Old door chimes


Old 01-30-03, 12:07 AM
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Question Old door chimes

I don't really know whether to post this in this forum or Appliances, but anyway, our house was built in 1947 and has "old-style" door chimes, i.e., 4 long brass tubes, etc. Model is Nutone K-44. The unit is so old that Nutone does not have ANY documentation on it. The best they could do for me is installation instructions for similar models (K-43, K-45, and K-47, I think).

In the course of the house being rewired, the doorchimes seem to have "burnt out". On my electrician's advice, I tested the unit, the buttons, and the transformer with a cheap continunity tester ... the light lit up like it was supposed to on everything except the red "trans" wire ... i.e., the "hot" wire. I checked all connections, etc., still no bell.

The next step would have been to check the transformer again, but it is in my crawlspace-attic with limited access and I had a real hard time up there (I don't move around in confined spaces well), so I added it to some additional work the electrician who rewired the house was to do.

The electrician (great contractor, does good work) came out yesterday, tested the doorchime and transformer, got the same results I did, and replaced the transformer. That is when things got interesting. He installed a 10/16/24 volt transformer and set it to 16 volts (the old chime is actually 20 volts, but that was the transformer he had with him). Anyway, as soon as he hooked it back up, the transformer overloaded (I'm paraphrasing him, since I wasn't in the attic to see what exactly happened).

Anyway, he basically said the doorchime unit is history and I have no reason to doubt him. The PROBLEM is finding a suitable replacement!

I have searched the internet and checked Home Depot and OSH. Nutone only makes 4 or 5 models with the full-length tubes, and none of them look like they will fit in the recess ("nook") the current chime is in ... the cabinets are all too tall, since the back wall in the nook is shallower at the top (for about 6-inches) and then slopes back for the remainder of the height.

I have also been unable to find any info on repairing/rebuilding my existing chimes, including replacing the motor (if I can do so w/o climbing in the attic, it is probably within my capabilities ... with instructions ... alas, I have found nothing, and Nutone has zilch).

Any info on (A) where to find more "traditional" door chimes or (B) where to find information on rebuilding the existing chimes, would be greatly appreciated.

Sorry this post is so long-winded!


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Old 01-30-03, 10:35 AM
Master Electrician
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Indiana
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I spent about an hour looking, but came up empty handed.
Allot of time in your local area, if you ask around, And talk about it with others,
Someone will come up with this older gentlemen that has retired, and rebuilds things like
old phones, late model gadgets, and would love to take on the challenge of rebuilding
something like you have, Most likely not as much for the money, but more for your story,
and the time you give to listen to his.
Old 01-30-03, 10:50 AM
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Good idea

thanks aphares ... someone else to rebuild the thing would be even better than doing it myself, and I would gladly pay a fair price! I think I'll start by checking at the local electrical supply houses.

- Sequoia
Old 01-30-03, 11:03 AM
Master Electrician
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Location: Indiana
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Where you from ?
Maybe someone passing through, knows someone, that knows someone, that can help give you someplace to start with.
Old 01-31-03, 11:42 AM
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Van Nuys, Souther California. I forget to include that info when I rerigestered with DIY. I'll change it now.

- Sequoia

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