S

Fri, Jan 22, 2021 11:14 PM

Video Doorbell Pro - New Installation - Transformer Failing Issues

Hi,

I've purchased a new SS Video Doorbell Pro to add to an existing SS system. I'm starting from scratch with fresh wiring NOT retrofitting to an existing set up as I don't have a doorbell at all. My electrician is experienced and has installed many video doorbells (Ring, Nest, more) though not a SS unit.

In order to determine the best location for the Pro, we dummied up a plug-in transformer (24v) to power up the doorbell for set-up with my system. It seemed to power up OK initially but stopped before I could complete the QR code recognition. We tried to reset the doorbell but nothing worked. My electrician checked the house current which was fine at 120v. He then checked the output of the transformer and found it was ZERO. Figuring that the transformer was faulty, he bought 2 more dedicated inline transformers (16v). He wired up one and the doorbell seemed to power up initially again, but then stopped. Testing the new transformer output found it was ZERO, again.

Another call to SS support. They recommended that the doorbell be fully charged before trying to initiate set-up. We wired up a THIRD transformer (same as #2 - 16v) and waited as the support tech was going to call back for the set-up process. After about an hour (and after my electrician couldn't wait any longer having to leave), I called support while starting the set-up. The doorbell maintained power and after the usual QR code finicky process, I got the doorbell working! Yay!

That lasted about 20 minutes. At that point, I got a smartphone app alert that the doorbell cam had lost communication with the system. Checking the doorbell, it was dead - no LED light around the button at all. Checking the transformer with a voltmeter, I found ZERO output.

Hmmmmm....

Talked to SS support today, They are sending a replacement. That's good but I can't keep chasing this installation with an electrician until I know if this problem is with ONE doorbell or ALL of their doorbells? They have no answers. I asked the case to be bumped to high level engineering. We'll see if/when they respond?

I had not intended to install a physical chime, relying on the SS basestation to ring. My test of the unit chiming the basestation before the 3rd transformer failed worked great. The question is whether the doorbell circuit REQUIRES a chime? Is there an issue with the resistance or amperage output? Does a transformer have to be more specifically matched than just the16-18v as SS recommends?

They don't seem to know or haven't fully tested the myriad of possibilities of an installed base of analog doorbell components nor have they provided users enough guidance for NEW installations where none existed before.

Overall, I've found SS customer service to be outstanding. This is the first issue that has been less so, thus far.

Some searching...  I haven't found any posts re transformers burning out but I did find this thread...   https://simplisafe.com/forum/customer-support-forum/installing-and-using-simplisafe/video-doorbell-pro-compatibil  

... where I found this post...  https://simplisafe.com/forum/customer-support-forum/installing-and-using-simplisafe/video-doorbell-pro-compatibil#comment-5150987

RECAP: New install. Burned out 3 different transformers with a dummied up temp circuit done by an electrician. No chime used. WHY is this failing???

1 Message

Il y a 2 y

I'm experiencing the same exact issues.  I've burn out 3 hardwired transformers and one powered power supply.

Community Admin

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469 Messages

Il y a 2 y

Hi all,

In addition to the 8-24 Volts that are required to power the Video Doorbell Pro, there are a few more details that may be relevant in your cases. The first additional detail is that the Video Doorbell Pro requires Alternating Current which is the case for most doorbell circuits installed in the US. The second is that the Video Doorbell Pro uses a little more than one Amp when the button is pressed. Make sure that when purchasing a doorbell transformer to use with your Video Doorbell Pro that it meets all 3 of these requirements.

SimpliSafe Social Team
SimpliSafe Home Security

1.3K Messages

Il y a 2 y

Doobell transformer "size" is typically rated in VA (Volt-Ampere), So, a common transformer rating might be something like 16 Volt, 20VA.

Note the competition recommends a minimum of 20VA transformer if using just the camera direct to transformer. 30VA if the camera is connected to an actual doorbell circuit.

As well, the competition appears to recommend a series resistor between the camera and transformer if it's just the camera connected to the transformer and no actual doorbell on the circuit. The resistance of the actual doorbell would provide some current limiting so without the doorbell they suggest a 25 ohm, 50W resistor in series between the transformer and the camera.

If I was putting one in I would use a 30VA to be on the high side, and I would follow the competitive lead putting that resistor in series if it was just the camera and transformer, without actual doorbell in the circuit.

6 Messages

FYI.... I burned out 4 - 16v 30va transformers attempting a new install before finding the OhmKat Power Supply noted in my follow up post.

1 Message

I've two transformers blow for our SimpliSafe video doorbells after hiring a professional electrician to install them. He used the transformer specs on the documentation that came with the units. Are those specifications correct or is some of the other information below going to help us from the inconvenience and expense of buying and hiring electricians?

6 Messages

Il y a 2 y

Follow up to my original post...

I did a new test rig with a new transformer, new chime and a new conventional doorbell button. Worked perfectly. Removed the conventional button with the Doorbell Pro cam. Chime would not work at all. Only heard the chime sound when I powered the rig up and down. Used the SS Chime Connector. Then I burned out another transformer.

The was with a replacement SS Doorbell Pro unit from the company.

Back to research on Google. Found this...  "OhmKat Video Doorbell Power Supply - Compatible with SimpliSafe Pro Smart Wi-Fi Video Doorbell"

https://www.ohmkat.com/collections/featured-products/products/copy-of-ohmkat-video-doorbell-power-supply-compatible-with-simplisafe-pro-smart-wi-fi-video-doorbell

Decided to buy a new SS Doorbell Pro retail from Best Buy (as was recommended elsewhere in these forums).

IT WORKED PERFECTLY using the OhmKat Power Supply! No chime in the circuit needed but OhmKat makes an inline plug and play chime module.

I HIGHLY recommend this power supply as it's designed for the SS Video Doorbell Pro.

1.3K Messages

Il y a 2 y

I would expect the issue wired directly is the resistance as mentioned in previous post. A mechanical doorbell chime add series reaistance that limits current. Electronic chimes even with adapters isn't the same.

6 Messages

Il y a 2 y

OhmKat explained that a conventional doorbell circuit is not under continuous power. When the analog button is pushed, that completes the circuit, ringing the chime.

An electronic doorbell must do 2 things... Be ready to ring a chime when its button is pushed AND be powered continuously to record video.

1.3K Messages

When the camera is connected to a conventional doorbell there IS continuous power in the circuit at all times. That's how the camera receives power. However, the power draw (quiescent current) of the camera is not enough to activate the doorbell because the draw of the camera is less than what it takes to activate the doorbell. So, you have to push the button to actually make the doorbell ring.

An electronic doorbell is a different cat because they require very little current to actuate. That's why so many people have problems with doorbell cams and electronic chimes. The standby current draw of the camera is often enough to cause the electronic chimes to activate without even pressing the button. So, they come up with the diodes or resistors and funky adapters to try to make those play nice together.

The reason the OhmKat doesn't burn up because it is internally current limited, which is what the mechanical doorbell chime normally does. And, hence why Ring suggests putting a resistor in series when there is only the doorbell and transformer.

The OhmKat certainly appears a decent solution for non-electrically inclined, but one can buy a 25 ohm, 50W resistor from DigiKey, et al, for $3-$4 plus a few bucks shipping, or for $10 from Amazon like this example https://www.amazon.com/Ring-53-023183-Wirewound-Resistor/dp/B07WF98SVW/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=25+ohm+50+watt+wirewound+resistor&qid=1612728179&refinements=p_n_condition-type%3A6461716011&sr=8-1

6 Messages

Simplisafe markets the Video Doorbell Pro as a plug and play solution. Reading the tons of user problems on these forums and others relating their various failures indicates that is not what's happening.

In my case, we were starting from scratch using new wiring and new transformer without an analog chime, intending to use the Base Station feature in the app to chime. SS tech told me that this approach would work fine. My electrician is experienced with other doorbell cam installations (though not SS). We followed all the directions explicitly. We burned out 3 transformers on the first day. SS replaced the Doorbell Cam. I burned out another with a fresh test rig using an analog (NOT ELECTRONIC) chime AND the SS Chime Connector (which they don't ship as a kit).

I then bought a new Doorbell Pro retail at Best Buy.

The OhnKat works. Immediately. Without any fuss. I write only as a user who was not getting useful info from SS to solve my problem.

Your post demonstrates that the Video Doorbell Pro is NOT plug and play nor as simple as SS says.

Bottomline: MUCH more field testing needs to be done to guide customers to a successful installation experience. There are too many variables in the analog installed world to assume that these devices will be easy to install.


whoaru99 wrote:

When the camera is connected to a conventional doorbell there IS continuous power in the circuit at all times. That's how the camera receives power. However, the power draw (quiescent current) of the camera is not enough to activate the doorbell because the draw of the camera is less than what it takes to activate the doorbell. So, you have to push the button to actually make the doorbell ring.

An electronic doorbell is a different cat because they require very little current to actuate. That's why so many people have problems with doorbell cams and electronic chimes. The standby current draw of the camera is often enough to cause the electronic chimes to activate without even pressing the button. So, they come up with the diodes or resistors and funky adapters to try to make those play nice together.

The reason the OhmKat doesn't burn up because it is internally current limited, which is what the mechanical doorbell chime normally does. And, hence why Ring suggests putting a resistor in series when there is only the doorbell and transformer.

The OhmKat certainly appears a decent solution for non-electrically inclined, but one can buy a 25 ohm, 50W resistor from DigiKey, et al, for $3-$4 plus a few bucks shipping, or for $10 from Amazon like this example https://www.amazon.com/Ring-53-023183-Wirewound-Resistor/dp/B07WF98SVW/r...

1.3K Messages

Il y a 2 y

We custom built how our doorbell uses power, so it can work with almost any type of home or doorbell setup.


Note the key word is almost...

The thing with forums is you only know some fraction is expressing a concern, you generally don't know who is working fine by the book.

But, it's been clear on any number of cases on any number of topics there is fairly limited detail on system requirements.

6 Messages

Il y a 2 y

Yes, "almost" is a qualifier. It does imply "existing" - not what I have as we were starting from scratch. That's a big missing piece in SS's marketing. It still doesn't explain why I blew transformers with an analog test rig though?

I started this thread because of an experience that did not match my expectations nor the guidance I was getting from SS. I didn't trash them. I posted with the hope that I'd find an answer where the direction I was getting from SS had failed. This, after I discovered that MANY users were having similar challenges with the so-called plug 'n play Video Doorbell Pro.

I found the OhmKat Power Supply. I tested it for a week before permanently mounting it. Today, my electrician and I installed it permanently. It's working, flawlessly. Just as I'd expected when I started this too hard effort. I'm not using a chime as my house is small and I may not need it - the base station may suffice. If not, OhmKat offers an inline wireless module that works well (tested with my temp rig)

Now, I share this latest experience with the hope that it will benefit others. Good luck.

4 Messages

@steve2254​ Thanks for your research and recommendations. We're going to try the OhmKat adaptor.

1.3K Messages

Il y a 2 y

I believe I already explained most likely why the transformers "blew".

Transformers are pretty basic devices. There isn't a whole lot to go wrong. Transformer failure is most likely due when asked to supply more current than they are rated to deliver. The only plausible explanation for all those transformer failures is that the doorbell camera, without some sort of current limiting (a doorbell or a resistor), draws more current than the transformer rating and subsequently the transformer fails. The only other explaination is a wiring/installation error that caused a short circuit, which causes the same net effect...transformer tries to supply more current than it is rated for, subsequently killing itself in the process of trying to do that.

As suggested previously, withthout an actual doorbell in the circuit a resistor will do it. If anyone can't work at that detail then it appears the OhmKat provides that albeit at higher cost. But, higher cost is often the price paid when one can't or chooses not to DIY.

And, that's OK if one chooses not to DIY. I pay more for oil changes these days because I choose not to do them myself anymore. Too much hassle to get rid of used oil and filters from multiple vehicles.

This situation is the type of thing that interests me as electrical/electronics is a hobby. But, the price is a SS doorbell cam is too much for simply experimenting. Maybe they'll send one gratis for me to investigate this phenomena and make a technical recommendation. :)