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finding doorbell transformer

Posted by rileysmom17 (My Page) on
Thu, Nov 13, 08 at 12:46

My doorbell transformer has blown up. My handyman cannot find it in any of the usual places (closets, basement). I have painted most of the house myself and never found anything resembling the transformer. If it is in the attic it is buried under insulation. Is there any way to locate a transformer by hooking something on to the doorbell wires? Does anyone have an idea of where to look for it? if I have to start yanking insulation, is it more likely in the basement or the attic?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: finding doorbell transformer

How old is your house? We've always lived in 1905-1920 homes and the transformers have all been in the basement, nailed to the side of one of the overhead beams. In 3 of our 4 homes, the transformers have been closer to the back of the house than the front. HOpe this helps.


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RE: finding doorbell transformer

The two obvious places are the basement or the attic. Your handyman ruled out the basement.

I would guess the transformer is in the attic. Location should be somewhere over the bell chime location.

Enjoy the journey.
eal51 in western CT


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RE: finding doorbell transformer

One thing occurred to me - are you very sure the bell is not a more modern one with batteries inside on the wall, and therefore no wires or transformer?


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RE: finding doorbell transformer

The transformer needs a power source so it is sometimes near the main panel or in the middle of the basement if it serves two doors. They need to be exposed because they heat up so if it was covered by insulation you might want to start over with a new one in a new location.


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RE: finding doorbell transformer

Thanks for all the replies. I went into the basement myself, looked at the floor joists in line with where the doorbell is, and promptly identified something that sure looked like a transformer to me, a squarish box with two wires going to two screws. So my lame-O handyman gets no points for that and I called him last night, his excuse being that he "didn't go to Berkeley like you"...he's a good guy really, he is (supposedly) coming over this am to take it down and buy a replacement, I think I will be paying parts not labor on this one.


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RE: finding doorbell transformer

good for you that you found it.

"I think I will be paying parts not labor on this one." why? He didn't install it originally. Why would you expect him to replace it and not get compensated?

If he's "lame-o" and you "promptly identified something that sure looked like a transformer" what do you need him for?

Also, if you don't want to pay him for his time, then why would he want to help you?


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RE: finding doorbell transformer

Well I need him for all the stuff I can't do, and I can do a lot on my own but replacing a transformer on the underside of a joist in a basement with a 12 foot ceiling is not on my list. Putting on a roof, ditto. I have a very longstanding relationship with this guy, he has his quirks and occasional slip-ups but his work quality is completely trustworthy. He was thoroughly embarrassed when I showed him the transformer. The fact is that he had to come back out to the house (on Sunday) to be shown the transformer that he should have found in the first place. Since it will take him about 10 minutes tops to replace it, I seriously doubt that he will charge me. If he does, I'll pay him.


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RE: finding doorbell transformer

"The fact is that he had to come back out to the house (on Sunday) to be shown the transformer that he should have found in the first place."

You made this fellow come out on a Sunday to show him the transformer?

And you think HE's the one with the problems?

If you were MY customer I'd tell you to hit the road and never call me again!

Yours is one of the poorest attitudes I've ever heard coming from anyone!

Shheeesh!


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RE: finding doorbell transformer

Well, after all, he didn't go to Berkeley so I'm sure he's happy to have the work whether he gets paid or not.


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RE: finding doorbell transformer

Well guys, this is why assumption and presumption are dangerous attitudes. First, after I called my handyman about finding the transformer he wanted to come by on Saturday AM to look at it and write down the specs and I said fine. Then he called fairly late on Saturday AM and said that he was held up and could he come by on Sunday and what time was too early? I said, whatever time works for you, I can get out of bed, please call first. So he came by Sunday about mid-morning and took down the transformer specs, had a nice big chunk of wanut cake with whipped cream while catching me up on his latest whacky insurance job, and then went on about his day. So manhattan42 does that treatment sound so terrible? I have also referred him to any number of individuals and those referrals have turned into plenty of work. I did not interpret the first miss on the perfectly obvious transformer as stupidity, laziness, or a desire to bilk me but just one of those "who cares but let's get it fixed" kind of events. Do you have equally tolerant longstanding customers? hard to imagine...


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RE: finding doorbell transformer

So you called him "Lame-O" in a respectful way, I suppose??? And also talked of paying for parts only since it's a so-called "10 minute" job? So how much time and mileage do you think he actually had in your "10 minute" job?

Oversights and mistakes happen, but you seem to not have a clue for what time is really involved with little handyman jobs. Trekking around looking for parts is time-consuming, even when you know where to go (a key handyman skill, btw) and it is supposed to be in stock - half the time we get somewhere and they're in the computer but not on the shelf, etc, etc. A million things go wrong with finding oddball stuff, and usually the handyman's not going to call you with each and every "excuse" so you are apprised.

If you do trust him, then quit with the wisecracks, if not, get someone else. Also, why, you may ask, do some handyman still do these tiny jobs? It's part of the relationship with customers. Just don't think those little "bones" you throw him make him as happy as you think. It's him who's actually doing a favor to you to maintain the relationship.


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RE: finding doorbell transformer

The presumption is when you suggested that a handyman should install your transformer for free because he couldn't find it on an earlier visit.

A handyman only gets paid for his time and it usually doesn't include travel so when he can't charge for time on site or has to make repeated trips he takes a loss in income that he cannot make up.

If you want to maintain a good relationship with him you should pay him for all of his time as long as he is acting in good faith and the final results are satisfactory for your needs. If he were an engineer you would have paid him $125/hr or more for his time including travel and would not have to pay extra for correcting errors.

He's not an engineer so if he gets enough clients like you he will have to find another way to make a living.


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RE: finding doorbell transformer

never mind the handyman,,,I am trying to figure out why an intellectually superior graduate of Berkely can't change a doorbell transformer?


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RE: finding doorbell transformer

"replacing a transformer on the underside of a joist in a basement with a 12 foot ceiling"

Scared of height?


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RE: finding doorbell transformer

I kind of sided with the OP on the parts-only thing.

With limitations, he sounds like a pretty accomdating guy, though.

"The more modern type with batteries?"

They make them for retrofits, but codes (or convention) still requires a wired-in, mains-powered doorbell.


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RE: finding doorbell transformer

"but codes (or convention) still requires a wired-in, mains-powered doorbell."

Never seen any code that requires any doorbell.

I do have a nice brass door knocker though.

The NEC applies to the doorbell circuit.

They are usually power limited signalling circuits and have few actual requirements except for the maximum transformer power (V-A) and voltage.


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Picayune

Picayune.

I said code OR convention (and I'm in Canada, perhaps a doorbell IS in the code, because bears and cougars can't ring doorbells, so we can open the door with confidence.)

I've been to many, many houses during my life. I have worked on quite a large number of new construction houses, sometimes one different one a day, for several years.

In all that time, I have NEVER seen a single house that did NOT have a doorbell.

So if it's NOT a rule, it's a heck of a convention, without exception....almost like a rule.


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RE: finding doorbell transformer

I've been in a LOT of cars in my day and by far the vast majority of them have side windows, but I'm not aware of any code requirement to have them. Ther are plenty of legal open tpped sports cars and customs.

Most car manufacturers include side windows by convention but that doesn't necessarily ocnstitute a requirement for them. Of course if they are to be included then there are no doubt indutry requirement regarding their manufacture.

Just sayin'


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RE: finding doorbell transformer

I was a licensed motor vehicle inspector, in my day,
and there was never a law that said you had to have
a windshield, but if you had one, it couldn't be
cracked. I'm willin to bet that law still stands.


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