Replace doorbell

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Am about to replace hideous doorbell. AFAIK, I just have to unscrew tthe old one and attach the new one to the wires. BUT - how do I know which "breaker" as they used to call them, controls the doorbell? I looked in my switch box, where I have everything labeled, but did not see "doorbell". It rings in the kitchen. Anybody hazard a guess where it might be connected?
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Higgs Boson wrote:

Typically door bell works off 24V AC, try to find the transformer feeding the door bell. Mine is mounted on the side of breaker panel box. Even if you don't turn it off, I doubt 24V AC will kill you if touched.
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Tony Hwang wrote:

Mine was mounted up in the attic in a random spot. Spotted it when I was running wire one day.
Jon
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On 11/21/2009 11:51 AM Higgs Boson spake thus:

Still do.

Could be on any breaker; no official rule for where to put a doorbell.
Probably several ways to skin this cat. One would be to put a voltmeter on the transformer (that's the thing that supplies low voltage power--typically 16-24 volts--to the actual doorbell) and flip breakers until it goes to zero volts (assuming the transformer works). Probably the safest way; that secondary (low-voltage) side of the transformer isn't going to hurt you if you get shocked by it.
--
I am a Canadian who was born and raised in The Netherlands. I live on
Planet Earth on a spot of land called Canada. We have noisy neighbours.
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Friend told me that if I just touch one wire at a time, I won't get shocked. T/F? Makes sense ; circuit not completed; but hard to isolate wires in small space. How cope?
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On 11/21/2009 12:19 PM Higgs Boson spake thus:

Welllll, that's true in *theory*. But probably lots of folks have been hurt (or even killed) when theoretically impossible.
Just to be clear, there are two issues here:
1. Whether or not you can get shocked by just touching one wire of a circuit. 2. Low voltage vs. high voltage.
First issue: yes, in theory if you touch only the hot wire of a circuit, you won't get shocked. (Works for birds sitting on powerline wires, for instance). Problem is there are other sneaky way of the circuit completing itself, like through damp ground, your shoes and your feet. So the best policy is to never touch *any* wires (energized ones, that is).
Second issue: As I said, doorbells operate on low voltage (somewhere in the range of 12 to 24 volts AC). Getting shocked by such low voltages is a lot safer than high voltage (like the 120 volts in your household wiring). While it is theoretically possible to get electrocuted from even a low-voltage shock, it's unlikely. So it's safer messing around with low-voltage wiring that may be live than high-voltage wiring. Still not recommended (see best policy above).
--
I am a Canadian who was born and raised in The Netherlands. I live on
Planet Earth on a spot of land called Canada. We have noisy neighbours.
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On Sat, 21 Nov 2009 13:33:28 -0800, David Nebenzahl

I cannot recall the exact details, but I'm sure it had to do with moisture. Working on a 12V truck battery, I got "bit". Not sure what was touched by the tools or the wetness and leaning against the truck fender.
I was "shocked" it could happen. Hasn't happened since.
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Oren wrote:

Didja ever try simultaneously touching both contacts of a little 9 volt "transistor radio" battery with your tongue?
Jeff
--
Jeffry Wisnia
(W1BSV + Brass Rat \'57 EE)
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On Sat, 21 Nov 2009 17:52:41 -0500, jeff_wisnia

How else would I test them :-|/
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jeff_wisnia wrote:

You should try sticking a 98 volt battery to your forehead. There is a little sting to it but the most interesting part is the disruption to your vision. It's as though a movie camera shutter was being flicked open and closed at a rapid rate but slow enough to be perceived, very odd sensation. I didn't try it with the 525 volt batteries that were used by my Graflex Stroboflash IV with which I could strike quite an impressive electric arc. I miss that thing, I could melt retinas with it and it was fun at parties.
TDD
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The Daring Dufas wrote:

The worst shock I got was while working on an old cigarette machine. It was getting an electronic upgrade, so I unplugged it and was using some special taps that you squeeze over another wire to tap into it. It was hard to reach what I was doing, my sweating forehead was up against some nice shiny chrome and my sweaty hands were on my pliers. Holy Shit! I did indeed see a bright white light! I believe it was the electric flowing through the general area of my eyes nerves, not to mention my brain. The path was from my hands to my forehead. Sweaty hands and skin greatly multiplies the amount of current that flows. I was dazed for a little while until I realized where I was again. Yep, the bartender had plugged in the cigarette machine for me. Thanks MFer. So next time I write something really stupid, that's my excuse.
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Tony wrote:

In the summertime I tend to sweat like a thunderstorm, there are usually a few puddles around where I'm working and it's not due to incontinence. Anyway, my clothes are always soaking wet and whenever I work on any kind of electrical equipment, my wet shirt will inevitably touch a hot or ground and light me up.
TDD
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Oren wrote:

Sweaty wet hands may have done it, or if you have a little cut you have been ignoring, 12 volts will remind you. Normally I can put my hands across a car battery and not feel a thing. When sweating that adds salt to the moisture and makes a big difference. Plain water isn't really a great conductor, but the higher the voltage the more dangerous it becomes. You can actually spill water on a CPU board while it's on and although it may stop working, it will most likely work again after it's dry.
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Higgs Boson wrote:

I'd just wire it hot, since it is likely only 16v. But if that concept bothers you, you need to figure out where the transformer is. When I was a kid and we built houses the cave-man way, we always put the transformer near the service panel, to make future swapouts easy. In this place I am now, I found the damn thing in the attic, hung off the J-box that feeds the bathroom and hall ceiling light. Turn that breaker off, and doorbell is off.
When they make me benign dictator of the planet, I am going to require that GCs, electricians, plumbers, etc, map out whatever they do, and leave a legible rot-resistant diagram in a water-tight container screwed to the wall next to the service panel. Breaker maps, path of wiring and plumbing runs, location of any item with a lifespan less than the house itself.
-- aem sends....
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If you do the work in the daytime, you can switch off all of the individual circuit breakers and leave them off, and then switch off the main breaker. That will cut off the power to everything in the house, and you can do the work using daylight to see what you are doing (or use a flashlight, if needed). When turning the power back on, do the reverse -- switch the main breaker back on first while all of the individual breakers are off, then switch each of the individual breakers back on one at a time until they are all switched back on.
Or, you can do what others have suggested -- just do it while the power is still on. If you are nervous about doing that, just do it carefully, one wire at a time. You can even use pliers, wire cutters, and/or a screw driver that have insulated handles so your hands are not touching metal when doing the work. It's a low voltage circuit, so it should be no problem even if you do accidentally touch something. Plus, the doorbell switch itself is a switch that should keep any power from going to the actual bell unless the doorbell switch is pressed (assuming it is wired correctly).
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Yes, of course -- that is the "cowardly" <G> way out. I just didn't want to go around resetting a houseful of clocks and appliances.

Will mull over all the good advice. I realize this to you-all is a trivial job, so I much appreciate the un-condescending attitudes of kind posters.
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Wouldn't worry about where it is connected...It's DC ...I've used a lot stronger DC voltage while being underwater...no worries...I'v replaced my doorbell hot outside in the rain... Hell i'd sit in my hot tub touching both wires at the same time.. Been a rig welder of thirty years welding with DC out on a pipeline in the rain... a doorbell??? sheesh...just wire it... Jim
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Why would it be DC instead of AC? Hardwired doorbells usually have a step-down transformer that changes higher voltage AC to low voltage AC, but there is no rectifier that changes the AC to DC.
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No Jay... to convert AC to DC would require a rectifier...to convert DC to AC requires a converter... Jim
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On 11/21/2009 5:37 PM Jim spake thus:

That's true (the latter is usually called an inverter, but whatever), but the thing is that doorbells (99% of the ones found in houses) operate on AC, not DC.
--
I am a Canadian who was born and raised in The Netherlands. I live on
Planet Earth on a spot of land called Canada. We have noisy neighbours.
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