Doorbell Transformer Wire Colors

By | December 14, 2015



Doorbell transformers are the unsung heroes of home-based security systems. Without them, doorbells wouldn’t ring and automated entry systems wouldn’t function. But despite their importance, many homeowners don’t understand everything about these systems. In particular, the colors of the wires that connect a doorbell transformer to the rest of the system can seem mysterious.

To understand why color coding is necessary, it’s important to know a bit about how doorbells and transformers work. A transformer reduces the voltage from a house’s main electrical line down to the low voltage needed to power a doorbell button without shocking anyone. The two wires that enter a home carry 120-volt current. But when they reach the transformer, one wire will be reduced to 16 volts and the other to 8 volts.

Each wire functions differently and carries different voltage levels, so they must be differentiated from each other. Over the years, a standard has developed: black for 16 volts, yellow for 8 volts, and green for ground. Knowing which wire carries what current allows electricians and do-it-yourselfers to connect the doorbell properly. As long as homeowners adhere to this code, their doorbells should work correctly.

Given the importance of doorbell transformers, understanding wire coloring is key to making sure a home’s security system is working properly. Black, yellow, and green are the coded colors that should never be confused, ensuring that the voltage between the transformer and the doorbell stays at the right level and the system activates when guests arrive.


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