I'm not the OP but I learned something from this thread so I'd like to
I don't think I'm stupid but when I was growing up I never had to worry
about wiring my Barbie Play House. Since I've grown up I've learned a lot
of skills that they never used to teach girls in school (such as running
electric fencing, defrosting frozen well pumps, wall repair, lancing an
abscessed hoof on a draft horse, helping a ewe give birth, running a
tractor, etc.) but I still haven't learned everything about everything yet.
Can you make a fine chocolate torte? Sew a set of drapes? Fix a complete
Thanksgiving dinner? We all have different skills that we bring to the
newsgroup and mine aren't quite up to snuff with the all the guy stuff yet
but that's why I am here: to learn what I still need to know. Today I
managed to fix my own malfunctioning doorbell because of the nice link
BTW, I did think your answer was sort of amusing. But then I'm used to
newsgroup sarcasm and am not unduly alarmed over it. I just wanted to point
out that not everyone is just trollin' along...
I too have a battery operated doorbell. There is not now and never was a
transformer to supply power. The only problem we have had (not counting the
batteries wearing out) is that the doorbell button cannot be ythe kind that
lights up. Using one of those, the little lamp in the button acts as if the
switch was already pressed. I ended up having to get a lighted button and
cuting out the little lamp.
The reason we ended up this way was that the builder had not wired the door
postion for a doorbell at all (most people in the neighborhood use wireless
bell systems) but we already had a bell that gave us about two dozen tunes
that it would play and can be changed with the seaons. It has patriotic
themes, Christmas carols, Hail the gang's all here, Saints go marching in,
etc. It is about twenty years old now and still chiming along.
The best plan of attack was from the poster who suggested finding a
neighbor who has the same or similar house. If this house was built
as one of a series in a development, then they usually are wired
somewhat similarly and it would give you good places to start looking.
Also, how about where a chime would go. What's there? The battery
operated one? Wires behind it? If you can measure voltage between
any of the wires, you could then turn off breakers until you find the
circuit it is on. That could help locate the area where the
transformer might be. If you don't know what the transformer looks
like, go to a HD or hardware store and look at one. They are
typically fastened directly to some type of electric box. An example
would be on the side or top of a single bulb basement light fixture.
Also, I'd focus the search at least initially at the locus of where
the chime would be and the doorbell button or buttons. They usually
don't put the transformer a long way away.
I'm an electronic engineer and I've also had lots of experience with
house wiring. I've also had nothing but trouble with my door bell for
about 30 years. After I retired, I finally got around to fixing it and
adding an extension door bell in a room I added on years ago. The job
turned out to be even dirtier and more difficult than I thought it
In my case, the problem was that the door bell wire they used in my
house was extremely brittle. Every time I would fix it, it would break
again, close to the bend or the loop where it screws on to the door-
bell button, after a few years of going through the summer heat and
winter cold and being used over and over again. Another problem I had
was that the transformer was located in the basement ceiling which was
sheet rocked over before I bought the house. I don't know how much of
that brittle, single-strand wire there is floating around, but that
could be one reason someone might have converted your house to a
The first thing I would do to fix your doorbell is go up in your attic
directly above where the doorbell is, inside your house, and find the
wires that are connected to it. There are 3 components to a door bell
system: the bell or chime, the outside doorbell button, and the
transformer. Once you find the wires above your door bell, in your
attic, you will need to follow the wires until you find the
transformer and you find the wires going to the doorbell button.
Once you find the transformer, check to make sure the wire connections
are good and check the transformer output with a volt meter. It should
measure roughly 16-18 Volts AC. If there is no voltage on the outputs
then you need to check the AC connections. To do this you will need to
turn off the appropriate circuit breaker in your house first. If the
AC connections are good and there is still no output you will need to
replace the transformer. You can buy new ones at Home Depot, for
If you try to follow the wires, but cannot find the transformer
because the wires disappear in the wall, for instance, then you need
to tap into the wires and make sure there is 16-18 Volts AC present.
If there isn't, I would just cut the wires and install a new
transformer and put it close to the manhole in your attic so that's
easy to find next time.
You will also need to locate the wires going to your front door bell
button. After you have done this, connect them together at the door
bell end, and put an ohm meter on the other end to make sure you have
continuity. After you have done all this and replaced some of the
wire, if necessary, just reconnect everything and you will have a
working door bell system.
If you don't want to do all this, you'll understand why I put the job
off for 30 years.
Thanks so much. A friend is coming over Sunday and he wires all
of his new homes. I will print this info. out.
I can't wait to get a voltmeter hooked up to all of these wires and see
where we go from there.
I will post an update.
Many thanks for taking the time to write this.
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