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Chamberlain & Dropcam – Working with Nest

As you have probably read somewhere, I am trying to automate my home and make it smarter. I have gone through and upgraded my thermostat with the Nest Learning Thermostat, I have replaced my smoke detectors with Nest Protect and more recently have decided to take it up a notch and get the Chamberlain Garage Door Opener and a Dropcam. These are both certified with the Works with Nest label which means they can automate some aspect of your home.

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With Chamberlain I am able to set my Nest Learning Thermostat to away when the garage door opens and closes. This requires an installation of a WiFi receiver and a Door Sensor. The application of the door sensor was straight forward by sticking it on the right most side of my garage door, on the top panel. The WiFi receiver had to be near the garage door opener and within viewing distance from the door into the garage when it was open. This required some guess work as I did not think to make sure the distance from the power outlet and the installed wifi hub fit in terms of cord length. I was lucky that time and it worked in terms of length. After this was done it was a matter of linking the wifi to the hub and then pressing the programming button on the garage door opener and then selecting the color of the programming button on the app on my phone. Once the signals synced it tested opening the garage door and I was good to go.

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With the Dropcam I had decided that I wanted to be able to check in on Alice (my daughter) while we had a babysitter and make sure she slept ok. AS you probably already know I am paranoid about the care of my daughter and Dropcam enables me to do this without having to be near my daughter. The first thing I needed to do was plug the Dropcam into my Mac and link the Dropcam to my WiFi. I chose the 5Ghz connection as it is technically media streaming so I wanted to give it my media band. Once on the wifi I needed to link the Dropcam to the site and register a user to add more cameras in the future. Once done I could now install the Dropcam in my daughters room. Installation was easy as I needed to mount the mount for the camera which was three holes in the drywall near a corner of the bedroom. My first attempt I hit metal or wood and my drill stalled so I needed to move it down a little and retry drilling the holes. Once the mount was mounted I needed to snake the 10ft microusb to usb cable to an outlet and plug it in. This is a contencious issue as my wife advocates that the cord being snaked down the wall in the corner and to an outlet half covered by the crib is too close and Alice could reach this if she really tried. With this small wrinkle being worked on still, I plugged it in and the Dropcam reconnected to the wifi and I was able to check out the feed on my mobile devices or the Dropcam website. This also makes an awesome baby monitor, provided that the people that are watching it have a computer, Android phone or iPhone.

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For the Chamberlain garage door opener I am able to link to my Nest account and see my thermostat on the device as well as a way to see whether or not my garage door is open or closed as well as how long it has been so. Very handy feature to set your thermostat to away and open or close the garage door from one app.

The Dropcam is great as it allows me to use location awareness to turn on alerts when my phone is away from my home. It also allows for a schedule of when the Dropcam should turn on and off (7PM – 8AM in my case). If I really wanted to, they have the option to invest in some cloud storage and review footage and when there was movement or sound in the room you are monitoring. I think that this would be a worthy investment if the camera quality and MP of the device were better.

With these two devices I cross more items off the list I have to make my home smarter and more automated. I think the next step would be to get an Automatic and use my vehicles OBD2 port to have my vehicle talk with Nest. This could present a challenge as I currently have a Co-Operators EnRoute Monitor to decrease my insurance rates in the OBD2 port. I assume thats why people made splitters and extennders. Let me know if you have used either of these devices and how they worked out for you below in the comments.