How to Fix an Apartment Intercom Buzzer How to Fix an Apartment Intercom Buzzer

What You'll Need
Digital multimeter or a voltage meter
Screwdriver
Electrical tape
Rubbing alcohol or lens cleaner
Cloth

An apartment intercom is no stranger to malfunctioning. However, they are the least thought of appliance in any apartment and you only become aware of an existing problem when you hear a hum instead of a singsong chime, or when there is no sound whatsoever. Most of these are quick fixes and you will only need to follow a few simple steps to get to the root of the problem.

Step 1 - Assess the Buzzer

The first culprit of your faulty buzzer would be the button itself. Inspect it for any wear and tear. This is a common problem if your buzzer is open to the elements or aggressive visitors. If your button appears to be in excellent shape, then remove the button's casing and check the state of the wires. Ensure the wires attach properly to the button. You can handle dust accumulation at this stage by using a cloth drenched in rubbing alcohol or by just swabbing lens cleaner over the surfaces.

If the wires are well fastened, remove them and touch them together. Use the voltage meter to test for voltage before you go about this, to avoid getting shocked. If a chime emerges when you touch these wires together, then your problem lies with the switch and you have to get another one. If there is no sound or the sound of the chime echoes faintly, then the transformer is the problem.

Step 2 - The Transformer

The transformer in your buzzer is an electrical component that steps down the 110-120-volt current to the 10 to 18 volts at which buzzers or doorbells operate. Although located in the chime enclosure, you can't work on it in the presence of an electrical current. You can, however, inspect the low voltage wires connected to it without disconnecting your electricity. These wires may just be loose and you only have to tighten them using a screwdriver to get your buzzer working right again. 

If the wires are okay, use the digital multimeter to measure the voltage in the transformer's terminals. Set it at the 50V range. If you detect low voltage (below 6V) or high voltage (above 16V), you need to replace the transformer.

Use electrical tape to mark the location of the transformer's wires. The wires on the circuit panel should match with those of the incoming transformer, that is, the black and white with the black and white and the green wire with the copper. Don't forget to attach the chime wires with the components on the transformer.

Step 3 - The Buzzer Wiring

This should be your final culprit before you call in the experts. Inspect the wiring underneath the chime covering. Use the screwdriver and electrical tape to tighten any loose wiring and repair the damaged ones. Now test for voltage using the voltmeter. If the readings are below 6V or above 16V, then you will need to replace the chimes themselves.

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