I have a Heath-Zenith SL-2796 doorbell. It's wired to a front and rear door buttons. Pressing the front door button should make it go "ding-dong" and pressing the rear door button should make it go "dong".

A few months after it was installed, it began to fail. Now, one of the chimes never sounds.

  • When the front door button is pressed, it does "clunk-dong". When I hold down the front door button, it goes "clunk-buzz" and then goes "dong" when I release the button. The buzz sounds electrical.
  • When the rear door button is pressed, it still causes a "ding", as expected, i.e. the same tone as the first part of the front door sound.
  • So, the "ding" works for the rear door, while only the "dong" works for the front door.

The voltage of the doorbell circuit is 19V.

I asked my wife to watch the movement of the plungers when I pressed the front door button. She said that one of the plungers never moves.

Is this caused by a problem in the wiring of the house, or something inside the doorbell chime module? Should I just replace the doorbell chime module?

  • you should investigate the problem more thoroughly before posting your question .... for instance, check to make sure that the problem is not mechanical
    – jsotola
    Commented Nov 10, 2018 at 23:36
  • Can you be more specific? I can't see anything wrong with the mechanism. I can't find any issues with the wiring.
    – Jacob
    Commented Nov 11, 2018 at 0:52
  • check everything .... make sure that the chime striker is not binding ..... check the resistance of the striker coils ..... swap the connections between front and back doors .... use a jumper at the chime in place of the door switch
    – jsotola
    Commented Nov 11, 2018 at 1:13
  • @Tyson that should be an answer. Commented Nov 11, 2018 at 12:21

1 Answer 1


The simple path is to replace the chime.

The plungers get dirty and the added resistance makes them not slide correctly.

Only one plunger should move for front, each end of it hits a different chime (Ding-Dong). For back, the other plunger is blocked so it only hits one of the chimes (Ding).

It’s possible to clean plungers with alcohol then lubricate with graphite. Don’t use WD40 or oil, it attracts dirt and gets gummy over time, recreating the problem.

  • This answer is not the final best answer. This is because I replaced the doorbell come will a brand new one, but the front door still goes "dong" only. So this appears to be a wiring problem. I will try @jsotola's suggestions and report back.
    – Jacob
    Commented Nov 18, 2018 at 13:45
  • Are you sure you have front, transformer, and rear wires on the correct terminals?
    – Tyson
    Commented Nov 18, 2018 at 14:19

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