Doorbell Wiring - Identifying Wires

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Old 08-30-19, 08:26 AM
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Doorbell Wiring - Identifying Wires

Hi All,

I'm looking to install a digital Scout video doorbell (very similar to the Ring, but by a different company). However, I'm running into some trouble/questions before I start.

We recently did some renovations, and the demolition team removed the doorbell chime on the inside of the house, leaving three exposed wires coming out of the wall, picture attached (white wire, black wire, red wire - hard to see in the attached picture because of paint on the wire insulation, but those are the colors). They did not label the wires as front/back/transformer/etc.

Our front doorbell button (to be replaced) has a white and black wire (see attached, tho maybe a bit hard to see). Our back doorbell button (to stay) has two yellow wires (see attached).

I'm wondering if there is any way to tell which of the red/black/white wires on the inside of the house goes with which button. The video doorbell I got also comes with a transformer pack, and I need to wire that into the whole system, having to do with the 3 wires coming out of the inside wall.

I'm assuming the whole thing is low voltage, but I can't see inside the walls to where the power is coming from, etc.

Any thoughts on how to identify wires?

Thanks in advance!
 
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Old 08-30-19, 09:02 AM
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Hi, do you have a multi meter? If so test the cables at the old chime location, one set should read 16VAC (from the transformer) , take the next cable , at the front door short the 2 conductors together, set the multimeter to OHMS and test the cables at the chime location, you get one that reads infinity, disconnect the 2 wires at the front door and retest, should show open now, label front door, repeat for back door, assuming that the transformer is still connected you should be all set, or at least you will know the buttons and the remaining cable will be the transformer.
Geo
 
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Old 08-30-19, 09:09 AM
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Short one of the buttons. Measure for voltage between two of the wires. Should be 16-24 VAC.
Release the first button and short the other one. You should measure voltage between two of the wires. The wire that was used by both buttons is the common.
 
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Old 08-30-19, 09:58 PM
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Identifying the function of the wires is only one step. The wire colors don't match and you need to replace the transformer...... so concentrate on finding the transformer first. More than likely there will be splices there.

Once you find the transformer..... the wiring should make more sense.
The transformer can be in the basement or attic on the side of an electrical box.... in particularly a pull chain light. It could be on the side of the electrical panel.
 
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Old 09-01-19, 05:10 PM
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Hi All,

Thanks for the info.

I used a multimeter, and tested the three wires in all three combinations (w/b, w/r, b/r) while my wife was pressing the doorbell button in the front and then again in the back.

I got a reading of between like 10-15 with the w/b combination when the front door bell was pressed. And...I got a reading of between like 10-15 with the w/b combination when the back doorbell was pressed! The w/r and b/r combinations never gave any reading (well, it may have "spiked" at like 1) when either of the doorbells were pressed.

We have found all sorts of crazy things in the walls of our house when doing various things (no electrical boxes for vanity lights in the bathroom, no electrical boxes for the outside lights on either side of the garage, etc. - both were just screwed directly into the outside wall with the wire coming through a hole).

Is it possible that the people before us somehow wired it so that both doorbells activated the same chime? The backdoorbell never really worked because of a wiring issue (but that wiring issue was fixed AFTER the chime had been removed for renovations).

Also, the thing I need to add is not a transformer (contrary to my previous post - sorry). Its a "PK-DBC Power Kit QIG v1.0". Its not replacing the transformer.

So, all that being said, any help or thoughts?

Thanks again!
 
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Old 09-02-19, 05:32 AM
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Hi, is that 1 cable 3 conductors coming out of the wall ? itís a bit hard to tell from the pics.
Where are you getting those readings?
Geo
 
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Old 09-02-19, 05:35 PM
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If I understand you, then yes. 1 cable, 3 conductors. Basically, whoever installed it put in one wire (what I would call a wire as a layperson). Inside that wire is the red, black, and white wires (I think that's what you mean by conductors).

Is that what you mean?

I'm not sure about you other question, i.e., where I'm getting those readings. I used a multimeter that I just purchased. Is that what you mean? The black-and-white combo of wires give me the readings when either the front doorbell or backdoorbell is pressed. I get virtually no readings from other combinations of two wires when either doorbell is pressed.

Please let me know if I misunderstood your question.

Thanks again.
 
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Old 09-02-19, 05:46 PM
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Try using just the white and black on the front doorbell terminals.
Your power kit will go across the white and black wires.
 
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Old 09-02-19, 10:43 PM
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Hi PJ et al.,

Thanks for the info.

Upon a much closer look in much brighter light, the three conductors in the single cable (if I'm using those terms correctly) are white, green, and red (i.e., what I thought was black before is actually green); I'm attaching two pictures (although I'm not sure if you can see what I mean - but you can at least see 1 cable / 3 conductors). It is the white and green wire combination that gives me an AC reading on the multimeter, with the other combinations giving me virtually no reading.

I'm assuming that doesn't change anything, but maybe it does. (?) Is there anything standard about how this was wired? Shouldn't the backdoor bell be using a different combination of wires than the front doorbell?

PJ - when you say to use the white and black (now green, if talking about the inside wires) on the front doorbell terminals, I'm not quite sure what you mean. Do you mean that you think those are the same two wires that I see on the inside of the house? What is the red wire doing? I'm supposed to put the power kit inside the house, not outside with the front doorbell.

Overall, I don't really care that much if the backdoor bell works at all. It'd be nice to have it work, but not a big deal (I don't think we've ever had anyone knock on the backdoor in 8 years here!).

So, assuming I don't want to use the backdoor bell, which of the wires (white, green, red) do I hook up to the terminals on the chime? The one I have is this: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Hampton-...8-03/304225392 and the terminals are labeled F (front), T (transformer), and R (rear).

I realize the above is a jumble of questions, but I am really very confused by how this thing was wired and by the readings I'm getting of both front and back doorbells being same wires.

Thanks again and hope everyone had a great Labor Day!
 
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Old 09-03-19, 12:34 PM
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Regardless of the colors used..... you are finding voltage on two wires whether front or back button is pushed. Just use those two wires on the front and trans terminals of the chime. Since it appears that the front and back buttons do the same thing..... they were probably connected together at the splice point which will be near the transformer.

Your power kit attaches to the two wires at the chime.
 
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Old 09-03-19, 12:49 PM
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PJ,

Thanks again for the info.

Does it matter which of the two wires goes to the F(ront) and which goes to the T(ransformer)?

And, what do I do with the third wire coming out of the wall? Should I connect it to anything? Should I just put electrical tape over the end and call it a day?

Also, this is all low-voltage right? Meaning I can touch it? I have no idea where on my electrical panel (or upstairs subpanel) it is attached, so I can't shut it.

Thanks again!
 
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Old 09-03-19, 02:53 PM
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Hi, conductors are wires, it sure appears you have some buried splices, it looks like the 2 conductors at the button are yellow.
Maybe this link will help you understand what the circuit should look like.
https://www.electrical-online.com/un...rbell-systems/
Geo
 
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Old 09-03-19, 03:22 PM
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Hi Geo,

Thanks for the link.

The two yellow wires are for the backdoor bell (which I don't really care if that works or not). The front doorbell has black and white wires (the image with the "5" street address number in it). The wires inside the house for the chime are white, green, and red. When the front bell is pushed, I get an AC reading from only the white and green wire combo; when the back bell is pushed, I (again) get an AC reading from only the white and green wire combo.

At this point, I think the people who wired the house before us did things on the cheap.

So, with respect to PJ's advice, does it matter which of the white or green interior wires I put to F(front) and which I put to T(ransformer)? What do I do with the red wire (which, for all i know, is not connected to anything at the other end!).

And - biggest concern - will i kill myself if I don't disconnect it from the power somehow? I don't have any pacemakers or anything.

Thanks again to all.
 
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Old 09-03-19, 06:28 PM
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Hi, your not going to kill yourself if you touch the wires, maybe a little sting try to avoid it if possible, I assume the white and green conductors you are talking about are at the chime location, usually it is marked something like F T R, Green on F and White on T.
It sounds like the back door is some how parralled with the front.
What is this PK-DBC Power Kit QIG v1.0 ? Any Dia. for it?

Geo
 
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Old 09-03-19, 07:23 PM
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Hi Geo,

The actual power kit is this: https://www.amazon.com/Scout-Alarm-V.../dp/B07T5JV49V

Yes, the green and white wires are where the old chime was (and where the new chime will go). We had some renovation done, and the demolition team removed the chime without labeling any wires.

I can try the wiring you suggest, but what do I do with the red wire? just electrical tape it and ignore it?

Thanks again.
 
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Old 09-04-19, 08:08 PM
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Hi All,

Just wanted to check in to see if anyone has any thoughts on what to do with the red wire. Should I just cover the end with electrical tape or a wire nut?

Thanks!
 
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Old 09-04-19, 08:32 PM
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That power kit you linked to is for a digital chime unit.
If you use a standard chime I don't think it will be needed.
You can just cap off or tape off the red wire. Don't cut it off.
 
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Old 09-04-19, 08:50 PM
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That makes sense; I got a digital doorbell and a digital chime. OK, I'll tape off the red wire; fingers crossed that this works. I'll let you know!

Thanks again for all the help!
 
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Old 09-05-19, 06:51 AM
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Hi, just curious how this works, is it a WiFi based device, how does that power supply get connected? I couldnít see any wiring Dia. for it.
Geo
 
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Old 09-05-19, 09:46 AM
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Hi Geo,

It connects with my alarm system hub (https://www.scoutalarm.com/), which is itself connected via ethernet to my cablemodem/router. All the other equipment connects to the alarm system hub via either zigbee or zwave, so I assume the doorbell does, too.

As for how its powered, its the same as a regular doorbell I think (I hope!). Is there any reason it wouldn't be?

Thanks!
 
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Old 09-05-19, 02:45 PM
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I really donít know how it connects, never had to deal with one, and there didnít seem to be much info.
Geo
 
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Old 09-18-20, 01:17 PM
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Hi All,

I am revisiting this thread because I have a new problem with the doorbell.

I eventually (several months ago) swapped out the digital chime for an analog chime because my wife really didn't like the digital sound (why it matters, I don't know!). Anyway, everything was working great up until a couple of weeks ago, when it started dinging on its own, without anyone pushing a button (very creepy at 11pm at night!). I removed the cover, and its definitely the front door hammer that is dinging (even though it is only doing a "ding" when its on its own, not the "ding dong" for when the doorbell is pushed).

With the cover removed, I can even see the hammer quivering up and down. It seems like its getting some electricity to make it quiver, and then it finally gets enough to make it ding. I can ever hear an electrical buzzing while its building up, and then the sound goes away for a bit once it dings. (I'm imagining it as an electrical reservoir that fills up and buzzes until it overflows, causes the ding, and is therefore quiet for a bit - no idea if this is accurate, but that's how I'm picturing it.)

I disconnected the white wire from F and left the other two connected. When I touched the white wire to the F, it made a tiny little spark.

I contacted the doorbell company, and they suggested I try the digital power kit again (even though its intended for a digital chime). I tried it, and the doorbell does not ding on its own anymore...but it also doesn't ding (or ding dong) when the button is pushed. There is definitely electricity there because it is enough to power the doorbell itself (with its camera, etc.), but I guess its not enough to work the analog chime? I don't know.

Anyone have any suggestions? Otherwise, I think I may just tape over the ends of each of the wires, shove them inside the wall, and get a wireless Ring doorbell and wireless Ring chime!

Thanks again!
 
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Old 09-18-20, 02:32 PM
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The chime is in series with the Scout. So it draws its charging and operating current thru the chime.
As the current requirement changes..... so will the buzzing of the chime.

The unit is supposed to be designed to draw just the amount of current without upsetting the chime. Typically that current draw is low enough so that the chime is quiet. The "kit" they offer is nothing more than a resistor that gets put across the chime. It increases the current to the Scout.

If you are now using a standard chime..... you should not be having this issue. What happens is when you push the doorbell button the unit creates a short to make the chime ring. I would place the problem at the Scout.

I've had some odd problems show up with the ring doorbell units. I carry resistors with me and try one experimentally across the chime. I try different values. If that's something you'd like to try.... let me know.

As a last thought..... what size transformer are you using ? If it can't supply enough current the unit may not be charging correctly.
 
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Old 09-18-20, 02:40 PM
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Hi PJ,

That all makes sense, except I'm not sure what you mean by "as the current requirement changes" - do you mean it changes when the button is pressed?

I'd love to try your resistor idea...how do I go about doing that?

As for the transformer - I have no idea. I haven't been able to find it since we moved into the house in summer of 2011. We have only a crawlspace, and I've never seen it down there. I guess it might be hidden in the attic somewhere? Could it be inside a wall? No clue. But its worked for awhile with no problems (until now).

Thanks again.
 
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Old 09-18-20, 04:45 PM
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Yes.... when the button is pressed. The unit stores a charge when it's doing nothing. The more it transmits..... the more it discharges the battery. I have a feeling you are trying to run that unit on a 10 watt transformer which is what would have been installed originally. None of the doorbell cameras will run correctly on a low current transformer.
 
 

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