This is a question that seems to come up frequently with many of our customers. Usually what spurs the call is someone's door chime randomly chiming or ringing without anyone at the front door. In some cases this could be due to a faulty device, low battery, etc., but more often than not, this is caused by a nearby device triggering the door chime receiver to chime. Your neighbor uses their device and it causes your chime to ring. To understand why this happens, we first need a very basic understanding of the wireless door chime and how communication between the door chime transmitter (wireless push button) and the receiver work.
Technically, the wireless doorbell button is a wireless transmitter. When the visitor at your front door pushes the button, the wireless door chime button transmits a wireless signal to a wireless door chime receiver. The transmitter and receiver are communicating on a given frequency so they can communicate effectively. If your neighbor, for example, has a wireless product that is operating on the same frequency, interference could be the culprit causing your door chime to ring "randomly."
The FCC only allows certain "usable" frequency bands available for public use. We all familiar with our car radio tuner. When you find the radio station you want to listen to, you are essentially making sure your radio receiver is tuned in the frequency of your favorite radio station's broadcast. Notice that I used the word "band" for each of these available frequencies. For cost reasons, most manufacturers use the 300MHz to 433MHz bands for their door chime products. The actual communications between the two devices (or multiple devices) occurs on sub-frequencies (or channels) within the given frequency band. If two close-by products are operating on the same frequency, then interference may occur.
Wireless doorbells, and almost all other wireless products for that matter, therefore operate within a given frequency range. For example, we have a doorbell that operates at 315 MHz when it transmits a signal from the pushbutton to the wireless receiver. If some other device within the range of the transmitter and receiver is operating on that same frequency, those signals will interfere with each other, or create a problem with operation.
This is really the same problem that happens when a neighbors device randomly seems to ring your device. Or, have you ever had a baby monitor and can pick up people talking? Or how about a walkie-talkie, you put it on a channel and can hear other people talking on that same channel. All of these things are basically occurring because it's all happening on the same frequency.
Most wireless doorbells and/or chimes on the market today have what are called "privacy codes" or channel selectors. Privacy codes provide the ability to change the actual operating frequency of the device. When I mentioned earlier that we have a doorbell that operates at 315 MHz, in reality it operates within a given range around 315 MHz. Privacy codes on the back of the receiver and on back of the doorbell transmitter enable you to manually change the operating frequency. A good way to think of it is after changing the privacy code the transmitter sends a signal at 315.5 MHz. When the receiver has privacy codes and they are set to 315.5 MHz those two components are operating at exactly the same frequency. The likelihood of another device operating at 315.5 MHz is slim.
Changing the privacy code on a product, whether it is a receiver or a button will change the operating frequency of that product. If you have a button and a receiver, for example, you must change the privacy code on both products or else they won't be able to communicate with each other.
To the right is a drawing of the privacy codes that appear on the back of Carlon/Dimango wireless door chime products included with their chime products. On the back of the transmitter (the push button) and the receiver there are tiny wire loops. Snipping, or clipping, these wires will change the privacy codes to any combination different than the default.
Most products will have “privacy codes,” either in the form of dip switches or small wire loops, located on the back of the product or inside the cover of the product. The Thomas and Betts, Carlon, Dimango, and Lamson and Sessions products typically have small wire loops located on the back side of the receivers and buttons. To change the privacy code you need to snip any wire loop or combination of wire loops. If your product does not have wire loops, it probably has dip switches.
Here's an example: If you snip the 1st wire on the push button, you have to snip the 1st wire on the receiver. If you snip wire 1 and 3 on the receiver you must snip 1 and 3 on the button or else they will no longer communicate with each other.
NOTE: If you have one button and two receivers, make sure they match. If you want the products to act as two independent units, make sure each kit or set uses it's own set of privacy codes.
Privacy codes will help avoid interference, and they also enable you to do things like pair specific pushbuttons with certain receivers. A business may want to have a pushbutton work with a receiver in the receptionist office and have a different pushbutton work with the receiver in the warehouse managers office. By selecting privacy codes and matching the devices to the respective components, you are ensuring that your chimes operate correctly.
Watch the quick video below to see how to change the privacy codes on Carlon doorbells and door chimes.
Watch the brief video below to see how to change the privacy codes on Heath Zenith doorbells and door chimes.
Give us a call, we will help you sort it out. If you have a business, or a multi-family complex where there may be multiple push buttons and receivers, privacy codes will play an important role in your set up. For more help or information please don't hesitate to call us at 1-800-366-7235 or email us at email@example.com.