I needed to replace my old doorbell chime. I purchased a new, simple
chime, that merely said "low voltage" (e.g. wired, not wireless) on the
outside of the box. My door bell transformer puts out about 22 volts.
(It's probably supposed to be 24). The instructions to the new unit,
which has the name "Zenith" (probably under license by the Zenith
company to Home Depot) says that it runs on just 16 volts.
The unit has two solenoids, one for the front door, and another that has
the second tone blocked for the back door. Would 22 volts be too much
for the unit? I'm not going to be replacing the transformer on the
breaker box, so my options are to use the unit as is, return the unit
for something else or calculate what size resistor to put in series so
that the voltage received by the chime is 16 volts.
Does anybody have any experience with door bell voltage? Is it
important to have the exact voltage?
No, don't sweat it. The transformers are never exactly 24 volts, even if
that's what's stamped on them. Close enough is close enough. As they
say, it ain't rocket science.
Think about it: the doorbell solenoids are only energized for moments at
a time (unless some kid leans on your doorbell or something), so they'll
handle it just fine.
Napoleon won the battle of Waterloo. The German Wehrmacht won World War
II. The United States won in Vietnam, and the Soviets in Afghanistan.
You know that e.g. means "for example", right? If so, I don't
understand your sentence. ("i.e. means "that is". For some reason,
more than half the population seems to have this backwards. :) )
No. Especially in the case of a doorbell, where people only press the
button for a couple seconds.
I wish though that I could remember what the voltages normally are.
Everything was fine for me when I had a doorbell like your new one in
the front hall, and bell with a clapper in the basement, so I could
hear the doorbell when I was in the basement.
Then I saw a really nice doorbell at a very big discount, pretty much
like the one in the hall but much nicer. So I put the new one in the
hall and the one from the hall in the basement. Great, but now the
transformer wasn't big enough to power the two. It was either 12, 14,
or 18 volts. I think it was less than 18. I went to the store and
bought the only other size they had, which was more than 14, either 18
or 24. Then the first floor hall doorbell was too loud, and every
time the mailman rang the bell, the glass and wood breakage detector
set off my home burglar alarm! Fortunately I didn't have monitoring,
but otoh, it might have taken less than a year to find out about this
if I did. It was a year before someone told me about the false
There is nothing very fragile in your new doorbell and 24 volts isn't
enough to melt or overheat the wires, probably even if they leaned on
the doorbell for hours, but certainly not in 15 seconds.
I didn't see one, but I did see a higher voltage xformer, so that's
what I got. It's been ten years since I did this and everything has
I forgot to say before that in order to stop the false alarms, I put a
resistor in series with the first floor doorbell. I started with a
potentiometer to find the minimum resistance that would keep the glass
breakage detector from setting off the burglar alarm. When I found
the value I replaced the pot with a cheap fixed resistor.
Heh. Having spent many years of declining and conjugating and Latin nouns
and verbs, how could I forget? Actually e.g. stands for "exempli gratia"
which pretty much means something like "for the sake of example." I.e.
stands for "id est," which could mean this is or that is. So writing a e.g.
was a brain dump on my part. (It happens sometimes, like when I type the
wrong homonym and then wonder how I wrote that!) I hope this helps clear up
Thanks. I wasn't worried about a few seconds, but I may be worried if the
button sticks and the coil is energized for days while we're away. Anyway I
wired it up, and the solenoid doesn't seem to work too well. If I press and
release the button very quickly it sounds ok, but otherwise it the striker
seems to get stuck or not hit the chime very hard.
Never seen a doorbell with the secondary fused.. Shorting the
secondary won't blow the 15 amp fuse or breaker on the primary.
I'm sure it was not a p-p reading - it was just an open circuit
voltage on an impedence protected transformer. The resistance is high
enough to limit the maximum current, and to more or less regulate the
voltage to 24 with the design load applied.
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