11 posts / 0 new
Last post
shaveman
Doorbell Transformer??

I work in home building and was a carpenter in a past life, so I'm not clueless, however, I just bought a very old house and I am having trouble finding the doorbell transformer.

Take a look at the attached picture. Does anyone know what this is? It certainly doesn't look like the new transformers that can be purchased today, but it's the only thing that I've found that even resembles one...

I'm wondering if it's a very old version - or something completely different. The basement was remodeled before I bought the house, so I'm wondering if it's hidden behind the drywall somewhere. Checked the attic as well, but no dice.

Thanks for the help!!

dj1
Re: Doorbell Transformer??

It's 2013 and wired door bells with transformers are a thing of the past.

For around $10 get yourself a battery operated GE wireless door bell.

A. Spruce
Re: Doorbell Transformer??
dj1 wrote:

It's 2013 and wired door bells with transformers are a thing of the past.

For around $10 get yourself a battery operated GE wireless door bell.

Been there, done that, it didn't work. Installed wired doorbell and no more issues AND it's a chime that can be heard throughout the house.

shaveman
Re: Doorbell Transformer??

Yeah I'm not a huge fan of wireless doorbells. Tried a couple in the past and never been satisfied.

Might be my only option, though, until we remodel our basement in a couple years...!

Condoman
Re: Doorbell Transformer??

Your picture is the fuse block for the telephone. Actually not a fuse as much as lightning suppressor made of little carbon blocks that will short the line if it is hit by lightning.

shaveman
Re: Doorbell Transformer??

Wonderful. Thanks for confirming my suspicions.

I'll continue searching...

von_steuben
Re: Doorbell Transformer??

shaveman:

I agree with Spruce; not only are there issues with tiny batteries going dead with wireless units, but you probably won't get a lighted exterior doorbell button on both the front & rear doorbells, which is the only sensible way to go, and also makes the house entryways look elegant.

Went thru this whole same deal last month---------we found the xformer in working order sitting on top of the main elec fuse box panel in the utility room, but as you noted, the entire 1st floor had been remodeled over with new sheetrock, & the workers just pulled the old chimes out & didn't make a note of their exact location------so when it came time to install a wired door bell we had to use a TONE & PROBE tool to locate the wires to hook up the new chimes---this is a 2-part tool that has 2 generator wires coming out of a small tone-producing generator; the wires are hooked up to the wires of the old doorbell, or any doorbell wires you can locate; the hand-held probe is then run along the wall until the generator TONE is heard.

We finally found the old wires for the 2 doorbells hidden inside the wall, after cutting a 2' X 2' hole in the NEW SHEETROCK, but the chime wire (3-wire) for the chimes was impossible to find, so we assume it was pulled out during the sheetrock phase--------that meant running new wires for each of the doorbells & the chimes to converge at a convenient spot on the 1st floor, plus doing a patch & paint job on the cut-out section of sheetrock.

Check the main electric panel to see if you can find the old xformer at that location, if not, the new xformer can be located anywhere, a convenient place is the cellar, equi-distant between the front doorbell & back door bell, if the building HAS a cellar; you can tap into any convenient nearby 120V line & put it in a steel box with the new xformer in the same box; bell wiring can then be run up via drilled holes past the sills into the wall cavities to converge the wires for the chimes, front doorbell & rear doorbell all in one spot; the only function for the xformer is to step down the house voltage from 120V AC to 12-16V AC; the thin, low-cost, 3-conductor bell wire can then be used to converge everything in the one location you select for the new chimes; check the AC voltage requirements for the new chimes, which vary from 12 to 24V AC & match the xformer accordingly.

If the old chimes and/or the old xformer have been covered up by the new sheetrock, you're better off running new wire as explained above.

function
Re: Doorbell Transformer??

Wired? Wireless?

None of the above I say!

Fencepost
Re: Doorbell Transformer??

Turn everything in the house off except for incandescent lights (so you can see where you're going) late-late-late some night. Listen for a buzzing. If the transformer's really old, it might make a low hum or buzz.

You have to turn everything off, because any motors that might run, as well as any fluorescent lights and rechargeable devices may emit low hums or buzzes and could very likely drown out the doorbell transformer.

Re: Doorbell Transformer??
Fencepost wrote:

Turn everything in the house off except for incandescent lights (so you can see where you're going) late-late-late some night. Listen for a buzzing. If the transformer's really old, it might make a low hum or buzz.

You have to turn everything off, because any motors that might run, as well as any fluorescent lights and rechargeable devices may emit low hums or buzzes and could very likely drown out the doorbell transformer.

LOL, I was just about to caution the OP that if he installs a new transformer don't just screw it to a rafter...they make a lot of noise!:)

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.