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Phantom doorbell ringer

Posted by weedwoman (My Page) on
Sun, Feb 4, 07 at 16:27

I installed a doorbell for a friend a couple weeks ago - simple doorbell from Lowes, one tone for the back door and a different one for the front door. Everything seemed to be working fine.

The back doorbell has been ringing by itself every now and then. Or at any rate, the tone for the back doorbell has been sounding. It only rings once and in no particular pattern, sounds like it's happened maybe 3 or 4 times in the last week. She swears it isn't the neighborhood kids; there are no wires touching in the box, or so far as I can see at the doorbell button and I don't see water anywhere. The rest of the wiring is inside walls were I can't get at it.

Is this a common symptom of a defective doorbell? She said it never happened with her old one. Mice? Leaks? Anybody else run into this?



Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Phantom doorbell ringer

Is the old wiring the cloth insulated type? I had the same experience using the old chime conductors in a house that was built 1938. Replacing the wire was necessary.

RE: Phantom doorbell ringer

Check the the tightness of the button mounting screws. Too tight will cause the button to activate with temperature fluctuations.

RE: Phantom doorbell ringer

No, actually it's plastic covered wire. Interesting idea about the button screws - it's a real cheap plastic button and the wires are really short. I'll try that next if what we did today didn't fix it.


RE: Phantom doorbell ringer


what a coincidence. I have had that problem for over a year now. We bought a unit from Lowes also, and it seems to go off approximately the same time every so often. No, the other day I went to my fron t doorbell, and disconncetd one of the wires. Long behold, later on that day, the chimes went off. All I have is a fron doorbell no back.

I stilll havent been able to track down the problem, I am curious what luck you had?

RE: Phantom doorbell ringer

This is a purely electrical doorbell with a solenoid and real tuned metal bars or cylinders? It's not an electronic type with a speaker?

Unless there's a short in there, I have two theories. Ok maybe three.

One, Aliens
two. Radio interference, but I'm not sure how that would bypass a switch.
three. sunspots - see two.
four. some sort of electrical surge. Is there anything else switching on at the time of these occurances?
five. Poltergeists.

RE: Phantom doorbell ringer

thks pjb,

I replaced my existing doorbell, with the lowes brand, and since have had the problem.

The surge is possible, i am wonderering, because at times I have noticed the chimes going off, and the boiler would kick on. but only happens occasionally, because during other times of the day when the boiler kicks in, it doesnt go off. It seems to come and go.

I even had an electrician install it, because I couldnt get it to work.

Now, on the doorbell itself, does it matter which connector is used for each respective wire?



RE: Phantom doorbell ringer


Are you saying it's an electromechanical one, like the old type? If you take the cover off, you see the two metal chimes and a spring/plunger thing that hits them?

I'm assuming all doorbell transformers here just deliver AC current, so there shouldn't be any diffence - however, it probably wouldn't hurt to swap the wires.

Ordinarily, with the boiler thing, I'd say aha! but since I assume the bell buttons are the simple mechanical type, I don't see how a surge or spike can make it ring.....

I've never wired one of these so I'm not sure how the second button works, but I'd assume at least for the primary connection, the switch is in series, so it breaks the circuit when released - so you push the button, the solenoid strikes and keeps the plunger against the first chime, "ding" then you release, and the spring takes it back, striking the second chime, "dong."

How did you wire the new bell, compared to the old one? Did you wire them the same? More importantly, why was the old bell being replaced?

You could look at replacing the bell button/s - now here's a thing - are the buttons illuminated? Again, I haven't looked at one, but if I remember, the light goes out when you press it, so the current's there, til you push the button which pushes the current to the bell - so perhaps there's some leakage there. If the buttons are just two wire and no light, I'm baffled.

RE: Phantom doorbell ringer

Thanks PJB for all your help.

My electrician wired it, i tried to get it to work but couldnt . The reason I replaced the old was just to modernize a bit. i tried replacing the doorbells already, no luck,,

well, I will resolve it some how!

RE: Phantom doorbell ringer

We have had the same problem of the doorbell going off on its own. After reading that others have had this problem and reading what has been posted, I felt I should share what I did to fix ours in hopes that it may help others. As long as your doorbell is NOT wireless I would recommend you replace the push button switch. If you’re handy you can take it apart and inspect/clean the contacts, but for around $10.00 on amazon you can get new one. If you do take it apart you will see it is made up of a very simple but fragile set of contacts that are held in place by tiny plastic pins. Our front door faces East and the Florida sunshine takes its toll on plastic and the humidity wreaks havoc on contacts. I chose to clean the contacts and repair the plastic pins and the Phantom has moved on. I hope this helps.

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