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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
One thing I know at this point is that my condo originally had 2 doorbell buttons. One was for the front door. The other was for the back door in my kitchen which leads out into a deck and the fire egress.

Does this make any sense in terms of the photos?

Below is a photo of my back door doorbell button. Needless to say, it doesn't work.

From the secondary winding of the transformer there are two wires/connection points. Sometimes there will be two screws on the surface to connect the circuit to, sometimes there are just a couple of wires coming out. At this point you will see exactly how many door bells are being run off of this transformer.
 

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Pole Cat, the transformer could have been sized to service all units. The problem the OP will have, is that if the wiring was installed during the build. They will be stapled inside the walls. They may have better luck either going with the Wireless unit, or finding an easier way to pull the bell chime wire (ie where the thermostat is at). The bell button is going to be harder. Since the structure has been resided.

When I redid my door bell wiring. I had to pull the siding out of the J-Channel, so I could run it behind the siding and down into the existing hole at the Rim Sill, to get it into the basement.

I would say for the OP. Go with separate transformers for each unit. Vs. one for all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
I can see using a snake to put new wiring for the button to the basement then connecting this wiring to my basement circuit breaker box.

I can see installing a new transformer by my basement circuit breaker box.

I can see installing a new doorbell in my condo on the 3rd floor.

The hard part is getting the wiring from the basement to the 3rd floor. I can use the same route that I used for the sub-panel cable. The electrician ran the cable along a plumbing vent stack that started in the basement and ended above the roof. The only problem was that it took a while to get a snake (or fishing wire) from the gap where the vent stack went through the attic to the basement. Fortunately, the doorbell wires are not thick.

I really thought a sub-panel would help things but I guess when it comes to doorbells this is not the case.


Pole Cat, the transformer could have been sized to service all units. The problem the OP will have, is that if the wiring was installed during the build. They will be stapled inside the walls. They may have better luck either going with the Wireless unit, or finding an easier way to pull the bell chime wire (ie where the thermostat is at). The bell button is going to be harder. Since the structure has been resided.

When I redid my door bell wiring. I had to pull the siding out of the J-Channel, so I could run it behind the siding and down into the existing hole at the Rim Sill, to get it into the basement.

I would say for the OP. Go with separate transformers for each unit. Vs. one for all.
 

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Pole Cat, the transformer could have been sized to service all units. The problem the OP will have, is that if the wiring was installed during the build. They will be stapled inside the walls. They may have better luck either going with the Wireless unit, or finding an easier way to pull the bell chime wire (ie where the thermostat is at). The bell button is going to be harder. Since the structure has been resided.

When I redid my door bell wiring. I had to pull the siding out of the J-Channel, so I could run it behind the siding and down into the existing hole at the Rim Sill, to get it into the basement.

I would say for the OP. Go with separate transformers for each unit. Vs. one for all.
I was going to suggest taking the pipe chase from the basement to the attic with a new wire if it is needed.
 

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That is why we are suggesting to just go with the wireless route. Now if you can get the wire ran. Instead of going with just the push button. Go with an Intercom type system. They make them with Blue-Tooth capability now. That way the resident can pick up their phone and ask who is there, vs. getting up if not able to get to the intercom at where it would be placed.

You may end up having to farm it out for a company that does Low voltage wiring. If you find that it costs more for the Fish Sticks.

Can you use the existing wiring as a pull wire. Or is it stapled inside the wall? Can you maybe just cut a hole about the size of a single gang box hole, so you can have a better visual when pulling the new wire up the wall.

There are many ways to skin this horse. It is just how much is your time worth, spending on this.

I did look up what multi-tap 120vAC-24vAC transformers are. They are a lot more than it would be worth, just setting up a Junction box with six transformers inside of it.

Here is one setup for MDU's (Multi-Dwelling Units). Vs. having individual door bells at the front entry. http://www.quantometrix.com/door_en...i_unit_apartment_building_doorbell_panels.htm Most of these can also be set up with a visual annunciation, in case you have someone living there that is deaf or has poor hearing.

Another company. http://www.doorentrysystemsforflats.com/
 

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One thing I know at this point is that my condo originally had 2 doorbell buttons. One was for the front door. The other was for the back door in my kitchen which leads out into a deck and the fire egress.

Does this make any sense in terms of the photos?

Below is a photo of my back door doorbell button. Needless to say, it doesn't work.
Yeah that was pretty common back then. The back door sounded different than the front door so you would know where to go. Deliveries where typically to the back door.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
I really detest wireless doorbells. I don't know why. I guess I'm old fashioned.
I'd rather go without a doorbell (as I've done for 10 years) than get a wireless one.

But thanks for your feedback.

That is why we are suggesting to just go with the wireless route. Now if you can get the wire ran. Instead of going with just the push button. Go with an Intercom type system. They make them with Blue-Tooth capability now. That way the resident can pick up their phone and ask who is there, vs. getting up if not able to get to the intercom at where it would be placed.

You may end up having to farm it out for a company that does Low voltage wiring. If you find that it costs more for the Fish Sticks.

Can you use the existing wiring as a pull wire. Or is it stapled inside the wall? Can you maybe just cut a hole about the size of a single gang box hole, so you can have a better visual when pulling the new wire up the wall.

There are many ways to skin this horse. It is just how much is your time worth, spending on this.

I did look up what multi-tap 120vAC-24vAC transformers are. They are a lot more than it would be worth, just setting up a Junction box with six transformers inside of it.

Here is one setup for MDU's (Multi-Dwelling Units). Vs. having individual door bells at the front entry. http://www.quantometrix.com/door_en...i_unit_apartment_building_doorbell_panels.htm Most of these can also be set up with a visual annunciation, in case you have someone living there that is deaf or has poor hearing.

Another company. http://www.doorentrysystemsforflats.com/
 

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Wireless units have gotten better. The problem is when you get channel interference with some units. Along with people forget to change out the battery at the button unit.

You may have to just find someone to fish the wires where you need them. That may mean pulling some siding out of the way, where you can get it fished behind and down into the basement.

Pulling the wiring up to the units, would be actually the easiest part. Just fish up where the thermostats are located.
 

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If you had gone wireless, you would be sitting on the couch right now sucking down a beer or two and playing with the wife.

Instead, you're playing with the wires and the wife is.........

Never mind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
We don't have thermostats in our building.

Wireless units have gotten better. The problem is when you get channel interference with some units. Along with people forget to change out the battery at the button unit.

You may have to just find someone to fish the wires where you need them. That may mean pulling some siding out of the way, where you can get it fished behind and down into the basement.

Pulling the wiring up to the units, would be actually the easiest part. Just fish up where the thermostats are located.
 

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You are going to have problems with pulling new wiring then. I would find a common chase, for those condo's that sit above the other. If you have coax wiring in the wall, that was pulled at a later date. You may be able to attach a pull string to that, and use that for pulling the new buzzer wiring.
 

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Have the wires been verified as bad? i.e. open or shorted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
The neighbor below me found the wiring for his doorbell and simply connected it to a new doorbell. Actually, I should say that the contractor who bought the condo did this before selling it to my neighbor. This was 4 years ago. I wish I had asked the contractor's electrician where he found the wires. I remember this electrician telling me all this but back then I wasn't thinking of my own non-functioning doorbell.

The neighbor on the same floor but in the adjacent hallway has a functioning doorbell with the same wiring.

I'm not sure I need new wiring. My biggest challenge is simply locating where it is: In the attic above my condo? In a wall? I simply don't know.

You are going to have problems with pulling new wiring then. I would find a common chase, for those condo's that sit above the other. If you have coax wiring in the wall, that was pulled at a later date. You may be able to attach a pull string to that, and use that for pulling the new buzzer wiring.
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
So far the only wires I've found are the ones from the doorbell buttons to the transformer in the basement and the same wires going up from the basement through a floorboard above the basement.

I'm guessing these wires are good because half of the 12 doorbells in the building work. The ones that don't work, like mine, have probably been cut somewhere between the basement and the individual condos (I'm hoping my wires were cut on the 3rd floor).

Someone on the 3rd floor like me, but on the other end of the building, had a doorbell that did not work. Also, his doorbell was in the hallway. But he was able to find the wires, re-directed them to the inside of his condo and connected them to a new doorbell he bought. Since this person used to be the superintendent when the building was a rental apartment building, I've been trying to rack his brain. Yesterday he finally vaguely recalled possibly wiring my doorbell but he wasn't sure since it was 20 years ago!

If I can only find the wires in one of the 3rd floor walls of my condo or the attic above me, I could test them.

If an electrician used one of those wire tracking tools called a toner, doesn't he have to actually touch a wire for it to give off a sound? In other words, if a wire is buried under blown-in insulation in the attic or behind a wall, will the toner be able to detect anything?

Have the wires been verified as bad? i.e. open or shorted.
 

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stripedbass, they actually make Fox & Hound sets, where you attach different colored transmitters to each pair. Then you take the receiver and go through the pairs, marking them for which unit they go to.

Any that do not tone out, consider them as a damaged pair.
 

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I bet that cold beer and wireless door bell are starting to sound better and better.
Especially in this kind of situation. If there was a common chase to get the wires from the basement panel, to each condo for the bell chime. Then run from the basement panel to the doorbells.

It could take me maybe a couple of days busting this out. Working maybe 4-6 hours. If working with another person. I could have the wires pulled in one day. The next day would be hooking up the chimes. Then maybe a third to put in the outdoor button panel, that would allow for a clean install at the main entrance.

I never did do my backdoor, when I redid my doorbell for the house. We only use the front for deliveries or people coming to the house. All other traffic through the front door.

Plus if I am too lazy to get up. I can just look at the camera that is pointed towards the front porch. So I do not have to get up to see who is there.
 

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So far the only wires I've found are the ones from the doorbell buttons to the transformer in the basement and the same wires going up from the basement through a floorboard above the basement.

I'm guessing these wires are good because half of the 12 doorbells in the building work. The ones that don't work, like mine, have probably been cut somewhere between the basement and the individual condos (I'm hoping my wires were cut on the 3rd floor).

Someone on the 3rd floor like me, but on the other end of the building, had a doorbell that did not work. Also, his doorbell was in the hallway. But he was able to find the wires, re-directed them to the inside of his condo and connected them to a new doorbell he bought. Since this person used to be the superintendent when the building was a rental apartment building, I've been trying to rack his brain. Yesterday he finally vaguely recalled possibly wiring my doorbell but he wasn't sure since it was 20 years ago!

If I can only find the wires in one of the 3rd floor walls of my condo or the attic above me, I could test them.

If an electrician used one of those wire tracking tools called a toner, doesn't he have to actually touch a wire for it to give off a sound? In other words, if a wire is buried under blown-in insulation in the attic or behind a wall, will the toner be able to detect anything?
All you need access to for checking the wires is the ends. The location at your doorbell button is one location. The bell itself in your home is another. The one that matters is at the location of the transformer. If you want to trouble shoot it I will help you. But you will need to borrow or buy a multimeter. If this is not possible then I can't help you.
 
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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
PoleCat,

Your advice (and that of others) has been very useful. Thank you very much.

My aim has all along been to acquire as much info on doorbells as possible then do the grunt work in terms of locating the doorbell buttons, their wires and the transformer. Once I did this, my next goal was to get an electrician to actually do the tracing and wire connecting.

I think I'm now at the stage of locating an electrician.

All you need access to for checking the wires is the ends. The location at your doorbell button is one location. The bell itself in your home is another. The one that matters is at the location of the transformer. If you want to trouble shoot it I will help you. But you will need to borrow or buy a multimeter. If this is not possible then I can't help you.
 
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