Doorbells - Help Please

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On 1/18/2016 7:35 AM, Mark Lloyd wrote:

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" :< )
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On Saturday, January 16, 2016 at 9:24:16 PM UTC-8, Tony944 wrote:

Thanks for your reply. The diode hooks onto a screw, that is inside of the actual doorbell button.
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wrote:

Inside the button is not unusual. Tony may live in Iceland where they don't do it that way.
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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)
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca posted for all of us...

+1 As always
--
Tekkie

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On Saturday, January 16, 2016 at 9:37:31 PM UTC-8, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Does the transformer come with the new doorbell kit? Thanks.
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wrote:

It looks like quite a few come without the transformer from what I see on the web.
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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 assembly.
--
Mr.E

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On 1/16/2016 9:27 PM, Kate wrote:

Are they mechanical chimes or electronic chimes?

Do they operate even though the bulb is toast?

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.
Sort of.
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 being pressed?)

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! :-/

HTH
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On Sun, 17 Jan 2016 02:38:08 -0700, Don Y

Very important.

Very good question.

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 work right.
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 voltage.
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.

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On Sunday, January 17, 2016 at 11:12:17 AM UTC-8, Micky wrote:

Great advice. I will call the manufacturer and hopefully they can help me.
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On Sunday, January 17, 2016 at 1:37:48 AM UTC-8, Don Y wrote:

These are electronic chimes. Yes, when the light is out, the doorbell will still chime. Thanks for all of your time in replying. It helped.
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On 1/18/2016 1:10 PM, Kate wrote:

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?

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First we need to know if this all started when Kate put in a new door chime, and maybe a new transformer, or is this just a new pro blem with an old door chime and old power transformer?
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On 1/17/2016 1:40 PM, snipped-for-privacy@att.net 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...?"
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On Sun, 17 Jan 2016 14:43:44 -0700, Don Y

Some have 3 terminals - You can get 8, 16, or 24 volts depending how you wire to it.
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On 1/17/2016 3:33 PM, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca 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!
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On 01/17/2016 04:33 PM, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:
[snip]

Mine is hanging on a nail on the wall in the furnace room, with a plug on the primary wires. It's marked 16V, but measures 18V.
Where I used to live, I never found the bell transformer.
--
Mark Lloyd
http://notstupid.us/
  Click to see the full signature.
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On Sunday, January 17, 2016 at 12:40:22 PM UTC-8, snipped-for-privacy@att.net 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.
Thanks.
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Kate - Is this a new door chime installation, or is an old one that just started having problems. Unless you let us know, we can't make rational suggestions on what to try!!!!!!!!
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