YourBell (mp3 doorbell)

What do you get the guy who has everything? This is a problem my father and I run into buying gifts for each other every year. While neither of us are rolling in cash, we both have a tendency to buy the things we want, leaving few gift ideas for each other when holidays roll around. The end result is, we often end up buying each other really unique gifts. For my birthday this year, dad bought me a YourBell. One thing I can definitely say is … I definitely didn’t have one already!

The YourBell, from BCS Ideas, is a replacement doorbell that plays MP3s (or WAV files) whenever someone rings your doorbell. YourBell retails for less than $100, comes in a variety of woods and stains, and easily connects to your pre-existing wiring.

Connecting the YourBell couldn’t be simpler. If you already have at least three wires going to your current door chime, you’ll be in business. Wiring diagrams and examples for almost any type of installation are included on the packaged CD. And, if you run into any kind of weird wiring issues (like I did), simply e-mail the company’s support e-mail address (again, locaed on the CD as well as the BCS website). Within 24 hours (over a holiday weekend) I received a response, more documentation, and the engineer’s home phone number if I needed more support. Talk about service!

Sound files are loaded onto the YourBell using an included program and USB cable. The software defaults into a wizard mode that walks you through the four or so steps to loading sounds on to your YourBell. If you load more than one sound, the YourBell will cycle through them one at a time. The documentation says that the YourBell holds “about four minutes worth of music.” The CD also contains freeware audio editing tools and a CD ripper, but I can’t imagine anyone buying an MP3-playing doorbell who doesn’t already own such programs. The installtion of the tools is optional so I’m not complaining.

The wiring from your wall connects to a small plug which itself plugs into the YourBell. The YourBell hangs on the wall like a picture frame, so removing it is a simple matter of disconnecting the rear plug and removing it from the wall. If you’re like me you’ll probably be reflashing songs on the thing on a weekly basis, so its nice to be able to easily remove the unit from the wall.

For our test run, my son chose Ghostbusters as our doorbell. Minutes later, cooler heads prevailed — now the unit blares the chorus from Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” whenever someone rings our bell. Runners up included Men At Work’s “Who Can It Be Now?”, Guns and Roses’ “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” and that annoying disco song, “Knock on Wood.”

So for that technology-lovin’ guy in your life who has everything (or for yourself!), I highly recommend the YourBell. Great concept, great product, great technical support. And I guarantee the person you’re about to buy one for doesn’t have one already.


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