Getting your $%*# Ring Doorbell hard-wired

Getting your $%*# Ring Doorbell hard-wired

I got a Ring Doorbell as a gift recently (thanks, Mom!), and, after about 4 weeks I’m finally satisfied with its installation!

It’s not hard to find people complaining on the internet that their Ring Doorbell installation isn’t working. The design is… not great. There are spring pins on the back of the device that are meant to make contact with copper pads built into a mounting bracket. You mount the bracket to your wall, terminate your wires into it, and the pads channel the signal/energy through the spring pins into your fancy doorbell.

That is, if it’s all working.

Based on my experience, as often as not, or perhaps more often, the spring pins won’t make contact. There are lots of reports online of similar situations, citing warped brackets. The mounting bracket itself is quite thin, and if you’ve cranked down the mounting screws, internet wisdom states, you can warp the bracket, thus deflecting the plane of the copper pads, making it difficult for the pins to connect.

I removed the bracket. I re-attached the bracket, careful not to over-tighten the screws.

I did it again.

And again.

There was a brief window in which the device decided that it was, in fact, hard-wired (you can tell a few ways, including the white ring around the button staying lit full-time, and a couple places in the app reporting that the battery is begin charged and/or explicitly reporting that the device is “hardwired”). Despite not touching the device, this window closed.

I had an idea. I would “fluff up” the pads with pillows of solder, like so:

My solder-pillowed mounting bracket

The pins would surely make contact now, right?

Right! The ring stayed lit! The app reported being hard-wired! I was a genius!

I decided I should document my fix for fellow fancy doorbell owners online.

I removed the Ring Doorbell from the mount, and found… broken pins. The “pillows” were too fluffy, it seems, and the action of attaching and/or detaching the unit from the mounting bracket was enough to break a couple of the pins. I was defeated. And probably for good. My modification was surely warranty-ending, and since I had not purchased the doorbell myself in the first place, even trying to get it replaced was probably not going to be fun.

At this point I had two choices. I could continue using the doorbell “wirelessly,” (i.e. removing it from its bracket periodically to recharge it via USB cable), or I could take a chance on a more extreme fix. I think you can guess which way I went.

I broke out my volt-meter, and set about figuring out the pin assignments of those copper pads. The circuit board was fairly easy to see, and didn’t appear to have any components onboard, only traces. If you hold it up to the light just so you can make out the trace paths. Looking at those and testing things out with the volt-meter, I was fairly certain that the left three pads of the middle and lower sets were the only useful pads, and that three of them went to each screw terminal, like so:

The white ring shone. I was, once again, restored my genius status.

So, reversing that pattern, I soldered wires directly into the back of the doorbell; yanking out the spring pins and soldering wires into the pads beneath. Then I cut out enough of the mounting bracket (including the board with the traces and terminals) to make room for the wires, and twisted the 6 wires from the doorbell into the two from the wall.

So, warranty be damned, I’ve got a working fancy doorbell, and a good story to tell.


Update

A shot of the wires and how they're routed within the plastic housing... which is not so well

A request came in the comments for a photo of the finished wiring. I’m not sure how helpful this will be, as it’s a pretty ugly soldering job, but here you go (below). It’s difficult to see what’s going on in the photo, but I essentially have three wires soldered onto the terminals that I shaded green in the photo above, and three soldered onto the terminals shaded yellow. Each set of three is then twisted together with each other and with the lead coming out of the brick.

9 Replies to “Getting your $%*# Ring Doorbell hard-wired”

  1. Original Ring Doorbell
    I had 19.4 volts AC at the terminals.
    Reversing them made no sense to me so I just tightened them.
    They had not been loose, but that fixed it.
    Now hard wired, but no surround light.
    Still bave only black and white video 🙁 but will do.

      1. It will go back to color for a couple days if I hold the orange button and reset it.
        Assuming it stays online for that long.
        It goes offline and won’t automatically reconnect even though it knows the SSID and password. Signal strength is -26.
        Been nothing but trouble since I got it a few years ago when it was the latest thing.
        Doesn’t work at all in winter. Gets cold here (Winnipeg)

  2. thank you for your post! I followed your lead and my RING doorbell now works again hardwired! as a shortcut I just stripped a coper wire across the 3 pins, soft soldered lightly and attached the other end to the terminal. same with the bottom 3 contacts per your diagram. easier and works the same. thanks again for the image.

  3. Hope this helps those searching for answers as I was. I realized that Ring’s mounting plate design made it very hard to make a good connection between the 12-24VAC source and the Ring unit. The PCB pads and pins were making, but there was no voltage from the terminal screws and pads. The problem is in the terminal screws. If the thin gauge 12-24VAC leads are too short or wrapped too tightly around the screw, they will not make good contact with the PCB surface. There’s some kind of small insulating ring around the threaded base that prevents the tightly wound lead from contacting the conductive surface of the PCB. Proper wrapping of leads around a terminal post usually means tightly winding in a clockwise direction, but with the terminal threads not touching the conductive PCB surface, in this case, you need to wrap the wires loosely or simply run them across the underside of the screw to ensure contact. Once I did that, the light is back on, the existing chime is working, and the unit no longer shows “battery” in Device Health. Hope this helps!

  4. Nicely done, stumbled on this as my ring bell is showing as hardwired but isn’t charging, obviously ring support is no good telling me that my “Stick up cam” might need to be charged……… While your problem might not be the same as mine, the pin outs are handy, thanks! Dunno why they didn’t just put two hefty contacts on the back of it?!

    1. I wondered that, too. I wonder if they envisioned different plates that would be compatible with different wiring on the house side, and would need to split out the voltage to provide some lower levels? Maybe some special doorbells have needs like that? Definitely a mystery to me.

  5. Thank you so much for the pinout diagram! I think I broke the trace between the right screw terminal and the three corresponding contacts. Using my volt meter I can get continuity from the left screw to the three contacts but none on the right one. Anyhow, I would think I could do the same but only use one wire across the three pins indicated since there doesn’t seem to be any voltage modification and no resistance between them. We’ll see! Thank you again!

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