Smoke Detectors

I have 5 hardwired interconnected smoke detectors that I despise. When one goes off all go off with no clue which detected a problem. And I can never turn them off using the buttons sometimes when I cook I have disconnect 4 of them and remove the backup batteries.

My county building code requires hardwired smoke detectors that are interconnected (either via wireless or wired connections). Most of the smoke detectors that have features I want are battery powered. So I thought the expensive Nest Protect was my only solution.

And I found an alternative to the Nest which has the same list price but I can find for less. The First Alert Onelink. So far not quite as good but integrates with Alexa instead of Google. Not a plus for me but it will work with Homekit, thought I don’t know if the integration is worth it. In all cases I don’t want my smoke alarm to integrate with spy networks.

Here is Amazon’s link.|n3478776df50e4b87a1a4ef768a172d7d20&th=1

Hmmm, the smoke sensor might not be as good as the Nest, must investigate. CO detector. It can work with my existing hardwired smoke detectors so I can buy just one and try it out. Comes with 10 year battery backup,

Came across this almost by accident.

Been doing more research. The Onelink seems to suck eggs. 1.5 stars on App Star review and enough functionality problems to keep me away from it. This doesn’t even cover the odds of it saving my life in case of a fire.

Nest Protects are one of my favorite pieces of technology I’ve ever bought. Create a random gmail address you’ll never use for anything else. If you really feel paranoid, put in a router (or use a guest network on your router) that you use just for the Nest equipment.

I refuse to have my smoke detectors spy on me, so I use the inexpensive Kidde hardwired smoke detectors. They all talk to each other, and I don’t have to mess around or worry about them. Sometimes established technology is better than the new fangled stuff. (Also, you kids stay off my lawn.)

Same concerns but you describe exactly what I have. I hate them since they cannot identify which detector triggered the alarm. Sometimes when I cook I have to disconnect 4 of them since there is no easy way to shut off the alarm. In theory there is but I never remember if it is the red button/light or the green button/light, neither seem to work. Such incredibly poor design.

I had hopes for the Onelink but it has way too many complaints that affect its basic functions. People note that when the app doesn’t detect that the alarm went off, a common problem, you can’t turn off the alarm.

I have a Unfied Dream Machine at home so I have a wireless network reserved for IoT (or I prefer IoS) devices so the Nest Protect would never see any network traffic related to my computers or phones.

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I don’t remember if I’ve related my own experiences with the Nest Protect products previously, but I think it speaks to your issues, Paul. I used to be infuriated periodically by the non-directional “chirping” of one of my several smoke detectors once it’s recognized that its battery was depleted—now, just WHICH bedroom is that noxious sound coming from? (And it always seemed to start in the middle of the night). I was already a fan of the original Nest Thermostat ecosystem (including a uniquely marvelous telephone support infrastructure). I purchased just one because they were quite expensive, and when I did so, only the battery powered version was available. I was so impressed with how they worked and how much information the natural language voice provided that as soon as the a/c wiring version became available I replaced every smoke detector in my home. Within a few months, while I was at work, my phone rang with an urgent call from my wife, proclaiming “the alarm went off,” while in the background I heard one of my Nest Protects announcing "there is smoke, in the kitchen. The alarm will sound; the alarm will be aloud, soon to be joined in a chorus by the other Nest Protects, each of THEM accurately directing the listener to the source of the smoke (not just squealing). At the same time, an SMS arrived, and within a few seconds, an email from Nest, also informing me of the problem.

My spouse took the bacon pan off the stove, through baking soda on the flames, and soon the Nest Protects congratulated her by announcing “the smoke is clearing.” The alarm will stop."

However, that AI wasn’t universally positive. A year or two later, I was at home when I heard the irritating “First Alert” chirping noise. I didn’t think i HAD any remaining First Alert devices, but that was untrue; I DID still have a CO detector near the floor in my entry way, but that chirping noise reflects of nearby surfaces so that it’s difficult to parse its source. I thought it odd that with all this AI, the only thing the Nest Protect could do was chirp when its battery was depleted, but I mounted a stepladder, removed the Nest Protect from the ceiling, and couldn’t find any way to silence it. Turns out this WAS the battery powered version. While mounted on the ladder, I spied the culpable First Alert detector and stopped the noise, but NOT before I’d plucked the six LiIon batteries, one by one from inside the Nest Detect. Battery 5 of 6 was warm; Battery #6 was SO hot that I dropped it instantly. That prompted a call to Nest Support, in which I complained that my Nest Smoke Detector could possibly have burned down my house if my old-school CO monitor hadn’t announced that IT was retiring by chirping. The Nest folks were very interested in having me send them the detector (they STRONGLY urged me not to include the batteries), and promised to send me a replacement. However, they refused to send me an a/c integrated unit, because their warranty policy was “replace like with like.” We finally compromised on them sending me a check for the retail value of the device which I could then use to purchase the a/c wiring integrated version.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I wasn’t around to see how well the networked Smoke Detectors worked when the Tubbs Fire burned down my house in the early morning hours of October 9, 2017, but by the time the fire reached my home I’m pretty sure the power had gone out and internet service to my phone was unavailable because the cell towers were incinerated as well. However, the integration of the devices with the Nest ecosystem was impressive; e.g., if they detect fire, they’ll use the Nest thermostat, if present, to shut down a gas furnace or a WiFi enabled gas hot water heater as well as sending those plain language specific location messages to the homeowner.

However, I can’t conclude without voicing my total disappointment about Nest having been captured by “Let’s be Evil” Google, who has now stopped selling the sensors and CPU of the equally innovative Nest home security system

Thanks for the very complete story. I am potty that you lost your home in the Tubbs Fire.

If your wifi router stops working, can the Nest Protects still communicate with each other?

If your wifi router stops working, can the Nest Protects still communicate with each other?

Good question, and one that I cannot answer, given that my OWN Nest Protects are largely living in the atmosphere as post-combustion CO2, but now that I’m back in a home that I own myself for the first time in 4 years, it’s something I should be able to test soon. If the WiFi is down, obviously they would not be able to alert me of problems when I’m not at home. But I’m assuming that if there’s a/c power in the house they’d still be able to provide spatially accurate alerts; e.g., in which bedroom has one of them detected fire. I know that some other Nest sensors communicate with each other over proprietary protocols rather than WiFi; e.g., the sensors that detect the status of doors and windows and relay it to a Nest Guard (but Google has discontinued the Nest Guard for reasons only it understands).

By the way, your condolences were expressed in curious syntax. Is this a “thing?” Or did you fall victim to Apple’s sometimes quixotic “predictive” spell checker?

I am potty that you lost your home in the Tubbs Fire.


As long as they are no more than 50’ away from each other, yes. (According to the documentation.) I can’t say that I have been without a WiFi router in either of my houses for any extended period in the 5 or so years since I bought my first Protects, so I can’t say with personal experience, however.

I have the 2nd generation OneLink smoke detectors, both 120v and battery, and am now very satisfied with them. I’m using them with HomeKit, and they give their smoke or monoxide warnings using the detector’s location. In 2017 I bought the first generation OneLinks and had all the troubles others have listed in the reviews. I actually ended up with 5 detectors at one point as Support tried different fixes with me.
Then in late 2018 the product manager sent me the second generation detectors. I had no problems with the 120v model, but a few with the battery model until an update fixed it. I’ve been running these for over two years now without issue.
PS - I test them with “canned smoke” to make sure the smoke sensors are actually working.