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Sun, Sep 6, 2020 4:36 PM

Video Doorbell Pro Compatibility with wired doorbell unit

Hi, I am not having any luck installing the Video Doorbell even with the recommended Chime Connector and a new 16 volt transformer.   The chime doorbell is a 30 year old Broan Nutone unit.  Can anyone recommend a new replacement doorbell brand/unit that has been successfully linked to the SSDB3 SimpliSafe Video Pro?

I am thinking it is time to buy a new chime doorbell since apparently a digital version will not work.  Thanks!

Official Solution

Community Admin

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469 Messages

Il y a 2 y

Hi @bryanseva,

At this time, our Video Doorbell Pro is not compatible with most digital doorbell chime boxes which is what is causing the constant ringing. Unfortunately, your only options at this point would be to either purchase a mechanical doorbell chime box or to return the Video Doorbell Pro if it was purchased within the past 60 days.

SimpliSafe Social Team
SimpliSafe Home Security

2 Messages

SERIOUSLY? I bought a modern day video doorbell that can only work with old style equipment? Were you somehow unaware when you designed it that there were electronic doorbells out there? And why is this nowhere addressed in the video doorbell's documentation? I, too, bought a Hampton Bay electronic doorbell to be installed while I was having remodeling done only to have my handyman tell me he couldn't install it because it wouldn't stop ringing. Now I find out I have to track down an electromechanical style door bell to make it function? I've had to add TWO wifi extenders to get my outdoor cameras to work and even then they drop the signal constantly. One of the extenders is literally TEN FEET from the video doorbell! I've had to replace two entry sensors because they kept going offline. I bought SimpliSafe because it was recommended by Glenn Beck, whom I generally trust but, I am a bit frustrated at how buggy, finicky and generally unreliable the system has been. I've seen more "camera disconnected" and "no video" messages than I can count and I have the fastest internet service my provider offers...1000G fiber optic. I'm am not what you would call a happy camper at this point. I pay $24.99 a month for video monitoring but what the heck good is it? Anytime there's something to see, the cameras disconnect or can't process the video. Heaven forbid anything should really happen at my house!!

Il y a 2 y

I suggest testing voltage before you decide the chime is the problem.

If you haven't already, make sure to test the voltage at the wires where you will install the doorbell with a multimeter/voltmeter that reads AC voltage.  Youtube can show you how with that search string.

I was about ready to trash my doorbell chime for the same problem you are having, but Simplisafe support emailed me to tell me there was a potential problem with my video doorbell unit and offered to cross-ship a replacement.

I took them up on this offer, and they sent a second doorbell-- which also did not work.

While I was troubleshooting the first unit, I tested the voltage (AC) at the chime power output to the doorbell, the doorbell wires at the front door (where the doorbell is installed), the screws on the doorbell mounting plate, and the two contacts where the doorbell touches the mounting plate to receive its power-- all of them read good voltage in advertised operating range of this product (8 - 24V AC), a consistent 17.7 volts at each point (right around what the documentation recommends).

Once the mounting bracket was installed and the voltage tested, the install guide instructed me to push the button the unit to see if it was installed properly.  The first doorbell rang the chime continuously until I took it off the mounting plate.  The second doorbell rang the chime twice then quit.  Neither of these two units ever showed any lights of any sort.  To finish the doorbell setup, the Simplisafe app requires that you acknowledge the doorbell has a flashing white light-- which I never saw on either doorbell.

I read more than a couple of threads where customers had two and three doorbells shipped to them and none of them worked.  It looks like their support has difficulty understanding low-voltage electricity and the difference between AC and DC power.  The reason digital doorbells do not work with this unit is because digital doorbells send DC voltage, and this unit was designed for 8 - 24V AC.  Older doorbells match the power type in the home (AC) and have a step-down transformer to produce the desired AC voltage at the doorbell wires.  Systems that run on AC are incompatible with DC power sources and vice-versa.

I'm super bummed, I was hoping this would work out -- I wanted to get an entire Simplisafe system and integrate it with the doorbell, but if this experience is reflective of their product quality and support, I will keep my old security system.

Hope this helps and I hope you have a better experience with the product and their support than I had.
Here's a proper fix, but maybe not easy. A Nutone door unit has two wire pairs, one for the speaker and one for the door bell button. My unit is one of those fancy Westminster Chimes jobs so its an electronic chime. You would like to keep that original so it rings the doorbell throughout the house on all the intercom units. That way if you're in the rec room downstairs you hear the doorbell.

My Nutone front door box has a junction box and a CAT5 cable running to it, so I had 4-pairs in the box;
A) Pair 1 - The original Pair 1 to the speaker like usual
B) Pair 2 - I placed a 24VAC doorbell transformer behind the main Nutone unit and ran the secondary 24VAC to the junction box on Pair 2
C) Pair 3 - I placed a small 24VAC SPST normally open (Inductive load BTW) relay behind the main Nutone box and wired the coil of the relay to pair number 3
D) Pair 4 - Was the original pair from the Nutone button at the door That comes back to behind the main Nutone unit
Wiring:
1) I ran one wire of Pair 2 to the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell
2) I spliced the other wire of Pair 2 to one wire of Pair 3 with a small wire nut
3) I ran the other wire of Pair 3 to the other side of the Doorbell
4) I cut Pair 4 that originally went to the doorbell button and wired it to the SPST contacts of the relay

Operation:
i) The new 24VAC doorbell transformer presents the correct voltage and current through the relay coil to run the SS Video doorbell properly
ii) When the doorbell is pressed it energizes the relay which closes the contacts wired to the high impedance doorbell circuit

Done; tidy up, put the main box back in the wall, the front door Nutone back in the wall, and it runs like a champ

Thanks and hope that helps, Keith Ebel

6 Messages

Thx, this is a terrific solution. Wish I had thought of it. Jeff

6 Messages

Hello, Looked like a good solution so I tried it but have some strange results. My transformer supplies either 8, 16, or 24 at 10VA. When I connect the transformer to the video doorbell by itself, the video doorbell works perfectly at any of the 3 voltages. When I introduce the relay in series with the video doorbell the relay will activate on it's own. At 8 volts it buzzes (trying to close); at 16 volts it chatters, and at 24V it closes and stays closed. Clearly, the 10VA is enough since it closes and stays closed at 24V.  I added variable resistance in series and parallel to the coil thinking I could find a sweet spot where the video doorbell was getting the voltage and current it needed to operate and it's push button would activate the relay....but no luck. My relay is not solid state, I can see the wire coil through the plastic cover. Not sure why it activates on it's own, apparently from the voltage and current drawn for normal video doorbell and camera operation. Did you experience any of these symptoms before you were successful? Thx for any help.

1.3K Messages

Clearly, the 10VA is enough since it closes and stays closed at 24V...


The relay wouldn't close if the camera wasn't pulling at least enough to make that happen. What VA does the relay datasheet indicate for normal operation?

I'd really like to get my hands on one to measure the actual current draw and such, but $170 is too much just for playing around since I already have non-SS outdoor camera system watching over my stuff.

6 Messages

whoaru99........

The spec sheet for the relay I'm trying to use says:

schrack pt270524

Coil code 524

Coil rated voltage: 24 vac
operating voltage @60 Hz 21.6  vac
release voltage at 60 Hz 7.2 vac
coil resistance + or - 10% 192 ohms
rated coil power at 60Hz 0.79 VA

5 Messages

Il y a 2 y

Is it possible the transformer itself does not have a high enough current rating?  I am having trouble installing my SS video doorbell because the transformer that came with my doorbell chime kit is 16VAC at 10VA (voltage amps, or current rating at 16V?).  I have seen troubleshooting posts for other video doorbells that say they require 40-50 amps or else the video doorbell won't get enough power since the transformer just can't provide that much current.

Also, the SS video doorbell requirements web page does not mention anything about a current rating requirement.  Maybe that needs to be updated.

1 Message

Il y a 2 y

I too have a 1964 nutone chime which will not stop ringing once started. It is clearly AC and not digital. I have requested any list of compatible chimes or even specifications that will work. So far...na d a. This issue cannot be that complicated to prevent a solution from Simplisafe. Help!

Il y a 2 y

The following solved all my video doorbell problems:

My original chime was incompatible and made me erroneously conclude that the camera was dead on arrival.  The camera also came with a label "clearance" despite a full retail purchase.  

Before I purchased the doorbell, I had a Simplicam.  The Simplicam camera was bad and continually flashed.  I had to send back the camera, and the replacement camera worked immediately.  My problem with the video doorbell was a continual flashing, and this made me think that the video doorbell with a clearance label was bad in the same way that the Simplicam had been bad.  This thinking turned out to be an incorrect diagnosis.

I requested Simplisafe send a second camera, and the second camera arrived timely.  The second camera failed exactly like the first, but it also had a "clearance" label.

What to do?

Armed with two cameras, I tried a bunch of experiments on both cameras to try to get at least one to work.  I tried powering the camera from a 16 VAC transformer using only a resistive source and no door chime.  I tried resistors in the range of 25 ohms (I tried several values). I actually had some success at first and got the doorbell to work, but eventually it failed; NOTE: The "Ring" brand cameras are supposedly able to work being driven with no door chime and a resistor to replace the door chime.

The problem with the camera was basically a continual flashing yellow light (excepting the one time I was actually able to get the camera to work with the resistive load).

Finally I said to myself, before I quit and write this off I would try to change the chime.  A "ding-dong:: mechanical chime's electrical load is first of all inductive and second not static. The chime I had was a fancy electronic chime.  I was not optimistic that trying a ding-dong chime would work, since the resistive load for the chime was basically a failure.

Yet,  perhaps the Simplesafe doorbell really needs the solenoid load from the mechanical chime (I could see it making use of a low-impedance DC load from the chime's solenoid for charging by use of rectification, i.e., the DC resistance of a solenoid is much less than the AC impedance).  I purchased a Newhouse Hardware CHM3D "ding-dong" door chime on Amazon for $27.  I chose this model by looking at a list of compatible doorbells for the "Ring" brand "first generation" video doorbells. The CHM3D worked perfectly for me and solved all my problems, and is an attractive modern looking model (at least enough for me and my plain tastes).

Of course, I can't find out if the CHM3D is approved for the Simplisafe video doorbell and if I am on the cusp of a failure.  All I can say is that for me it solved all my problems.

NOTE:   Setting the QR code is tricky for all Simplisafe cameras including the video doorbell, so I am not talking about solving the nuisance of the camera accepting the QR code ... you really have to play with it and slowly move the smart phone with the QR code toward and away from the camera lens.

I am now extremely happy with the Simplesafe video doorbell after a month of operation.  The motion sensing works perfectly for me and my setup, and the view, resolution, and frame rate are acceptable ... I have the bracket installed that tilts up the camera, but this fits my particular property and front stoop and the original doorbell location.

For the transformer I have a 16 VAC, 10 VA transformer that was part of the original houses' doorbell circuit.  This is a 20% regulation transformer, so it reads about 19 VAC when there is no load on the transformer, i.e.., this is the normal way transformers are rated, i.e., their rated voltage is for when the rated load is applied, and for no load the open circuit voltage is higher by the regulation amount.  My transformer does not seem to be overheating, but I live in a cool climate.  If I were to install a transformer from scratch, I would use a 16 VAC transformer with a larger VA rating.

Hope this helps.

Regards,
Arthur

P.S. --- Although the Simplisafe personnel that contacted me were friendly and helpful sending a second camera, ultimately they did not provide the technical support that would have helped me.  What I needed was really for them to send a list of known approved doorbell chime models and tell me that if I have a continually flashing yellow light to change my chime to one on the list.  Something along those lines would have saved me a lot of headache.

1 Message

Arthur Sherman. Hi, I don't know if you'll see this or anyone else told you, but please tell me you asked about why you got a "clearance' unit when you called tech support. That "tag' was a spacer so that when you mark the holes for your mount it ensured you have enough "clearance' between the doorbell and whatever is above it, as the bell itself is bigger than the mount. If you didn't have that clearance tag, depending where you mounted it, you may not have been able to fit the unit into it. Either way, thank you I needed a good chuckle!

1.3K Messages

Il y a 2 y

You're on the right track but, more simply, a newer electronic chime is a high resistance/high impedance device. That creates two problems for the doorbell cam.
1. Being the electronic chime is high resistance/impedance circuit, the doorbell cam can't get enough current through the circuit to keep the battery properly charged and to function properly. High resistance/impedance acts to limit current.
2. Also, the high resistance/high impedance nature means the electronic chime is easily triggered. That's the phenomena often noted that the chimes activate simply by connecting the doorbell cam to the circuit. The quiescent draw of the doorbell cam presents enough load for the electronic chime to see it as a closed or partially closed circuit without even pushing the button.

The mechanical door bells work because the low resistance (or impedance if you prefer because it's AC) of the solenoid allows the doorbell cam to draw sufficient power though the solenoid to power the cam. Yet, in most cases, not enough to actually activate the solenoid. That part happens when you push the button to fully close the circuit.

And, yes, 10VA doorbell transformer is too small. While SS hasn't committed to a recommended "size" doorbell transformer, Ring recommends a minimum of 20 to 30VA transformer. I would not use any less than that for one doorbell cam. If, by chance, you have two powered from the same circuit then you're looking at something on the order of a 50VA transformer.

4 Messages

WHOARU99: My door cam works fine on the recommended 16V circuit. I do have a 24V transformer installed, but am have not connected for 24V.

4 Messages

Il y a 2 y

So I purchased a Hampton Bay Wired or Wireless Doorbell. Therefore it's digital with 16 different chimes. Also the Hampton Bay chimes requires a diode (included) be connected across the two wires at the doorbell button (in this case the Simplisafe door cam location). The purpose of the diode is to allow the chime to ring completely through.

So I get it all hooked up and the chimes just ring continuously. I call customer support and they send me the Simplisafe Chime Connector (why wasn't it included with the Door Cam?). With this in-hand I hoped all my problems would be solved. NO! It still rings continuously. So what does the chime connector actually do? I was told it makes it all work better. To me it made no difference at all.

Anyone else have this same thing happen? Looks like the 21 Century Simplisafe Door Cam only work with 20th Century technology. Come on guys, let's get updated. My grandpa had an old electro-magnetic doorbell in his house. Is that the best Simplisafe Engineers can do?

BTW, as long as all the wiring is hooked up, the cam works fine.

Il y a 2 y

My video doorbell will not connect to the wifi even after getting an extender thats almost sitting right underneath the door bell. After trouble shooting with customer service, the diagnosis is that I need a new "mechanical" doorbell. Which kind do you recommend I purchase? It seems as if there are all kinds (wired and wireless). I am certain I need wired for the power needed for the doorbell but what else do I need?  Do I need the transformer and kit also?

1.3K Messages

Il y a 1 a

Speed of your connection is not the problem and hope you didn't get 1Gbps just for SS. The cams require only ~1.5Mbps each when they're active/transmitting video.

As well, the issue of wired doorbell cam and electronic doorbells isn't at all unique to SS.

Not that knowlege of either of those things makes you any happier.

1.3K Messages

Il y a 1 a

@bryansvea

WHOARU99: My door cam works fine on the recommended 16V circuit. I do have a 24V transformer installed, but am have not connected for 24V.


The issue is not usually voltage per se, rather not enough current capability to prevent too much load-induced voltage sag.

That's why looking at the transformer VA is important. The smaller transformers like 10-15VA don't have enough "balls" to keep the camera properly supplied.

1 Message

Il y a 1 a

I had this issue and resolved it by replacing my door chime (Nicor 18888) with a newer version. The Nicor Prime Chime Plus 2 is designed for video doorbells. The SS video doorbell is not on their compatibility list but it works with mine. I purchased this door chime because it is made to recess into the double junction box like my previous door chime.
   The SS Customer support was unaware of any door chimes that were compatible with their product. (which seems unbelievable) so if they want to start a list... here you go.

Community Admin

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2.9K Messages

Il y a 1 a

@rrsly

That's true, we don't keep a list of compatible wired doorbells. Though in general, the Video Doorbell Pro is compatible with most analog doorbell systems.

If your system has a digital chime, or similar to the "NuTone" brand with multiple chimes, then the Video Doorbell Pro is unlikely to work.

- Johnny M.
SimpliSafe Home Security

2 Messages

Il y a 1 a

Came home to the buzzing one night. Had the system connected for 1 to 2 years now. Went and bought a new old style doorbell, as I thought it fried. Same thing. Talked to tech support, "you need a chime connector, and you should probably upgrade to a transformer meant for smart doorbells, we will ship the connector". Next day, got a hampton Bay transformer, 30VA, connected it, BUZZ. Next day receive the connector, install, BUZZ. Call tech support, try adding a wifi extender. UM, no. hooked up all standard doorbell setup, works fine. Connect SS door cam, BUZZ.
  Built a small circuit on my table to test and rule out wiring, BUZZ. Decided to try to just make a smaller loop and take the bell out of the system. This worked, on my table, was able to connect to the video feed and all. It's already dark, I will put it up tomorrow. Tomorrow comes, check the feed, no signal. check for power, no power from the transformer. Power in? Yep. Ok, maybe from the earlier stuff, this one is fried(this was the loose original transformer). Connected on the porch with the new transformer, camera appears to have no power, remove the camera, 17vac. Thought i would go check the transformer and it is hot. Think I have a shorted camera???

2 Messages

They are sending a new camera, anyone know if it is a problem to only have the camera on the circuit. I never would have installed wiring for a chime if I knew it didn't need it.

1.3K Messages

Yes, I believe it can be a problem just to have the camera. There was a thread a while back by some guy claiming he'd burnt up three doorbell transformers connecting directly, until finding out it was necessary to have a series resistor.

FWIW, Ring says you must use a 25 ohm, 50W resistor in series with their doorbell camera if connecting directly to the transformer.