There's this really neat old doorchime in my house.It has a clock, and rings with the eight-note OR the four-note Westminster chime when somebody rings the doorbell. And not some cheezy electronic chime, either. Those pipes you see in the picture? They get hit with little hammers.
At least they used to. Nobody's heard a complete chime from that doorbell in probably 15 years...
So I pulled off the clock part last night (and almost damaged the eltric connections to it, in the process!) and this is what I found.Doesn't look so complicated, does it? And compared to the analytical instrumentation I repair at work, this loks downright primitive!
But what's the problem???See, above, where I took off one of the chime-bells? That little box with a hole in it? When you ring the doorbell, there's a little solenoid action going on, and a tiny hammer-peg pops out of that hole and bonks the pipe, making the chime. Only one was popping out right, and two of them didn't make it past the edge of the box, and one didn't move at all.
Mom said Pop "oiled" it a long time ago. (Pop died in 1995) So I attacked it with the pointy-tipped bottle of spinning wheel oil.
OK, so now they were all moving, but it sounded worse than before I started!
So I took if off the wall, unscrewed all the wires, and brought it to the table.For the next hour or so, these were my best friends. Turns out, if you look online hard enough and in the right places, you'll find out that the worst thing you can do for these things is to oil them. So I took it apart (of course) and cleaned the solenoids, and the plungers and little bitty parts of all that oil, both new and old, and polished them with Brasso.
And when I mentioned to Mom what I was doing, she said she had an envelope with "doorbell parts" written on it in Pop's handwriting. So I ran over and got it, and lo and behold, there were brand new plungers in there!! And new springs! So I cleaned them up a little (they are 15+ years old, after all...) and put the thing back together.
And then I sent Little Boy to the door to test it.
Eight perfect bongs, Westminster chimes.
I called Mom and we rang the doorbell again. She was thrilled.
And ding, ding, the bells are gonna chime!
Life is good.