wireless doorbells

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I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with wireless doorbells. The last couple of days mine has been ringing a couple of times on its own (no, it isn't a pre-Halloween prank). I have some neighbors about 80 feet away who have an electronic garage door opener, but there's a wooded area between us and I don't think this could be causing it because it hasn't happened until now. The main unit inside uses 4 "C" batteries, then the actual doorbells (one on the front that has a two-tone ring; one on the back that has a single ring) use some kind of weird tiny batteries. It's the single ring doorbell that's been acting up, so maybe that's where the actual problem is.
I'm wondering if wireless doorbells are like smoke detectors, in that they'll start ringing out of the blue when their batteries start to go low. The batteries have been in the main unit for about two years now, also about the same for the actual doorbells.
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On Oct 13, 7:22 pm, snipped-for-privacy@dennism3.invalid (Dennis M) wrote:

Easiest thing is to swap out the batteries and see. That's probably it. I have a wireless extender that has the transmitter attached to the existing bell ringer, and the remote speaker is plugged into an outlet upstairs. I get sick of replacing batteries all over the place, so I eliminate them whenever I can.
R
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Tiny bugs/spiders can crawl into outside electrical things and short the contacts. Might want to inspect the rear door button and see if any "critters" have invaded.
Also water can sometimes get in there and short things out.
I place fine mesh screen over electrical vent openings to keep the bugs out. If heat is not a problem as it would not be with a battery operated doorbell button, you may be able to seal any openings with a dab of caulk or caulk around the back edges. (Get any bugs out first!)
If water is getting in there, maybe build a little covering over it?
BTW this is where the term "computer bug" came from. A bug was crawling around on the wiring of one of the first computers and caused quite a bit of trouble!
"Dennis M" wrote in message

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On Tue, 13 Oct 2009 18:22:09 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@dennism3.invalid (Dennis M) wrote:

Ummm... yes.

Any particular maker and model number? Actually, what I would like is the FCC ID number from either the remote or the receiver so I can lookup the frequency. It's usually 418MHz(EU), 433.925Mhz, 315MHz, 320MHz, 335MHz, 350MHz, 2400Mhz, etc. The frequency might also be inscribed on the device somewhere.
If it's on 433.925Mhz, so are weather station remote sensors, which will cause some interesting interference, especially since both use OOK (on-off keying) for data.
If your unspecified model doorbell has a user programmable security code, you might try changing it.

Walk 80.0ft and talk to the neighbors. Have them bring their garage door opener remote over to your house. Do some testing.

Have you tested the batteries? If you don't have a tester or DVM to measure them, just replace them and see if it fixes the problem.

Button cell batteries? They do have a part number.

Do you have two receivers, one for single ring, and one for the unspecified other ring?

No. They tend to go comatose when the battery goes low. Range decreases dramatically so it's unlikely that your neighbor is causing more problems now. If this has been going on for several days, it's unlikely to be a dying battery because it would have totally quit by now with all the ringing.

Well, if the C batteries were originally new and good quality alkaline cells, they should not be dead in 2 years unless you use the doorbell excessively. My guess(tm) would be 1 to 5 years with good batteries, and maybe a year or two with junk batteries. Get out the DVM and measure the battery voltage for a clue. Anything under about 1.1VDC is a near dead alkaline battery.
--
Jeff Liebermann snipped-for-privacy@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
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I would replace them if they are under 1.3 V.
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On Tue, 13 Oct 2009 18:12:27 -0700 (PDT), "hr(bob) snipped-for-privacy@att.net"
See: <http://www.powerstream.com/AA-tests.htm If you look at the 4th graph (100ma discharge curve), the battery still has plenty of life left at 1.3VDC and hits the knee at about 1.1 volts. (I'm assuming that a C cell has a similar discharge curve). My tinkering with various designs and contrivances have found that many devices will operate somewhat below 1.0VDC/cell. It's just that the battery is well down the knee of the curve at 1.0V and simply goes instantly flat. I've run AM/FM/SW radios with one cell jumpered and the radio still works.
I'll stay with my 1.1VDC/cell recommendation for alkaline cells.
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Jeff Liebermann snipped-for-privacy@cruzio.com
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It is a Heath/Zenith Wireless Mechanical Battery Operated Chime, manufactured by Desa Specialty Products of Bowling Green, Ky.
On the back the only thing that looks like a model number is "TR-6505-RX." For some reason it also says "Canada: 3984 104 559A." Unfortunately, I threw the original packaging it came in away.
But luckily I kept the manual. Some relevant excerpts:
"In typical use, aklaline batteries will last up to 2 1/2 years"
"Troubleshooting: Low battery indicator: When the push button designated for the "Ding-Dong" tone is pressed, only a "Dong" will play when battery power is low in chime unit..."
"Regulatory Information: This device (WB-94A-TX or WB-97-TX/TR-6505-RX) complies with Part 15 of the FCC Rules and RSS-210 of Industry Canada..."
"If you experience a problem, follow the guide. You may also want to visit our Web site at www.desatech.com...."

Interesting, but I haven't heard about any weather stations being constructed around here lately.

No, unfortunately I don't have a battery tester. I don't mind replacing them but I thought I'd get some input about other possible problems first.

No, if I recall correctly they don't resemble a button, they're like a really tiny "AA" battery. I'd probably have to buy them at Radio Shack.

No, it's the same receiver, you differentiate between the two-tone and single tone by placing small plastic "jumpers" in different locations.

Okay, this is good to know.

They're pretty decent batteries, Duracell copper tops with a Mar 2014 date on them.
I'm also going to follow "Bill"'s suggestion and inspect the back push button unit; I live close to a heavily wooded area and I'm constantly battling spiders and other insects outside the house.
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I've seen that kind of thing. It may very well be a 12 (twelve) volt battery. Those are used in doorbell remotes, and I can't remember why. Probably to suck more money out of your pocket.
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Christopher A. Young
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On Tue, 13 Oct 2009 20:19:29 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@dennism3.invalid (Dennis M) wrote:

Canada has the CRTC equivalent of the US FCC. <http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/statutes-lois.htm
Manual online: <www.trineonline.com/interior/support/235%20inst%208-14.pdf> Looks like you have 7 jumpers to program the code. Try a different combination in both the receiver and the remote (just in case someone else has a similar model). Incidentally, one manufacturer of garage door openers ships their units defaulted to the code used for production testing. Buyers are not in the habit of changing the code, so code duplications were epidemic. If you called the dealer, the first thing they would suggest is "change the code".

That should be a clue. Are you a "typical" user?

Nice. There's your built in battery tester.

Not exactly legal. The serial number tags are suppose to show the FCC ID number. I tried various combinations of model number and company names on the FCC ID site and couldn't find anything. I'm too lazy to dig under the hundreds of Heath and Zenith products.

Useless. Their manual search forwards to a Google web search.

It's not just weather stations. It's any kind or thermometer that uses wireless for communications. Most of them are on 433.925Mhz. Also remotes for air conditioners, room lighting, door locks, vehicle alarms, vehicle keys, SCADA systems, and mess of other gadgets that involve key fobs and very low speed/thruput wireless data. Just enter "433.925" into a Google search for some hints.

Well, the built in battery tester (one ding instead of two) should be sufficient to test the batteries. DVM's (digital volt meter) start at about $5 and are quite handy.

A-23 12V "alarm" battery. Something like this: <http://www.batteryprice.com/sizea2312vbattery.aspx and available at any hardware store. However, the remote is probably not the problem as a dead battery would result in no operation. There is one really remote possibility that I've never actually seen. Water condenses inside the remote and causes it to falsely activate. Remove the doorbell and see if it's wet inside.

I have no idea why it would fail to ring once, but ring correctly twice, unless the distance or power output between the two doorbell remotes is radically different. A slightly dead battery on the receiver would cause the one that's furthest away to possibly fail. However, I can't tell from your description what you mean by "acting up". If it falses with two rings instead of one, it's probably just coincidence controlled by whatever is falsing the receiver.

I'm not a big fan of Duracell batteries. See: <http://www.powerstream.com/AA-tests.htm Note the Duracell Coppertop (DC) discharge curve and capacity are far from the best (for AA cells). I've seen similar lack of capacity problems using a West Mountain Radio CBA-II battery tester: <http://www.westmountainradio.com/CBA.htm Current favorites (for AA) are cheapo Kirkland cells found at Costco. However, they don't sell these in C size.

Good idea. I'm betting on water instead of spiders or bugs. Alcohol does a good job of dissolving bug goo and displacing the water. While your at it, change the code anyway.
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Jeff Liebermann snipped-for-privacy@cruzio.com
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Also add "ham radio" to that list. 420-450 mHz is a popular ham radio band.
The same 420-450 mHz band is where the US Air Force's "Pave PAWS" radars operate; they have a range of over 3,000 miles. Located at Otis AFB, MA, Beale AFB, CA and Clear AFS, AK, these radar beams extend out over the ocean, primarily.
And, does the OP's house have metal siding? Metal siding greatly reduces the penetration of the transmitter signal to the inside the house. I had steel siding at the old place & this one; the old place had wireless doorbells that didn't always work, even with new batteries. This place has wired doorbells that always work.
The OP's remedy is to install wired doorbells.
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No I don't have metal siding, I have a brick house (with a little vinyl siding on the top part of the front) but the push buttons are mounted on aluminum door frames. The signal from the back push button has to travel about 25' to the receiver, and the front one only 11'.

Nah, it wouldn't be worth the bother/expense, I rarely get any visitors anyway. :)
Actually the wireless solution has worked fine for two years, I'd just buy a completely new unit if this one has gone on the fritz instead of putting a wired one in.
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Don't forget that these wireless devices are "made to a price". They usually employ the minimum amount of circuitry which enables them to function. They may respond to an RF signal on almost ANY frequency, provided it is strong enough. It doesn't have to have the correct coding etc.
Of course, 'electronic' wired devices (even those where no 'frequency' is involved) also can also suffer from RF interference. But a purely 'electrical' device - like a doorbell - should be OK.
--
Ian

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On Wed, 14 Oct 2009 13:14:58 +0100, Ian Jackson

Years back a cop cruiser keying his mic out front could make many garage door openers operate.
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

....real bummer if using said garage for growing a little personal stash. ;-)
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I think I'll clean out the back door push button and try some fresh "C" batteries in the receiver before I start fooling around with the code. I appreciate your diligent input Jeff.
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Dennis M wrote:

I have the same thing. In place 4 years now with no problems.Maybe I should change the batteries in the ringer and buttons by now. Still works, doesn't get very much use.
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Had same problem today with a carbon monoxide alert. Uses 9 volt battery. Low battery light did not come on but monoxide alert triped.. Checked battery ( carbon battery 2 years and 10 months old) Read 7.19 volts. Changed battery. Problem solved. Called manufacture, they recomended alkaline batteries. I shall purchase one. WW
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Hiding in the book, often is the instruction that the cheap junk carbon battery is for testing and shipping, you're expected to install an alkalline battery when you install the detector. And once a year, ever after.
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Christopher A. Young
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Dennis M wrote:

Change the code. Someone close by got a new one and like you left it at the factory settings.
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Tony wrote:

That was about what I was going to recommend. I had a wireless for a few years, but gave up. I would change the code and it would work for a while, then I would start getting it ringing in the middle of the night again. I finally gave up and put in a new wired one.
Bill
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