Doorbell transformer is buzzing!

Reply

  #1  
Old 02-04-05, 06:10 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: US
Posts: 141
Doorbell transformer is buzzing!

My doorbell transformer is buzzing. Does this mean it needs to be replaced?

Some background: Earlier this week I had guys remove some paneling from some walls. Three days later, I found I had no power in the front of my house, and when I checked the panel, one of the circuits was indicating red -- halfway between off and on. I turned it off, and when I turned it back on, it wouldn't stay. So I left it off.

I had an electrician out today, who checked all the outlets and switches on that circuit and changed some. Everything was fine when they left and I went to work but when I came home, the transformer box was buzzing and now my basement family room light switch doesn't work. The circuit looks fine an all the other lights and outlets on that circuit are fine.

Obviously I need to get the electrician out again, but is it possible the doorbell transformer is causing the problem? God only knows how old it is; it's at least 10 years old and probably much older than that. It could be 20-30 years old for all I know.

Should I buy a new doorbell transformer? and change the switch that isn't working? I know how to do light electrical; I can change outlets and light switches and install wall light fixtures. Can I do this myself?
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 02-04-05, 07:12 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
Did these guys who removed the paneling drive any nails or screws in your walls? If so, they may have hit some wires.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by "transformer box"? A doorbell system is made up of a button, and chime, and a transformer. The only thing that usually fits the description "box" is the chime.

But anyway, as a first experiement, I'd go out on your front porch (and back porch too if you have a button there), remove the button and separate the wires. Does whatever is buzzing still buzz?

You might as well try replacing the light switch. It may not cure the problem but it'll only cost your fifty cents to find out.
 
  #3  
Old 02-05-05, 05:41 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: US
Posts: 141
The only nails or screws they drove into the walls were for the banisters. Other than that, they REMOVED nails and screws.

I'll shut off the circuit and test the doorbell buttons and change the switch and see if that works.

I'll report back.
 
  #4  
Old 02-05-05, 07:40 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: welland ontario
Posts: 5,678
If it is buzzing the transformer is likely good. I think you have a stuck button at one of the doors or a shorted wire. Check the buttons or disconnect the button wires at the chime unit. This should confirm the the problem.
 
  #5  
Old 02-05-05, 09:03 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Hamilton County, Ohio
Posts: 4,294
Before pulling buttons, just push one. If the bell rings or the chime chimes, the circuit is okay. If the chime doesn't work, then start searching for a short.

The transformer noise is called hysteresis hum. It is normal and generally increases over the years. All it means is that the rivets which hold the "E" and "I" plates together in the transformer are not as tight as they were when it was new.

As for the light, I would check the bulb first, then do a voltage check at the switch before replacing the switch.
 
  #6  
Old 02-05-05, 06:10 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: US
Posts: 141
The chime works for the front doorbell, but not the back. I'm not sure if the back ever worked, so that doesn't mean anything.

I tried to take the cover off, and the whole darn thing came out of the wall. For 13 bucks I bought a new chime today, I will probably just replace the whole thing.

I have a standard two-prong tester to verify that the wires are cold when the circuit is turned off. Will that suffice or do I need a metered tester?

I know for a fact that the basement light problem isn't the bulbs. There are four bulbs and ALL of them are new. It's unlikely that they'd all go bad at once.
 
  #7  
Old 02-05-05, 06:57 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
So did you ever clear up the question of whether it is the chime or the transformer that is buzzing?

A doorbell system is only 16 volts, probably not enough to light up your tester even if it is still powered.
 
  #8  
Old 02-06-05, 08:35 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: US
Posts: 141
Not really, since when I turned off the circuit I thought it was on, it didn't stop buzzing. Now I have to do trial and error.

I think it's in the chime box, because I bought a new chime box and it looks just like the box on the wall. I have no idea where the transformer is.

But I changed the light switch that wasn't working, and it still doesn't work -- and the wires seem to be dead too, so it looks like I need the electrician again after all.
 
  #9  
Old 02-06-05, 09:00 PM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Hamilton County, Ohio
Posts: 4,294
Try what joed suggested for the door chime. There should be three screws in the chime marked F (front) R (rear) and the third is the transformer power screw. Remove the wire from the F screw and if the hum stops you need to check out the front door push button. If no change, reconnect the F wire and disconnect the R wire. If the hum stops you have a problem with the rear door circuit - again probably the push buttton. Since you said that you have a rear door button which does not seem to work, that would be my first choice to check. If a button is stuck, it could cause the hum you hear.
 
  #10  
Old 02-07-05, 11:27 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: welland ontario
Posts: 5,678
May not be the actual button. I have seen aluminum siding capping around the door cut the wire and short it. This happened years after the siding was installed.
 
  #11  
Old 02-10-05, 10:26 AM
ElectricalMan's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Harrisonburg
Posts: 744
Why not simply take the door bell button off the back door or disconnect it and see if the buzzing stops. Usually this is from the bell seizing up from a button being pushed in and holding the circuit closed or a short in the actual button assembly.

Why not just try a quick switch at the door bell itself and swap the back for the front and see if the front door then works since it is on the same terminals as the back was on.....if the front door still works....now try the back door...as it has been moved to the previous screw the front was on which was working before......

I am assuming you dont have tools and testers and so on and all that jazz so it is easy to just do a quick swap and check it then.....now removing it from the screws might free up the assembly and give you your answer...

But I can tell you I had a situation in one neighborhood I was called in by the builder to check a few houses that had this happening and come to find out the door bells were being run by kids playing a little game.. and they had done it so much the buttons would stick and so on causing the bell system to lock up.....now I can fix that but can't do a thing about the kids...lol
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes