This is something I’ve wanted to be able to do for years. I imagine there have probably been some good DIY methods for a while (I could totally see doing this via Arduino), but the commercial variants have been slow to market for an idea that makes so much sense. I mean, if we are already so obsessed as a culture with customizing the ringtones on our phones, why not with our home doorbells? So, when Honeywell offered to send me a review sample of their wireless doorbells, a couple of which have the ability to accept .mp3, .midi and .wav files, I was happy to oblige and give them a try.
The simple review is that it works as advertised. As a tech geek, it’s not as flawlessly simple as I’d like though. The ringer module has a proprietary memory module which you can pull out and attach to a computer via USB. Then there’s a slightly klunky piece of software (PC only) which you use to translate your files into the native device format and then move to the memory module. Put the memory module back in the ringer, and flip a couple dip switches to choose which tone, and you’re ready to go. Yeah, functional but not foolproof easy. In a perfect tech world, they’d use an SD card that mounts on any desktop as storage and all you’d need to do is drop the files in a folder. Or, even easier since this is a wireless device, make it actually wi-fi enabled and program everything through an app. But until that day, this does the job.
So now we have the sound of the Tardis from Doctor Who landing as our doorbell, and we love it. For the price and reasonably quick setup, it’s an attractive alternative to hacking something yourself, and the wireless system means you don’t have to worry about drilling holes or dealing with electrical wires.
WIRED: Customized doorbell sounds let you announce your geek-hood to everyone who stops by.
TIRED: Technology could do more.
By Honeywell, Available at Amazon for $45.