Tommy’s Tips: Ding Dong – how to install a doorbell

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Doorbells are okay, but I am a man that has always preferred nice “knocker’s”.  I’m the kind of guy who prefers a good banging on knockers than pressing door-bells, and you know that anyone at home will sit up smartly when they hear the door knocker’s getting a good banging.  For me using a knocker is like a pressure relief valve, and I do have a preference for heavy pear shaped one’s that you can get your hands around for a good hard banging! The knocker should feature as a centre piece at the front door, and I have spent a many a Sunday morning giving my wife’s a good polishing, then buffing up with a soft cloth! She asks me to do it to avoid the Brasso polish blackening her hands and nails! Enough about my preference for door furniture. Although ironically “Knocker’” has a nicer ring to it than “doorbell”. In my part of the world, “knocker” has two meanings, one as described above; an ornate front door feature, and a civil way of announcing your arrival. The other of course as you have probably guessed; is a colloquial term for a person who attempts to avoid paying their bill!   

There are essentially three types of doorbell, a good old fashioned wind-up bell, a battery operated version, or a mains operated type.  The wind-up version is very easy to install, as they obviously don’t require any electrical wiring to work, they just need simple winding up just like an old watch, and as the button is pressed, it releases the spring, and causes the striker to hit the bell.  The only down side is, if you have many visitors, it will need to be wound up often, be careful not to overwind, as they can become stuck! Drill a hole through the door from the outside, and push the shaft from the button through to the inside, then screw the button to the door.  On the reverse side of the door, place the underside of the bell over the shaft, and screw into place.  Replace the outer cover, and simply wind up. Job done!

It’s possible to install a battery operated door bell system just about anywhere near the door, but not close to a heat source! The battery housing is normally located within the bell casing, with two terminals for connecting the wires from the doorbell button!  These wires can be connected to either terminal, either one is okay.  Drill a hole through the doorframe for the cable, fix the battery box to the wall above or next to the door.  Run the wire down the side of the frame, thread it through the hole to the outside.  Re-fix the unit cover, and carefully tap in the cable clips, to secure the cable neatly to the frame. Separate the conductors and join each one to the bell terminal, then screw the button fixing into place. Job done!

Mains operated bells are fitted to the consumer unit, via a suitable transformer, which reduces the 240-volt supply, down to the required bell voltage, anything from 3-12 volts.  Carefully follow the specific installation instructions, ensuring that the 240-volt mains supply, cannot bridge and cross-over to the low voltage bell push and cable! Job done!

Tommy’s Tips: when drilling holes through the frame or door, hold some scrap wood, firmly against the door, behind the hole position, this will avoid any breakout damage from the drill! If the consumer unit is near the front door, consider a transformer system bell. If there is a considerable distance between them, consider a battery operated version, me, I like a “wind-up” but as I said you can’t really beat “Lovely Knockers!”

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