Install basic doorbell from scratch

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  #1  
Old 09-12-18, 02:09 PM
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Install basic doorbell from scratch

Hi folks,

Just looking for some guidance on how to install a wired doorbell from scratch. In other words, my house has NO existing doorbell or wiring, so I'm trying to add a new one (including wiring the transformer). I've searched this site and the internet, but haven't really found anything starting from scratch.

QUESTION #1: I understand that the wiring is pretty basic, but my question is related to wiring up the transformer. From what I've read, I was going to do the little "trick" where you a) install an old-work outlet box behind the chime, b) screw the transformer onto the "outside" of that work box, c) connect up the 3 wires (white, black, green) inside the box, and d) then hookup the appropriate two wires to the two low voltages screws on the transformer outside of the box. I've read NOT to do part c and d inside the box together, right? So keep the 3 wires in the box, and the 2 wires out of the box, right? (Now that I've typed all that, I'm wondering if I'm supposed to use a different old-work box that has a knockout on the side?)

QUESTION #2: This question has to do with powering up the actual transformer. I was going to run a cable from the front door on floor #1 down to an outlet in the basement. Is it just as simple as piggy-backing onto an already-wired outlet? (Of course, an outlet that isn't controlled by a switch.) Are there any stipulations on which outlet to use? I would imagine you can't use an outlet that may already be max'd out.

QUESTION #3: Sorry, one more. Right by the front door there two light switches. Switch #1 controls the entry-way ceiling light, and Switch #2 controls the outside porch light. I'm assuming you can't tap into Switch #1's power since that light is turned on and off throughout the day. Switch #2 is always on, though, because the bulb outside is screwed into one of those sensors that turns on and off with the sunlight. Could I patch into that somehow when wiring the transformer and not have to go into the basement?

See my awesome drawing attached :-)

Thanks!
 
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  #2  
Old 09-12-18, 02:35 PM
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I have seen it done the way you suggest but strictly speaking it may be a code violation because you can't have low voltage wiring and line voltage wiring in the same box. However you can get a box that is a combo line voltage and low voltage.

Example: https://www.amazon.com/Arlington-2-G.../dp/B0069KOJ48

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Most transformers have a threaded nipple. The line voltage wires go through that. The transformer mounts in the LV bbox on the right and the line connections on the left box.
 
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Old 09-12-18, 02:41 PM
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Thanks Ray. The way I was describing (from what I've read), the low voltage would be "outside" the box, and the line voltage would be "inside" the box. So I'm not quite sure what you mean when you say they'd be in the same box.
 
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Old 09-12-18, 03:09 PM
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The box is a double gang divided box. The right side which is mostly open is the low voltage side. The transformer mounts there. The nipple goes through to the left line voltage box and 120v connections are made there.
 
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Old 09-12-18, 03:32 PM
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Thanks Ray. How about powering the transformer either with the nearby light or with the outlet one floor below? Any preference?
 
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Old 09-12-18, 04:47 PM
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No preference unless the receptacle or light are on a restricted circuit such as, kitchen, dining room, or bath.
 
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Old 09-12-18, 05:01 PM
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I'm not a big fan of burying transformers...... especially in an insulated wall..... but in your case if that wall location is inline with the button and the chime.... it will certainly be the easiest way to go.

You can also buy plug in wall wart transformers that plug into a receptacle..... like in the basement.
 
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Old 09-12-18, 07:53 PM
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Iím not a big fan of burying transformers
I hear ya. In this case, though, itíll still be pretty accessible because itíll be right behind the chime if I need to get to it.

Again, Iíve never done this before, but I sort of understand how to hook it up to an existing outlet. But if I hook it up to this existing light switch, though, can you advise how to wire that? In simple terms Iím assuming the wiring goes from the power source to the switch and then to the light. Where and how is the best way to tap into this for power? At the light? At the switch?

Thanks guys!
 
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Old 09-12-18, 08:08 PM
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We'd need to see the switch wiring. If you pull the switches out without disconnecting them..... you could post a picture or two here. If you find two black wires on the switch...... you should have live power there.
 
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Old 09-12-18, 11:19 PM
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Here you go - one picture of the actual switches and wiring, as well as one diagram of the wiring for the two switches! Switch #1 on the left controls the outside porch light that is always in the "on" position. Switch #2 on the right controls the ceiling light in the entry. What a rat's nest in this box. It's a double-gang box that has 4 cables coming into it (so 13 wires). So what do you think regarding grabbing power for the door bell? Is Cable 1 and Cable 2 for one light, and Cable 3 and Cable 4 for the other light? Thanks!
 
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Old 09-13-18, 01:28 AM
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This should do it: .

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Note actual wiring would be a cable from the transformer box to the switch box. That is not shown to simplify the diagram. The transformer may have two blacks. Either one can go to the cable white which in turn goes to the neutral bundle at the switch.
 

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  #12  
Old 09-13-18, 07:04 AM
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Thanks for taking the time to update the drawing Ray. Much appreciated.

Now I think you can imagine my next comment :-)

So not only are those existing wires and wire nuts pretty darn old, but there's already 5 wires in the one nut, and 4 wires in the other. Are there other alternatives besides opening up that nut and trying to cram another wire in there? Maybe more pigtails? Maybe those push-in connectors?

Thanks!
 
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Old 09-13-18, 11:16 AM
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Just to clarify, instead of cramming 6 wires into a new wire nut, can I use two 4-port push-in style connectors with a piggyback wire in between them? Or is this not kosher?

Here's a pic of what I mean?
 
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Old 09-13-18, 12:09 PM
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Yes, that would be a good way. However you may be exceeding box fill.
 
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Old 09-13-18, 12:36 PM
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That certainly will be a tight squeeze.
I would try to maintain the existing splices as they are and use new wirenuts.
I like these wirenuts from Scotch as they make large bundles easier to handle.

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Old 09-13-18, 12:54 PM
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Thanks again guys!

Two more questions I swear!

1. Why aren't the two light switches grounded? In the past I think you've said that since the box is metal, the ground happens when the border of the light switch touches the metal box. But in this case the switches don't touch the box - they just rest on the sheetrock.

2. If either of the light switches is turned off, does that make the doorbell turn off?

Thanks!
 
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Old 09-13-18, 01:50 PM
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You are connecting to "always live" power which is before the switches.

It's not necessary to ground the switches with a separate wire.
The ground screw is predominantly for the device being used in a plastic box.
 
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Old 09-13-18, 10:55 PM
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After reading the above posts, I can't help wondering why you don't get a wireless doorbell. A readily available no-brainer. Yes, you would have to replace the battery once a year or so, but it's easy, and they work fine.
 
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Old 09-13-18, 11:05 PM
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Iím surprised it took 18 posts for someone to mention wireless lol. Iíve had a wireless one for about 2 years and itís ok. Tired of replacing batteries I guess.
 
  #20  
Old 09-14-18, 08:26 AM
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So the transformer has a ground wire. Can you guys confirm that I need to this one up? I was just going to use one of the open ground screw holes in the metal box and attach it there. The other ground wires are clipped together and to the box. Thanks!
 
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Old 09-14-18, 08:50 AM
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Yes, the new ground can go to a different ground screw in the box,
 
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