December 29 2006
Earlier this week, I began what I expected to be a simple task -- fix a doorbell that was not ringing. I started with the most logical search -- "how to repair a doorbell". The first challenge presented itself in Google's search results -- I read seven of the ten links on the first page, and found seven different approaches to the problem. There were even different approaches to the "how to". The simplest told me exactly what to do -- test the button first, then the connections, then the transformer, then the chime. But I was amazed at how complex a purportedly-simple task could be:
Problems with doorbells are usually easy to diagnose and easy to repair. Don't call a home repair professional if your doorbell is broken. ...Yeah, ok.
Simply remove the cover of the doorbell, and test the doorbell with a neon test lamp by placing the probes against the terminals. If the voltage tester lights up your doorbell is unsafe. The push button is receiving too much voltage, and the transformer will require replacement.
I took a more basic approach. I removed the cover from the doorbell button, disconnected one wire, and put it in contact with the other. I knew enough that if that worked, it meant the button was broken, and if it didn't, it meant something in the chime was broken. When it didn't work, I moved on to the next logical step in the process. I went to Home Depot and bought a new wireless doorbell unit for all of $14. This was a far easier choice than trying to figure out clappers, grommits, unlabelled circuit breakers, and multitesters. And I never had to consult the pages of my other google search, "how to install a doorbell".
Score one for the wonders of modern technology.