Converting dumb doorbell into smart? (July 2018)

I have read through a bunch of threads on using vibration sensors, Sage doorbell sensor, etc to convert mechanical chimes into smart chimes.

What is the best current way to do this? I don’t want to pay for the “Ring” subscription or have a bulky device on my house.


Different things work for different people. :sunglasses: It would probably be best if you asked your questions in some of the many existing threads on doorbell projects, since then you can talk to people who are actually using the various methods.

You can find these quickly by using the quick browse lists in the community – created wiki, looking down near the bottom of the page for the project report section, and then choosing the “doorbell“ list.

All of that said, probably the fastest and easiest ( although not the cheapest) is just to use the nexia Z wave device which is intended for exactly this purpose.

@darwin has written extensively about it on his blog:


Is the Hughes Sage version still available? I can’t find it anywhere.

Discontinued just six months after it was released, in September 2016. The entire product line was discontinued after personnel changes at the company.


I checked out the Nexia and the reviews on Amazon have just as many negative reviews as positive. People say the device is very flakey.

Do you have any experience with it?

Amazon reviews for Z wave devices are always very mixed. Many people don’t know how to set up a good mesh. That’s why I also gave you the link to @Darwin ‘s indepth review. :sunglasses:


The Nexia DB100Z doorbell sensor appears to work great for some, but others including myself occasionally miss quick doorbell button presses. I suspect the problem is with how powerful your doorbell transformer is and whether it can generate the 14AC voltage needed to trigger the device during those quick presses.

Some users have reported good results after updating/upgrading their doorbell transformers. I may investigate this at some point, but in the meantime I’m using the Sage doorbell sensor which is/was a very reliable device that had the added advantage of supporting two separate doorbell buttons. Unfortunately as @JDRoberts mentioned, the SAGE product line was discontinued. I look around now and again in the hopes that Echostar or other 3rd party would re-market some of the SAGE devices, but no luck so far.


Anyone know if this transformer produces the 14 AC needed?

if you got a mechanical door chime, you can just use the vibration sensor of the samsung multi sensor and do alittle editing on a device handler. Works great

I originally tried that, but for whatever reason, in my home the vibration sensor would get triggered with a door slam on the same wall and even occasionally with my dog barking nearby. As usual with these implementations, YMMV.


It says 16V 10VA

I’m assuming that this isn’t enough, unless maybe I need to convert this to find the VAC number.

The Nexia needs 14-40 VAC.

Does anyone know of a chime/transformer kit that will work with the Nexia? Seems like all the Home Depot/Lowe’s kits are all 16V 10VA.

i have a similar issue. if i truck goes by or an airplane (we are close to the airport), the ST vibration sensor goes off…

Tried using a ViewSonic sensor inside the doorbell and it would not trip. Will try getting a reed sensor and see if that works…

If Nexia needs 14-40 VAC than this homedepot transformer would work

Input 120 VAC, output 10 - 16 VAC

Usually I see people with ring installing a 16v 30V doorbell transformer for more power (30v is where more power comes into play powering up 2 or 3 more doorbell systems)

from the reviews of Nexia

it seems like you might need a 16v 30A transformer which would be more than sufficient to drive your doorbell system and Nexia

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Thanks -

Do you know where I can find a chime that will work with the transformer from Home Depot you linked?

any standard door chime works with the home depot transformer i linked you which is 16v10A but you got to remember if you are adding something else to power up from the transformer you will likely need more like 16v30A. Who knows, you might be the lucky one.

Will going higher on the transformer explode my current chime, lol?

no higher va will not explode your chime as your chime will only take what is needed from the 30va.

i asked my electrician friend long ago before i changed to 16v30va if it be too much and ruin the system or have any electrical issues. he said You can’t go too high on the volt/amp(va) rating. That is just the maximum the transformer can supply. If you need less no problem.

The voltage is the critical value. If your existing system is 16 volts then you need 16 volts.

and most doorbell systems are standard 16volts

so you should be good for 16v30va as long as your existing chime or new chime is asking for 16v

I have a 16vac standard door bell. I used a relay and a xiaomi contact sensor. I unsoldered the reed switch on the contact and soldered pig tails to connect it to the relay. Press the door bell and it triggers the relay which closes the contact and then sends an sms plus an announcement through the house. I even added a switch between the relay and chime to turn off the bell, no more dogs going crazy when the door bell is pressed. I’m on vacation now but when I get back I can go into more details with pics if you’d like.

Hi @tuffloud1,

Try this dry relay with two wire ports from “AEOTEC BY AEON LABS Z-WAVE PLUS DRY CONTACT SENSOR GEN5 ZW097-A”. I beleive you will not need to add a transformer to it as it is self powered by a battery. You can add two wires to it and connect it directly to the connection point on your mechanical doorbell. All you will have to do is change device type DH in the IDE to be “Momentary Capability”.

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Yes, pictures and more detail would be great! Very interested in what you did.