Introduction: Doorbell That Turns on a Light

About: My name is Jason Poel Smith. In my free time, I am an Inventor, Maker, Hacker, Tinker, and all around Mad Genius

When I am using power tools in my workshop, I can't hear the doorbell ring. So I needed some other kind of system that can let me know when someone is at the front door.

Any time I start a new project, I always begin by searching Instructables to see if anyone else has already done something similar. I found this project by Instructables user instructjorge.

In this project, he just used bright light to replace the standard doorbell chime. This was a simple and efficient solution, but I thought that there was some room for improvement. So I decided to build my own version of the project.

In my version, I use a wireless doorbell system. This lets you set up multiple receivers without having to run wires all over your house. I also added the option to switch between audible chimes and flashing lights. That way you can still have a traditional doorbell but you are also able to silence it if someone is sleeping.

Step 1: Watch the Video

Here is a video walkthrough of the project.

Step 2: Materials

Here are the materials and tools that you will need for this project.


Insulated Project Enclosure

Plug-In Wireless Doorbell (AC Powered)

Extension Cord

Insulated Twist-on Connector Caps

12V Solid State Relay

Quick Disconnect Connectors

Sliding Switch

555 Timer IC

1 kohm resistor

100 kohm resistor

330 microfarad Capacitor

100 microfarad Capacitor

Printed Circuit Board

Jumper Wires

Heat Shrink Tubing

Light Socket

Low Wattage CFL Light Bub


Screw Driver

Soldering Iron and solder


Rotary Cutting Tool (optional)

Wire Strippers

Wire Cutters

Step 3: Background: How a Typical Wireless Doorbell's Power Supply and Sound Player Work

There are a lot of parts that make up a wireless doorbell. But for this project, you only need to be concerned with the power supply and the speaker.

An AC powered wireless doorbell is going to have an AC to DC converter to turn the 120 volts AC into a small DC signal (usually about 12 volts). To bring the voltage down, it may use a transformer or just a power resistor. Then to convert the AC sine wave signal to a series of DC pulses, it will typically use four diodes arranged as a square bridge rectifier. Lastly a capacitor is added to smooth out the DC pulses into more constant DC signal.

We need to identify the positive and negative DC lines at the output of the AC to DC converter. The easiest way to do this is to observe the orientation of the capacitor. One side of the capacitor will be marked with a large negative sign. This is connected to the negative output of the power supply. The other side is connected to the positive output of the power supply.

Next you need to check how the speaker is connected to the rest of the circuit. In most cases the positive terminal of the speaker will be connected to the positive supply voltage from the power supply. The negative terminal of the speaker will be connected to the collector of an NPN transistor. The emitter of the transistor will be connected to the negative terminal of the power supply. The base of the transistor will be connected to processor chip. There may be a resistor between them. To play the tone, the chip sends a series of pulses to the transistor. The transistor then rapidly connected and disconnects the negative terminal of the speaker to the negative terminal of the power supply. This causes the speaker to play a tone.

In this project we will be connecting to the positive and negative terminals of the power supply and to the output transistor at the negative terminal of the speaker.

Step 4: Cut the Speaker Wires and Attach Extension Wires

The first thing that you need to do is cut the speaker wires near the center. Then strip the insulation off of the ends. Solder another six inch long piece of wire to each one. It helps if you keep them color coded. Insulate each connection with either heat shrink tubing or electrical tape.

Step 5: Solder an Extension Wire to the Negative Terminal of the Power Supply

Next we need to connect a wire to the negative terminal of the doorbell's power supply. As mentioned earlier, the easiest way to identify the negative output of the power supply is to check the terminals of the capacitor. The side of the capacitor that is labeled with a large negative sign "-" is connected to the negative terminal of the power supply. So find any terminals that is connected to this and solder on a piece of wire that is about eight inches long.

Step 6: Drill Holes to Route the Wires Outside of the Doorbell Housing

Find a drill bit that is the same size as the extension wires and drill five holes in the housing of the doorbell. Then feed the wires through them and close up the housing. Be sure to keep track of which wires are connected to what. It may help to label the wires with a small piece of tape.

Step 7: Attach Two Switches to the Output Transistor

Now we need to connect to the output transistor. This is the wire on the board that used to be connected to the negative terminal of the speaker. First take this wire and connect two more extension wires to the end of it. Then solder a sliding switch onto the end of each one. These switches will let us turn the tone and the light on and off.

One switch will used to control the audible tone of the doorbell. To set this up, take the wire that is connected to the negative terminal of the speaker and solder it to one of the switches. When the switch is turned on, it will connect the speaker and the tone will play.

The other switch will be used to control the light. On this switch solder another extension wire. This wire will be connected to an external circuit that will turn the light on and off.

Step 8: The Control Circuit

The control circuit is a basic 555 timer circuit. This configuration is called "Monostable" mode. Vcc and GND for this circuit are connected directly to positive and negative terminals of the doorbell's power supply. Pin 2 (the trigger pin) is connected to the free wire on the second switch. When the doorbell is activated, pin 2 is connected to ground through the output transistor. This causes the output at pin 3 will turn on for a length of time that is determined by the values of the capacitor and the resistor. You can determine this time using the formula:

Time(in seconds) = 1.1 x R(in ohms) x C(in Farads).

Or you can be lazy and just use an online calculator.

Step 9: Prototype and Troubleshoot the Circuit on a Breadboard

As with any electronics project, you should first test the circuit out on a breadboard. I attached an LED to the output for testing. In the final version the output would be connected to the Solid State Relay.

Here are some common problems that you may encounter and how to deal with them.

If the output of the power supply is not stable enough, it can cause the timer circuit to malfunction. To fix this, add an additional capacitor between the doorbells I used a 330 microfarad capacitor.

If pin 2 is connected directly to the output of the doorbell and nothing else, it can experience some interference from static electricity. This can cause false triggering. To solve this, add a 1kohm resistor between pin 2 and pin 4 (the positive supply voltage). This acts as a pull-up resistor and keeps the pin HIGH until it is pulled LOW by the signal from the doorbell.

Step 10: Solder the Circuit Onto a Printed Circuit Board

Once you are happy with how your circuit is performing, solder all the components onto a printed circuit board.

Step 11: Connect the Output of the Circuit to the Solid Stat Relay

Now we need to connect the control circuit to the solid state relay. Connect one wire from pin 1 (ground) on the control circuit to the negative input terminal on the solid state relay. Then connect pin 3 (the output) on the control circuit to the positive terminal on the solid state relay. I recommend insulating the connections with heat shrink tubing.

Step 12: Cut the Extension Cord

The extension cord needs to be cut into several sections in order to provide power to the various parts of the system. Start by cutting the cord six inches from the female end. Then cut another section that is about one foot long. Separate the two wires of this one foot long section. Cut one of these separated pieces in half. Lastly strip the insulation off the ends of each piece.

Step 13: Connect the Wires With Twist-on Connector Caps

There are two sets of wires that need to be connected together. First take one wire from the male end of the power cord, one wire from the female end of the power cord and one of the short separated wires. Connect these three with a twist-on connector cap. Then take the other wire from the male end of the power cord, the other wire from the female end of the power cord and the long separated wire. Connect these with a twist-on connector cap.

Step 14: Connect the Power Cords to the Solid State Relay

Now take the two short separated wires from the power cord and crimp on a pair of quick disconnect connectors. Fit these onto the load terminals of the solid state relay.

Step 15: Connect the Light

I chose to use a small CFL fluorescent light as the light for this project. To connect the light, it was mounted inside a small light socket. Then the two remaining wires from the power cord assembly where attached to the screws on the light socket.

Step 16: Cut Holes in the Housing for the Power Cord and the Switches

At this point, all the electrical components are connected. Now we need to prepare the housing. We need to cut one slot for the power cord and two slots for the switches. You can do this with either a knife or a rotary cutting tool.

Step 17: Mount All the Parts Inside the Housing

Now all that is left is to mount all the parts to the inside of the housing. Start by mounting the light socket to the center of the housing. I just screwed it to an available mounting hole. Next plug the doorbell receiver into the power cord. Secure the doorbell, the solid state relay and the circuit board to the inside wall of the housing with hot glue. Lastly glue the two switches into the cut slots in side of the housing. You may wish to label the switches to help keep track of them.

Step 18: Use Your Light Doorbell

Plug the power cord into a wall outlet and you are ready to try out your light doorbell. The two switches will let you set how the doorbell will operate. You can have it play a tone like a normal doorbell by turning the tone on and turning the light off. Or you can set the doorbell to silent mode by turning the tone off and turning the light on. Alternatively you can turn both functions on at the same time or you can have them both off.

This kind of a doorbell can be really useful. It can help accommodate people with hearing impairments or it can let you silence the doorbell when someone is sleeping.

Remix Contest

Participated in the
Remix Contest

Fix & Repair Contest

Participated in the
Fix & Repair Contest

Tech Contest

Participated in the
Tech Contest