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Thread: One Doorbell Button with 4 Doorbells/Chimes

  1. #1
    1BadBoy is offline New Member
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    One Doorbell Button with 4 Doorbells/Chimes

    Does anyone have any suggestions for being able to have our front door's doorbell button operate 4 doorbells within the home (one in garage, one in shop and 2 in our 3 story home)? Maybe a particular brand that may allow this setup?

    I was hoping there was some way to do this maybe with a higher voltage/wattage transformer (e.g. 16v/30watt), but I'm still not sure if this is enough power. If not, is it at all possible to use multiple transformers to power 4 doorbells connected to a single doorbell button (e.g. maybe with 1 doorbell button connected to 2 transformers where each transformer would be connected to 2 doorbells)?

    It seems to me that much larger homes must have similar needs, and I'm wondering how they are addressed. Thanks in advance for all insight and suggestions!

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    Nestor is offline Handyman
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    There are wireless doorbells available now, and that would save you the trouble of running wires through your house. My understanding is that wireless doorbells are battery operated, and that would also address your concern about power requirements as each door bell would have it's own power source.

    But, just for the record, transformers CAN be connected in PARALLEL to provide additional power for door bells, zone valves and any other such low voltage AC equipment. Generally you can't do that if the transformers are of different impedance because the different impedance will result in one transformer's magnetic field developing slightly earlier or later than the other's, and that will result in a voltage difference between the transformers which will cause one transformer to drive a current through the secondary windings of another transformer. But, if you have multiple IDENTICAL transformers, you can connect them in parallel to double, triple or quadruple the power output from a single transformer. That's because if they're all identical and connected in parallel, then each one's magnetic field will develop at the same time from the applied AC voltage, so the voltage at all the secondary coils will be identical at any given time, and therefore there won't be any voltage difference between transformers to cause any current in any other transformer's secondary coil.

    Heath Zenith | Wireless Battery Operated Door Chime Kit With White Cover | Home Depot Canada

    Google Heath Zenith to find their web site and check to see if they sell additional chimes for this kit so that you can have multiple chimes sounding in different areas of your house if your door bell is pressed. I'd be surprised if they didn't as that would be the natural extension of a single battery operated wireless door chime.

    Also, at least one company (Dimango) makes an "Extend-a-chime" door bell kit. This one requires that you connect a transmitter to the low voltage wiring of your existing chime. The transmitter then sends out a signal that causes all the other Extend-a-chime door bells in your house to sound.

    http://www.homehardware.ca/en/rec/in...jx1/R-I3613799

    http://www.dimango.com/da-extend-a-chime.htm

    That'll be 35 cents. Please contact the forum moderator to arrange for payment.
    Last edited by Nestor; 05-21-2012 at 02:20 PM.

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    1BadBoy is offline New Member
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    Thanks, Nestor, that's at least $0.35 worth !

    I'll tell you that I've had a wireless chime before, and wasn't very pleased with it. For instance, unless you pressed the button and held for about a 1/2 second or so, the bell would not recognize the press and would remain silent. We just got used to holding the button for a short time. And the batteries seem to run down more often that seemed reasonable. I'm guessing that the wireless technology for these items has greatly improved in the last several years, so my concerns may have less weight today then they did several years ago. However, given my past experience, and since the house is all open to the studs, it's very easy to run the low voltage wire for wired doorbells. And I'm home-running all the wires back to my mechanical room so I'll have one place to make all connections. The setup seems very straight forward. Except for powering 4 doorbells from one doorbell button. I've spoken to a couple of manufacturers who tell me that their max is 3 chimes (I'm not sure if I would do doorbell chimes or bells at this point). But with only 3, I would have to exclude either my shop or my garage. And I'm not sure I would be able to hear the doorbell from either location, which is why I'm interested in 4 doorbells to ensure adequate coverage. When you mention wiring in "parallel", I'm not sure how that works. I'm not afraid of wiring, and if I had a diagram, I'm sure I could easily handle the task.

    Thanks for your response to my question!

    1BadBoy

    One last question. I'm using 18/5 (thermostat wire) to every doorbell button and doorbell location. If I end up running more than one transformer in parallel, is 18/5 wire adequate for the power (amps) that would be travelling the wires or should I step up to 16 guage? I'm thinking I'm okay, but wanted a second opinion. Definitely don't want any overheated wires to accomplish my task of 4 (or potentially 5) doorbells.
    Last edited by 1BadBoy; 05-21-2012 at 09:54 PM. Reason: Added a question about wire gauge.

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    door bell

    I don't know how complicated you want to go, but let me get this straight. you want to wire multiple chime units to ring when one button is pressed from one location or multiple button locations to emit a different sound at multiple location. [ front door - one sound, back door - a different sound]
    Nestor is correct in stating you can parallel transformers only if the impedance is the same.
    look on your chime units and see what the current draw is -or- look for the watts and divide by the applied voltage to get amps. 18-2 is good for about ten amps, but your chime units are just a momentary [made] electromagnet.

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    1BadBoy is offline New Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by HayZee518 View Post
    I don't know how complicated you want to go, but let me get this straight. you want to wire multiple chime units to ring when one button is pressed from one location or multiple button locations to emit a different sound at multiple location. [ front door - one sound, back door - a different sound]
    Nestor is correct in stating you can parallel transformers only if the impedance is the same.
    look on your chime units and see what the current draw is -or- look for the watts and divide by the applied voltage to get amps. 18-2 is good for about ten amps, but your chime units are just a momentary [made] electromagnet.
    Yes, I will have all wires home-run back to my mechanical room. In there I'll place the transformer(s) and I'll do all the connections. I don't think it's too complicated really, but realized there are more considerations than I had originally thought.

    I will have a back door and a front door, but for simplicity sake, I am just asking about a single doorbell button at our front door that when pushed will cause all 4 units to tone (chime).

    From the sounds of it, I just need to put the wires in place (18 guage sounds like it's more than sufficient, correct?) and then purchase the bell/chime units. Once I do that, I can determine the wattage/ampacity needed and see if I can find a single transformer that can do the job, or find two transformers that can be connected in "parallel".

    When connecting transformers in parallel, is the va (watts) cumulative? In other words, if I have two transformers rated at 10va each, does that equal 20va? Or is it just more capable of maintaining 10va under load?

    I'm thinking it's got to be like a flashlight with multiple batteries, but I haven't gotten a good parallel in my mind. This is more my brother's forte .

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    doorbell

    since you'll run all home runs back to your mechanical room, use 18/3 doorbell or thermostat wire. there should be inside a white, red and green or blue. now for the transformer. instead of wiring multiple units go and buy a "buck-boost" transformer with a 120/240 primary and a 16/32 volt secondary. you'll be using the 120 volt primary and the 16 volt secondary. rating: you can get 5va 10va, 20va, 50va. please go do an inquiry in your browser for a bust/boost transformer. there should be a chart of sizes. home depot or lowes may have them, but an electrical supply house will definitely have them. check back and I'll make a diagram for you.

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    Nestor is offline Handyman
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    A low voltage transformer will have two leads and two screw connections. The two 120 VAC wires will typically be black and white. The screw terminals will be the low voltage side of the transformer.

    To wire two or more transformers in parallel, you'd simply collect all the black wires together and connect them to the brass screw of a 120 volt polarized plug. You also connect all the white wires from the transformers together and connect them to the nickle plated screw of a 120 volt polarized plug. Then you insert that plug in any 120 volt duplex receptacle, and you have multiple low voltage transformers all producing low voltage AC power in synch with each other.

    Then, one would run a wire connecting all the top screw terminals on the low voltage side of all the transformers, and another wire connecting all the lower screw terminals on the low voltage side of all transformers. Those two wires would then be run to all of the door chimes that are powered by that bank of transformers. And, of course, the door chimes would all be connected in parallel so that if one chime doesn't work, it doesn't knock out the entire string of door chimes.

    Two 40 VA transformers wired in parallel will deliver 80 VA. So, if each chime requires 30 VA, you have enough power to run 2 chimes and 2/3rds enough power for a third chime. If you want 4 chimes, you'll need three identical 40 VA transformers wired in parallel.
    Last edited by Nestor; 05-22-2012 at 03:45 AM.

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    1BadBoy is offline New Member
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    Thanks, guys - you've given me some great ideas on how to move forward. And, more importantly, that how I'm wiring will work fine for my application. I'll be sure to add a couple of more outlet boxes to the wall in my mechanical room to which I can attach transformers later if needed.

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    doorbell wiring

    Nestor must have multiple transformers on his mind when you can do the same with one buck-boost transformer. see my accompaning diagram. it shows ONE transformer connected to five loads through two pushbuttons - a front and a rear.
    if you still wish multiple transformers, follow Nestor's diagram for parallel wiring. just make sure the transformers you buy are identical with regard to impedance rating.
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    1BadBoy is offline New Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by HayZee518 View Post
    Nestor must have multiple transformers on his mind when you can do the same with one buck-boost transformer. see my accompaning diagram. it shows ONE transformer connected to five loads through two pushbuttons - a front and a rear.
    if you still wish multiple transformers, follow Nestor's diagram for parallel wiring. just make sure the transformers you buy are identical with regard to impedance rating.
    You're correct - your diagram is clear. I just need to identify which buck-booster transformer I would need to use once I have my doorbells picked out. Either way, I have more than one way to skin that cat.

    Question though on Nestor's diagram:
    > The transformers are not really connected together other than to use a common wire back to the doorbell button which would complete the circuit for each transformer (separately). Are these really in parallel? Maybe I'm missing something here because I don't think it will require identical transformers, would it?

    Thanks for the great diagrams guys!

    Edit: I re-read Nestor's description and understand that they are in fact in "parallel" (low voltage side). I apologize for my lack of understanding at first read. Thanks again guys, really appreciate all the guidance!
    Last edited by 1BadBoy; 05-22-2012 at 02:32 PM.

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