Nest Thermostat Teardown

Contributors: Nate



Awhile ago I read about Nest, a newfangled thermostat with a color display and some interesting ‘learning’ techniques for keeping your home warmed or cooled, as sensible as possible. Did I mention the beast has IR proximity, PIR movement, humidity, magneto scroll, and a mini USB connector? Oh. It does.

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It’s kind of awesome, but it comes at a price. Pre-orders were $249 + shipping but I’m a sucker for new technology so I got in line. A few weeks after I placed my pre-order I got a piece of spam email from Nest offering a free professional installation. That’s great, but I was not planning on my Nest ever seeing the light of day - I wanted to take it apart and see how it worked. So on a whim, I replied to the email:

Hi Matt,

This offer is a great idea! I feel very much appreciated as a customer but I won’t need an install, thanks! I can’t wait to get my nest and poke around inside. Depending on what’s inside it might be worth doing a homepage post. Would you mind?

From your friends at SparkFun, -Nathan

Much to my surprise and honor, I got a response from Matt:

Thanks for the note Nathan! I’m a frequent shopper of SparkFun myself. Feel free to dig, poke, and post! -Matt Founder and VP Engineering

No way! The founder/VP of engineering responded?! Thanks Matt! And you know of SparkFun? Very cool. We even got a semi-green light to post a tear down. This is a refreshing difference from some other companies we have emailed in the past. When I received the Nest shortly after Thanksgiving, I set out to tear the beast apart.

Disclosure time: We didn’t get Nest for free. This teardown was purely the result of Nate ordering stuff late night when he probably shouldn’t be.

After tearing apart the Nest then re-assembling, it actually continued to function (a first for me!). I was so impressed with the thing that I stayed up way late to document the tear down. I have nothing but very positive things to say about the hardware design, website design, and user interface design of the Nest. It’s slick. Really slick. I consider myself an amateur when it comes to consumer electronics so take this review with a grain of salt. But whoa - I just turned off my heat while writing this tutorial! Welcome to the future.

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