Electrical 101: Doorbell

criticalmass048April 14, 2010

I have an above-average knowledge of electricity, but, believe it or not, have no knowledge of doorbells.

After remodeling the kitchen, my wife decided she wanted to move the doorbell chime. It's at least 40 years old, but she finds it cute, and would like to keep it if possible.

So what I did was connect 18 gauge speaker wire to the bell wires, fished the wire through the ceiling, over to where she wants it, and reconnected the wires.

I'd say that 5% of the time, the doorbell goes DING-DONG. 20% of the time it just goes DING, and 75% of the time, it just gives an electrical buzz. It worked fine before the remodel.

I've included a picture, right side up. The upper part is the 'DING', the lower 'DONG'. It looks to me like when the button is pushed, the plunger moves up -- sometimes striking the bell, sometimes not -- but when the button is released, the plunger doesn't go back down to strike the lower. In fact, it usually just stays right where it is after it hits the first bell.

I took the button off the doorway, sanded the wire ends, and jumped the wires with a jumper, and got the same result, so I've ruled out the button.

I also sprayed the plunger with silicone spray, thinking maybe it just wasn't gliding smoothly enough, but that didn't do anything either.

If I have to replace the chime, that's fine, but I'm wondering if something else might be wrong here. The only other thing I played with was adding about 12 ft of 18ga speaker wire, but that should be more than sufficient, shouldn't it?

Thanks in advance!


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It bothers me when the distinction between a bell and a chime is not made. Older chimes operated at 10 volts. Newer chimes are 16 volts. It is AC, so verify the voltage available. Chime strikers should never be oiled. The oil attracts dust which hinders movement of the striker. If necessary, clean the moving parts with rubbing alcohol. If clean and proper voltage does not help, replace it.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 9:27PM
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