If I live in the U.K. Can I use a plug in transformer with the nest hello doorbell if I don't have existing doorbell wiring?
Yes, you can use a plug in transformer to power the nest hello video doorbell but there are a couple of things that you should know before you you install the transformer so that your installation will stand the test of time and work like you want it to.
This is article is for people who live in the UK (United Kingdom) and want to install a nest doorbell. If you live in the United States here use the guides in the links below, if not keep reading.
In the UK electrical distribution for the utility grid is different than the US electrical standards that the nest hello doorbell is designed around. The electrical grid in the UK uses 230V-240V while the US uses 120V. If you plug in a US device to a UK socket you will not have good results. The nest doorbell runs on 16V-24V which is the standard doorbell voltage in the US. Most doorbells in UK run on 8V which is not enough voltage for the nest doorbell. So to get the nest doorbell to work, which was designed around US standards in the UK you need to use a transformer that will convert 230V-240V down to between 16V-24V-AC (Alternating Current). It is very important to note that the nest hello doorbell requires 16V-24V AC (Alternating Current) there are a lot of transformers that will convert down to 16-24V DC (Direct Current) but very few that convert down to 16V-24V AC (Alternating Current).
We scoured the internet to find one after one of our followers emailed us asking how to get his nest doorbell to work in the UK, and it was a much more extensive search than we anticipated and we were really happy that we could help our international follower solve a very real problem. So if you have smart home questions please email us because then we can share the knowledge with other people who are having the same issue you are.
For the UK these are the instructions to install a compatible transformer for your nest hello doorbell:
1. You will need to get a UK compatible plug in transformer
2. If you want the doorbell to "ring" like a doorbell you will need to either wire in a new doorbell chime or get a google home mini that will wirelessly connect to the doorbell and ring like a doorbell when someone presses the button. The issue is that doorbell chimes in the UK usually run on 8V which is not enough power for the nest hello as the nest hello needs between 16V-24V to operate properly. The other issue is that the majority of chimes sold in the UK, come with a pre-wired transformer in the doorbell chime itself which is not compatible with with the nest hello. So in the UK if you want your doorbell to ring like a doorbell you should purchase a google home mini, and you can connect it through the nest app to enable the functionality for the doorbell to ring.
3. If you plug the transformer in outside you will need to protect it from the elements with a an outdoor electrical box cover. We have not found any custom options online that are deep enough to fit the transformer so you will need to use one of the two options below and cut the back out and mount around your existing power outlet. You don't need to plug your transformer outside, you could always mount it inside but if you do mount it outside you should protect it from the elements.
Option 1: 4 Gang Outdoor Electrical Enclosure
Option 2: Weatherproof Electrical Enclosure
4. If the wires are run outside exposed to the elements the best practice would be to protect them from mischief and the elements with hard conduit, but you could also use metal wire mold for the most secure installation or a plastic wire mold that will still hide and protect the wires to some degree but will not be a resistant to person determined to cut your wires.
The nest hello is a video doorbell that allows you to record video 24/7 at your front door but also works as a doorbell, so when someone presses the doorbell button you can see who is at the front door and communicate with them.
We've included screen shots of the nest hello doorbell interface below but if you want more of our resources for the nest hello you can find them in our blog.
If you have an existing wired doorbell the nest hello doorbell can be installed with minimal modifications. If your transformer is between 16-24V for your existing doorbell you can use your existing wiring and doorbell transformer without modification. If you already have existing wiring and you need to replace your transformer we provided an guide and article on hard wired transformers that work for the nest doorbell.
But if you don't have any existing doorbell wiring and you want to install a new nest hello doorbell you can go two routes.
2. You can use an existing interior or exterior outlet with a plug in transformer and power your new doorbell.
With the plug in transformer you can either plug it in inside and drill a small hole where you are going to locate your doorbell or you can plug it into an outlet outside near the doorbell and run the wires to the doorbell.
If you plan on locating the doorbell transformer inside you should make sure that you plug it in somewhere that it won't get unplugged because if that happens you won't be recording anything and your doorbell is just a nice ornament on your house. If you have kids, a dog or visitors that are likely to knock the doorbell loose you should use an outlet cover box. We recommend the outdoor outlet box because it has the depth and room to fit the transformer. But only use this box for interior installations, if you are plugging in the transformer outside we recommend this outdoor rated box. If you need to drill through a deep wall to run the wires outside you will need a drill bit that is usually at least 8-10" long, but the longer you can get one the better. A typical wall is at least 5" deep and if your home is older or has 6" deep studs you will need a longer drill bit.
If you have a house with a masonry exterior you will need a drill that capable of hammer drilling and a masonry drill bit. Having worked in commercial construction for over a decade the most trusted power tool brand that I saw tradesmen and women using was Milwaukee, it is also the brand that I have used in my personal tool kit for over 6 years with no complaints. For a hammer drill you really need a tool that is up to the task made with quality components. If you don't want to buy a hammer drill you can typically rent them at your local hardware store for $20 a day.
You don't need a large hole to get to small doorbell wires through the wall so we recommend using the smallest diameter drill bit possible when drilling through masonry as it is harder to drill through brick with a larger bit. You should also try and locate your doorbell so that the hole you are drilling starts in the grout rather than brick, starting your drill hole in grout will make it much easier to drill because grout is typically softer than brick. The Masonry drill bit we recommend is 16" and long enough to get though any masonry wall including those with double brick walls or brick & CMU walls.
With the hole made through the wall you can then run the wiring through the wall. It is best to tape the small wiring to the drill bit with electrical tape and pull the wires back though the hole you just made. If this does not work you can use a straightened coat hanger guide the wires through the hole.
Items Needed For Outdoor Plug In Transformer Installation:
- Drill (for installation of doorbell)
- Wire Cutter/Stripper or Utility Knife for stripping Transformer Wire
- Nest Doorbell
- Outdoor Outlet Cover Box
- Doorbell Transformer
- Doorbell Chime (Optional)
- Google Home Mini (Optional)
- Doorbell Wire (Optional, depends on length of wire run)
Additional Items Needed if Frilling though Wood or Siding on House: