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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Walker, Michigan
    Posts
    2

    Default How to find doorbell transformer

    My house was build in 1970. I have a front and back doorbell. I replaced the front doorbell button but it still doesn't work and I have no idea where to begin looking for the transformer.

    Any suggestions or ideas on where to look and what the transformer may look like would be appreciated.

    Thanks,

    lachp

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    7,094

    Default Re: How to find doorbell transformer

    Most commonly they are found on the garage/house wall, and they look like this:


    Before you go replacing it, disconnect the wires at the button and tap them together, do you get a chime? If so, the button is bad. If you've got a volt meter, you can test it across the wires, there should be around 12 volts. If you find the transformer, you can check the voltage there as well.

    Even still, don't replace the transformer just yet. check the incoming power to see that it's working. Sometimes the transformer can get disconnected when other electrical work is being done. If there is power in, but none coming out, then the transformer needs to be replaced.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    1,185

    Default Re: How to find doorbell transformer

    I have seen them in front coat closets, too. Check the basement also.
    Casey
    Remove not the ancient landmark, which your fathers have set.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    7,094

    Default Re: How to find doorbell transformer

    Quote Originally Posted by Sombreuil_mongrel View Post
    I have seen them in front coat closets, too. Check the basement also.
    Casey
    Oops! I meant to mention that as well. The coat closet nearest the front door or nearest the location of the chime. I've even found them in the attic, usually near the access point.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Pacific Northwet
    Posts
    1,629

    Default Re: How to find doorbell transformer

    This is a bit "out there" and may not work, but if you have access to a tone generator and probe kit (used by telephone installers) you may be able to connect the tone generator to the wires at the bell or the button and use the probe to find out where the wire goes inside the wall. Eventually it should lead you to the transformer.

    (I haven't tested this out. It was just a thought.)

    By the way, DO NOT use the tone generator/probe on 120V circuits. The doorbell is low-voltage, between 12 and 16 volts.

    If you want to buy a tone generator, they sell them at big-box home improvement stores, but you'll pay $50-150.
    The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    237

    Default Re: How to find doorbell transformer

    In rowhomes with basements, I typically find them in basements where it is easy to access since the ceiling is usually open in a basement. Now that home are having finished basements, these get concealed and become difficult to find.

    One option may be to find the chime(the part where the sound comes out) and remove it from the wall. Removing it from the wall can probably tell you from which direction the wire is coming from, and therefor the approximate location of the transformer. Try to follow the most direct path of the wire(e.g. straight down, up, left, right) to a space that currently is or most likely was unfinished as some point. You can probably follow the same tracing method by taking off the button if you can figure out which direction the wire goes.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    6,611

    Default Re: How to find doorbell transformer

    To save time and money, why not switch to a wireless doorbell?

    I've installed a few of them, they work on batteries and they are very inexpensive. But if you're really tired of solicitors, just keep your disabled bell

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: How to find doorbell transformer


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    wisconsin
    Posts
    159

    Default Re: How to find doorbell transformer

    Well id put em on the panel. thats where mine is and makes it easy to find and replace. Who knows where they hid your at.. good luck

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: How to find doorbell transformer

    Quote Originally Posted by dj1 View Post
    To save time and money, why not switch to a wireless doorbell?

    I've installed a few of them, they work on batteries and they are very inexpensive. But if you're really tired of solicitors, just keep your disabled bell
    My 78-year old mother-in-law has a wireless (2 receivers) ringer, but when I do my annual visit (I'm in DC and they're in SoCal), the transmitter battery is always depleted, and it uses a non-standard battery which requires a run to the store for her.

    Solicitors are not deterred by a non-working bell; they'll just knock on your door.

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