AskDefine | Define doorbell

Dictionary Definition

doorbell n : a push button at an outer door that gives a ringing or buzzing signal when pushed [syn: bell, buzzer]

User Contributed Dictionary



door + bell


  1. A device on or adjacent to a door for announcing one's presence. I can be mechanical, directly sounding a bell on the outside, or mounted on the door, sounding a bell on the inside surface, or a button that electrically sounds a chime or buzzer further inside the building.
  2. A button that actives an electric doorbell.

Extensive Definition

A doorbell is a signaling device commonly found near a door. It commonly emits a ringing sound.

How doorbells work

Wired system

In most wired systems, a button, located around the height of the doorknob, activates a signaling device (usually a chime, bell, or buzzer) inside the building. This single-pole, single-throw (SPST) switch momentarily closes the doorbell circuit. One terminal of this button is wired to a terminal on a transformer. A doorbell transformer steps down the 120–240-volt AC electrical power to a lower voltage, typically 3–30 volts. The transformer's other terminal connects to one of three terminals on the signaling device. Another terminal is connected to a wire that travels to the other terminal on the button. If there is another button (typically near a back door), it is connected between the transformer and the third terminal on the signaling device. Unfortunately, the transformer, being energized constantly, consumes a small amount (about 1 to 2 W) of standby power constantly ,.
Most signaling devices consist of two solenoids and two flat bars. The flat bars are tuned to two pleasing notes. The flat bars are mounted loosely above and below the solenoids. When the doorbell button is pressed, the first solenoid's plunger strikes the bottom bar. When the button is released, a spring on the plunger pushes the plunger up, causing it to strike the other bar. If the other bell is used, it will activate the other solenoid, which will strike only one bar — typically the bottom bar.
More elaborate signaling devices play a short musical tune, such as Westminster Quarters.
The deaf use visual signaling devices — typically light bulbs — rather than audible signaling devices.

Circuit Diagram

Wireless system

A button near the door activates a built-in transmitter. The transmitter sends a radio signal to the doorbell radio receiver inside the building. When the radio signal is detected by the receiver, it activates a buzzer, speaker, lights, bells or horn.


See also

doorbell in Danish: Dørklokke
doorbell in German: Klingel
doorbell in French: Sonnette
doorbell in Japanese: ドアチャイム
doorbell in Dutch: Deurbel
doorbell in Finnish: Ovikello

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

bell, chimes, church bell, clapper, cowbell, dinner bell, dinner gong, fire bell, gong, gong bell, hand bell, jingle bell, passing bell, sacring bell, sheepbell, sleigh bell, telephone bell, tintinnabulum, tongue, triangle
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