Taxing Zen

Disposing of the Diode

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The doorbell quit working when the new novelty button was installed.

Oh, the chime tried to sound. But instead of a pretty, eight note melody, pushing the new button produced only two notes of music, followed by a grinding noise.

“Faulty part,” said the repairman, as he tossed the old, faded button in the trash. “Buy a new one.”

The question, of course, was why? The replacement was new. Installation required unclipping two wires from the old button and wrapping those wires around the terminals on the new button. Nothing else changed.

So why sudden doorbell death?

Inquiries online and in person at home improvement and hardware stores produced no answers – or more truthfully, produced a surplus of useless answers ranging from “get a new transformer” to “something shorted out”.

Inspection under the chime cover showed no damage–but provided the solution.

There, in tiny print, was the instruction: Be sure to install the enclosed diode behind the doorbell button.

A diode. A small, seemingly insignificant electrical device that fits across the terminals on the back of the button, and allows electricity to flow long enough for the melody to play completely.

The original was disposed of through carelessness…and the entire system failed.

Unseen, unappreciated, unremarked and unknown…yet vital.

What are you overlooking?


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