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Old 09-14-2011, 10:36 PM   #1
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Troubleshooting this doorbell


I have a wired doorbell that does not work. When you press the outside button a tiny light goes on inside the button, but there is no power on two wires hooked up to the inside doorbell.
The button just closes a simple circuit and allows juice to flow to the doorbell, correct? I don't understand how there can be power to the outside button, and no flow to the doorbell mechanism inside.

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Old 09-14-2011, 10:54 PM   #2
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Troubleshooting this doorbell


Because the light is in parallel of the circuit, when you connect the switch to the wiring for the doorbell chimes. I uses a very small amount of current to light the bulb in a way, that it gives the orange glow.

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Old 09-15-2011, 03:31 AM   #3
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Troubleshooting this doorbell


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Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post
Because the light is in parallel of the circuit, when you connect the switch to the wiring for the doorbell chimes. I uses a very small amount of current to light the bulb in a way, that it gives the orange glow.
Well, the light is actually in series with the bell circuit just like an illuminated wall switch. The current to light the button actually goes through the bell, but is too little current to activate it. When the button is pressed the light should go off, because the switch shorts across the light. That's why this guy's description is weird. He says the light comes ON when the button is pressed. That's highly abnormal. Impossible really, if the button is working right.

Measure the voltage across the button, both pressed and unpressed. Measure the voltage across the bell, both with the button pressed and unpressed. Short the two wires at the button together. Does the bell ring?
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Old 09-15-2011, 08:25 AM   #4
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Troubleshooting this doorbell


I was thinking that with the light, the rice bulb on some that I have seen are always own, but yeah they should turn off, due to you are creating a shunt when pressing the button to ring the bell. I personally do not like the lit buttons, due to after a while, the plastic wears down on them too soon.

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Old 09-15-2011, 08:58 AM   #5
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Troubleshooting this doorbell


If the light goes on when you press the button, chances are the button is defective.

IF there is no power at the doorbell mechanism (measure between the two wires) then there could be a short in the doorbell wiring perhaps causing the power from the transformer to go to the button and directly back to the transformer.

Turn power off, including low voltage power, before using the ohms function on a multimeter. If measuring continuity at a screw terminal, label and remove all the wires from that screw before touching the meter probe. If measuring continuity at a wire end, disconnect that wire from the screw terminal and other wires before touching the meter probe. (This needs to be done at just one of the two meter probes)
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Last edited by AllanJ; 09-15-2011 at 09:02 AM.
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Old 09-15-2011, 04:57 PM   #6
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Troubleshooting this doorbell


Well, I found the doorbell button that lights when I push it is battery operated. They just crammed the doorbell wire back in the hole. The wire is dead. When I tie the ends together there is no power or continuity at the doorbell end.
The doorbell button is near a junction box that holds switches for the porch light, entry light, etc. Do you think the doorbell circuit is supposed to be wired into power inside this junction box? Or could that connection be anywhere within the walls?
Also any ideas why someone gave up on this doorbell circuit? I'd hate to try to repair the circuit only to discover the reason why they disabled it in the first place!
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Old 09-15-2011, 05:08 PM   #7
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Troubleshooting this doorbell


I've noticed a diagram where the doorbell button wire goes through a transformer before going to the doorbell (step down the power?). Looks like the house power goes to the transformer on a separate circuit. So the transformer will probably be near the doorbell, and the house power is wired up to the transformer? Or do I misunderstand the diagram?
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Old 09-15-2011, 05:10 PM   #8
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Troubleshooting this doorbell


Quote:
Originally Posted by darsunt View Post
I've noticed a diagram where the doorbell button wire goes through a transformer before going to the doorbell (step down the power?). Looks like the house power goes to the transformer on a separate circuit. So the transformer will probably be near the doorbell, and the house power is wired up to the transformer? Or do I misunderstand the diagram?
That is right.
The transformer could be behind the doorbell, or near the panel, and I have seen them inside the panel.
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Old 09-15-2011, 05:19 PM   #9
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Troubleshooting this doorbell


Is this a remote control doorbell button that just lights up and sends a wireless signal to a doorbell unit located somewhere else, while the doorbell unit you are looking at was decommissioned long ago?
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Old 09-15-2011, 07:03 PM   #10
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Troubleshooting this doorbell


the closer the TR to the load the better 115 primary can be ran up thn the 10V or whatever need a short trip thru the button and the chimes..does the door bell work direct to the secondary of the TR if it does break it with the button and your in business
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Old 09-15-2011, 10:42 PM   #11
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Troubleshooting this doorbell


Quote:
Originally Posted by darsunt View Post
Well, I found the doorbell button that lights when I push it is battery operated. They just crammed the doorbell wire back in the hole. The wire is dead. When I tie the ends together there is no power or continuity at the doorbell end.
The doorbell button is near a junction box that holds switches for the porch light, entry light, etc. Do you think the doorbell circuit is supposed to be wired into power inside this junction box? Or could that connection be anywhere within the walls?
Also any ideas why someone gave up on this doorbell circuit? I'd hate to try to repair the circuit only to discover the reason why they disabled it in the first place!
Sounds like someone replaced the original doorbell with a wireless one, and the batteries might be dead. Gotta find that wireless doorbell chime somewhere in the house.
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Old 09-15-2011, 11:38 PM   #12
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Troubleshooting this doorbell


The original doorbell button was removed and a wireless one replaced it. I swapped off all the breakers before I figured it out!
I don't like wireless doorbells, they are extremely unreliable and never had one that lasted more than 6 months.
The transformer can really be that far away? Near the breaker panel? How many holes in the wall will an electrician have to cut before he finds it?
I'm curious how the doorbell circuit can be enabled. Is there always electrical pressure on the circuit because of the transformer, and closing the doorbell button allows the pressurized electrons to flow?
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Old 09-15-2011, 11:43 PM   #13
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Troubleshooting this doorbell


The transformer should not be in the walls.
It will be in a box, or in the open if you have a basement with the panel.

The button of a boorbell works just like a light switch.
The voltage is waiting on one wire until you make the connection, then the current flows back to the transformer.
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Old 09-20-2011, 11:19 AM   #14
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Troubleshooting this doorbell


Thanks jbfan, I found the transformer in the closet.
Replaced the transformer, tested power to the transformer, checked continuity in the button circuit. Now works. Reused the old doorbell, though.
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Old 09-20-2011, 01:02 PM   #15
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Troubleshooting this doorbell


Quote:
Originally Posted by biggles View Post
the closer the TR to the load the better 115 primary can be ran up thn the 10V or whatever need a short trip thru the button and the chimes..does the door bell work direct to the secondary of the TR if it does break it with the button and your in business
The transformer must be accessible (not plastered into the wall)and the 120 volt wiring to it must meet ordinary AC wiring standards (such as Romex, use of junction boxes, color code observed, have a ground wire). Meanwhile for the transformer at the breaker box, the secondary wires can be strung any which way ("neutral" does not have to accompany the "hot", no color or grounding requirements)

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Last edited by AllanJ; 09-20-2011 at 01:05 PM.
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