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I am interested in replacing my doorbell chime with a new one. The existing button and transformer work, but I want to make sure that the chime I get is compatible with the output of the transformer. I'm not sure where the transformer is actually located in the house. I've taken a voltmeter, set it to 20v AC maximum and set to to 'peak hold' and had a friend push and hold the doorbell. I measured approximately 10-14 volts that way at the chime.

Most of the doorbell chimes I've seen are rated 16V/10VAC which I understand is 10volts AC. But, what is the 16volt value? Peak voltage of the sinusoid?

Was my technique for measuring the voltage output of the transformer reasonable? Since I've set it for AC voltage reading, the value I'm hoping for is 10V (or close to it) vice 16 volts if I want to purchase one of these 16V/10VAC chimes, correct?

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All of those voltages (specified and measured) are NOMINAL. You can expect an open-circuit (no-load) voltage of 20~24VAC, and 10~16VAC under load. These things are rather sloppy by electronics standards and your design should be able to tolerate and operate on probably anything between 10VAC and 30VAC.

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Doorbell transformers are weak to make them safe against shorting. So their voltage changes a lot with load. Plus, the bell installation cables are usually very thin and have much and unpredictable voltage drop.

So there's not much sense in trying to "match" the voltages of transformer and chime. Instead, start with the lowest setting at the transformer and test the chime. When it's not loud enough, increase the voltage.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The OP does not currently have access to the transformer. \$\endgroup\$ – Dave Tweed Nov 18 '16 at 5:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ As the question was Was my technique [...] reasonable? I think the OP sought for a general answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Janka Nov 18 '16 at 7:55

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