Door Chime Bell Hangers

This seems like such a simple topic that it hardly bears mention, but actually there is quite a bit to it, and apparently troublesome because I get a number of calls for help regarding lost or damaged  hangers.

Older bells have a simple loop of cord.  In some models the loop goes through holes in the side of the bell tube.  In others, the loop comes through a hole in the center of the plug.  Late NuTone models have hangers made of molded nylon.

Technique for replacing cords that pass through holes in the sides of the bell is obvious.  Just pass the cord through the holes and tie.  To get the correct loop length, place an object, like a pen, marker, cork, whatever, against the top of the tube and tie against that.  Test the size of loop on the chime to see if the length is correct.  This may take some trial error to get just right, and then repeat for all bells. 

I like to use braided nylon cord, because it will last just about forever. This material is somewhat resistant to being tied so I help it a bit by putting a drop of super glue at the knot point.  Once tied, cut off the excess cord ends very short.  Seal the ends by melting them with flame.  Stuff the knot inside the bell for a neat appearance.

Replacing loops that come out of the center top of the metal plug is a little more complicated.  First, a description of how these bells are assembled.  Vintage NuTone bells have a solid metal plug about  long pressed into the top of the tube.  I suspect that a little thermo-dynamics were used in this assembly: the tube was heated a bit to enlarge it slightly, the plug was chilled to shrink it slightly and then the plug was pressed in.  As the temperatures of parts normalized, the fit tightened. 

The easy way to replace the loop on this sort of bell is to remove the metal plug.  It can be tapped out with a long ram rod inserted from the bottom end.  A long dowel rod or tomato stake does a fine job.  Gently heating the plug end of the tube for a minute or two before this operation may help in cases of stubborn plugs.  Create the new loop as described above.  To replace the plug, gently heat the tube and chill the plug in the freezer, then press the plug back into place.  If the fit seems loose, you can add a tiny bit of white glue.  Do not use super glue as it may seize before the plug is correctly positioned.

Edwards bells are similar but have a molded plastic plug.  The process of loop replacement is the same.

Late NuTone bells have a two piece molded plastic plug and hanger.  It seems these hangers get lost or broken, as I have had a number of questions about where to find new parts.  The hanger can be replaced with new parts from NuTone. Get part number 1958A-000.  Pack of 4, under $2...or a more expedient solution would be to replace the molded hanger part with a cord loop as described above.

When replacing the bell on the chime, it important to position it so the bell hangs perfectly centered on its hanger. This will assure that the plunger strikes the bell dead center for the best tone quality and volume. 

A  Early NuTone bells have a metal plug with cord loop through the center of the plug

B  Similar arrangement on Edwards bells, but the plug is plastic.

C  Later NuTone bells have loop that goes through holes on either side of bell.

D  Latest NuTone bells have e a two-piece plug and hanger.

E- Early models of most brands use this special nut on a thread shaft as the hanger.  Screw the nut in or out to achieve ideal bell position. These are made from standard hardware bits available anywhere.  I like to upgrade with new stainless steel parts when I do a renovation.

G   Similar concept on this early Harmony chime but made of wood-- very unusual. 

H   Using a pen to consistently get the correct loop length .

I   A completed set of plugs with new loops.


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