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Saturday, October 2nd, 2021 9:14 PM

doorbell camera burning out doorbell transformers

Since I can't reach the technical support, I am posting here.  I have been trying to install my Simplisafe doorbell camera.  It has taken a while because our house did not have a pre-existing doorbell, so it was a bigger project than the plug/play instructions. I needed to install a transformer and run a low voltage wire.  I now have several holes in the wall and 3 burned out transformers for my effort.

All of these transformers were 16V units.  The first ran the doorbell through part of the setup, but then stopped suddenly.  The second burned out immediately.  The first 2 transformers were rated at 16V 10vA, so I upgraded to a 16V 30vA unit based on an online recommendation, which is what you use when technical support doesn't answer.  
I had been testing the voltage after installation, but this last time I tested the installation stepwise.  I installed the transformer and tested it with no load...good output.  I attached the low voltage wires and tested the base unit (no camera)...good output again and this demonstrated there was no short in the line from transformer to base.  I attached the camera and it lit up green for a few seconds and then stopped.  The transformer was dead coincident with attaching the Simplisafe  doorbell camera.  Simplisafe owes me for 3 transformers (~$60) and for the worthless doorbell camera.  Anyone else have this problem?

701 Messages

3 years ago

My house is almost 40 years old and has an old 16V 10vA transformer. When I first installed the video doorbell pro I noticed a humming from the chime box and sometimes the wi-fi connection would flake out. I lived with this for quite a while until I requested their chime connector and installed it and I have had zero issues since.

I do have a question - what does this sentence mean?

I attached the low voltage wires and tested the base unit (no camera)...good output again and this demonstrated there was no short in the line from transformer to base.


Are you attaching the low voltage wiring from the doorbell transformer to the SimpliSafe base?! Or are you referring to a different kind of base? Also did you install a chime box as well, or just a transformer and wiring? (I don't know if this matters, I'm just curious.)

FYI, this isn't a SimpliSafe specific problem. You will find a TON of hits for this same issue with Ring Doorbell Cameras with a variety of root causes given as well. At this point you may have 3 dead transformers and a dead camera as well.

Good luck with this. I'm super curious to hear what the root cause is.

@Johnny M,

Can you provide clarity on the specs needed to power the doorbell pro? Is the 30a part overkill but otherwise safe? Or is it possibly causing an issue?

1 Message

9 months ago

I had a very similar experience. I am convinced that the first three transformers burned up due to a short across the wires; The wire casing got scratched off during installation which caused the short.  Amazingly, the third transformer worked long enough to power up the doorbell for a a few minutes before burning up.

For the fourth transformer I performed multiple checks:

  • resistance across the 120v side (unpowered) - good
  • resistance across the 24v side (unpowered) - good
  • resistance at the doorbell mount (unpowered, wire check) - good
  • output at the doorbell mount (powered) 26.2v

I switched off the power, installed the doorbell, and turned the power back on - nothing.

Re-checked the transformer output:

  • output at the doorbell mount (powered) 2.3v
  • resistance at the doorbell mount (unpowered) N/A - infinite.

I took the doorbell off and tried running it using the micro-USB port on the back but had no luck there.

Best guess is that the doorbell burned up during my third attempt, and the fried doorbell burned up the fourth transformer. 

Community Admin

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5.5K Messages

@Damon ​ I don't have electrical experts on my team, so unfortunately I'm not able to help as much here. But do you already have the Chime Connector, as Worthing mentioned above? It helps with supplying the correct voltage to the Video Doorbell. Our Support team can send you one for free.

As for the Video Doorbell being unresponsive - it could just be that the internal battery is drained from the multiple attempts at setup. When it's plugged into the circuit, and assuming everything else is set up correctly, it should recharge on its own and eventually come back to life.

4 Messages

7 months ago

So have you resolved it? Have had mine a couple years and this is the second time I am going through burning up transformers. Last time, the replaced the doorbell unit and was good for a long ti.e. back at it now

Community Admin

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3K Messages

@srosewhitmore​ Does your doorbell setup have a mechanical chime box? That is a requirement for the Video Doorbell, because using it without a mechanical chime can burn out the transformer. 

If you do have a mechanical chime, I would then recommend getting a Chime Connector from our Support team. The Chime Connector works to supply the proper voltage to your Video Doorbell, as if it gets the wrong voltage it could damage the transformer as well.

4 Messages

So after a couple years, I also need to buy and install a chime?

Community Admin

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3K Messages

@srosewhitmore​ If you do not have a mechanical chime box, then that is needed for the Video Doorbell's setup to ensure there is no damage to your transformer or the device. But if you have a mechanical chime box and you need a Chime Connector, our Support team can send one to you free of charge. 

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