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Old 08-13-2009, 10:01 PM   #1
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Newly wired doorbell not working


So I have an old house that I am (very) slowly renovating. A week ago I finally finished installing a wired doorbell and when I pressed the button... nothing happened.

This evening I was fiddling around and haven't had any luck. I was concerned that the chime itself might not be working since I was reusing the one that was in the house, but I took it down and wired it up to a battery and it rang just fine. Then I thought maybe the (brand new) transformer wasn't working, but I used some jumper wire to connect the chime directly to the transformer and that worked fine. So that seemed to leave the button. I disconnected the wires to the button, then tied together the wires where the chime would be (it was still uninstalled), then touched the button wires together and got a spark. Then I hooked up the chime and again touched the wires at the button again... and nothing.

I kept trying and couldn't get a spark. So I went back to the chime and, leaving it wired, used a jumper wire to provide a bypass of the chime. When I touched the button wires again, I got the spark.

What the heck is going on? Is it possible the chime is somehow creating too much resistance to make a circuit? Is the wiring somehow an issue (it is very thin doorbell wire from Home Depot)?

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Old 08-13-2009, 10:44 PM   #2
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Newly wired doorbell not working


What all did you do ? Did you install all new wiring, transformer and button and only reusing chimes?

Wired like this....
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Newly wired doorbell not working-doorbell.jpg  

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Old 08-14-2009, 02:31 AM   #3
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Newly wired doorbell not working


Referring to Stubbies diagram, measure the AC Low voltage output of the new Xfmr. It should be 10-12 VAC. Your new transformer should look something like this: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000BPLNQ4

note the low voltage output has screw terminals (no polarity) while the lAC line voltage input connects to the Black & White wires.
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Old 08-14-2009, 10:39 AM   #4
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Newly wired doorbell not working


I have installed the whole thing. New doorbell button, new wiring, new transformer, old chime was uninstalled and reinstalled in a new location.

I'll have to get a voltometer as I don't have one, but the transformer is supposed to be 16 V. The transformer looks just like the one in that link.

The thing that is screwy about all of this is that I hooked the chime directly to the transformer and it worked fine. But with the whole setup wired, I can get a spark at the button when I have a bypass at the chime, but no spark when the chime is in the circuit and not bypassed.

Last edited by GoPens; 08-14-2009 at 10:41 AM.
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:48 AM   #5
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Newly wired doorbell not working


Seeing as it is an old chime, is the chime a different voltage than the transformer possibly? Maybe chimes used to be different voltages than now??? Just a thought. One final thought; are you wiring the chime correctly? They normally have three terminals (front door, back door and transformer). Are you mistakenly putting the wires onto the front and back terminals, but not the transformer terminal?
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Old 08-14-2009, 12:34 PM   #6
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Newly wired doorbell not working


I am pretty sure I am wiring (connecting) the chime correctly. I wouldn't be so confident except that I connected the chime directly to the transformer and it chimed fine.

This is similar if not the same as what I have for the chime:
http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/...r5&R=100626769

Last edited by GoPens; 08-14-2009 at 01:02 PM.
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Old 08-14-2009, 08:33 PM   #7
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Newly wired doorbell not working


The resistance in the wires may be so great that insufficient current gets to the chimes to operate them. Add to that some friction if the chimes are old and dirty (and mechanical) so the chimes need more current to operate them compared with when new.

One solution is to use a higher voltage transformer, but you can damage lighted doorbell buttons and electronic chimes this way.

When the button is not pushed, the little light in the button completes the circuit from transformer to chimes to button back to transformer. The light draws very little current resulting in much less voltage drop in the wires (and also no continuous sound from the chimes) so the voltage across the light is nearly the full transformer voltage.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 08-14-2009 at 08:42 PM.
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Old 08-15-2009, 08:44 AM   #8
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Newly wired doorbell not working


OK. That seems consistent with all the evidence I have. So, one solution is a higher voltage transformer. Would rewiring with a thicker lower gauge wire be an option too? If so, any recommendation on gauge?
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Old 08-15-2009, 08:58 AM   #9
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Newly wired doorbell not working


Have you tested your doorbell wire for continuity? Your spark method of testing really didn't prove much. I don't see a voltage drop problem unless your a long long way from the chimes. It seems that your chimes work they just don't work when connected to your new wire.

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