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The Doorbell; Past & Present

Updated: Nov 14, 2023

The Common DoorBell… and The Ring Doorbell (Smart Technology)

There are two main types of Doorbells, the Hardwired variety and the Wireless variety. Hardwired are the types that will require an electrician, and this is where I come in handy. Hardwired doorbells will need a, electrical feed from your home's electricity supply, and most of the time this will be from the Consumer Unit (or Fusebox), they require a transformer which “steps down” the voltage.

History of the Common Ding Dong!

Doorbells have been a familiar sound in our homes since the 1900s, and they are still amongst the best ways to alert visitors of their presence… We all now have mobile phones too, but it’s much easier just pushing that little button next to the front door, ‘Ding Dong’.

Initially, in the UK, bells were used by the wealthy to get their servants and butlers to bring them a doughnut & whiskey (fact check required!), they were usually the pull-cord type or the twisty type, see below! In a sense they were hardwired too and connected via a very long piece of string, a very simple, but very good invention, especially if you didn’t like moving and making your own supper or putting your own socks on.

Old fashioned bells that the wealthy used to summon their servants... I dare say they are probably still in use here and there!
You Rang me Lady?

I guess it was only a matter of time before they ended up in our homes! An American called Joseph Henry invented the electric doorbell, he was a famous and eminent American Scientist, in 1831! However, we didn’t start seeing them in our homes until around 1910, and even then they would have probably been reserved for the better off, and good old fashioned knockers would have been used by the majority. The thing that changed the game however, was that electric transformers now allowed them to run off our household electricity supplies, instead of expensive batteries. In this video, at the start, I briefly discuss what a transformer is and what it does.

Hardwired Doorbells

The Ring Doorbell I have installed in the video is the Pro 2 Version - it requires the use of a transformer to step down the voltage to 12-24v, this is also a good safety feature as doorbell are often exposed to the elements and 12v is unlikely to produce not much more than a tickle. It will also require feeding a “bell wire” throughout your home's inner sanctum, all the way to the front door!


The Pro 2 is hardwired, but it operates the Chime wirelessly that are plugged into any spare sockets in your home. You can also get the battery operated models and have lithium batteries that when charged will last a number of weeks and even months!! These communicate to a “ringer” that can be situated anywhere in your house, although it will usually need to be plugged in.

The Honeywell Wireless Doorbells are a really nice example of a simple door bell, they are both hardwired and wireless and just do the job of a Doorbell, no “fanciness”.

The Ring Doorbell

However, in this video I am going to discuss the installation of the Ring Doorbell. How things have moved on from 1830s!! Ring Doorbells, both Hardwired and Wireless also require Wi-Fi. They are still wired up in the same way the door bells in the 1910s were, but now the bell, the “ringer” requires



The difference between the term wireless and smart probably lies in the fact that the Smart Wireless products are interlinked via an app which you can install on to your Mobile phone, and it’s from here you tell and set-up your doorbell or smart tech. In this here write up, I am focussing in on the Ring Doorbell, and below are just some of the functions that you can control and set via your Smart Phone:

The Ring Door bell App from my very own phone... here you can see my front door and the garage at the side of my house... good security features!
The Ring App - this is where you can personalise the app to your own liking!! You can set the alerts, the types of chimes, what you want to pick up and what you don't!!

From the app you can:

  • Set motion alerts

  • Chat to whoever is at your front door

  • Disable it so as not to be disturbed

  • Set the different types of chimes - connect up your chimes… you can have multiple chimes set up to your Ring Doorbell (also motion alerts)

  • Set alerts to tell your visitor that you’re away!

  • See recordings of who visited you early (this requires a subscription however)

  • If you’re away from home you can see in ‘real-time’ who is at your door.. So if that delivery driver says he was there, but you have no parcel, you can check and make sure

  • Many more options are available

As you can see this is the view from my own set of Ring products - in the top photo is my front door, and the bottom shows my driveway, where there is a camera set above the garage door and this is a Ring product too, so they are both set up and linked via the app and both on the Wi-Fi network in your home.

Where’s the ‘Ding Dong’ on my Ring Doorbell coming from then?

Well, it’s funny you should ask!! From the chime of course, below you can see the Ring Chime, you can link as many as you like around your home!! So, if you’re a little hard-of-hearing as some of my customers are, you can just by a couple more so that you’ll never miss any visitors! This is the same for most wireless doorbells, you can usually buy more that one chime, and these will usually just act as a hub for your doorbell and plug into your 13A sockets!

If you have ANY questions on this or any other electrical projects… please please do contact me, I am always happy to just help where I can. You can also visit my website: or call Rich on 01761 751 441!

The Ring Doorbells Chimes are very simply plugged in and then connected to your new Ring Doorbell, or any Ring Product, via Wi-Fi!
The Ring Doorbell Chimes which are required if you want to hear the Doorbell Ring!

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