Installing the Nest Hello Doorbell

OK, I decided to get a Nest hello Doorbell. Not so much for the security aspect, even thought CCTV is probably the best crime stopping tool out there. Nope, I’m doing it because I can’t hear my doorbells: especially when I am out back.

The Nest people have instructions for what they are worth out there, but the gist of it is like:

As long as you have “front”, “trans”, “rear” connections on the main chime you should be fine. Swap the Hello with the front doorbell button and put the chime connector/puck on the front and trans terminals/screws. If you have multiple wires on a terminal then only use one of the wires, leave the others connected.

Which isn’t really helpful in my circumstances. I have a house that is nearly 200 years old (which isn’t that old for these parts) and wiring which is antique. This is a picture of the transformer and one of the bells (“chimes”). Actually, these suckers are bells that go “zing”, which was really grating. These must be early since there was a movement in the 1930s when the manufacturers started pushing “Chimes”.  Anyway, this is a two bell system with an old transformer. I was able to find markings that tell me the system is at least 70 years old!

The joy of the internet! I was able to track down the transformer. I found similar doorbells. There is even a modern version of this bell being sold which takes 16VAC 10VA.

120-240 isn’t really an issue as much as dealing with electrical antiques. So, this is applicable pretty much all over the world.

It’s also the standard 10VAC system found around here, which means I need a new transformer to up the system to 16VAC 10VA required by the Hello. That’s the easy part. I know I can push the power to 16VAC, but not so sure about the higher 24VAC. Anyway, the transformer I bought can do both 16 and 24 VAC, which means I am covered.

I’m not going to get into which transformer I bought since there are a few ones out there that will do the job. The real issue is whether I am going to go with 16 or 24 VAC. Also, I don’t have “Chimes”, which means where do I put the Nest Chime Connector.

I’m going to start with the 16VAC and see if it works. I may go higher if things don’t work out well. the issue is that this system runs two doorbells. I have a feeling that the 24VAC would work if needed, but I am not keen on running more than twice the power that this system has run under for 70 odd years.

Second issue is where to put the Nest Chime Connector. Not only don’t my “chimes” have F,R,or T markings: they don’t have any markings. Fortunately, doorbell systems are AC which means there is no polarity involved. Nevertheless, I’ve decided I can tell which wires are Transformer (T) and which is Front (F) in the wiring diagram. I will then put the connector right on the new transformer using the chime wires.

Nest has its tech manual for the doorbell online, which goes into a bit more detail, but not that much more, than the app’s install. https://cjsperformance.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/2917_NestHello_Pro_Installer_Guide_20180416.pdf

However I found the most useful item was this: https://diyhousehelp.com/doorbell-wiring-diagrams .

Anyway, the  fun will begin when everything is brought together. I am currently waiting for the Nest Hello to show up.

OK, personal opinion on transformers: get one which does multiple voltages from your region to make sure it is either 120 or 240 as your needs go.  Getting a 120 transformer for a 240 household would give too much power. Likewise, a 240 would give too little power in a 120 situation

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