Have you ever wanted to know how a wireless doorbell works?
In this article, I will explain to you what happens when you press the button on the receiver (push button), how it gets to the chime, and what happens after that.
How A Wireless Doorbell Works
Wireless doorbells, a wireless mouse/keyboard, in fact, most wireless electronic things work in a very similar way.
For most people, it is just a simple case of buying a product, putting the batteries in, connecting it up and leaving it to do its job.
Me though, I prefer to know how things work. In this case, a wireless doorbell. When you learn how something works, you can learn how to troubleshoot and fix any issues that you may have.
What is a Wireless Doorbell – The Basics
Let’s begin with a brief overview of the items you should expect to receive within a wireless doorbell kit.
Transmitter (1 or more)
Commonly known as a push button, the transmitter is usually placed on the outside of your front door. It is the button that is pushed by a visitor.
Receiver (1 or more)
Also known and a ‘doorbell chime’, the receiver is the noisy item! The receiver is usually plugged into an electrical wall socket, but it can also be battery powered if you need a portable wireless doorbell option.
You will probably need a battery for the transmitter, and potentially some batteries for the receiver (depending on which model you have opted to purchase).
Take a look at some of the most common battery types for wireless doorbells.
You will either receive screw and anchors, adhesive tape, or both.
This item speaks for itself! You will need the user manual to understand how to operate your wireless doorbell.
You can find the Hz frequency details within the user manual.
What happens when you press the transmitter
When the button is pressed on your wireless doorbell transmitter, electrical energy travels through the antenna inside the transmitter. This is the wireless doorbell antenna, and as the signal is pushed through that wire, electromagnetic waves from around that antenna and are sent out into the airspace.
The waves generated are able to travel a distance dictated by the strength of that energy. A wireless doorbell that is capable of a longer range will have a more powerful transmitter within the push button. This is important to know if you have a large house, or you need to cover a wider area.
The wireless signal being sent from the transmitter (push button) occupies a certain spectrum of frequency, which is the rate at which the signal vibrates.
Take a radio station, as an example: FM radio operates at a very high signal, which vibrates around 100 million times per second. The radio station will have a very high powered transmitter, and your radio unit is the receiver.
As you tune into that signal, you are able to hear what the radio station is transmitting.
A wireless doorbell is similar, although the transmission is sent at a different frequency, which is 433Mhz.
At 433 Mhz, the signal is vibrating at 433 Million times per second.
On the face of it, that sounds impossible, doesn’t it?
Hang on, what is a Hertz?
Hertz is a transmission frequency, in cycles per second, to measure the speed of wireless communications.
Commonly abbreviated to Hz, the measurement is named after Heinrich Hertz, a German scientist from the 19th century.
Hertz proved the existence of electromagnetic waves and the measurement is named in his honor.
Hz, Mhz, Ghz – What Are They?
1 Hertz is equal to 1 cycle per second, 1 Mhz (Megahertz) is equal to 1 million cycles per second and 1 GHz (Gigahertz) is equal to 1 billion cycles per second.
You may recognize Hz from computer chip speed and radiofrequency. It is a measurement that is used is a large number of fields, and it is used by wireless doorbells to transmit a signal from the transmitter to the receiver.
Your wireless doorbell is likely to be using 433Hz, which is the same as many other devices both in, and outside of your home.
What happens when the signal reaches the receiver
There is a wireless receiver built into the chime unit (also called a receiver). This wireless receiving unit is waiting for a signal from the transmitter.
As soon as the wireless signal reaches the receiver, it triggers a series of events within the receiver which eventually ends in the chime sounding the alert that you have chosen.
Some long-range wireless doorbells have a sensitive wireless receiver, which allows them to work at a long-range. Although this is excellent if you have a large house, you need to remember that a sensitive receiver may also pick up signals from other devices.
In terms of what happens within the receiver, that is purely down to the way it has been designed. Similar to a switch circuit, where the switch completed the circuit to allow the signal through, the wireless signal may act in a similar way.
Interference and what is the cause
The problem is, the more wireless transmitters you have, the greater the potential to cause interference.
If you are having issues with your wireless doorbell then you will need to have a look around your house to see if there are any other devices using the same frequency.
The devices are not limited to only those above, there are many devices utilizing this frequency.
Symptoms will include the wireless doorbell not working at all, only working intermittently, or the chime going off at random intervals when the push button is not being pressed!
There are some other things to bear in mind if you are having issues with your wireless doorbell.
The transmission becomes weaker when it needs to travel through other objects around your house.
These objects can be walls, doors, fridges, microwaves. Any big object will work against the signal being transmitted, making it weaker as it passes through each item.
Other electrical items weaken the signal more than nonelectrical items. Having said that, do not think that a wall is a nonelectrical item! It is likely to have power cables running through the middle of it, and they can have an impact on the strength of the signal.
Do Wireless Doorbells Need WiFi?
Most plug and play wireless doorbells do not need a WiFi connection. Usually, a WiFi connection if only needed for doorbells with video integration or those that work with a smart home system such as Alexa, or Google Home.
A WiFi Connection allowed connectivity to the internal for storing videos, accessing audio, and 2-way talk capabilities.
Doorbells without video integration will not need to access the internet.
How Do Battery Operated Doorbells Work?
Battery operated doorbells (in terms of the receiver) work in much the same way as those that need to be plugged in. The only difference is that you need to add batteries into the doorbell receiver!
Now you know how a wireless doorbell works, troubleshooting doorbell issues are easier!
If, like me, you just have an interest in how things work then hopefully we have given you enough here to satisfy your thirst.
When you are setting up your wireless doorbell, consider what you have read here to make sure you have a setup that works 100% of the time.