I suspect you'd not realize any savings. It's unlikely that the two
"buttons" would be located near each other. Rather, one would be front
door and other back/side door. Annunciator and/or XFMR probably somewhere
in the middle -- so total wire length remains roughly the same.
It would also prevent the use of any "mechanism" that requires the
continued presence of power to operate (as in this case).
I have "buttons" at the front and rear doors, another at the front edge of
the front porch area (in case we opt to screen that area in), the entryway
from the garage, the side door into the garage and a button out at the
driveway (i.e., "Open the garage door for me!"). The entryway through the
garage also has an electromechanical lock mechanism so the door can be
"unlocked" electrically (though I am not happy with the choice of
"door hardware" :< )
You likely have the wrong transformer - providing too much voltage to
the lighted button. Measure the voltage - should be 12-16 volts - you
likely have a 24 volt transformer (made for thermostat/furnace control
instead of doorbell)
The earlier suggestion to contact the manufacturer seems to be a valid
path forward. If the "bulb" in the switch is a special device they may
assist you in locating one or at least tell you what to search for to
replace the original. They may even have an upgraded compatible button
Assuming he is competent, then he's determined that the chime unit
requires the diode to allow power to continue to flow into the
unit AFTER you have released the button.
The bulb doesn't care about whether or not the button is pressed or
not. It also doesn't care about the diode or the chime unit.
The bulb has to be sized (electrically) so that the power that it
draws from the circuit isn't high enough to let the chime unit
think the button is being pressed (when it isn't). A button that
requires lots of power effectively looks like a short circuit...
ACROSS the button (so, the button appears pressed).
The bulb DOES care about the open circuit voltage across the
button. This will be determined by the characteristics of
your chime unit (those will be printed ON the chime unit!)
and the transformer chosen to drive the circuit.
The diode subtly changes what the bulb "sees".
Your transformer delivers AC (Alternating Current) to the
circuit. (batteries are Direct Current) Think of these
as waves on the ocean -- they have peaks and troughs.
But, the *average* "water level" of the ocean is somewhere
between (halfway!) the peaks and the troughs.
The bulb (switch) "sees" the range from peak to trough
all the time -- while the button is not pressed. The size
of these peaks/troughs -- the range between them -- is set
by the transformer. E.g., a 24 volt transformer has a
range between peaks and troughs that is twice what the range
would be for a 12 volt transformer.
The diode alters this. It lets ONLY the peaks go through
it. So, the peaks BYPASS the light -- taking a shortcut
through the diode! Instead, the light bulb only "sees"
the troughs. As the troughs are just as LOW as the peaks
are HIGH, this means the light "sees" half of the "voltage"
that the transformer produces.
View this sideways:
Normal electricity from transformer:
Electricity that takes a shortcut through the diode:
Electricity that the lightbulb "sees":
Bad illustration, but hopefully, you can see that the difference
between the leftmost (trough) and rightmost (peak) seen by the
light is LESS than the difference between the trough and peak
delivered by the transformer.
WITHOUT THE DIODE, the light sees what the transformer delivers.
So, it operates at a higher voltage. If not designed for that,
it burns out faster.
Also, if the diode fails ("open"), a bulb ends up seeing twice
the normal voltage that it would have with the diode functioning
properly. (diodes have ratings just like every other component)
See my response elsewhere this thread for a rough explanation.
Illustrations would be great, here, but too tedious to upload to
a hosting site, etc. (sorry)
Again, the *button* appears to be working -- but not the light
(which, presumably, is only illuminated when the button is NOT
It's relatively easy to create a modification to an existing button
to "fix" this problem. I've installed LEDs in the illuminated
"doorbell" buttons for the garage door opener (one inside the house,
the other inside the garage). They'll be there until long after
the opener gives up the ghost! :-/
You shouldnt' have to get a new doorbell, ever, but certainly not when
it's a fancy one like yours.
Did it ever work right? 5 buttons in a year, but what about before
then? If it was new 18 months ago, and even if it wasn't, you could
call the manufacturer. A) they should know the problem and the
solution, B) if it does require replacing the bell and the problem
started within the warranty period, they may well replace the bell.
Some places will even go beyond a warranty period if they know it's
their product that failed.
OTOH, if your transformer is bigger than it was supposed to be, that
would not be the bell company's fault. Again, how long did the bell
My house came with a normal chime and a normal transformer. I think I
put in a lighted button. Then I couldn't hear the bell when I was in
the basement so I added a clapper bell in parallel in the basement.
Then I found a nicer bell on sale and put that in the hall and the old
one in the basement. Then the transformer wasn't strong enough to
ring both of them, so I bought a bigger xformer, probably higher
Everything was fine for years until someone told me that everytime I
got a package, my burglar alarm went off. Apparently this had been
happening for years, and I figured out my glass/wood breakage
detectors were tripping because the doorbell was too loud (The
delivery man used to ring the bell then, or more likely the mailman.)
Rather than lower the sensitivity of the glass detector, I lowered the
voltage of the transformer by inserting a resistor in series with the
bell. This might be too much for you, because I have a variable
resistor whose knob I can turn until I get it working right, and then
a collection of various sizes of resistor I could find one that was
the same size as the variable one was when it worked.
Still, if you had even one or two resistors, you might well get lucky.
YOu can use little jumper wires, with alligator clips on each end, to
put a resistor in temporarily.
I lay my head down to look at these and I fell asleep. I feel rested
now. Very good explanation.
Well I don't know if any have one in the bell, but probably only fancy
ones like yours that play more than 2 notes.
Call the manufacturer. First look on their website. If you dont'
know who made it, call any manufacturer and bluff your way. It won't
hurt them to spend 3 or 4 minutes on you. After all, all doorbell
makers are brothers.
To be clear: briefly pushing the button (and releasing) will
cause the chimes to play their complete melody (?)
While not 100% conclusive, this suggests that the diode is intact
and is allowing "half" the electricity to continue to flow even
after the button is released.
You could *remove* the button and just try tapping the wires
together (holding them by their insulation -- despite it's
relatively low voltage) to see if the doorbell plays its entire
tune -- or, if it just gets started and then quits (because
there is no diode present with the button removed!)
Do you still have any of the old (toasted) buttons? Are they
just "generic" buttons -- nothing ornate/fancy?
Is your posted email valid?
On 1/17/2016 1:40 PM, email@example.com wrote:
It's another datum but the same information is available in other
forms (else the problem wouldn't exist). It's also possible
that mechanism has degraded/failed, "original" parts were "special"
(and replacements are missing some crucial characteristic), etc.
Doorbells *tend* to be designed so you can retrofit them with
minimal impact. People would be discouraged if they had to
change out a transformer:
Where is *yours* located?
Is it affixed to the *side* of a Jbox?
Or, to the top cover of one?
Is the Jbox on a wall -- or hanging from the ceiling?
Is it in a dimly lit basement?
Will you need to hire an electrician to open the box and remove the
wire nut connections to install the new XFMR?
Will the 18AWG solid bell wire *snap* when you try to remove it
from the screw terminals? Will there be enough of a service
loop for you to strip the remaining wire and reattach it?
Will you WONDER if it matters whether the red wire goes on
the "first" terminal or the "second"?
"Gee, why don't we buy this OTHER doorbell, instead...?"
On 1/17/2016 3:33 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
In the house I grew up in, that's how ours was. But, the loadcenter
was in the basement so that was a realistic possibility.
Here, it was attached to the top of a 4" round Jbox located in a wall.
In previous house, it was attached to the *side* of a 4" round Jbox
located in (unfinished) ceiling.
In every case, getting to the primary is not for those "unskilled";
it's not like just unplugging a wall wart!
On Sunday, January 17, 2016 at 12:40:22 PM UTC-8, email@example.com wrote:
I had a new doorbell button and decorative box (not sure what you call it)
that hangs on the wall inside. That is where I decide which chime will play.
It worked fine for five years. The problem started when my doorbell button light stayed out. The chime worked, but not the light. Since then, I have replaced many buttons.
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