What are Privacy Codes on Your Wireless Door Chime and How to Change Them

Posted On 02 May 2014
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Update: In a series of videos for the Carlon line of wireless products, Michael has added another related to this post.  Specifically the video covers the same information show below but in a video format.  In this video, see:

  • What privacy codes are and what they are used for
  • Where privacy codes are located on the RC3253 and RC3301 (the two components in the RC3250 kit)
  • How to snip the wires
  • Do with caution as once you snip the wires, you cannot “un snip” them

One important note is that most manufactures have this sort of feature available on their wireless chime devices.  Some call them privacy codes, some may call them wireless codes, but the basic premise is the same.  Carlon (a Thomas and Betts company) uses the wire loops on the back of their product while some use dip switches to set the codes.  Regardless, all of them will have instructions on how to change these codes.  Be careful before changing the codes as sometimes it may void the manufacturer’s warranty so before cutting anything, make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions.

Original Post:

A frequently asked question to our support team at 1800 Doorbell concern what are known as “privacy codes” on their wireless door chime products.  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.

The good news is most of your better wireless door chime manufacturers use what they call “privacy” codes to prevent interference between transmitters and receivers.  These privacy codes allow you to change the channel your transmitter and receiver communicate on to prevent them from operating on the same band where the interference was occurring.  Carlon, for example, uses tiny wires on the back of their door chime buttons and door chime receivers.  Each of these wires are labeled.  Using a set of nail clippers, you can simply cut any combination of these wires.  By snipping the SAME EXACT wires on both devices, you have changed the actual channel the products are communicating on.   For a good, detailed example of this, please visit a wireless door chime product, the RC3250 Plug In Door Chime.  Some manufacturer’s use wires, some use dip switches, some may use a button to change the channel.

Changing Privacy Codes on Your Wireless Chime

Changing Privacy Codes on Your Wireless Chime

Although many wireless devices operate on the same frequency bands, the transmission range isn’t usually strong enough to affect a neighboring device.  Even if you and your neighbor have the same wireless door chime system, most of the time their system cannot travel far enough to interfere with your system.  But if it does, you now know there is a good solution.

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Jason Warren President of LHE, Inc. and it's family of websites. 9655 Florida Mining Blvd. Jacksonville, FL 32257 My Google Profile+

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