The technology and technicalities behind your doorbell’s sweet chimes continue to evolve, with the advent of smart homes, the Internet of Things (IoT) as well as other related capabilities. Naturally, certain electrical aspects have had to keep up, and today we take a look at the voltage relationship between doorbells and the transformers that funnel power to them.
While not the most ideal configuration, it is possible to use a 24V transformer on a 16V doorbell provided an appropriate resistor is installed between the two. A multimeter should be used to obtain the value of the current in the circuit. This value will then be used in Ohms law and the power rule formula for determining the required resistance.
Join in as we explore some basics about voltage and how it relates to the workings of transformers and doorbells. We will also discuss some of the best and affordable transformers you can buy today on Amazon.com. Let’s begin!
Do I Need A Transformer For My Ring Doorbell?
To answer this question, we need to understand the role the doorbell transformer plays. The average American household receives an average of about 120V of electricity (line voltage) at any given time from the power company. European homes receive double that, at 240V per home. A quick glance at the title of this article suggests that 120 or 240V is overkill where doorbells are concerned.
Enter the transformer. This component is responsible for downsizing the line voltage to a low voltage (e.g., 12V, 16V, or 24V) that is more efficient for powering smaller devices like doorbells. Any transformer that can convert line voltage to low voltage is known as a low voltage transformer. Most doorbells function at 12V or 24V. Therefore, most doorbells need low voltage transformers if they are to avoid exploding from the line voltage.
So, to come back to the question at hand, your doorbell requires a transformer if it functions at a voltage lower than your home’s line voltage (which it always does).
Of course, a transformer is only “needed” if the doorbell is to be powered by the house’s main electrical line. The ring has an alternative powering solution for its doorbells: a rechargeable battery. This is included along with the doorbell to cater to customers who would rather avoid all of the wiring and other handiwork.
Which Transformer Is Used For The Ring Doorbell?
The Ring doorbell can only be hooked up to a low voltage transformer that uses an alternate current (AC). Direct current (DC) transformers are not supported at this time.
An AC setup will need to be configured by someone who can understand Ring’s instructional diagrams. There is a bit of intricate soldering involved as well, so make sure your skills are up to par. If you or a friend are unable to do either of these, then you should enlist the services of an electrician.
You will also need to purchase an electronic resistor for this setup to be a success. Of course, this whole AC transformer configuration is one of the two options available when it comes to powering the ring doorbell. You can also avoid all of this trouble by connecting the doorbell to the rechargeable battery that comes included.
Can I Use A 24v Transformer On A 16v Doorbell?
I must begin by saying that while it IS possible to connect a 16V doorbell to a 24V transformer, the process is not some simple plug and play setup. Besides, one should not expect such a connection to be a reliable long-term solution for your doorbell.
Depending on quality, a lot of electrical components can operate normally on voltages that are up to 20% higher or lower than their stated voltage. If we apply this framework of leeway to our 16V doorbell, then that means it should work on voltages as low as 12.8V or as high as 19.2V. Going beyond these 20% thresholds can result in either under or overvoltage, with the former slowing or ceasing performance entirely.
Overvoltage, meanwhile, overwhelms a device or circuit’s wiring, which leads to a shortened lifespan. The 24V that is dished out by the transformer qualifies as overvoltage for our 16V doorbell. As we have already discussed, this connection may not be the most sustainable solution because the chances of damage and malfunction are significantly high.
What we will do, of course, is give it the old try. The first thing we need to do is acquire an appropriate resistor that works in series with a 24V transformer. A simple application of Ohm’s law will help you calculate the value of the resistance required.
Ohm’s law dictates that the current through a conductor between two points is directly proportional to the voltage across the two points. In simpler terms, voltage equals current times resistance. Therefore, to find resistance, we must divide the voltage we need to drop (in this case 8 because 24-16=8) by the current. Current is measured using a multimeter. If, for instance, the current drawn in by your doorbell system is 0.5 amperes, then the resistance will be 16 Ohms (8V/0.5 amps).
We also need to know the electrical power dissipated by the resistor. This is calculated through the power rule, which dictates that power is equal to current times voltage. In our case, power (which is measured in watts) is equal to 8V times 0.5 amps, which gives us 4 watts.
So, all in all, we would need a 16 Ohm and 4-watt resistor to get a 16V doorbell to work with a 24V transformer. Do not panic if your resistance and power figures differ from those above.
Remember the calculations were based on current values based on multimeter findings, so your final values could be different if your doorbell is drawing more or less than 0.5 amps.
Best 16-24v Doorbell Transformer
If you are looking to upgrade your doorbell transformer or having an entire doorbell system installed for the first time, you have several choices. Amazon.com has some of the best, and most affordable, doorbell powering components you can buy today.
Best overall – Maxdot 16V 30VA Hardwired Door Chime Transformer
Say hello to the crème de la crème when it comes to line to low voltage transformation. Maxdot’s thermostat and doorbell transformer will be the hidden MVP behind any elaborate system of doorbells and thermostats you employ in your home.
The transformer converts AC line voltage coming into your home into more fun-sized 16V streams that can power multiple devices at once. Leave underpowered doorbells in the past where they belong, and upgrade your existing (and struggling) transformers. The Maxdot chime transformer’s safety has also been vetted and certified by UL, a nod to its superior reliability and stability over older transformers.
Installation is a breeze, with detailed instructions and diagrams right out of the box. Simply screw the transformer onto an electrical box or use the threaded clamp that comes inclusive. The transformer also has compatibility with some of the biggest brands in the doorbell industry, including Nest and Ring.
Physically, the transformer measures 10.7 inches in length, 9.3 inches in width, and 7.2 inches in height. The device also weighs 1.5 pounds.
A must-have for any single or multi-door chime-bells in your home. Did I mention it powers thermostats too?
Best for the price – Shenzheny Yelingda Doorbell Transformer
If you’re looking for an affordable, but still capable transformer upgrade, you needn’t look further than Shenzheny Yelingda’s Door Transformer. This 16V 30VA transformer is solid and sturdy enough to power one or several door chimes in your house.
The whole point of doorbells is convenience, after all. So, it makes sense that the installation be just as easy for you. 10-15 minutes is all you need to have this powerful transformer integrated into your doorbell system. Simply turn off the power supply, remove the existing transformer (if any) from its position on the electrical box.
Next, attach the Shenzheny Yelingda Door Transformer in its stead. A set of screws and a threaded clamp are provided by the manufacturer. Set it up vertically or horizontally, depending on your preference.
The transformer is compatible with most of the industry titans in the doorbell game. Ring and Nest Hello customers are in front of the queue, as they so often are.
Strong, consistent voltage, hard-to-believe price, and a 100% quality guarantee from the manufacturer? That’s about as plucky as an underdog can get.