Monday, June 18, 2007

Ding Dong Ditch

I'd been thinking about a new doorbell for a while, but it certainly wasn't high on the priority list. However I spotted this one on ebay and decided to bid on it:

And for the princely sum of $9.00 the "Hacienda" (the model name) was mine, plus the 10 bucks for shipping. I was the only bidder. Here is another picture of it:

It arrived last week and I set about to learn how to put up a doorbell. The box for our bell is located in the hallway off the dining room. I got the old one (a plastic NuTone, just like the one I bought, but this one was probably from the 1970's) off easily enough.

There are three wires coming from the wall, one for back door, one for the front and the third wire connects to the screw on the box labelled "transformer." The third wire is what completes the circuit when ringing the bell. On both the current and the newly purchased bells there are two chimes. The front door rings both, and the back door rings only one. The mechanical set up is interesting. There are two plungers set labeled front and back. The plungers have a spring attached to one end and they pass through the transformer box. For the back door plunger there is a stop which prevents it from hitting one of the chimes. For the front the idea is that the plunger hits one chime, and the spring then causes it to rebound and strike the other chime.

I got the whole thing up in a jiffy. I then proudly went to test and rang the back door: no problem. I marched to the front and got nothing. Zilch. Nada. I made the youngest daughter go ring the doorbell about 50 times while I climbed back up on a chair and watched what happened. I appeared that the front door plunger was stuck.

I took the thing down and discovered that the transformer came off by removing two screws from the back. I finally got it apart and with a decisive blow got the plunger out, it was corroded. The directions on the transformer say quite plainly "DO NOT OIL." So I got a little 0000 steel wool out and pushed the spring back and tried to clean the plunger. I reassembled and hung it up and still nothing. I did it again, and got the plunger to fire but it only hit one chime, making it impossible to tell back door from front.

To summarize I have spent the past week trying different cleaning methods: rubbing alcohol, etc. and finally even got the spring off and went to the hardware store to get a different one, but nothing was going to fix it.

In desparation I got the previous doorbell out and looked closely at it. I decided to tear it apart, because unlike the "Hacienda" the transformer wouldn't unscrew. I hadn't paid much attention to it originally because on that one the chimes were mounted above and below instead of side to side, so I didn't think I could switch transformers. But I did manage to get one plunger out and took the spring from it and switched with the front, and EUREKA! The doorbell in front now works.

Of course I'll need to take the whole thing down in about 2 weeks when we paint the hallway. Lisa also says it's a little too shiny, but I told her to just wait, I've handlede the thing so much in the last week it will start tarnishing in no time!

1 comment:

Becky said...

Mike- Thanks for the invite, I might take you up on it sometime. And of course the same applys to you and your family. I really wanted to make it down for the tour of homes, but we had other commitments that I couldn't get out of. I was glad to hear it went well though, I've always wanted to be a part of one.