Our doorbell is a standard wall mount, wired doorbell with mechanical solenoids. But somewhere in the electrical circuit, either in the chime itself or the external power transformer somewhere out in the garage, is causing this to not chime correctly.
Could be mechanical, I just haven’t taken the time to test it all the way through. And besides, why keep this old doorbell when I can get a nice, new, wireless doorbell with text notifications. Seems great in theory. Now that actually does make good sense, if you’ve seen the video, you’ll understand why. Or, read on!
So enter the Notif Doorbell by Heath Zenith. You can find this at Lowe’s for around 70 bucks. Or, as I found recently, you can get a too pack of these on Amazon (link here) for only 40 bucks! BTW, this has a whopping one review on Amazon with only 1 star, simply because the customer expected the support to help him get it on his wi-fi network. Follow the instructions, it’s not that hard.
So the existing doorbell has a “clunk” sound (see the video at this point to hear). Seems to have lost its ding dong! About the only place you can hear it is in the downstairs hallway, which is fine if you are anywhere downstairs. The rest of the house we have to rely upon the doggie alarms, but they set off a lot of false alarms.
So, time to replace that old door bell with something that can be heard all through the house, or so is the intent. There are a lot of different options out there.
I decided to try one in the middle and give a Notifi Alert Doorbell by Heath Zenith a test. It’s a basic doorbell model that doesn’t have a camera, but does have an app to send us notifications. It’s supposed to communicate with with both iOS and Android — more on that in a bit.
In the box is the plug in chime, a push button remote and mounting screws and double sided foam tape.The quick start guid that comes with the device is in 3 languages – English, Spanish and French.
It has a 100 foot range, smartphone notifications, and adjustable volume. Claims it can play 11 tunes with programmable muting.
This doorbell needs connection to a home Wi-Fi system,
Now for the app, you need either an iPhone or Android phone. The box indicates that it should be iOS 9 or Android 5 or above. My phones are bit out of date with an iphone 4, and Samsung Note 3. The Samsung Note 3 that I’ll be using with this doorbell app shows that it’s Android 5 compliant and should work with the doorbell app. However, in checking the online manual and requirements I found that not to be the case, as well as when I tried to install the app on the phone.
So that means my only choice is to set this up on my iPad Pro until I get a chance to update my phones.
The doorbell should only take 5 minutes to install, but really it takes between 1/2 hour and an hour to get fully up because of all the extra time you have to spend on finding the recent specs, trying to get the app installed, testing, etc. But it does have simple enough steps — plug in the chime, do a range test, mount the button and load the app!
After unboxing, we are able to do a quick test by plugging the doorbell chime into an extension cord, pulling the tab on the switch to engage the button cell battery, press the button and get a doorbell “ding dong”, the default sound setting. So it works straight out of the box.
The quick start instructions have some 6 steps to go through to set up the doorbell. Most of the time will be spent futzing with the app and getting that set up. The quick-start instructions are really the best on how you pair the doorbell with the app, name it, pair a button to it, name that, and test it out. But spending some time poking around in the app helps one figure it out. Or, getting the full product manual off of the web site (link here) does help as well. So that gets us through the first 2 steps.
Step 4 indicates to download the app by finding the Notify Connected Products app on either the App Store or Google Play. Just for kicks, I tried to load the app on an iPhone 4 but was thrown a prompt that it’s not compatible — fully expected.
Next, on my Samsung Note 3, which is Android 5.0 compliant I find luck there either. So using the app on my phones is not gonna work. So the final option was to install on my iPad pro. Better than nothing, I guess! It’s not really intended to be on an iPad as the app is a phone app, but it’ll work fine for this test.
Now we’re at Step 5, and to setup the Notifi App. During this step you need to create an account within the app. Enter in your email address as the username and some random 8 to 12 character password.
Once done with that, you need to go to your Wi-Fi settings and select the Notifi Alert from the available wi-fi networks. Many devices like this need you to connect to them first, then get them the right permissions to get on your network. Essentially, they are a mini Wi-Fi network that’s open so you can get in, then get them locked into your private Wi-Fi network. You should only ever have to do this once to get it on your home network, unless you change your Wi-Fi password often.
After getting the doorbell on the network, go set your phone or iPad back to your network. The Notifi doorbell might kick you back to your network once it’s connected, but may not. Open up the Notifi app, log in if not already logged in and see if the Notifi shows up in the app.
It should, and next you’ll run through a setup wizard in here to help you get the Notifi up and running. We’re given the option to connect to our wi-fi network. Probably best to choose my network and not one of our neighbors. Enter a password, and voila, …. wait for it…. should be ready to go!
Next, we give the new Notifi doorbell a name. Whatever you want, Bob, Tom, Hairy, Moisha — any name that you want to see in the systems tab that indicates this doorbell. Eventually we get back a notification that the notifi name is created.
Our newly named doorbell shows up on the systems page. It’s possible to have multiple Notifi doorbells in here for every door in the house, if we want. Say you want one for your Front Door, your back door…
Next we have to pair the button to the doorbell. Not really clear in the instructions, but, if we go into settings, then advanced settings, we add a Notifi accessory by following the onscreen instructions. So not only can you have multiple doorbells, but you can have multiple doorbell buttons paired to this chime. Each with a different sound to indicate which one was press. Kinda nice if you want to put buttons all around your house!
Press the Sync button on the app screen, then press the button on the doorbell button. You’ll get a quick notification and can then name the new paired device. In this case, this is the front door button.
On the systems page, we can now expand the connected device list below the doorbell, in this case I named it “testbell”, and under that I see the button as “front door”.
Now, we can click into the device and assign the sound we want for the front door. We’ll just leave it as the standard Ding Dong for now.
Testing the button, we get a notification within a few seconds most of the time, and an email, eventually telling us that the doorbell was rung, the time, etc. However, by the time you get this email, the person at the door would probably be long gone.
Back in the settings, we can add viewers, or other people who can get the notifications as well. So you could be out shopping and know that someone has been at the house, ringing the doorbell.
Ideally, you want to centrally locate your doorbell where you’d be able to hear it. However, if we want to simply rely upon the app, then it doesn’t matter where the doorbell chime is placed. You could even turn off the sound altogether. In fact, if you’re not hearing the doorbell, it could be that in the settings section you forgot to turn up the volume.
In the final review of the Notifi Alert doorbell, the product works as indicated. Albeit, the ringer isn’t as loud as one would like to be able to hear everywhere in the house. If relying upon the app, then sure, this would work well, but you might run into occasional network timing issues where the doorbell switch was press, the chime would sound, send a message, and you may not see the message in a timely fashion. There are many factors that could cause this to be slow. The Notifi server may be in maintenance, busy processing other tasks. Or, your network connection may be having issues getting to the server to send out the message and get a response.
The app is not the greatest, just your basic app. It gets less than 3 stars on the App store. Most are complaints about how well it performs, but I didn’t most of the issues reported.
Would I recommend this product? Sure, but not at the full Lowe’s price. Look around and get the product either off Amazon at half the price (link here), or off eBay for about the same.
Decide if the sound is loud enough for your use, and if the app is sufficient. You could choose one of the many other products out there that have a camera, and/or a different way of communicating. Overall the Notifi product does work and may be the right choice for you.
Here are some interesting links for you! Enjoy your stay :)