Getting a Nest thermostat to work in Europe

[Julian] was really excited to get his hands on a Nest learning thermostat. It’s round, modern design will make it a showpiece in his home, but he knew there would be a few hiccups when trying to take advantage of its online features. That’s because [Julian] lives in Spain, and Nest is only configured to work in North America. But as you can see above, he did a bit of hacking to get it displaying his actual location.

The Nest is web-connected and phones home to the company’s server to handle configuration. Since they’ve made the decision to only support a portion of the world [Julian] had to do a little bit of digging to bend it to his will. He used Wireshark to sniff the packets it was sending. The calls to the company’s server use SSL, but the device also contacts the Weather Underground for data and this is not encrypted. So he was able to intercept that with his router and inject custom information. It’s not a full solution, but he’s part way there.

We’d really like to see what is possible with this device so please send us a link to any Nest hacks of your own.

23 thoughts on “Getting a Nest thermostat to work in Europe

  1. I dont have any hacks for this, but as I was studying HVAC in college, we got to mess with one of these as they came out. We had an issue with the RC and RH terminals not being jumped together and there isnt enough room for 2 wires in 1 slot. Has this issue been resolved on this model? The one I messed with was here in the USA.

    1. It’s an illusion. The LCD is square with a convex lens over it and the round black bezel that causes it to look round.

  2. Mine is in a box ready to be sold to a sucker on ebay. They are no better than a $39.00 7 day programmable thermostat.

    1. Clearly you never installed it, otherwise you would realize that it does far more than your $39.00 TSTAT. The ability to control your thermostat while away from home is, in and of itself, worth the $250.00 that the Nest costs. Then, pile on all the other features such as 10 day usage history, Auto-Away, early-on, airwave, learning, and the heat-cool functionality and your $39.00 TSTAT starts to seem a little silly.

    1. It reminds me of HAL from 2001 space odyessy. Its blue in cooling mode, but red in heating mode. When its red that is when it most reminds me of HAL.

  3. @Mike The early model I dissasembled had an electronic switch between RC and RH so no jumper should be necessary. I also noticed the website for the new model clearly states no jumper is needed. Was there a specific problem or just a concern about potential problems?

    1. There was a specific problem, most of the A/C units I get around have 1 transformer in the indoor unit. Without RC and RH jumpered together at the TSTAT, no power goes to the outdoor unit. Without this jumper the only other option is a transformer in the outdoor unit as well. The problem is that there physically isnt enough room to make a jumper connection at the stat neatly. You can only fit 1 wire per terminal on the stat I messed with. Making a jumper from rc to rh and to the red lead going to the indoor unit impossible without a “y” split type of connection behind the stat.

  4. Just to defend the name of Nest, I bought one a few weeks ago, and it rocks. I love it. It’s already saving me money because I can control it remotely when I (and the roommates) aren’t at home. Sure, I could have just programmed something, but it is so nice to have that kind of control, the interface (web, mobile) is perfect and intuitive, and you get your history too. I’d buy another one in a second. If I ever build a house, I’ll run multiple zones and get a few of these.

    1. It still works if it loses connection, it just can’t be controlled remotely. It still learns, controls the temp, etc… It can always be controlled if you’re at home.

  5. Expensive eye candy, nothing more. If you need a programmable thermostat, get a commercial grade Honeywell. If you need a wall decoration, get a painting.

    1. Expensive? You probably have not meet with the KNX thermostats.

      They cost about the same but come with small black and white LCD screen, are retangular and have clumsy buttons.

      On the plus side they can be intergrated into your homeautomation system and they do not call home.

      1. I’m more interested in HVAC controllers that are designed to properly control the HVAC equipment. 10 years of working with Honeywell (and unfortunately, many others) tells me that their commercial thermostats work the best.

        Like I said: if you want pretty, buy a painting. If you want a proper thermostat, buy a Honeywell.

    1. Just wait till the whole smart grid/submetering industry starts to mature. At the moment it’s a bunch of limited initiatives with their own proprietary tech, once one of them takes off and defines standards it’ll be like nothing you’ve seen before.

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