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Doorbell at front and back of house only works when the basement lights are on, controlled by a light switch at the top of the stairs.

In the attached photo the power goes directly from the panel to the light fixture via an old sheathed cable. The doorbell transformer is wired to the light fixture. From that light fixture, power also continues via a newer white wire (exits on the right, partially obscured) to another light fixture, and also via an older green wire (on the left) which must be the switch leg.

The doorbell transformer has two black wires.

The top black transformer wire goes to the red cap on the left. Inside that cap, it's connected to:

black from the light fixture;
black from the green switch leg cable; and
black from the white outgoing cable for the 2nd light fixture.

The bottom black transformer wire goes to the black cap. Inside that cap, it's connected to:

black from the power; and
white from the green switch leg cable

The other red cap (on the right) connects:

white from the light fixture;
white from the white wire going to the next light fixture; and
white from the original power source.

Based on that, how do I wire this to stay on regardless of whether or not the lights are on?Doorbell wiring

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    Something doesn't add up. According to your description, the transformer is connected to power and switched power, and not to neutral. It should not work when the lights are on. MAYBE it should work when the lights are off, or maybe not or maybe poorly. Maybe the lights would glow dimly when switched off. Can you verify the behavior, and double check all the connections in your description?
    – jay613
    Commented Oct 20, 2022 at 17:34
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    Also this transformer is unsafe. It's not grounded and the loose wires shouldn't be exiting the junction box. I recommend you buy a new doorbell transformer that correctly installs in the junction box's knockout. You'll need to rotate the box on the joist. And the answers to this question will tell you how to correctly wire it.
    – jay613
    Commented Oct 20, 2022 at 17:44
  • Thanks jay613 - I'll put a transformer update on the list of things to do!
    – cmarker
    Commented Oct 20, 2022 at 20:43

1 Answer 1

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The top black transformer wire goes to the red cap on the left. Inside that cap, it's connected to:

black from the light fixture; black from the green switch leg cable; and black from the white outgoing cable for the 2nd light fixture.

Disconnect the transformer here and connect to

The other red cap (on the right) connects:

white from the light fixture; white from the white wire going to the next light fixture; and white from the original power source.

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  • This did the trick, thanks!
    – cmarker
    Commented Oct 20, 2022 at 20:42
  • @cmarker show me you liked my answer
    – Traveler
    Commented Oct 20, 2022 at 22:08
  • I do like this answer but am hesitating to upvote it because I don't understand how the transformer worked "with the lights on" when that should have fed it 0 volts.
    – jay613
    Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 13:01
  • @jay613 you know the answer to that already, it solved the OP question
    – Traveler
    Commented Oct 22, 2022 at 2:41

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