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Making a miniature electric bell

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Brian H15/07/2021 12:01:28
2214 forum posts
113 photos

I'm hoping that one of our electricians can help me on this.

I need an electric bell for the front of my 1/4 scale model of Henry Fords 1896 Quadricycle. It was like a firebell with 2 coils and a 5" inch brass bell so a model will need a bell of 1.25" inches.

Now, I know that won't make much of a noise but......

I thought of 2 options,

1) make a dummy bell and fit a noise module as used on model railways or,

2) Make a fully working model.

I have seen educational bells for around £6 but these have one coil of probably the wrong diameter and 3 or 4 connection points, which I doon't understand!

Any ideas anyone?


Adam Mara15/07/2021 13:17:01
153 forum posts
10 photos

I have a copy of 'The Boy Electician' from 1948, and there is a chapter on building a bell with 2 coils, if you go on the self build route!

Brian H15/07/2021 14:36:12
2214 forum posts
113 photos

Hello Adam and thanks for the reply. I think it will have to self build to get the right dimensions for 1/4 scale.

I don't know if there is a limit on the size of the coils or the wire size or how many turns of wire, or much else to be honest!!

The 'Boy Electrician' sounds a good place to start though, if you could let me have a copy of the article I would be most grateful.


Harry Wilkes15/07/2021 15:46:05
1166 forum posts
64 photos

Hi Brian

I have a link to said book link if there is anything of interest you could all's screen grab and print off


Edited By Harry Wilkes on 15/07/2021 15:46:51

Georgineer15/07/2021 16:38:13
525 forum posts
31 photos
Posted by Adam Mara on 15/07/2021 13:17:01:

I have a copy of 'The Boy Electician' from 1948, and there is a chapter on building a bell with 2 coils, if you go on the self build route!

I looked in my copy of "The Boy Electrician" , and the bell's not there! Then I discovered that mine is by J.W.Sims and published in London, whereas yours is by Alfred P. Morgan and published in Boston.

My personal view is that you should go for a real bell, every time! No electronically generated bell sound is ever convincing and I regard them with scorn and derision, if not worse. I have the misfortune to live within earshot of an electronically generated bell chime on the local Roman Cathedral. I cringe every quarter hour as it wrings out a series of sounds with all the power and majesty of Aunt Edie's mantel clock on steroids, followed on the hour by the sound of a two-ton bell emanating from a turret the size of a large beehive. A few moments later I hear the tones of the 3¾ ton hour bell on Portsmouth Guildhall. The difference is immense.

I realise that your bell will be on an altogether different scale, but I would still prefer to hear a real one!

George B.

Brian H15/07/2021 18:02:09
2214 forum posts
113 photos

Thank very much all, especially Harry for the copy of the bell article.

I think I can follow that.


Emgee15/07/2021 18:18:38
2147 forum posts
265 photos


You should be OK with a single coil bell provided the trembler switch and return spring are closely matched, the coil current passes through the switch that is broken during transit of the spindle through the core but the energy in the mechanism continues so the striker hits the bell and the return spring takes the spindle back to strike the opposite side of the dome, here it is an energised position so keeping the on/off function working. As long as sufficient voltage is provided the process of on/off will continue to work so ringing the bell.


Neil Wyatt15/07/2021 23:58:18
18744 forum posts
733 photos
80 articles

A twin coil bell should be easy enough and able to do the job.

Just google miniature solenoid if you don't want to wind your own coil and use two side by side. You can put a dummy pole piece across their base.


Nigel Graham 216/07/2021 00:07:37
1676 forum posts
20 photos

Won't reducing the bell size to 1/4, increase its pitch considerably? Or would that not matter?

Brian H16/07/2021 16:28:10
2214 forum posts
113 photos

Quote; Won't reducing the bell size to 1/4, increase its pitch considerably? Or would that not matter? End quote.

Absolutely correct Nigel. That why I thought of the idea of using a model railway sound module but in the end I decided that I would prefer one that really worked, albeit with a rather high pitched sound, after all, It will only be used to prove that it really does work!


Peter Greene16/07/2021 17:00:08
272 forum posts
2 photos

It's fine because the putative scale people that would drive this car have miniature ears which would be tuned to higher frequencies.


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