Doorbell chime wiring

Reply

  #1  
Old 01-22-21, 02:21 AM
V
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2021
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Doorbell chime wiring

Hello! Sorry if this seems like a simple concern, but DIYing something electrical for the first time is making me nervous.

Set-up is: one front door doorbell button and two chimes installed, (first and second floors of the house, I suppose in a series?)

I would like to replace our first floor chime as the cover was damaged. When I opened it, there are two blue wires from the wall, each screwed to a terminal of the chime, which has just two terminals as well. The terminals are without markings, which accdg to my research should have 'front' and 'trans' labels but it doesn't.

Not knowing which of the two wires is the front or terminal, will this be an issue when I attach it to the new chime which also has two terminals that have no markings? Can they be interchanged without affecting the second floor chime? Or I should really determine which is the front and terminal wire before hooking up the new chime?

thank you!!
 
  #2  
Old 01-22-21, 04:34 AM
J
Member
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: welland ontario
Posts: 7,794
Received 307 Votes on 263 Posts
If there are only two terminals and only two wires then it does not matter which terminal the wires go on.
 
  #3  
Old 01-22-21, 06:31 AM
Geochurchi's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: United States
Posts: 5,001
Received 89 Votes on 84 Posts
Hi, post a pic of the chime, it shouldn’t matter as mentioned.
Geo🇺🇸
 
  #4  
Old 01-22-21, 07:54 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 61,373
Received 1,397 Votes on 1,294 Posts
There are three connections....... front - trans - rear.
Just use front and trans....... and no polarity as mentioned.
 
  #5  
Old 01-27-21, 04:11 AM
V
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2021
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Hi, DIY gang. Sorry for the delay. Life got in the way.

Okay. Complete picture time -_-

So I replaced the old chime, turned the doorbell circuit breaker back on. Nothing.

I swapped the wires, nothing. Whaat.

After further interview of my mother, sigh, it turns out before the cover got damaged, both chimes were already nonfunctional for almost 2 weeks. After a heavy storm, the chimes were giving a tiny buzz for 2-3 days then died. Why this was not mentioned earlier, I do not know. Looking at the 2nd floor chime, a different brand from the one downstairs, it had a busted glass fuse, so I assume the buzzing indicates the system got fried over those two days of buzzing.

So I replaced both chimes with new ones, and replaced the front door button as well since the waterproof gasket around the old one seemed to be crunchy, which I assume is how rain water got in somehow and shorted the entire system.

Tunred the breaker back on, it's still not working.

Some qs:

1. When I turned the breaker back on, the chime gave one tiny "ding" but not the full chime and nothing else, does this confirm the wiring is ok? It's impossble to trace and eyeball the wiring from outside to inside as it's buried in concrete walls via the orange electrical tubing.

If yes, then that means either the breaker and/or transformer is the possible problem.

2. Before i replaced anything, the doorbell breaker was not tripped- Am I right to assume the breaker is ok despite the fried chimes?

3. I've been looking at doorbell diagrams and it indicates the transformer is outside the doorbell (lol i thought it was inside the doorbell) -- where can I find it? Is that inside the breaker panel near the doorbell breaker? I was hoping to eyeball it if it looks burnt or what.

4. If the problem involves opening the panel and fiddling with breakers, I think I'd rather get an electrician to do this instead, BUT OMG there's been HUGE arguments about letting outsiders inside her house as my mother's super paranoid about covid. I don't want to deal with this drama. As a temporary ugly band-aid until the covid scare dies down months later and have this done professionally, is it possible for me to just power the kitchen chime using a low voltage power adaptor plugged to a nearby wall outlet (thus making the breaker and transformer irrelevant)? Like loop it with the two wall wires and the doorbell? I've got lots of spare power adaptors lying around.

There's a digital tester in the tool box, but I don't know how to use it. Argh.

Thanks!!
 
  #6  
Old 01-27-21, 05:22 AM
A
Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 4,341
Received 113 Votes on 104 Posts
Before you can use any of the doorbell wires in the wall with your own low voltage adapter you must find and disconnect the old transformer. It is not easily predictable what will get fried if you connect two power sources into the same loop of wiring.

The transformer itself is roughly the size of a plug in low voltage adapter. The most likely place is at the breaker panel and it could be inside of mounted on the outside. Inside a closet, notably "the hall closet"near the ceiling is another likely location.

You could buy a wireless doorbell kit and use that while you figure out the house wiring and/or wait for the pandemic to be over and hire a professional.
 

Last edited by AllanJ; 01-27-21 at 05:46 AM.
  #7  
Old 01-27-21, 07:40 PM
V
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2021
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Before you can use any of the doorbell wires in the wall with your own low voltage adapter you must find and disconnect the old transformer. It is not easily predictable what will get fried if you connect two power sources into the same loop of wiring
@Allanj- thanks for the reply. I can't see it inside the panel, most likely attached somewhere along the tube. Regarding the above quote, will the problem still stand if I leave the doorbeall breaker turned off? It seems to be dedicated to the doorbell system, so it's not a problem to leave it on 'off'. Wouldn't that basically treat the breaker and transformer as "dead"/neutral in the wiring loop?

I actually have 2 wireless sets, but I find the buttons problematic and unsuitable for the location it'd be mounted on, an outdoor gate column and very exposed to rain. The current doorbell button is in a heavy-duty outdoor weatherproof casing. The sets I have and seen in shops seem to be for indoor use, like office/apartment ringers, or well-covered porches.
 
  #8  
Old 01-27-21, 07:51 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 61,373
Received 1,397 Votes on 1,294 Posts
When I turned the breaker back on, the chime gave one tiny "ding" but not the full chime and nothing else, does this confirm the wiring is ok
Yes..... that confirms the wiring is good, the transformer is good, the chime at that time is good and more than likely the button is stuck in or shorted. You should hear nothing when turning power on.
 
  #9  
Old 01-27-21, 08:10 PM
V
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2021
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
@Pjmax - thanks for the reply.

the button is stuck in or shorted.
It still didn't work even when I replaced the button with a new one, though, but yeah, it shouldn't have given a tiny ding when the breaker was turned on. I thought it was a normal "power surge" but now that you point it out, that's odd.. Hmmmm.. Does it matter I didn't re-strip the wires connected to the new button? They looked perfectly clean and ok (no rust, not brittle, still shiny) that's why I used the same wire ends again.
 
  #10  
Old 01-27-21, 08:14 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 61,373
Received 1,397 Votes on 1,294 Posts
Somehow the open loop is closed. Usually it's at the buttons.
Sometimes the wires touch back in the push button hole where the wires enter the area.
 
  #11  
Old 01-27-21, 08:38 PM
V
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2021
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
@Pjmax - possibility that wires touching somewhere, got it. From the button hole, though, the 2 wires have around 6 inches that's still covered before the 1cm stripped tips. Darn, it might mean the "touching" could be anywhere from outside to in... Can a malfunctining transformer be the "shorted"/"touching" part?

i'm actually scared to use a tester anywhere in this system in case the transformer isn't working properly and isn't regulating/releasing a low voltage and giving out a high voltage. That's why I always turned the breaker off when I did any replacing.
 
  #12  
Old 01-27-21, 09:18 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 61,373
Received 1,397 Votes on 1,294 Posts
It would be extremely rare for the transformer to put out more than 16vAC. I have never seen one or heard of one doing that before. If the transformer gets shorted from the external wiring it will get hot and then fail on overload.

The chime system is a loop from the transformer to the button, from the button to the chime and from the chime back to the transformer.
 
  #13  
Old 01-27-21, 10:48 PM
V
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2021
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
@Pjmax, yes, that diagram I do understand.

what do you think of the temporary alternative of using a power adapter to power this system with the breaker (and transformer) turned off?

or, if basing it on your above suspicion there are wires touching because of the one-time "ding" using a power adapter will again result to busted new chimes and maybe even busted adapter?

btw, if it's touching wires, how come it's only one ding instead of steady dinging?
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: