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Old 02-20-2011, 05:49 PM   #1
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Wiring doorbells in a triplex


Hi all,

Here's my situation: I have a Duplex with a (now almost) finished basement. There is a common entrance to the building with an electric latch to unlock the door remotely from either the main floor or second floor units. As far as I can tell, there is only one transformer feeding the whole doorbell/latch system. I'd like to add the basement apartment to this system.

To try and simplify this story.... the main and second floor have a working setup. I'd like the basement to have a doorbell outside the main entrance that rings a chime in the basement apartment. I'd also like to have a button to release the electric latch from inside the basement apartment. AFAIK, the basement unit was wired this way once-upon-a-time.

Can someone point me to a wiring diagram that would accomplish this?

Thank you for any pointers!

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Old 02-20-2011, 11:06 PM   #2
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Wiring doorbells in a triplex


The transformer you already have is sufficient for the third apartment because it is rare that two apartments' chimes will be rung at the same time.

You should already have a wire from the transformer to the front door where it connects to the other two outside buttons. Add a short connection to the new third button.

Run a wire (#20 gauge single conductor) from the third outside button to the new chime location in the third apartment.

Run a wire from the chime location in the third apartment back to the transformer.

You should already have a wire from the transformer to the front door latch (possibly the same wire that connects to the outside buttons).

Run a separate wire from the front door latch to the third apartment latch inside button location (probably near the chime).

Connect the latch inside button to the aforementioned wire and also to the wire going back to the transformer (add short wire from the inside button location to the chime location)

At the transformer, the new wire from the chime should connect to the transfomer terminal that the wire out to the front door is not connected to.

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Last edited by AllanJ; 02-20-2011 at 11:17 PM.
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Old 02-20-2011, 11:20 PM   #3
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Wiring doorbells in a triplex


The transformer you already have should be sufficient for the third apartment.

You should already have a wire from the transformer to the front door where it connects to the other two outside buttons. Add a short connection to the new third button.

Run a wire from the third button to the new chime location in the third apartment.

Run a wire from the chime location in the third apartment back to the transformer.

You should already have a wire from the transformer to the front door latch (possibly the same wire that connects to the outside buttons).

Run a wire from the latch to the third apartment latch inside button location (probably near the chime).

Connect the latch inside button to the aforementioned wire and also to the wire going back to the transformer (add short jumper from the inside button location to the chime location)

At the transformer, the new wire from the chime should connect to the transfomer terminal that the wire out to the front door is not connected to.
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Old 02-21-2011, 04:47 PM   #4
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Wiring doorbells in a triplex


Hi AllanJ,

Thank you for the quick reply! I think I've got it. I've attached a diagram just to confirm
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Old 02-22-2011, 09:17 AM   #5
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Wiring doorbells in a triplex


Your diagram is correct!!
The latch can be released from any appt? The other buttons are not in the diagram but you seem to know enough to have them all in parallel.
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Old 02-22-2011, 04:10 PM   #6
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Wiring doorbells in a triplex


Quote:
Originally Posted by hhuggles View Post
Your diagram is correct!!
The latch can be released from any appt? The other buttons are not in the diagram but you seem to know enough to have them all in parallel.

Yup, the other appt's can unlock the latch, so I'll probably have to tap the basement's release button into the same loop, but ATM, I'm not sure where the physical runs are in the house Gonna have to do some exploring!

Thanks!
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Old 02-22-2011, 06:22 PM   #7
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Wiring doorbells in a triplex


You could run both wires of the new apartment latch release button straight up to the first floor release button instead of to the latch. You would connect them to the two terminals of that button respectively and leave the existing wires on* the terminals also. But the total length of the circuit from the point of view of the new button may be great enough that there is too much voltage drop to activate the latch. (The first floor button will still work.)

* When two wires want to go under the same screw, you cut a short length of wire (a pigtail) which becomes the only wire under the screw and the other end of the pigtail is wire nutted to the two wires.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 02-22-2011 at 06:25 PM.
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Old 02-22-2011, 07:21 PM   #8
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Wiring doorbells in a triplex


Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
You could run both wires of the new apartment latch release button straight up to the first floor release button instead of to the latch.
I like this idea a lot! It would be far simpler than running them directly to the latch - much closer proximity and easier access - I hope.

Thanks for the pointer on voltage drop too. That's something I hadn't considered. I should calculate that as the transformer is on the opposite side of the building relative to the latch. At least 72 feet of wire (round trip), maybe closer to 100'.

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