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Old 01-10-2011, 07:48 PM   #1
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Door bell


I bought a house and I have been doing repairs for a year now. My wife just started nagging me about putting a door bell. It's been nice, not answering solicitors etc but I guess my fun has ended.
The problem is that the home used to have a door bell and all of the wiring is cut very short (I hate this) and seems like it might take a more patient soul to work with.
Regardless, I have a hole where a door bell button used to be at my front door with 4 short wires sticking out. Then where a door bell used to be (prior to the home being foreclosed I imagine) is a plate over a junction box. Inside of that box are two different cables with 4 wires per cable. I presume this is typical door bell wire. I realize there is a transformer somewhere in the configuration but I can not locate it in the attic and I am frustrated. Well, before I go and hire someone, I want to see if the existing wire has power. Where would you begin testing?

I have uploaded a picture of the area where the door bell used to be to show the wires. Thanks for the help guys/gals
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Old 01-10-2011, 08:39 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by lendosky View Post
I bought a house and I have been doing repairs for a year now. My wife just started nagging me about putting a door bell. It's been nice, not answering solicitors etc but I guess my fun has ended.
The problem is that the home used to have a door bell and all of the wiring is cut very short (I hate this) and seems like it might take a more patient soul to work with.
Regardless, I have a hole where a door bell button used to be at my front door with 4 short wires sticking out. Then where a door bell used to be (prior to the home being foreclosed I imagine) is a plate over a junction box. Inside of that box are two different cables with 4 wires per cable. I presume this is typical door bell wire. I realize there is a transformer somewhere in the configuration but I can not locate it in the attic and I am frustrated. Well, before I go and hire someone, I want to see if the existing wire has power. Where would you begin testing?

I have uploaded a picture of the area where the door bell used to be to show the wires. Thanks for the help guys/gals

I recently worked on my doorbell. The wiring on my was straight forward, so I can't help you there, but regarding the transformer, I looked and looked, and finnaly found mine coupled to a smoke detector in the unfinished part of my basement (closeby the breaker box. )

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lendosky (01-26-2011)
Old 01-11-2011, 12:49 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lendosky View Post
I bought a house and I have been doing repairs for a year now. My wife just started nagging me about putting a door bell. It's been nice, not answering solicitors etc but I guess my fun has ended.
The problem is that the home used to have a door bell and all of the wiring is cut very short (I hate this) and seems like it might take a more patient soul to work with.
Regardless, I have a hole where a door bell button used to be at my front door with 4 short wires sticking out. Then where a door bell used to be (prior to the home being foreclosed I imagine) is a plate over a junction box. Inside of that box are two different cables with 4 wires per cable. I presume this is typical door bell wire. I realize there is a transformer somewhere in the configuration but I can not locate it in the attic and I am frustrated. Well, before I go and hire someone, I want to see if the existing wire has power. Where would you begin testing?

I have uploaded a picture of the area where the door bell used to be to show the wires. Thanks for the help guys/gals
A typical doorbell installation uses two-conductor wire. Your four-conductor wire is unusual, and was probably used just because the installer had some available. It is almost certain that only two wires in each cable are used.

First, you will need to check for voltage between every possible pairing of wires in each cable. When you find two wires with 16 to 24V between them, you know those are coming from the transformer.

Wire your button to any two wires at it's location. You know that this is the OTHER cable back at the bell location (not the cable from the transformer).

Connect one wire coming from the transformer to one wire going to the button. Connect your new bell between the other button wire and the other transformer wire. In other words, the bell, button, and transformer are all in series. This should work.
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Old 01-11-2011, 07:29 AM   #4
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Door bell


are you sure the transformer has not also been removed?
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Old 01-11-2011, 08:23 AM   #5
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I will check this out later today. I am not sure the transformer is.still there. Considering they took almost everything when they moved out, that's a viable option.
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Old 01-11-2011, 08:54 AM   #6
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Since you have 2 cables in the box, I would suspect 1 goes to the bel/chime location and the other goes to the transformer. You need to find the ends of both of those cables.

For the transformer cable, look in the basement near the breaker panel or mounted on a light fixture electrical box or look in the attic on a light fixture box.

For the bell/chime cable, look in the hallway.

While in the attic look for the cables coming from the front door, this may let you trace to the other end.
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Old 01-11-2011, 12:45 PM   #7
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Okay. I looked into the junction box and starting checking wire combinations until I got voltage. Eventually I found a two wire combo in one of the two cables in the junction box (see photo in first post) which gave me 18.36 vac. I assume that is the wire coming from the transformer. When I took the two "live wires" and connected them to two wires of the other cable I was able to get juice at the wire sticking out of my house at the front door. I have never wired a door bell before.
I have the two 'live' wires. I assume that considering door bell is typically only 2 wires (per the previous post) that only these two wires will be connected to the chimes, and then two leads will go to the button. Before I connect these wires do I need to identify which of the live wires is which? For example, a hot or neutral wire or does that not matter with low voltage and I can pick randomly from the two 'live' wire?
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Old 01-11-2011, 12:50 PM   #8
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Congrats you found the live ones, now you have to decide which (2) from the other cable you are going to use for the chimes/bell, pick a pair any pair.

Say you have power on blue and you pick blue on the other cable, tie these two together.

Say the other side of the power on cable (1) was blue with a white tracer, connect that to the switch, then on cable (2) select blue with a white tracer and connect it to the other end of the switch.

Now go to where you have the chime or are going to hang the chimes and connect the blue and blue with a white tracer to the chime terminals.

Ding....Dong...hear the chimes?
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Old 01-11-2011, 01:30 PM   #9
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have you looked at the wireless door bells?? no wires. the chimes is a unit that plugs into an outlet and you can get two remotes.

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Old 01-11-2011, 01:46 PM   #10
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Do you know where the chime is (or was)? If the chime exists see what color wires are connected to it. If you install a new chime pick the colors you want. At the door location these wires will be in the cable other than the one you found power on. For example: Say the chime is on the orange/white pair. At the door connect one of the power wires to one of the leads in the orange/white pair. Connect the other power wire and the other half of the orange /white pair to the push button. Polarity does not matter. Substitute my colors in the example to the colors you find.
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Old 01-11-2011, 02:03 PM   #11
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Do you know where the chime is (or was)? If the chime exists see what color wires are connected to it..
The photo at the top of this page is where I assume the old chime was. It seems like a logical place. Wireless sound cool but I already have this area for a standard doorbell so I would like to take advantage of it. There are no existing chimes, there is no existing door bell. Just wires. That's it.
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Old 01-11-2011, 02:15 PM   #12
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understood, just thought that if you had to buy a door bell system anyways, wireless is a no fuss setup, just need AA batteries for the button.

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Old 01-11-2011, 02:28 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lendosky View Post
The photo at the top of this page is where I assume the old chime was. It seems like a logical place. Wireless sound cool but I already have this area for a standard doorbell so I would like to take advantage of it. There are no existing chimes, there is no existing door bell. Just wires. That's it.

Sorry I was thinking the photo was the location of the push button. Is the push button still at the front door (or is thw wire there so you can access it)? If the button is there, have someone hold it in while you test the cable that did not have power with an ohmmeter (or multimeter set to ohms). Look for a pair of wires with zero resistance (short circuit).

Now you one pair of wires and another pair (in the other cable) with the push button. Connect one of the power wires to one of the push button wires. Connect the other 2 wires to the new chime. Polarity does not matter.
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Old 01-11-2011, 03:05 PM   #14
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Sorry I was thinking the photo was the location of the push button. Is the push button still at the front door (or is thw wire there so you can access it)? If the button is there, have someone hold it in while you test the cable that did not have power with an ohmmeter (or multimeter set to ohms). Look for a pair of wires with zero resistance (short circuit).

Now you one pair of wires and another pair (in the other cable) with the push button. Connect one of the power wires to one of the push button wires. Connect the other 2 wires to the new chime. Polarity does not matter.
I don't have the button yet, but from what I am hearing should I just connect two wires at the area where the button should be, then measure those same wires at the junction box with an ohmmeter and if it has zero resistance I have good existing wires to connect to the chimes from the button?
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Old 01-26-2011, 06:32 PM   #15
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everything works fine now. I still don't know why the original installer used 4 strand cables...

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