Land Line Telephone Troubleshooting for the Homeowner
My phones are not working. I called the
telephone company, and they claim that the problem is inside my house. How
can I find out what the problem is?
Lets go over the basics of telephone cable. once you understand the basics, troubleshooting becomes a breeze. It may be time consuming, but a breeze. And at $ 40 or more for a half hour ‘s service from the call animate guy, the wind will be at your back ! !
The real basic basics of telephone wiring…
Though you may have hundreds of feet of earphone wire and countless connections, telephone wiring is in truth bare and legitimate. Let ‘s take a walk around your house, and we ‘ll figure it out together .
The telephone company, bless their souls, provides you with service through four wires or more wires leading to the outside of your house ( there is actually more to it than that, but you do n’t need to know more to work on your own stuff ). These wires connect to a box called a network
interface, normally located outside your home for facilitate of access by the telephone company .
It ‘s besides referred to as a protector ( just the sound of it makes you tingle, eh ? ) The list “ defender ” is apposite … it protects your house telephone wiring from strange electrical surges from lightning strikes, world power lines that may touch outside telephone cables, etc. not a goofproof system, but identical effective 99.9 % of the clock time. The defender can frequently be found near your electric service ( meter ), because the telephone caller and the electric company use the same standard for choosing an access point to your home .
The network interface acts as your main junction box- the set where all telephone cables leading into your theater originate. normally, character of it is off limits to you. It may be sealed with a lock, or screwed shut. This is where the call company makes its connections. The wiring colors will not correspond with the tinge cryptography of your interior telephone wires .
The customer-accessible side uses the standard color code that you will run into again and again in all telephone work. Most common call cables have four wires inside … red, green, black and yellow. In the trade they are referred to as “ pairs ”. The red-green couple is used for basic one line serve, and the black-yellow pair is used to provide a second line .
If you look at the explosion of the network interface to the leftover, you will see that there is a “ pulley ” with six colored person screws. There are three pairs together … yellow-black, red-green and a second gear yellow-black. You will besides notice that there are wires connected to the loss and k terminals. In this connection, there is only one live telephone line … course 1. Though the connection can carry up to three lines, for facilitate of customer consumption they normally lone install one line per connection. If you had three lines, you would have one connection serving one line, and the irregular connection serving two lines. This network interface box has two such connectors, so this home plate could conceivably have up to six telephone lines installed .
The actual connection to your electrify is made through the telephone laborer in the connection by means of the removable plug attached to the black cable. Disconnecting this plug disables the call lines attached to the connection. This plug makes troubleshooting a short easier, since you can plug a examiner into the jack to see if the telephone party ‘s lines are okay ( more by and by on troubleshooting ) .
Some older homes do not have easily accessible interfaces…
In older homes, the defender outside your home is a seal box that does not allow customer access. It contains a special fuse to stop lightning from reaching your inside cable. basically, it is a start point for a standard 4-wire cable television to enter the house, and you have no easy access to its innards !
Why was the telephone company protective of its defender ? Part of the reason for this is that, years ago, the call company did it all … they owned all the phones, the wires, and the jacks, and it was illegal for you to mess with the cable. So they had no bonus to make conduct access to the inside of the defender available to you. Hooking your earphone cables immediately to the defender is advantageous because the call signal is the strongest there, and I recommend it when and if possible. In fact, if you have an older manner defender, many telephone companies will replace it with a modern connection, such as pictured above, at no charge. particularly if you are having call problems or Internet connection problems ! ! Just cry and solicit like I did !
A second significant reason why homeowners were deny access is because of the fear that they would connect wires to the unprotected english of the box, leaving their cable systems vulnerable to lightning surges and the possibly black consequences !
indeed if you have an old-style sealed defender, your access to the telephone company is via a run of cable ( normally 4 wire, or two pair ) that enters your house and is connected to a junction
block or entrance bridge. articulation blocks are rectangular plates that use screws to connect each of the four service wires ( from the call co. ) together with your inside wires. A articulation block has four terminals that hold the wires together with screws. The wires from the telephone company and your inside wires share a common screw based on the wire color … all reds to one terminal, blacks to another, etc. This system was great when people possibly had two phones ( if they were dirty rich ), but get a little herd with three or four pair running off them to multiple telephone jacks .
historically, junction blocks originated when homes had good one telephone pipeline and one telephone. A single telegram entered the home and went to a single jack. As years went by and people began wanting more convenient telephones, extra wires were run off the junction barricade to service other phones. After about two connections, the blocks were jammed with wires and difficult to work with. Enter the entrance bridge … a huge improvement. alternatively of having the call wires run to a junction pulley in the surviving area, the entrance bridge was installed in a basement or utility room. Entrance bridges perform the lapp routine as articulation blocks, but the incoming telephone ship’s company wires do not directly touch your home ‘s cable wires. alternatively, they use respective methods of securing the wires onto an isolate metallic element frame which provides the joining. As you can see in the graphic, the telephone caller ‘s wires ( entering the graphic from the penetrate ) each bind to a jam with two screw terminals. Up to two call lines with two branch cables ( upstairs and downstairs, for exercise ) could be attached without the necessity of wire-sharing on a concluding .
As you can see, entrance bridges can hold more wire connections than articulation blocks, and since each connection is separate are your prefer choice for newfangled or substitution installations. You will have both a better electrical connection, less prospect of wires unwittingly touching and less confusing cable !
To summarize, two wires provide all your phone servicing if you have one line, four wires if you have two lines. And all of your wall phones, cordless phones, calculator modems, answering machines, fax machines and even your distant base alarm systems lead back to the call caller via these little wires !
What can go wrong with my telephone wiring?
Did you change or damage anything… If your phones are not working properly, think about any changes you may have made in your system. Did you install a new phone in the last week or two ( sometimes electronics takes a fiddling while to fail ) ? Did you move any furniture, by chance yank a telephone wire, or drop a call ? If you can think of anything that may have damaged a earphone, a jackfruit, or a wire, it ‘s a begin bespeak in your detective cultivate !
Are rodents eating your
wires… Do n’t laugh ! I have found more than one corrode earphone cable over the years, adenine well as stereo speaker wires, coaxial ( television ) and antenna cable, and live electrical cable television. “ Dinner bell ” cable runs are those where the cable runs into a concealed area, such as behind insulation along a basement wall. I think they know it aggravates us … that ‘s why the mouse do it ! sol if you have seen testify of rodents, they have to be considered possible suspects. Read my pest article, including the topic … Mice everywhere!! I’ve had an
exterminator but the problem recurs every year. Help! !, concerning how to find and hopefully eliminate mouseys from your houseys, without resorting to poison bait or traps .
Lightning striking again… You may have had a lightning strike affect your earphone arrangement and not even know it. A rush can selectively fry one of your phones, or a modular jack, or a individual association, leaving no glaring attest other than the malfunction .
Poor wiring… sometimes in their enthusiasm to get a project done, an amateur with the best of intentions neglects to double-check his work The two possible outcomes are :
Short circuit : Two publicize wires that should n’t touch were a little besides close, and time and bad luck caused them to reposition always so slenderly, and, voila … short circuit. If the wires affect, the earphone company thinks you are on the earphone, and you ca n’t receive or make any earphone calls. fortunately, this is not a dangerous circumstance, because the eminent electric potential rush that occurs when the call rings ca n’t occur. If it did, it could conceivably fry your wires. The corrective action, of path, is to separate the wires .
Open circuit : This is when a wire that is supposed to be connected is n’t. In this case, the result is the antonym … the phone company thinks that your phones are o, callers hear the ring, but your phone doesn’t “ get the message ”. The solution … find the unleash wire or break telegram, connect it or repair it, and voila … the world awaits your return.
Reversed wires: vitamin a long as you follow the wire color conventions systematically, you should have no problem with adding new phones or cables. Because the electric potential is DC and not AC, reversed wire can cause malfunctions in your equipment. sometimes, a single telephone can be mis-wired and hush serve. Add a second telephone correctly wired and the system melts down !
First things first… is it your fault or the phone company’s?
Always call the telephone repair service first… though they may not get to you immediately it will at least put you in the ” queue ” in case your trouble is their trouble !
Most newer homes have the ability to easily check if the problem is outside your home in the earphone caller ‘s lines … equally long as you have a network interface outside or inside your home .
Open up the customer-accessible side of the interface and you will see a phone number of conversant items … call jacks ! Each jack corresponds to one or more of the telephone lines in your dwelling. If you lone have one phone wrinkle, there will be alone one visible telephone jacklight with tinge wires attached. In this interface, you can see that the telephone company has written the last four digits of the call count on the interface to make locating the right plug easier .
Bring one of your phones outside, or obtain a telephone jack examiner at a hardware store, home store, electric provide or electronics store. Unplug the short-wired earphone punch from the jack in the interface corresponding to your phone credit line and fireplug in the earphone ( or tester ). A dial tone ( or proper lighting sequence ) will tell you that the earphone company is not at demerit. If you receive no dial tone, get on the cell phone and call the repair service !
If you have multiple lines, you will have more than one of these connectors active. You will need to test them all to figure out which is the defective one. You will besides need a two-line call tester if one interface shares two lines, since the second line will not be detected by a standard single-line tester ( or a one-line telephone ) .
If you have a junction stop or entrance bridge, you can test the telephone company ‘s wiring using a multimeter. For a typical four wire system, you do n’t need to disconnect any wires to perform this trial. Touch the ” + ” probe of the multimeter to the park and “ – ” probe to the red wires. If you have a irregular line, “ + ” to black and ” – ” to yellow. If you get a low DC voltage interpretation across a pair of wires ( red-green or black-yellow ), about 48v, you know that you are connected to the telephone company. No electric potential means you are not getting a signal from the telephone company .
No problems with the telephone company? Check
for a defective telephone!
One defective call can mess up the whole work ! Unplug all phones and
telephony devices … computers, answering machines, etc. … throughout your house. then, taking your line examiner ( or one earphone that you are certain works, go approximately and plug it into every wall socket, checking for the proper fall sequence ( or, in the character of a telephone, dial tone ). If all jacks appear to be dead ( or you do n’t get dial tone anywhere ), your problem is not with your telephones or telephone equipment .
however, if you do show a positive connection with your tester, you know a phone device is probably the perpetrator. Plug in each device one by one to see which one is the troublemaker. Once you find the perpetrator, and you can either trash it or have it repaired .
The next step is to test your wiring…
Right up movement I must warn you that this can be difficult, confusing and try your solitaire ! A variety show of things can cause your call wire to crash … improperly touching wires, mouse eating the cables or an electrical billow frying a call jack are all possible culprits. I will try to give you a much information as I can, but in the end it is up to you to cautiously learn and analyze your system !
Disconnect your inside electrify from the telephone caller. As mentioned a few paragraph spinal column, if you have a network interface outside your home you should disconnect the plug serving the bad argumentation. If you have a junction block or an entrance bridge, physically separate the telephone company ‘s wire from the obstruct or bridge. Make sure none of the wires touch !
This action will “ open ” the circumference and allow you to use a multimeter to test the continuity of your wiring. A wire that has ” continuity ” allows electricity to freely flow through it. If two bare wires are touching, they besides have continuity. If you do n’t want these wires touching, continuity indicates a bad condition. That is your finish … find where the defect is and correct it !
In a correctly wired home, each coloring material of telegram in your dwelling is independent of all the others. consequently, there should be no contact between any wires of different colors. Set your multimeter to test continuity ( refer to the instructions with the meter ). You should be able to touch your probes across any two wires of unlike colors and get no continuity. You can do this at a terminal blocking or entrance bridge without disconnecting any of your inside wires ( except, of class, the telephone company ‘s wires ). All phones and
devices must be unplugged or this test will not work.
If you get a continuity reading one of two things is happening … either two wires are touching somewhere in your home or you have a defective earphone jack. Bare wires could be touching behind a telephone jack or at a junction blocking or entrance bridge. An electric scend that made it into your system fried one of your jacks, causing an inner short tour. Check all visible junction blocks first gear. Make a visible inspection to see if any wires attached to different terminals are touching, or if any wires appear to be disconnected or loose. If you see either of these conditions, separate the touch wires or tighten the connections. Go bet on to the anterior mistreat and test the lines again with a earphone. If the phones are inactive not working, continue on to other blocks and telephone jacks. As you examine them, be sure that all bare wires are well unclutter of each other. sometimes, equitable reinstalling a cover can cause close wires to touch !
Be aware that there may be secondary junction blocks or parallel
connections in your base. These are used to run telephone cable to a remote control placement by splicing into another call ‘s cable, quite than running a new cable from the main articulation forget or defender. besides, call cables can “ daisy chain ” off each other ( known in electric parlance as parallel connection ), one connect to the next to the adjacent and so on. If you look at your junction forget and see two cables leading into the house, but you know you have six call outlets, one of these two scenarios is occurring. You should try to find any secondary junction blocks, and examine them for touching bare wires or at large wires. equally far as parallel connections go, you will only discover them as you open up the phone outlets throughout the following phase of your trouble-shoot, should you have to go that army for the liberation of rwanda .
now, you have to determine whether it ‘s the cable itself or the earphone outlets, or jacks. Disconnect one wire of a pair ( red or green, black or yellow ) from each jack. This disables all the jacks without having to wholly disconnect all the wires. Reconnect the circuit to the telephone company ‘s wires. then, one by one, reconnect the jacks one at a prison term testing with a phone or call tune examiner .
If none of the jacks solve, then you have a unretentive in the cable. If all work but one, your short circuit is credibly in the jack You can get a newly jack, and try out connecting the existing wires to it. I normally have one standard modular jackfruit available for testing purposes whenever I troubleshoot phones .
I ‘ve got to admit that this is not the entirely way to troubleshoot call lines … barely one basic approach. After you get to know your own home ‘s telephone system, you may find shortcuts to testing that I have not evening addressed here. Consider this a fuse, but do n’t forget … you are a scholar of your own experience ! !
Is there a limit to the number of
phones I can have hooked up to the same line?
Yes and no. There very is no absolute limit on the number of phones or devices. Your call or device has a label on it that states either a measure called REN or ringer
equivalence. There is a limited total of ability available from the telephone caller to make your phones ring. In other words, if you have excessively many phones, none of them will ring. Your callers will think your call is ringing ( they wo n’t get a busy signal ), but you wo n’t hear any ringing !
Though the limit is round 5 total devices, you will know if you exceed the limit because the phones just will not ring anymore. If you call the earphone company, they can give you your system ‘s REN restrict. then, add up the REN of all your devices on the line. If they are less than the REN restrict, you are oklahoma, if you exceed the REN limit, your devices may not respond to the ring bespeak .
Most phones have a REN of around 1. Computer modems, facsimile machines, and answering machines besides have a REN value, and you should take them into account when figuring your sum REN. I have a US Robotics Sportster Voice Faxmodem, and it has a toller equivalence of 0.4. My answering machine besides has a REN of .4 .
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