So the setup is as follows. I've got one of those wireless doorbells in which the button is powered by a 9V battery and is stickied to the door and the sound comes from a speaker plugged in a wall socket nearby. ( I use that since I am a student and I change houses a lot) I also have a home stereo system that is quite loud. I have been missing people that ring me or mail deliveries and it's getting kind of frustrating.

My idea is to use a wire of some sort to solder somewhere on the doorbell button, so I can detect the button press via a CP2102 UART USB Adapter I have left off from previous projects, and then send a command to the pc to mute the music playing.

I also have a Raspberry Pi, but I am currently using it as a HTPC, so I wouldn't want to use it.

I would be glad to any suggestions on how I could approach my task.

  • This might be more of an electrical engineering or superuser question. I would take a peek at those SE pages. I believe I remember reading something similar, although it may not have been for a doorbell. – BrownRedHawk Aug 3 '15 at 16:22

Don't mute it, broadcast it.

WARNING: Plugging in things with random voltages into your sound card may damage your hardware. The maximum acceptable line level for consumer sound products is about half a volt. Only proceed here if the speaker leads on the chime test nominally in this range, when it rings.

Take the speaker output from the doorbell and solder on a 3.5mm female connector jack. Take an 1/8" to 1/8" (3.5mm) cord and plug it into the 'in' on your computer. Or simply splice-on a cut cord to the doorbell chime (use a lighter to burn away the varnish insulation on the tiny wires after you remove their inner plastic insulation).

Test and adjust the input level accordingly. You don't want to get blown away when someone rings the doorbell and you've got the stereo cranked up to 11.

Alternatively, stop cranking it up to 11.

  • Thanks, I ended up going with this, since I had an old SoundBlaster laying around. Then it was just a question of proxying the output to my modern 5.1 output, which wasn't hard to do with a virtual sound interface. – Wax Feb 5 '18 at 14:33

I'm afraid that it's more of a hardware question, but I'm offering you a DIY answer :)

How about light instead of sound?

Install some simple fixture on the wall (or desk) where you are sitting (beside the PC?) most often, put the red bulb (or whatever color you like and can make you notice easily). The wiring shouldn't be hard to guess, but if you're not really into this, you could ask another question (or modify current question) to make it work. Simple and easy. And it will not force you to make any changes regarding USB ports and signal capture.

The weakness of this solution is that the light needs to be noticeable - in case you go to a toilet or something, you may lose that.

  • 3
    There are probably light-based doorbells already (similar to fire alarms that emit light and sound). Given there are a non-trivial amount of deaf or otherwise hearing-impaired people in this world, I would venture to guess this is a solved problem by now. Asker could likely buy a ready-made solution to do this. – user4302 Aug 3 '15 at 12:39
  • @Snowman That sounds like an answer to me "Install a doorbell for the hearing impaired.". – Tester101 Aug 3 '15 at 13:33
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    No ready made solution I could find and I'd rather do it myself as I'm certain it's something fairly simple. Where should I post my question, since I'm only familiar with serverfault and stackoverflow as I am a Sysadmin. – Wax Aug 3 '15 at 13:34

If you were playing your music on your Rasp Pi HTPC you could use the io pins on the board to trigger the command, that would be pretty slick.

If you wanted to do it with an ugly hack instead, you could find a USB keyboard with a mute button, and hack the mute key so that pushing the doorbell button "presses" the mute key. (You don't have to make that the keyboard you actually use, you can generally eattach two USB keyboards at the same time without a problem.) Of course you're probably going to have to unmute it yourself, but I think that would be tolerable.

I can think of a number of ways you could wire the doorbell as a switch on either the stereo audio or possibly the low voltage DC power to amplified speakers, but with a simple switch it would only cut out as long as the person presses the button - might not be long enough.

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