A while back i wrote about my Fibaro Doorbell setup, in that post i told you that i had ordered a Skybell. Well now i have finally recieved it, mounted it and i have had a chance to develop some first impressions.
I decided I had to have a smart doorbell! The two that stuck out was the Doorbot and the Skybell, both off them fairly new to the market. Doorbot has recently been rebranded to Ring and has released a new and improved internet of things bell which at this point actually seems more appealing than the one i currently have. But at the time of my order the skybell actually won over the "doorbot" both because of shear size and also the different problems people were experiencing. The new and improved Doorbot/Ring definitely looks better, has an improved camera and hopefully works better that their predecessor.
The decision to go for the Skybell did not mean they had a perfect reputation. There was a lot of complaints on forums and on their support site regarding instability, difficulty setting up and instability in use. But i was assured by people that between the two this was the most stable and they also had a version "two" in the works. And sure enough i received the new and upgraded model which has an improved sync/setup process. The only visible difference is the green push button now has the Skybell text in the glowing ring and the camera looks slightly different.
The wait was long, in the beginning i was assured and updated by the Skybell team frequently; my order was being taken care of but they were having delivery issues. By time their enthusiasm and regular update slowly faded. I ordered the bell in the beginning of August and received it at the end of November. I sent a couple of e-mails during the last few weeks and i got no reply, but suddenly there was a package delivered to me.
Now for some odd reason i seem to have received two extra mounting plates. According to the website these are marked as "coming soon", i am not sure whether or not this has changed and that they have not gotten around to updating the webpage or if i received these by fault. But i am happy they were a part of the package because i ended up using the additional mount shown in the left image below.
I did not have any difficulties installing the unit physically or setting it up in the app. The step by step guide and the Youtube video guide were detailed and the whole setup process was pretty straight forward. Keep in mind that the bell only supports setups with a mechanical chime out of the box. If you have a digital one you will have to use the adapter or/and additional resistors to make it work.
1. Turn off the power supply to the existing doorbell and remove the doorbell.
2. Attach the mounting plate and feed the wires through.
3. Attach the Skybell to the existing wiring of your old doorbell.
4. Attach the Skybell to the mounting plate. Avoid squeezing the wires.
5. Secure the doorbell by unwinding the set screw to lock the bell to the mounting plate.
Start off by creating an account with Skybell.
1. Connect your phone to the 2.4 GHz part of your wifi network, the setup process will not work if you are on a 5GHz wifi network. The router also needs to support B/G Mode.
2. In the packaging you will find an activation code, enter the code and your WiFi password in the app.
3. Before you click next be sure to activate the setup process on the Skybell unit. Hold in the push button for 30 seconds until the bell flashes red.
4. Proceed to the next step in the app, as soon as the bell is found the LED in the bell will turn green and you will be able to name your bell within the app.
I had no issues with the setup process but have had some issues with daily use. The initial start took around 30 minutes before the bell was ready, and according to the documentation this is because it needs some time to charge up the internal batteries. In the beginning after this 30 min period everything was working fine. I tested the bell a couple of times, waiting 30 seconds between each push like the manual states, suddenly the inside chime started to "hang" each time the bell was pressed and it has been like this ever since. Every time you press the outside bell the inside chime will produce noise for about 4-7 seconds before it stops. I am not sure why this happens. The other thing is that sometimes the push button will not react at all. You have to press two or three times hard to make it work. I am going to contact Skybell support regarding this and update this post accordingly. Here is a short video of the issue.
Other than the mentioned issues above it does what it is supposed to do the notifications to the phone are very fast. The video loads reasonably quick, within 10 seconds on both local and remote network. The video quality is not great but i am able to identify whoever is at my door. I am willing to offer video quality for a quick and responsive service any day.
The audio from the speaker is actually very good it is loud and audible even in strong winds. The audio coming from the microphone is a bit "choppy" but not to bad. The audio feed both ways seemed to be fast and responsive even on a remote network or cellular connection.
To sum it all up, the Doorbot does what it promises, but has some glitches and faults proving that even the version 2 is not a complete product. The App is not the best looking and could do with some polishing. I am also missing a history of events in the app and also the possibility to log in to view recordings of missed "bell pushes". I also hope by time that they will release an API allowing integration with 3rd party equipment and services. A handy feature here would be to be able to use the video in the device to integrate with a surveillance station or network storage device. I must say that the Ring/DoorbotV2 looks much better and the complete package is just more appealing, but they have a really lousy record so i am going to enjoy my Skybell for the time being. That being said i am going to follow the revues for the new Ring.
I have had some struggles with the doorbell. I contacted customer support regarding the problem where the chimer would be active for 5-7 seconds. The doorbell button would also be sluggish and not always react. You would have to press multiple times. was told to measure the voltage to the bell. The transformer i had was 10 VAC. Skybell customer support told me it could be a bit low and suggested buying a bigger transformer. I ended up buying a 12VAC transformer.
It turns out that the inside chimer only got louder and worse with the additional voltage. After a couple of more days the button stopped working all together. I am now in contact with them to see if they will replace my unit. At this point however this is not a product i would recommend to anyone unless you are sure it works on other setups similar to yours. Continue to read about the development of the bell here
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