What is in the box?
In the box:
Some of you might remember my post regarding the Skybell V2. The doorbell was not a product i recommend anyone of buying. I will be posting an update on the Skybell problems shortly. In the meantime i got my self a rebranded Doorbot doorbell the Ring doorbell. The Ring doorbell has failed to fulfill my high hopes unfortunately. Continue to read my first review of my first Ring Doorbell as i have a new one on the way...
What is in the box?
The rebranded and redesigned Ring doorbell is a real eye-catcher. After the problems i had on my Skybell i decided to get a Ring doorbel. It looks stunning, has a much better build quality when it comes to materials (at least at first).
The doorbell comes with a backplate for attaching to the surface you want to mount it. It also has connection points for possible existing doorbell wiring, the bell will also work without wiring and the battery should last you about 1 year. The mounting plate also has a power circuit for the 8-24 VAC doorbell power. If connected to such a circuit the bell will close a relay and activate your inside chimer upon pressing the bell.
As you can see installation was pretty easy and straight forward.
In use - video
The biggest difference compared to the skybell is probably the video quality and the fish eye lens. I had to mount my Skybell on an angle to be able to see the face of whomever was at my door. But on the Ring is can be mounted flush and still be able to see the whole porch entrance. The video quality was very good i must say.
In use - Audio
The audio was not very good, and surprisingly disappointing compared to the rest of the feel in the product. It was not possible to have a conversation. The audio was very choppy both on local and remote network. If i talked very slowly i was able to relay a message, but i was never able to lead a conversation. Version 1.2.30 of the app however did bring some good fixes. After this upgrade the audio was very good and more in the lines of what i expected from a product like this.
In use - General function
Notifications came through instantly on iOS devices but seemed to come through slower on Android devices although not consistent. Sometimes it could take up to 30 seconds before the Android device came up with the notification, other times instantly. I have not enabled any battery saving functions or similar so i am not sure why the service on Android was slower or more unstable. Both devices connected pretty fast to the device when accepting a call though. The hardware, look and feel of the device was very pleasant and it looked way better than the previous Skybell. Except for the audio problems in the beginning i was very happy the first week.
Certified for outdoor use you say?
For 6 days the device worked very well, and to be honest i was hoping for more than 6. The device does not seem to hold up very well against water. One day i noticed that the LED ring had stopped working. When i pressed the doorbell the inside chimer chimed along for a long time. Similar to the problems i had with the Skybell. The app indicated that the battery was at 2%, so I started to wonder? what could be wrong? Am i doing something wrong?
Well it seems that the unit does not withstand water very well. To my knowledge most doorbells are outside of peoples houses so not being able to handle water is a negative feature in my mind. I also found out that the video image had turned purple'ish. The three red circles below are highlighting green bushes, as you can see the bushes are no longer green.
As you can see on the images below there are more indications to bad materials and design faults. Corrosion on a device having been outside for just over 6 days is not very soothing.
After letting the unit dry off for a couple of hours inside i decided to test it again, i was soon reminded of another flaw... The button fell off.
I was not alone
In the same time period i bought my Ring i also had a friend who bought one. After having his unit outdoors for over one week he started to experience the same. He went from this:
I have been in contact with Rings support many times since December and they have been nothing but pleasant to deal with. I have now returned my device and I have received confirmation that a new one is on the way. However, i have asked what i could do differently do avoid this happening. They are clearly stating that i did nothing wrong. I can mount the new one the same way. Both me and my friend have approach them with similar faults and the same worries. It does not seem that the unit is capable of being outside. Water is protruding between the backplane and the doorbell itself. We have also confronted them by sending e-mails where we are identifying ourselves together and that we have the same faults. I want this product to be better and i want them to be successful, but the fact that we have to units with similar faults is worrying. One can only hope that the units are of a similar batch, that they are aware of the problem and that that is why they are so confident that it will not happen again. I will keep you all updated with the progress of the new unit.
Shortly after posting this post i received a new unit from Ring, well to be honest i have received two new units because the first replacement unit had a broken LED light. Ring told me to keep the one with the broken LED, so i did not have to return it. Which means i have one to dissect :)
I think one problem with the replacement unit i got is Rings packaging, it does not seem to be very good. The unit has shifted it's position within the box and one of the connectors at the back was bent. This off course was no problem i gently bent it back. The last bell i received was properly packaged in ha larger box with additional protection.
The main problem however was that the LED ring in front did not work, not properly anyways. It would light up if you hit the front of the unit.
Dissection- I wanted answers
Well I am not going to complain, they sent me a new unit and let me keep the old, in total i have had 3 units. So the broken one i got to keep was not going to lay around as a spare part, I opened it up because that is just who I am the the way I have always been.
I took my time, carefully removing component by component trying to locate any obvious faults leading to the damaged LED. And sure enough not long in to the teardown i found the problem, a poor surface soldering on the bottom PCB, the board with the button, LED and Audio. As you can see from the photo below the damaged connector is circled in. There is another connector on the other side which is the way it should be, the connector body is attached to the board. The damaged connector has multiple connection points not soldered to the board while 4 of them are attached to the PCB itself. My guess is that one of these connectors holds power and the other signal.
After fully tearing it apart i assembled the unit again, after re-attaching the battery i pressed down on the two top boards creating better contact directly above the damaged connector and sure enough the LED lit up. I have not taken the time to reflow the connector to try and fix the unit as i do not have the proper soldering equipment. I might however take it to work one day to attempt a fix.
As you probably remember the problems i was having was with water and not LED. So i did not want to take any chances with the new unit. As you can see from the video and the pictures below there is a reason why it does not handle water very well.
The images above is the bell attached to the baseplate with the screws underneath tightened. As you can see it is not very tight on the seals so water can easily get through. During assembly this time i took some extra precautions to avoid water from entering the housing and also the power supply at the back of the baseplate.
Silicone was added to the baseplate and between the baseplate and the bell. Since i have a wired setup i do not have to remove the bell from the baseplate to charge it. The unit has now been working well for just over 3 weeks withstanding harsh Norwegian weather. We have had some periods with rain, but the silicone seems to help. I have had some sign of poor design though.
The button fell off once again, proving that the same fault present on multiple units.
The rebranded RING is much better looking, but unfortunately it seems to carry some of its technical flaws present on the Doorbot. The faults i have experienced others have experienced as well. If Ring will be able to fix theese faults and make their costumers happy is still to be seen. If you are one the fence trying to choose between the Ring or the Skybell my advise would be the Ring, purely because of their customer service. If you want a unit that is working 100% i would hold on. Maybe the new Z wave enabled video gate doorbell will be better? Expect it in stores by the end of the year.
Tech surrounding me