatible. A fan should be attached to terminal G of the Nest Link if you need to control it. Look at the nest.com site for more information.

My actual system isn't heating/cooling but the plugin says it is - is this a bug?

NEST have finally included the hvac_state in the API and I've now included it in the plugin. There are a couple of minor steps you'll have to undertake if you've install NEST Home before but nothing to difficult. The latest version (2.0.0 at the time of writing) will provide a new field (hvac_state) that can be used in triggers and control pages. The field will contain heating, cooling or off depending on what that particular device is doing.

If you installed NEST Home as a BETA you'll need to accept the changes to permissions, you'll find a message in your home.nest.com account email, otherwise the system will continue to use a calculated field and might not always get it right. If you're just starting then don't worry - it's all taken care of :D

I can't get the heat/cool setpoint to increase or decrease - why is that?

Like any system the NEST Thermostat has some limitations on settings for heat and cool. These are 90-50F (32-9C). If you try to increase/decrease a setpoint outside of these limits the Plugin automatically sets the target temperature at the limit. For example: If I try to set the target temperature to 45F it will immediately readjust this back to 50F to reflect the NEST limits.

I'm reducing the cool setpoint (increasing the heat setpoint) on my HVAC in heat & cool mode and the heat (cool) setpoint is reducing (increasing) as well - why is that?

The NEST system understands that the cool point on a heating & cooling HVAC system can never be below the heat point and it automatically maintains a gap of 3 degrees. For example: If you reduce the cool point to 70F the Plugin checks if the heat point needs to be reduced as well to maintain the 3 degree gap. If so, it automatically changes the heat point to 67F in this case. A similar effect will be seen if you try to increase the heat setpoint higher than the cool setpoint. If you want to cool below the heat setpoint without changing it then consider changing the mode of you HVAC to Cool Only or Heat Only and set the new temperature then. Note that when you return back to the heat-cool mode the setpoints will be automatically shifted to match the NEST rules.

There are some fields on the device I can't find in the API - what are these for?

Some users have requested additional information to be held against the device mainly to improve control page annotation or provide additional triggers. We're adding to this list all of of the time.

Examples include:

    Providing integer values for all of the temperature fields in the API to help make control pages less fussy (these all end in _int)

    Providing new fields such as Heating On, Cooling On and Fan On as these aren't provided by the NEST API

    Adding fields such as days since last test, last emergency, warning or connection. These could be used in triggers or control pages to remind you to perform a test or to see how often your protect is highlighting specific states.

    Of course if you enable SQL Logger and indigoPlot as well you can use these fields to give you an insight into your own systems and how they're behaving.

NEST Home is really good - do you ask for donations?

Thank you for saying that - it's appreciated

Not at the moment - for indigo users I'm keeping it free (but not for other Home Automation sites :D). A message of thanks is all that I need

If you've got issues or want something different then leave me a message and we'll see what we can do!

I've got an idea - can you put it in the plugin for me?

The answer is yes - just not immediately. I'm collecting ideas for new features or functions and I'll happily take your idea on board. Nearly all of the new features were suggested by users through the feedback forum. I'm thinking of fortnightly releases moving forward.

Posted on
Sat Mar 18, 2017 4:11 pm
FatherD offline
Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 05, 2017

Re: NEST Home FAQs

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I appreciate all of the work that went into this. :D :D :D

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