Friday, September 28, 2007

Ding Dong...or not...

So, I finally bit the bullet and bought a new doorbell. Ever since we moved in, when someone would come over and press the dreaded button, we had to listen to the hideous sounds of the cheap wireless model installed by the previous owners. The sound this thing produced was just short of grade-c horror movie quality...does that even make any sense?

Anyway, the one I bought is a really cool vintage chime from the 1950s. It's "new old stock" and came in its original box with the instructions. Here is a photo:

As soon as it arrived, I immediately went to install it. I first removed the "old" wireless chime to reveal a hole in the wall containing three wires (shoved deep in the wall) from the original doorbell. Next, I managed to install the "new" doorbell (inside) and button (outside) without a hitch. Wow...I never thought a home project could be so easy.

HA!!! In all my excitement, I ran to the front door and pressed the button...nothing...I pressed it again...nothing. WHAT? I thought I did everything right!!!

I rushed back to the doorbell (inside) and checked my connections...all good. Then, I went back to the front door and removed the button...perfect. What's the deal? Suddenly* it occurred to me..."the transformer".

I ran down to the basement and found it right next to the electrical box. Upon closer inspection, I discovered that it was a Nutone 16V transformer, circa 1958. I used my volt meter and found that it was dead.

After the transformer funeral, I jumped into my car and headed to the nearest hardware store and purchased a brand new 16V transformer. I took it home and quickly installed it. Guess what...the doorbell STILL doesn't work! ARGH!!!!!!!!!

I figured the problem must be in the wires connecting the transformer to the doorbell...but how can I know without ripping out walls to trace the wires through my house? So, just for fun, I used my volt meter on the new transformer...nothing. What? Then I was really confused. What's going on?

To be continued...

Actually, "transformer" occurred to me after about 3 hours of searching the internet for information on "doorbell troubleshooting". I thought transformers were totally righteous robots that could morph into different things like cars or animals, etc. But what do I know?

Who knew doorbells could be so exciting!?

1 comment:

50s Pam said...

Hi Chris. I just wanted to let you know that I mentioned you on my blog today in regards to this doorbell post. Take a look - it's under the ebay item that I spotlighted at

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