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Old 05-21-2012, 09:12 PM   #1
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One Doorbell Button to 4 Doorbells/Chimes


Does anyone have any suggestions for being able to have our front door's doorbell button operate 4 doorbells within the home (one in garage, one in shop and 2 in our 3 story home)? Maybe a particular brand that may allow this setup?

I was hoping there was some way to do this maybe with a higher voltage/wattage transformer (e.g. 16v/30watt), but I'm still not sure if this is enough power. If not, is it at all possible to use multiple transformers to power 4 doorbells connected to a single doorbell button (e.g. maybe with 1 doorbell button connected to 2 transformers where each transformer would be connected to 2 doorbells)?

It seems to me that much larger homes must have similar needs, and I'm wondering how they are addressed. Thanks in advance for all insight and suggestions!

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Old 05-21-2012, 09:39 PM   #2
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One Doorbell Button to 4 Doorbells/Chimes


If you are using electronic doorbells you may not need a larger transformer since their current draw is minimal. But the chimes with a coil will probably require you to step up the current a bit, if not the voltage. I'd hook it up with the standard transformer and see what results you get...you can always upgrade if needed.

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Old 05-21-2012, 09:44 PM   #3
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One Doorbell Button to 4 Doorbells/Chimes


The most chimes I've put on a system is 2, and we had to up the transformer (can't remember what size).
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Old 05-21-2012, 09:55 PM   #4
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You can wire transformers in parallel in the same manner as dry cell batteries. As long as they have the same electrical characteristics.
So if your chime load is too great, just keep adding transformers until all work!
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Old 05-21-2012, 09:59 PM   #5
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Excellent, that sounds like what I would was looking for. is there a wiring diagram that would show how to wire in parallel? I have an idea, but not sure exactly.
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Old 05-21-2012, 10:01 PM   #6
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One Doorbell Button to 4 Doorbells/Chimes


Actually you can use one button to control multiple doorbells with multiple transformers of different kinds.

Usually neither output (secondary) terminal of the transformer is grounded (bonded to the metal frame) but use an ohmmeter (ohms function on a multimeter) to check it anyway, with the power off.

Connect all of the grounded secondary terminals together (or just pick one terminal from each transformer if neither terminal is grounded). Connect a wire from here to the button.

Connect the other secondary terminal of each transformer to the respective doorbell chime or chime group.

Connect the other terminals of the various chimes to the other terminal of the button. When two or more wires want to go under one screw, connect only a short length (pigtail) to the screw. Wire nut tthe other end of the pigtail to all the other wires in question.

It is possible that better performance is had if you run heavier wires, especially for the single wire from the button to the transformer(s). Unlike for water pipes, if a length of thinner wire precedes a length of heavier wire, the fact it precedes rather than follows does not make any difference in performance.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 05-21-2012 at 10:10 PM.
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Old 05-22-2012, 12:14 AM   #7
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One Doorbell Button to 4 Doorbells/Chimes


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Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
Actually you can use one button to control multiple doorbells with multiple transformers of different kinds.

Usually neither output (secondary) terminal of the transformer is grounded (bonded to the metal frame) but use an ohmmeter (ohms function on a multimeter) to check it anyway, with the power off.

Connect all of the grounded secondary terminals together (or just pick one terminal from each transformer if neither terminal is grounded). Connect a wire from here to the button.

Connect the other secondary terminal of each transformer to the respective doorbell chime or chime group.

Connect the other terminals of the various chimes to the other terminal of the button. When two or more wires want to go under one screw, connect only a short length (pigtail) to the screw. Wire nut tthe other end of the pigtail to all the other wires in question.

It is possible that better performance is had if you run heavier wires, especially for the single wire from the button to the transformer(s). Unlike for water pipes, if a length of thinner wire precedes a length of heavier wire, the fact it precedes rather than follows does not make any difference in performance.
Thanks, AllenJ! From what I've read, the transformers should be identical (same make/model/output) to ensure they don't fight with each other? Does that sound correct? What you said above (bold text) sounds different, so I wanted to clarify. Or maybe I'm just not understanding so far.

Wildie and AllenJ, I've drawn up what I think you are describing. I'm thinking my drawing is a "parallel" connection of two transforms (or more as needed). Does my drawing represent how you are describing the wiring needed?

My wiring is 18/5 to every doorbell *and* doorbell button - is this adequate if I had to wire in say three transformers to get it all working? I don't want to overload the wires and risk fire. Actually, I have all the places mapped, but have not pulled any wire yet. I had some leftover thermostat wire and bought another 250', so that's why I thought I would use the 18/5. If anyone has other suggestions for wire size, please let me know.

Edit: Found how to attach my drawing!
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File Type: pdf Transformers In Parallel.pdf (18.6 KB, 93 views)

Last edited by 1BadBoy; 05-22-2012 at 12:30 AM.
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Old 05-22-2012, 01:14 AM   #8
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One Doorbell Button to 4 Doorbells/Chimes


I would just one one transformer with enough power to run all four chimes. All the chimes should say how much it will take to run them. And make sure you run a decent size wire.
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Old 05-22-2012, 01:40 AM   #9
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I would just one one transformer with enough power to run all four chimes. All the chimes should say how much it will take to run them. And make sure you run a decent size wire.
I was wondering too about a decent sized wire for fire prevention - what would be considered decent?
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Old 05-22-2012, 01:46 AM   #10
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One Doorbell Button to 4 Doorbells/Chimes


You could always use a low voltage relay, and control 4 individual doorbells on their own transformers. I have a 12 volt power supply that runs through my doorbell button to a relay, which controls the 2 doorbell units (one upstairs, one downstairs) and sends a signal to my security camera DVR as an alarm input, as well as providing two auxiliary contacts for temporary Halloween use. I might consider putting a doorbell in the garage, but I'll have the camera CCTV monitor in the garage also, which when the doorbell is pressed it popups the alarm status on the CCTV screen.

Using a relay would eliminate the need for the heavy wire to the button (and still only require 2 wire to the button) and if you powered the doorbells with their own power supply near where ever they are located, you just need standard doorbell wire from the relay to the bell/transformer.

Last edited by theatretch85; 05-22-2012 at 01:48 AM.
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Old 05-22-2012, 07:39 AM   #11
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One Doorbell Button to 4 Doorbells/Chimes


With dissimilar transformers, they are connected "in parallel" using one terminal to use the common button but the other terminals of the various transformers are not connected together before going to the chime units.

Each chime unit gets power from only one transformer.

This way the transformers won't fight with one another.
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Old 05-22-2012, 07:53 AM   #12
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One Doorbell Button to 4 Doorbells/Chimes


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Excellent, that sounds like what I would was looking for. is there a wiring diagram that would show how to wire in parallel? I have an idea, but not sure exactly.
One suggestion, when I re-wired the bell and buttons in my house I did "home runs" from each item back to transformer location. It vastly simplified the wiring (in my mind) and makes troubleshooting a lot easier than if you have splices at the bell, etc, which seems to be typical.

If one bell is easier to wire to from all location, then OK, home run to that with a single run over to your transformer for the power, but the point is to keep wiring connections in a single spot (and labeled!)
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Old 05-22-2012, 09:44 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
With dissimilar transformers, they are connected "in parallel" using one terminal to use the common button but the other terminals of the various transformers are not connected together before going to the chime units.

Each chime unit gets power from only one transformer.

This way the transformers won't fight with one another.
That is excellent, AllenJ! This is one way I had in my mind that I *thought* I could wire it. When I tried to explain that to the Home Depot folks, and also to the Craftmade and IQ America folks, I probably didn't do a good job explaining as they all told me it would not work! But I thought it would and seeing how you laid out the wiring, it's definitely straight forward to wire it.

And as bubbler pointed out, and I hadn't stated yet, *all* my wiring home runs back to my mechanical room. I label the wires at both ends so that I know which wires are used at each location and which wires to match up back at the mechanical room - less confusion later on! I'll have the transformers mounted high up the wall (~7') along with my low voltage wires (coming out of the ceiling) for out of the way connections.
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Old 05-22-2012, 10:14 AM   #14
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One Doorbell Button to 4 Doorbells/Chimes


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Originally Posted by 1BadBoy View Post
Thanks, AllenJ! From what I've read, the transformers should be identical (same make/model/output) to ensure they don't fight with each other? Does that sound correct? What you said above (bold text) sounds different, so I wanted to clarify. Or maybe I'm just not understanding so far.

Wildie and AllenJ, I've drawn up what I think you are describing. I'm thinking my drawing is a "parallel" connection of two transforms (or more as needed). Does my drawing represent how you are describing the wiring needed?

My wiring is 18/5 to every doorbell *and* doorbell button - is this adequate if I had to wire in say three transformers to get it all working? I don't want to overload the wires and risk fire. Actually, I have all the places mapped, but have not pulled any wire yet. I had some leftover thermostat wire and bought another 250', so that's why I thought I would use the 18/5. If anyone has other suggestions for wire size, please let me know.

Edit: Found how to attach my drawing!
You have the concept correct! If you think of transformers in the same terms as batteries, you cant go wrong.
With batteries all the +'s are wired together and all the -'s are wired together. The same with transformers.

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