Doorbell Signaler

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Seth G, Aug 19, 2003.

  1. Seth G

    Seth G Stunt Coordinator

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    I've been researching doorbell signalers the past couple of days because you absolutely cannot hear the doorbell when we are in the basement. I ran across this:

    (Gee, I'd like to put a URL here, but the system won't let me. Anyway, if you google for Sonic Alert, it's the first match. Then go to Products and then Doorbell Signalers.)

    And was wondering if anyone had heard anything about Sonic Alert or even better had any experience with them.
     
  2. WarrenHH

    WarrenHH Agent

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    Hiya Seth, I was wondering that myself, then it dawned on me that if I was in the HT, I didn't care about the doorbell [​IMG]
    So I am not sure I am going to install anything like that..
     
  3. MikeWh

    MikeWh Second Unit

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    I have no experience with the Sonic Alert, but I've been messing around with X-10 products lately and was considering an X-10 solution that is similar to the way Sonic Alert works.

    This was a timely post-- Smarthome.com just put out a "Solution of the Week" with this topic:
    http://www.smarthome.com/solution70.html

    For $40 you can basically make a doorbell chime go off in the HT.... for about the same price as the Sonic Alert, you can make the lights flahs, turn down volume, etc. with X-10 capabilities.

    A loooonnnggg time ago, I was thinking of installing a video intercom, so at least I could decide whether on not I actually wanted to go answer the door. Like WarrenHH though, I came to my senses and decided I don't need to be bothered by someone at my door during a movie anyway. [​IMG]
     
  4. Seth G

    Seth G Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for that link. I had wandered around x10's website the other day (ugh, what a terrible website), and couldn't find anything.

    I was hoping to go with the visual solution (ie lamps turn on and off) as opposed to the doorbell extender. Otherwise, that $40 module would work fine. It would appear that the x10 setup has a more significant upfront cost (~$250 - according to that smarthome link) as opposed to Sonic Alert (~$100), but x10 could be extended much more. So I guess the decision then for me is to figure out if this is the only use I want for the setup, but if I might want to play with some more advanced x10 setup.

    And I'm totally with you on not being bothered during some quality movie watching. But unfortunately, you can't hear the doorbell in the basement even with nothing playing, so I see this as a little bit more of a necessity.
     
  5. joe rizzuto

    joe rizzuto Stunt Coordinator

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    radio shack used to carry something like that for deaf people.
     
  6. Trace Ahlers

    Trace Ahlers Stunt Coordinator

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    along the same idea of the signaller.
    Rather than get startled by a ringing telephone im my theater room. I hooked up a Caller ID box. When the phone rings upstairs the caller light flashes. Much easier to ignore.[​IMG]
    Trace
     
  7. william-scooter

    william-scooter Stunt Coordinator

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    My theater guys had a gizmo that actually put a visual message on the screen through the projector so sound would not be an issue. It integrated with the phone as well. since I opted not to spend on such opulence ( already having been opulent enough on the system) I can't give specifics. Happy to get more info if interested.
     
  8. MikeWh

    MikeWh Second Unit

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    I've seen two versions of william-scooter's suggestion. One rather expensive, as it was part of an integrated home automation system.

    There is a relatively inexpensive version at:
    http://www.globalassistive.peachhost...CG13478000.htm

    Here are some cheaper visual aides for the door problem:
    http://www.globalassistive.peachhost...CG13477997.htm

    Also, the Smarthome solution can be done cheaper-- like about $120ish. The Houselinc controller is a great timesaving programming tool, but you can also program the devices using cheaper interfaces. If you'll be doing other X-10 projects (like dimming your HT lights or openning theater curtains), then the controller will be used for those projects, as well.... so it's a non-recurring cost.
     
  9. Seth G

    Seth G Stunt Coordinator

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    william-scooter: Thanks for the info and the offer to get more info. Unfortunately, we need a signal even when we are not watching anything, thus the displaying on screen won't work for us.

    MikeWh: Do you have a link or some more info for the cheaper controllers than the Houselinc controller? I am not planning on doing a full fledged x10 setup (I doubt I would be motivated enough to do any more home automation, took me months just to program my mx-500 remote [​IMG] ), so I'm leaning towards the cheapest route possible right now.
     
  10. Trevor_J

    Trevor_J Second Unit

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    Timely thread indeed....

    I was just thinking about how I can be notified of someone at the door from the theater room. Like most, I don't like to be bothered while watching a movie, but a lot of the time when I have movie nights, people show up at differnt times. If we are in the theater the person at the door can ring the bell until they are blue in the face and we would not hear them.

    I was looking at the transformer and wires for my doorbell and was wondering if it was possible to hook up another doorbell in parallel with the transformer, but instead run it into the theater room. Has anyone done this?
     
  11. MikeWh

    MikeWh Second Unit

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    Seth-- I can pull together a list of X-10 items, but I really don't recommend X-10, unless you like diddling around with gadgets and have some other uses for it in the future. The Smarthome ring detector and the Powerflash interface require a little bit of tinkering.... not really plug-and-play, THEN you have to do some programming of the controller and the LampLinc module. If you're going for cheapest, then see if the second link I gave for the globalassistive products would work--- I'm thinking the DOOR BEACON RECEIVER (North America) (DBR300) and the PUSH BUTTON TRANSMITTER (North America) (PBT300) would work... but I'm not sure how you'd deal with two door bell buttons-- one for the "real chime" and this other one for the HT alert light. Maybe I'll do a little more searching.
     
  12. MikeWh

    MikeWh Second Unit

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    Hey-- here's an idea:

    Why not replace your current system with a completely wireless one?
    http://electrical.aubuchonhardware.c...nd_buzzers.asp

    You can add a second, "add-on" chime in the HT (assuming you could still hear a chime ring in the HT).

    I'm guessing you can find these over at Home Depot/Lowes.... I know one of them carries a bunch of Heath/Zenith wireless devices.
     
  13. MikeWh

    MikeWh Second Unit

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    Trevor--

    I'm guessing that it's do-able, as long as the transformer can handle the load from both chimes... The transformer is probably overrated for a single chime anyway, but you could always find out what current each chime requires, add them together, then make sure it's under the rating for the transformer. If so, then parallel should work fine. Or.... just wire the 2nd one in, and see if it blows the transformer! [​IMG]

    Also-- I understand that bells and/or chimes might run on at least two different voltages... check that out before buying a second chime.
     
  14. Wes

    Wes Screenwriter

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    When I was constructing my theater I ran a wire from the door bell to a 12volt automotive bulb up front with in my light vallance. So when the door bell is rung it flashes the light. Works great and was cheep.

    Wes
     
  15. Trevor_J

    Trevor_J Second Unit

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    Thanks for the suggestion guys.

    Wes, your idea sounds exactly like what I'm after. I know that I am generous with the volume level so I'm not sure I'll even hear the doorbell if it was in the theater when a movie is going full blast[​IMG] . How did you wire the bulb? Were there any special modifications you had to make?
     
  16. Seth G

    Seth G Stunt Coordinator

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    MikeWh: Thanks for the heads up on the Heath/Zenith doorbells. I found a whole bunch of good stuff at Home Depot's website. I don't know why I didn't think of looking there before. This looks like exactly what I'm looking for and I should be able to do it for around $50.
     
  17. Seth G

    Seth G Stunt Coordinator

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    Atleast I thought this was exactly what I was looking for, but not sure anymore. If you go to Home Depot's website and search for SL6012WH5, it pulls up the Heath/Zenith lamp converter I was looking at. But it doesn't actually say whether it works with their wireless doorbells or not. Oh well, guess I'll just have to stop by Home Depot to find out. Any chance anyone has had any experience with any of Heath/Zenith's stuff?
     
  18. Wes

    Wes Screenwriter

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    Trevor, You can tap into any place in the door bell wiring, by the button, at the bell or even by the 24v trans former. When the door bell is pressed the 24v current is sent through the button to the bell. So mine is set up like this (24v transformer, button, light, bell, ground back to transformer). This will power any 12v lamp during the duration the button is pressed which is long enough to see it flash up front in the theater. Now I do have a totally dark room when watching my CRT projector so the light clearly stands out (acually just the reflection on my flat black ceiling.

    I just went to an auto parts store and bought a pigtail light receptical for a single element lamp, or you could even buy a cheep 12v test light for $1.99 and use that.

    Wes
     
  19. william-scooter

    william-scooter Stunt Coordinator

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    me again,,,, while I passed on the video display, i did go with some phone cabling integrated with the doorbell... so that the phone rings in a unique tone when the door bell is rung.. I will have a phone in the theater so that helps.
     
  20. Trevor_J

    Trevor_J Second Unit

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    Wes, thanks for the info. I ran some Cat 5e Cable from the transformer to the front of the theater room last night and closed up the soffit that it was running through with drywall. I won't be messing with the wiring for some time as I have more pressing things to take care of but it's good to know that I've got this 'problem' taken care of.

    Thanks again.
     

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