Broken doorbell - chime or transformer?

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Old 01-29-07, 01:58 PM
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Broken doorbell - chime or transformer?

How do you tell which one is broken? (Without having to buy one and then the other and return whichever one you didn't need)

-Chris
 
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Old 01-29-07, 02:01 PM
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Measure the voltage at the transformer. Or measure the voltage at the chime when the button is pressed, or measure the voltage at the button, with alterations at the transformer or the bell.
 

Last edited by racraft; 01-30-07 at 05:41 AM.
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Old 01-29-07, 02:36 PM
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Well, everything except measuring the voltage at the button. You won't get any voltage there even if everything is working perfectly.
 
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Old 01-29-07, 03:11 PM
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Smile

"Well, everything except measuring the voltage at the button. You won't get any voltage there even if everything is working perfectly."

Of course you can. You might need one verrrrry long test lead though.
 
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Old 01-29-07, 03:52 PM
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The button is the culprit, more often than not. Next is stuck/gummy bell solenoids. Rarely the transformer.
 
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Old 01-29-07, 06:24 PM
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Start by removing the button. Touch the 2 wires together. No bell then move on. Now you can buy a volt meter and check the trans.. etc.
 
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Old 01-31-07, 01:38 PM
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Ok, I bought a new doorbell button a while ago and I still didn't here anything.

I do remember seeing a spark or arc when I was installing the button - does that help trouble shoot if it's the bell or the transformer that's at fault?

I'm handy around the house but have never used a voltmeter nor am too familiar with what setting to use, etc.

If I 'test' the transformer with a voltmeter, would I shut off the power, unscrew the two wires from their terminals, and place the voltmeter ends to the terminals?

What setting would I turn to on the voltmeter? What consitutues a reading that is 'good' or indicates a functioning transformer? How about for a bad transformer?

Thanks,
Chris
 
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Old 01-31-07, 01:49 PM
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Power has to be on to do any testing.

The simplest solution is to do what you didn't want to do. Buy both a transformer and a chime. Return the one you don't need. Install the chime unit first, since I think that is more likely the cause. This is especially true if the chime unit makes any noise (even a slight hum) at all when you press the button.

When you buy the transformer, pay careful attention to both the voltage and the "va" (volt-amp) rating. Make them match your existing transformer (or the requirements of the chime unit if the new chime has different requirements).

By the way, did this ever work? When did it stop working?

Often times this problem originates when somebody replaces the chime unit with one that takes more power, or adds a second chime unit. Both of these conditions usually require buying a new transformer with more volt-amps.
 
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Old 01-31-07, 03:36 PM
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If you saw a spark and nothing happened, the transformer is OK, the bell button is likely OK, but the problem is the chime unit. Likely gummy solenoid plungers. Most of those things come as an assembly package, but you don't have to install it all. But do pay attention to the transformer requirements and your existing transformer.
 
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Old 01-31-07, 07:38 PM
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Cool, thanks for the tips. The thing hasn't ever worked and it looks original, so I'll go get a new chime and see what's up. The comment about hearing a hum rings a bell.

Thanks to all. I'll try to remember to post again when i fix it.
 
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