Locating Doorbell Transformer - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum


Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Electrical

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 11-12-2012, 11:49 PM   #1
Newbie
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 5
Rewards Points: 10
Question

Locating Doorbell Transformer


Hello,

I am a do-it-yourselfer with no professional electrical experience. That being said, I do have experience with installing and wiring switches and light fixtures around the house - the easy stuff.

My current DIY challenge is trying to fix the doorbell on a 1965 house. There are two doorbell buttons on different parts of the exterior, both of which appear to be original. The wiring going to each of these buttons also looks original (old).

On the inside of the house there are two separate doorbell chime boxes, each of which is located relatively close to their respective exterior buttons. The wiring going to the chime boxes is "different", leading me to believe that it is not configured as a straight shot from the button to the chime - in other words, there is likely a transformer in the middle.

My issue has been in locating the transformer or transformers. First of all, I am not sure if these two doorbell button and chime pairs would share a single transformer, or if they each have their own transformer. I assume if there was a single transformer then it would be centrally located between the two doorbells. However, if we are dealing with two separate transformers then they should each be in the same vicinity as their respective doorbell hardware.

I have so far checked any obvious interior locations, I have checked the electrical panel outside, and I have checked through the attic of the house. When in the attic, I checked the beams and rafters for a mounted transformer but I did not yet start pulling up insulation. So far, no luck in finding the transformer(s). Any suggestions here would be much appreciated.

Also, another reason I believe there is a transformer is because the voltage measured on the wires going to the chime measured between 1.5v and 2v. As an amateur DIYer, I can only conclude that this means there is a failing transformer somewhere on the circuit which is pushing out a voltage too low to power the chimes.

I would appreciate any advice or suggestions anyone here can provide me.

Thanks!

Advertisement

RodC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2012, 12:17 AM   #2
Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Apple Valley, MN, USA
Posts: 1,002
Rewards Points: 506
Send a message via AIM to theatretch85
Default

Locating Doorbell Transformer


Did you measure the voltage with the doorbell button depressed or bypassed (twist the two wires together at the button)? Also, were you measuring volts AC or DC? In my experience most doorbell transformers are AC and should be anywhere from 16 to 25 volts AC.

Advertisement

theatretch85 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2012, 12:21 AM   #3
Newbie
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 5
Rewards Points: 10
Default

Locating Doorbell Transformer


I believe the voltage measured was AC. Possibly a phantom voltage?

I did not attempt the bypass method of twisting the wires together. However, I measured with the button both pressed and not pressed - no difference in readings. The button essentially did nothing at all, as far as I could measure.
RodC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2012, 12:23 AM   #4
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Hartfield VA
Posts: 27,785
Rewards Points: 686
Default

Locating Doorbell Transformer


Most I have found are under the house.
joecaption is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2012, 12:24 AM   #5
Member
 
Missouri Bound's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Almost Arkansas
Posts: 2,764
Rewards Points: 2,000
Default

Locating Doorbell Transformer


If you are using an digital meter it's quite possible that voltage you are picking up is phantom or induced. The best way to trace low voltage wiring is to use a tracer such as those used by the telecommunication techs. It has a signal generator which you attach to a pair of wires and a receiver which is a "wand" which listens for the signal. It's pretty foolproof.
__________________
Do you want it your way or the right way?
Missouri Bound is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2012, 12:26 AM   #6
Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Apple Valley, MN, USA
Posts: 1,002
Rewards Points: 506
Send a message via AIM to theatretch85
Default

Locating Doorbell Transformer


How many wires do you have at the doorbell? If you only have two, one probably comes from the doorbell button to the bell, while the other should come from the transformer. If you have 4 then 2 should be from the transformer and 2 from the button. You may have to remove the doorbell from the wall to see if there are connections made inside the wall to different wires.
theatretch85 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2012, 12:32 AM   #7
Newbie
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 5
Rewards Points: 10
Default

Locating Doorbell Transformer


I have two sheathed cables at the button, each of which has two wires (so 4 wires total). At the chime, I only have one sheathed cable which contains 4 wires, however two of them are cut off and only 2 of the wires were previously connected to the chime when I moved into the house.

As a last resort, I may end up purchasing one of those tone and wand kits to try and trace the wires. Hoping to avoid that.

Thanks for the help so far!
RodC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2012, 01:15 PM   #8
Member
 
Missouri Bound's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Almost Arkansas
Posts: 2,764
Rewards Points: 2,000
Default

Locating Doorbell Transformer


Quote:
Originally Posted by RodC View Post

As a last resort, I may end up purchasing one of those tone and wand kits to try and trace the wires. Hoping to avoid that.

May be a last resort for you but it's a very handy tool for all (unenergized) circuits.
__________________
Do you want it your way or the right way?
Missouri Bound is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2012, 02:09 PM   #9
Electrical Contractor
 
jbfan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Newnan GA
Posts: 5,964
Rewards Points: 2,324
Default

Locating Doorbell Transformer


Believe it or not, but I have seen them inside the panel.
__________________
Yes I am a Pirate, 200 years too late. "Jimmy Buffett"
jbfan is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2012, 02:23 PM   #10
Newbie
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 5
Rewards Points: 10
Default

Locating Doorbell Transformer


The tone kit may indeed be a useful thing to have for other DIY projects. Might not be a bad idea to invest in one.

As for the electrical panel, a friend suggested I open up the panel and look inside for the transformer. I have not yet had the chance to do this, but I will give it a shot later today. I had previously only removed the outside cover and glanced inside, finding nothing obvious.

I also received a suggestion to check inside the kitchen cabinets, so I will give that a shot too.
RodC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2012, 02:31 PM   #11
DIY staff

 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Kane county,Illinois
Posts: 22,326
Rewards Points: 3,290
Default

Locating Doorbell Transformer


Look in the basement----often hanging off the lamp box nearest the door bell---next---on the side of the fue box.

Is the basement open?
__________________
New members: Adding your location to your profile helps in many ways.--M--
oh'mike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2012, 02:56 PM   #12
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 89
Rewards Points: 75
Default

Locating Doorbell Transformer


Inside the electrical panel.

Mounted to the outside of the electrical panel.

Mounted in the ceiling joists above your other mechanical equipment (Furnace, water heater).

In an area around your laundry.

Did you check inside the actual chime enclosure?

Just some ideas on where it could be.
parman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2012, 04:03 PM   #13
Newbie
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 5
Rewards Points: 10
Default

Locating Doorbell Transformer


This house has no basement, so that rules that out.

I can confirm it is not located inside the chime enclosure.

I will check the other suggestions later today and report back.

Thanks!
RodC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2012, 07:00 PM   #14
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 53
Rewards Points: 75
Default

Locating Doorbell Transformer


Try the attic, that was where I found mine.

Advertisement

toastandjam is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Doorbell transformer cpamba Electrical 4 05-05-2012 09:43 PM
Doorbell Transformer Problem oldfatnbroke Electrical 9 01-11-2012 10:43 PM
help, doorbell transformer inside electrical panel, PIC's blackhemi Electrical 10 07-20-2011 01:47 PM
doorbell transformer question Buzzman Electrical 3 06-17-2011 08:49 AM
Different color wires on new doorbell transformer.... ConstantChange Electrical 31 11-22-2007 12:08 AM




Top of Page | View New Posts