Just today my doorbell started ringing by itself and/or buzzing instead of
chiming. This is a wired unit using a transformer (I
presume it is in my crawlspace somewhere).
I disconnected the one and only outdoor button and made sure that the 2 wires
were not touching each other. Also, the insulation
looks good as far as I can see (which is not much).
The doorbell still rings by itself or buzzes.
I disconnected the 2 wires at the bell unit on the wall and measured 12.4 V AC
across them. I also think that there is continuity,
as the I hear an intermittent beeping sound when I switch the meter to
continuity mode. I guess it beeps intermittently instead of
a solid sound because it is AC??
When I reconnect the 2 wires to the bell unit on the wall (outdoor wires still
disconnected and not touching), I can make the
doorbell ring. If I tighten the screws well, I get a constant buzz.
It seems that somehow I have a closed circuit. There has been no tinkering with
wires that might have caused this, unless I have
mice in the crawlspace.
Is this a bell unit, transformer or wire problem? Any suggestions about what I
should do next?
You are correct, you have a closed circuit on the switch leg. The two wires
to the button are in contact with each other somewhere along their length
and you must find that connection and repair it or replace that piece of
In alt.home.repair on Fri, 12 Aug 2005 21:22:29 -0400 "Vince"
You really shouldn't try to measure continuity across 12 volts. There
is more than continuity. There are 12 volts. With only 12 volts and
the fact that you don't mention it, you probably haven't damaged your
meter, but you very well might have**.
In fact, you should normally measure voltage before trying to measure
continuity. If there is any, there is no point to measuring
continuity. Because there is something generating voltage in between
**A long time ago I had a Lafayette FET VOM, and I measured something
when the meter was Off. Turned out that the switch contacts were
touching something they shouldn't have been, some printed circuit
trace that was just passing by, in the off position, and the voltage
there was didn't go through any resistors and burned out some major
part of the meter. I had a hard time convincing Lafayette though.
That and one other incident make me not too surprised they went out of
I think you would have found before, that if you just hold the
doorbell button down, after the initial ring it will buzz rather than
I thought mice had ruined the wiring to the ceiling fixture and the
range hood. Couldn't account for *two* bad circuits any other way.
Then, when I wasn't depressed anymore, I figured out that *I* had
disconnected the range hood in my attempt to repair the dining room
fixture. And the problem with that was at the rivets in the light
bulb socket. I didn't test for that for quite a while and no wonder I
didnt' understand my voltage readings.
But you're right, it might be mice.
Have you nailed anything into a wall lately? Or fired a gun into one?
Wiring. To the button. When you find the transformer, you can trace
the wire to the button looking for staples; or you can run a new wire.
You could first just cut the wire about a foot or 2 from the place
where the wire from the button next to the door frame comes out of the
wall in the crawl space below. If that stops the buzzing, the
problem is between there and the button.
If it doesn't, the problem is between the transformer and the cut.
With. With a foot or two of wire dangling, there will be plenty to
If you have to replace the wire that goes up to the button, are they
always stapled in place? I'd be afraid to tug for fear I'd pull out
what was showing at the button. You could disconnect the button,
solder the new wire to the old wire at the button, go down to the
crawlspace and pull the new wire through. You might??? be able to
free it from staples, if any, by tugging, pretty darn hard maybe. Or
maybe it is not stapled at all??? (So what is shorting it out?)
I don't know how big those holes are, if you can't get the original
wire out, but you might be able to stand in the crawlspace and push
2-conductor wire up the hole and half someone upstairs tell you when
they see it, and retrieve it with a screwdriver or a "grabber".
A metal snake might work for running the wire, but I've had success
lately with plastic ties. The ones that form a P before you cinch
them down. I have some that are 5 feet long, enough to go from
doorbell button level to the basement.
If you only need a few, find advertising posters that have been
illegally tied to telelphone poles and light polls and cut some of
them off. Drill a little hole at each end.
Tearing these down makes the n'hood look a lot better, and you get to
keep the various parts for projects.
(If you only have a few, get them now, because they breed. They seem
less likely to be put up where there are none. 3 or 4 of my
neighbors** and I, **most of whom I have never met, have torn down
hundreds in about a 4 square mile area, and now they've pretty much
stopped trying to put up new ones.
If emailing, please let me know whether
or not you are posting the same letter.
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