Doorbells are becoming very popular equipment in people’s houses nowadays. Why? Because they help with the security of your premises and you can easily tell when someone is at the door. Also, there are doorbells that allow you to operate them remotely from any room in your house. Isn’t this fantastic? However, there are times that your doorbell stops working and you wonder what the problem is.
Most likely, the problem may be the power supply of your doorbell. Is your doorbell connecting to a power supply that’s been in existence for some time? It is not obvious that your ring doorbell will work perfectly with an existing power supply, in this case, a transformer.
They may not be compatible and this is the reason why it is not functioning correctly like it should. This leads to the question, “can I use a 24v transformer on a 16v doorbell?” Read this article to get the answer.
What is a Doorbell Transformer and how does it work?
A doorbell transformer is a device that turns line-voltage (mostly 120v) into a low voltage (16/24v) so as to allow a doorbell to use it to get it in operation. Notably, doorbells usually require very low voltage to power them up. Thus, transformers make sure that your doorbell receives the most ideal voltage so as to operate appropriately.
The transformer will have a higher voltage in the beginning. It will go through a wiring system that winds throughout an iron core. By the time the current leaves this transformer using an output wire, the voltage will be lower. This is just the perfect voltage for your doorbell.
As you can see, a doorbell transformer directly affects how the doorbell performs. So when it stops working, check the transformer to ascertain the issue.
Locating a transformer
In most cases, transformers are not visible so you may find it hard to locate it. Their location depends on the person installing it, source of transformer power, and construction of the house or location of the chime. Most likely, you will find the transformer next to your home’s main electrical panel. This is the first place to check. If you do not find it here, check the following places;
- In the garage, probably on the wall or the electrical outlet in the garage.
- Stairway, basement or attic.
- Furnace room or the HVAC closet due to the fact that there are many wires in here.
- A closet that sits in a hallway, kitchen or next to your front door.
- Under the chimes of the doorbell.
You will never miss the transformer when you correctly check the places above. The main reason you are looking for the transformer is to first find out if it is faulty. Secondly, there is a need to record the voltage rating on the transformer. You will need this figure when testing whether it is faulty.
Additionally, use a multimeter to check the level of voltage in the transformer. This is the most accurate method if you need to find out any faults with the transformer as it measures the exact voltage level of any equipment or object. When using a multimeter, there is no need to locate the transformer because you can just use the two wires that are connecting to the doorbell.
Open up the doorbell and identify the two wires and the corresponding terminals. Use the multimeter to measure the voltage in the terminals. Any voltage in the range of between 16v and 24v is alright. The amperage is also important. Usually, you will see it on the transformer.
Voltage specifics of a doorbell
Like we mention above, doorbells run on a very low voltage. The standard voltage rating of doorbells lies between 8v and 20v and an amperage of 30. This works for the older models. But if you have a newer doorbell model, the voltage requirement is likely to be 24v. If your home is vast and there exist wires with longer runs, the voltage will be higher as well.
Can I use a 24v transformer on a 16v doorbell?
Yes you can but this is not advisable. If the doorbell’s voltage rating is 16v while that of the transformer is 24v, there is likely an overvoltage of 50% and this may not be safe. We explain why.
Generally, most of the electronics operate well on voltages that are + or – 20% of their ostensible voltage rating. If you operate them outside this requirement may lead to its damage or it will no longer operate properly.
So the voltage rating of the doorbell being 16v, calculate 20% of it to find 3.2v. Add this figure to the 16v to get 19.2v. This means your doorbell will comfortably work with 19.2v. If you connect it to a 24v transformer, it will work for some time but eventually fail because it is not within the expected voltage rating.
This is the point where you will notice some changes with your doorbell such as buzzing noise and louder sound. This is due to the high voltage which causes the piston to strike against the sound bar at a faster and harder rate than normal. All in all, you should not use a 24v transformer on a doorbell with 16v rating if you need it to function correctly.
But if you already have the transformer with you, you can connect a resistor or a capacitor that helps to limit the electric current that flows within a circuit. Before doing so, there is a need to measure what the current of your doorbell is so as to find out the value of the resistor you will use.
Use Ohm’s law to determine this. If you do not want to settle on the resistor solution, buy a new transformer or a new doorbell for as long as they are compatible in terms of power.
Installing a 24v transformer on a 16v doorbell is okay but only for a short time because of the overvoltage issue. You do not want to hear the loud sounds and buzzing noises from your doorbell. Add a resistor to this connection and you will be good to go.