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My SO purchased a Ring Video Doorbell Pro for our home recently. I began researching, and it states that the ring requires a power source that supplies a minimum of 16 volts AC at ~20 volt-amps when connected directly to a transformer, plug-in adapter, or ~30 volt-amps when used with an internal doorbell.

I looked at my existing doorbell, and imprinted on it is: Rittenhouse Model 225 - 10v. I found what appears to be the transformer, also labeled with 10v. These look like they could possibly be original to the home (1956). A few questions I have:

  1. Is it worth replacing both the transformer and the chime itself just for this Ring to work? If I replace both, will the wiring between the transformer and the chime be able to handle the increased power running through the wires?
  2. Ive read people say " can use a 16v 20va Transformer if there is no chime involved." What exactly does that mean?

I do want to use the doorbell, but I also don't want to stress the electrical system of the house to do so. Any help would be appreciated.

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The amount of voltage and power that we are talking about here is too low to worry about stressing the wires or any other part of the system so don't worry about that.

The Ring will require a "modern" doorbell transformer, so that needs to be replaced for sure. The old chime will likely not work with a 16v transformer if it was made for 10v. It might work for a little bit, but it will sound funny and will probably fail quickly with the extra voltage. What I'm getting at is you probably want to replace the transformer and the chime. These are relatively cheap, so that shouldn't be a big deal.

The existing wiring should be fine, but be very careful with it as to not damage the insulation. That can get brittle over 60 years time so move the wires as little as possible. The low voltage won't cause a fire or a shock, but it can ruin the transformer if the wires have cracked insulation and start to short out.

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  • Would you suggest just totally bypassing the chime itself? Then I would only have to replace the transformer. – testtesttest Dec 4 '19 at 16:56
  • That's really up to you. Either you want the nice warm "ding" from a mechanical bell, or you're just happy with the alert on your phone. The bell drives my dogs crazy so I have it turned off. Really just personal preference. – JPhi1618 Dec 4 '19 at 16:58
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    I agree the wiring should be fine+ the op should get a transformer that could handle a chime in the future even if they think they may not need it today,,, WHAT IF? Happens all the time and the few pennies between a 20va and a 30va would be silly to try and save when you realize that sometimes you don’t hear your phone and miss a delivery. You may find a 30 or 50va is less expensive actually due to volumes of the higher rated transformers out there so cost comes down in some cases. – Ed Beal Dec 4 '19 at 17:36
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"VA", Volt Amps, is the power capacity of the transformer, essentially equivalent to watts in this situation. It is a measurement of how many watts it can deliver, not the amount it will use.

To install the video doorbell using existing wiring you will need to upgrade the transformer. Any time you need a transformer rated for 20VA you could use a 30VA transformer. A 30 will be designed to handle heat better, so will probably last longer. It won't use measurably more power.

16v 30VA transformers start about $15 on Amazon. Just look for one that appears to mount the same as yours to keep the 120v line side connection concealed. Your old doorbell is probably incompatible with a 16v transformer, a replacement mechanical or electronic chime doorbell starts at $11. It is worth it? That's subjective.

Using a separate plug in power supply is an option, but usually takes some experience to discreetly fish wiring through existing walls.

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