Buzzing noise coming from circuit in basement

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  #1  
Old 11-05-06, 09:40 AM
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Buzzing noise coming from circuit in basement

Hi all,

We came home from holiday today and noticed immediately that there was a buzzing noise coming from the basement. On closer inspection it was found to be coming from part of one of the electrical circuits down there. We have a modern system with a several circuit breaker boxes. The buzzing, however, is not coming from the circuit breaker but from a box next to it. I removed the cover of the box and, inside, it is a small block wrapped in copper wire. I guess the block is about half the size of a box of matches. The wires come from the circuit breaker, through this "copper block" and then out into the rest of the main circuit.

What is this box for and why is it now buzzing? It's obviously not a circuit breaker (is it a capacitor?). I'm sorry I can't describe it any better.
 

Last edited by ginolard; 11-05-06 at 09:52 AM.
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  #2  
Old 11-05-06, 10:02 AM
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if you could help us out bit. What is on the outside of the cover that you removed? What other connections are made to the "copper box" (btw this is probably a transformer of sorts but not knowing what the box is that it is in kinda keeps us in the dark)
 
  #3  
Old 11-05-06, 10:10 AM
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This sounds like a transformer. If it is a transformer, it could be for the doorbell or the furnace or something else.

What is on this circuit. You should already know this, but if you do not, turn off the circuit breaker and figure out what does not have power. And then, if you do not have your circuits mapped, take the necessary time to completely and thoroughly map out what is controlled by each and every circuit breaker. The information could save your life.
 
  #4  
Old 11-05-06, 10:23 AM
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Turn the power off to this device, Sounds like a transformer.
Tighten all screws mounting it to the box. When the mounts get loose they tend to hum from vibration.
 
  #5  
Old 11-05-06, 11:05 AM
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If that is a transformer, the door bell button could be stuck.
 
  #6  
Old 11-05-06, 11:34 AM
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Thank you all very much for the advice so far. It has helped in isloating the problem at least. I threw the breaker for the doorbell and the buzzing from the transformer (as that it what must obviously be) stopped immediately.

The doorbell has been get steadily less and less useable for the past few months and, recently, pretty much stopped working altogether. I'm not a big believer in coincidences so is it safe to assume that either the doorbell itself and/or the transformer need replacing?

Which is more likely? The transformer is failing and therefore causing the doorbell to no longer work or the doorbell is now dead and causing the transformer to buzz?
 
  #7  
Old 11-05-06, 12:19 PM
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It sounds like the transformer is dead, or at least close to it.
 
  #8  
Old 11-05-06, 03:23 PM
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Change out the whole thing, From transformer up. Then no worries for years.
 
  #9  
Old 11-06-06, 06:00 PM
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As jwhite said, check the outside button. It doesn't take much for them to stick. If the transformer is working at all, it is probably still okay. Most have a one shot "fuse" in them. When it goes, it's time for a new transformer.
The transformer hum ( hysteresis ) is louder under a load - such as a stuck button.
 
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