Is it time for a new doorbell?


Old 01-15-07, 01:16 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 24
Is it time for a new doorbell?

Doorbell stopped working. Took off the cover, and this is - - what I found.

That post on the right (sorry I don't know the proper name for it) looks like it must be broken, right? Is this repairable, or is it time for a new bell? I poked around a bit with a screwdriver but couldn't manage to "free" the post or the coiled spring around it.

And, is replacing a doorbell like this (where the wiring is already in place) a project easy enough for a not-very-technical newbie?

Many TIA's!

P.S. - sorry about the image link not being linkified, I didn't know how to change HTML code to "on."
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Old 01-15-07, 01:31 PM
Ed Imeduc's Avatar
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Location: Mountain Williams Missouri
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It for sure is a DIY job. Any of the big box stores will have one .Just like it
Old 01-15-07, 01:37 PM
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Location: Central New York State
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I think you are mistaken about what the problem is. I see nothing obviously wrong with the bell.

If the bell does not work, then the first thing I would check is the transformer.
Old 01-15-07, 03:05 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Boston, Mass.
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Short circuit or stuck solenoid

It looks to me like the spring on the right hand solenoid (plunger) is compressed. This solenoid is for your rear chime, which you're wired to use right now.

You could have a short that is keeping the solenoid energized, and you can check this by seeing if it is warm or hot, and by disconnecting the red wire to see if the solenoid pops up. If it's a short then you need to check the doorbell button and wiring. Did you already check that the button isn't stuck? If it's a lit button, the light should be on.

On the other hand, maybe dirt or dust has accumulated over time and jammed it. If it's not shorted and the solenoid is cool, you can try pulling it up by hand, but if it's frozen in place, you're better off replacing the the whole thing.

Alternatively, you can move the red wire from the "Rear" screw terminal (right screw) to "Front" (left screw), which should activate the left solenoid and give you the traditional "ding dong" chime. If this works, you don't need to replace the chime. When you connect the red wire to the "Front" terminal, if the chime sounds immediately without pressing the button, that's another sign that you need to look for a short.

In any case, if you believe there is a short, then disconnect the red wire and wrap electrical tape around it until you can track the problem down. Better not to let the unit overheat.

Good luck!
Old 01-15-07, 04:50 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Wilmington
Posts: 4,219
IMHO, transformers rarely go bad, but the door switches and the bell unit itself are often the problem. the solenoids get gummy, the springs break, and the door buttons lose contact.
Old 01-15-07, 06:39 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2005
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Thank you all so much for the thoughtful replies. The bell unit did not seem to be the cause of the problem but I cleaned it out anyway, and also the chime, with a quick blast of compressed air.

The right plunger (I learned that word in the meantime) is indeed compressed. The one on the left springs up and down freely when I tap it, but the one on the right seems stuck in place. I will try valderost's suggestions but since I need to shut off the electrical circuit before working with those wires, I have to wait until daylight so I will be able to see what I'm doing.

Thanks again for all the helpful recommendations - I'll be back to post how it went.
Old 01-15-07, 07:38 PM
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Actually, you could work on it at anytime. The chime is one of the few places where you can play with a live circuit. It is usually only 12 - 24 volts. If you find the plunger is gummed up, you can clean it with a little Naphtha (lighter fluid). Do not oil it as oil will make it a dust magnet.
Old 01-16-07, 07:45 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 24
Success!!! (at least partially...) Many thanks to you all!

I tried Valderost's suggestions and ended up switching the red wire over to the "Front" screw, and now the doorbell works. I will replace it anyway, because now the side and front doors have the same ring and I want to be able to differentiate between them.

But I was very relieved to find the problem wasn't in the transformer, because now I can see it's a fix I can tackle myself. I think the right plunger just wore down over time because it's stuck in there pretty good.

Thanks again for all the helpful hints - I'll keep them in mind in case I need to troubleshoot again.
Old 01-16-07, 08:01 AM
jn is offline
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 226
If you have the same sound and same type of doorbell for the side and front door, why don't you switch the red wire to the back screw on the side door bell? It will then sound different (like the front door used to).
Just a thought...
Old 01-16-07, 11:17 AM
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Location: Boston, Mass.
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Alternatively you could remove the top chime bar.

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