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What to do when the doorbell won't ring.

The transformer on a typical doorbell (see drawing) steps down the voltage from 120 volts to 6 to 24 volts. To diagnose most problems, you need the power source connected. But to work on the transformer or wires, shut off the circuit power.

A faulty transformer, push botton, bell or chime; dirt in the ringing mechanism; poor wiring: any of these could cause your doorbell not to sound. First, make sure a fuse or circuit breaker hasn't blown or tripped. If it hasn't shut off the power and tighten all wire connections. If that doesn't work, set a volt-ohm meter to 120 volts and take a reading off the low voltage terminals; it should be close to the voltage marked on transformer. If it's significantly higher, replace transformer.

If the transformer is okay, disconnect the wires on the button and touch their bare ends together. If the bell or chime sounds, replace the button; if not, test the ringing device itself.

A buzzing or humming noise means the bell or chime mechanism may be gummed up with dirt. Clean it as necessary, using fine-grade sandpaper to remove corrosion from any contacts. If the bell or chime still hums or buzzes after cleaning, replace it. If it's dead silent, connect it directly to the transformer with new wiring. No ring: replace the mechanism. But if it does ring, check the wiring for breaks or frayed insulation and rewire if necessary, or repair any breaks and wrap them with electrician's tape.
COPYRIGHT 1985 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:excerpt from Sunset Home Repair Handbook
Date:Mar 1, 1985
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