One of the nice home improvements I always wanted to have was a smart doorbell. While looking at the options, I realized that choices I could accept were quite limited.
- ideally poe powered solution – not feasible as of having to lay a cable to the front of the door while not doing substantial repairs in the area (plan for future)
- something with batteries and wifi – not ideal of having to change the batteries from time to time and adding more bulk
- solution using existing power line of the chime and cloud storage – don’t like cloud storage / associated subscriptions too much
- using existing power line of the chime and UniFi Protect stack – the downside is UniFi hardware needed, the upside is their hardware is pretty awesome, would fill my rackmount and no subscription fees
There are multiple options for how to get into UniFi Protect, I decided to go with UniFi Dream Machine Pro to get a router with many security features. Basically means putting the ISP router in bridge mode and letting the UniFi router do the network routing + surveillance management (UniFi Protect part). A clear downside is poor support for 10Gbps networking, there are very few 10Gbps ports on the router / switches. Also the software is not ideal to say the least. But feature wise, it is pretty awesome.
Now for the installation of G4 Doorbell with a chime in Europe.
First thing to mention is that the product was not available in the UniFi store of Europe (sold out), had to order from the US to get it anytime soon.
Second thing would be that the chime (the box that actually makes the sound) has to be compatible with the power requirements of the G4 Doorbell – also preferably non-digital unless listed as compatible, and mine is not digital nor listed as compatible 🙂 . The specified power requirements are 16V to 24V of AC power, 20VA – although it also does state to consume most 12VA.
Fortunately, my existing chime probably from the 1970s (Friedlan 107 aka Honeywell D107) fits the spec by supporting 8V-16V AC power and wires are thick enough though not in the best shape – refreshed their isolation with some heat-shrinking tubes. Funny enough I discovered the chime was installed in some unsupported mode with batteries + transformer, probably batteries just closing the loop at this stage (more than 12 years of our use). After removing the batteries and wiring for transformer only, the chime still working, concluded it should work out.
Reading stuff found about G4 Doorbell in Europe, found many claims and some video evidence by Linus Media Group that the transformer supplied by G4 Doorbell in Europe package – 20VA, would not be enough for the doorbell + chime, 16V and 30VA are advised. This should be taken with a grain of salt seeing that the spec says 20VA and 12VA max usage, probably with a reserve of 8VA for the chime. However since I ordered from the US and my existing transformer was only supplying 12V, a new transformer was necessary anyway for me.
The following 2 articles explain possible setups for the G4 Doorbell in Europe:
- was not applicable in my case it implies being able to connect wires between transformer and chime, which I could not do
- soldering needed, did not want to go there
So what I did is find a transformer (really not easy in Europe) that fulfills the claimed need for 30VA to be sure it would work, from Estonia of all places. So the setup is – transformer in basement, 220V connected, 16.5V 30VA out to 2 wires.
One of the wires goes directly to the doorbell.
The other one goes to the chime, where it is connected to a wire leaving the chime and then connected to the doorbell.
And the setup is working nicely, recommended 🙂