Doorbell help

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Topic by DavesYard posted 08-20-2012 06:12 PM 18923 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View DavesYard's profile


4 posts in 2905 days

08-20-2012 06:12 PM

Topic tags/keywords: doorbell door bell chime diode transformer


Recently while my wife and I were out, somebody rang our doorbell and the push button got stuck. This caused our doorbell to overload and stop working, and caused a burning electrical smell.

I replaced the push button (and installed the diode) and also bought a whole new chime unit and installed that.

I cannot get the new unit to work whatsoever. Both units say that a transformer is required, however I could not see one anywhere in the wall.

No breakers are tripped.

- Is it possible that the old unit was installed and worked without a transformer

- Is it possible that the transformer itself fried instead of the chime and it’s just buried in a really stupid place in the wall, would the electrician that built the house have hidden it somewhere weird?

- Should I hook up a new transformer in-line before I cut open the drywall in my foyer looking for the old transformer

- It is a fairly new house (10 yrs) and the wiring has a brown coating (instead of white) does this mean it’s most likely coming from a transformer buried in the wall?

Thanks in advance

Also, could someone tell me how to correctly use a voltage tester? Thanks again

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


447 posts in 2945 days

08-20-2012 09:26 PM

Aw Heck Dave – That stinks!

I wish I could help out but I’m just not an electrician. Sometimes the guys advise me to find a youtube video. They actually help! Maybe you can figure out the voltage meter with a little youtube help.

There’s a big reason I’m not an electrician. I’m terrified of electricity. I’d like to hear that you are safe and sound after the project is completed. Good luck.

-- Working on my home for 2 years and counting.

View GaryL's profile


206 posts in 3509 days

08-21-2012 08:52 PM

More than likely there is a 12v transformer hiding somewhere. Look in the basement, crawl space, attic for a transformer fastened to the side of a light box, junction box, etc. In my area their usually on a metal box.
They are alsmost always on the outside of the box, so don’t bother opening boxes up.
If all else fails have an electrician or a real handy remodeling contractor…... ;^).....hook a circuit tracer to the doorbell button wires and trace it out to find the transformer. I’ve had to do this before.

-- The difference between a pro and an amateur, an amateur points out his mistakes

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

331 posts in 4483 days

08-22-2012 12:51 AM

Yep, our doorbell transformer was hooked directly in to the fuse box. When we replaced the fuse box with breakers, I was too scared to hook it back up (not ‘cause I’m scared of doing wiring, but because: ancient inefficient transformer in the age of switching power supplies) so I got a wireless one.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California, http://www.flutterby.net/

View J's profile


70 posts in 2919 days

08-22-2012 06:13 AM

In my area the transformer is supposed to be within sight of the breaker panel, but sometimes it is on the wall in the room adjacent to where the chime is mounted to the wall (directly on the opposite side) or it can also be found in an entry hall closet, or the garage. Since there are only 3 parts to a hardwired doorbell you can usually find the transformer within a triangle between the button, the breaker panel and where the chime is mounted to the wall.
I think it is important to know what you are looking for—here is a picture, it could be mounted anywhere.

-- I found the board stretcher... finally!

View DavesYard's profile


4 posts in 2905 days

08-22-2012 03:21 PM


After some searching I found the transformer in my cold cellar attached to a box with a light bulb on it. I NEVER would have found it without your help. I will now turn off the breaker and replace the transformer.


View MarkTheFiddler's profile


447 posts in 2945 days

08-24-2012 03:59 AM

Yeah Dave they definitely rule. I’m glad you have what you need. With these guys around – Who needs luck?

-- Working on my home for 2 years and counting.

View fredrodriguez22's profile


4 posts in 2813 days

02-04-2013 07:36 AM

Glad you found it! The guys here at HRF are indeed amazing. So how is the new bell working now? Hope it has kind of a lifting mechanism that lifts its button up after each push to prevent itself from getting stuck when another bell-monster comes visit your house. As for me I use a wireless bell which is idiot-proof and easy to replace.

-- Fred Bowman - http://www.lift-all.com

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