Telephone problems, out of the blue


Old 02-11-03, 10:50 AM
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Question Telephone problems, out of the blue


This, probably, will turn into a long post so my apologies, in advance.

Problem: Without an apparent and/or obvious reason, two of the three phone outlets went dead.

Topology: Two tel cables (6 wires each) leaving the NID with White Blue, Blue White pairs for both connected. Two outlets (Study and Kitchen) with one cable coming in. One outlet with two cables (bedroom) only one connected the “unconnected” cable with White Blue, Blue White pair snipped and removed. One telephone line. All three outlets using White Blue, Blue White pair.

Process of elimination:

Step 1 - Switched all connections to White Orange, Orange White pair.
Result – No change; Bedroom with dial tone, Study and Kitchen without.

Step 2 – In the bedroom, connected the White Orange, Orange White pair from the “unconnected” cable.
Result – Dial tone at the kitchen outlet, Study still dead

Step 3 – Disconnected one of the cables at the NID
Result – No change. Dial tone in the bedroom and kitchen. No dial tone in the study.

Step 4 – Connected ALL twelve wires at the NID and connected ALL wires available at ALL outlets.
Result – No change. Dial tone in the bedroom and kitchen. No dial tone in the study.

My conclusions:

1. One of the cables from the NID was a homerun to the Bedroom.
2. The second cable was split to serve the study and the kitchen.
3. The unconnected cable was “patched into” the cable serving the kitchen downstream from the split in 2 above.

Obviously, the conclusions do not get me any closer to a solution. The house is 13 years old and the wiring has never been messed with. All the wiring seems to be inside the walls. The only solution I can think of is a homerun to the study with all the wiring being outside the house. If that is the solution, what kind of cable should I use that will do well given the weather in Northern California.

By the way, the DSL modem is in the study.

Thanks for your indulgence.

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Old 02-11-03, 04:42 PM
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I think you should probably start by building a home-made test set. It's not hard to do and cost less than $10 ($5 if you already have a corded phone.)

Get some alligator clips from Home Depot and a Wall mount (not flush or recessed) jack. Connect a wire to the Red/Green on the jack and connect the Alligator clips to the other end of the wire (obviously, you only need about 6 in. of wire to do this.) Now that you have your set, you're ready to get started troubleshooting.

First, make sure you don't have a bad jack. You want to test the incoming lines at all the jacks, especially the bedroom jack. See if maybe you have a tone on those wires. If so, obviously you have a bad jack. If not, then you have a connection problem somewhere, or a bad/cut wire (I think this may be your problem.) So, while you're already in there, try the other wire to see if maybe you can get a tone on it. If so, just connect it to the jack and be done with it.

Try that for now, you can do a lot more if you have a test set to work with. If you don't get anywhere with that, let us know and we'll try some more troubleshooting.

Good luck!
Old 02-12-03, 08:25 AM
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Thanks for the response

Hi Safewatch,

Appreciate the response. I have, through process of elimination by swapping the phone jacks between outlets, ascertained that the problem is/was not with the phone jack. The only working outlet was the bedroom. In addition, two outlets going dead, at the same time, i thought, points to a wiring problem. The reason for my post was two fold; to confirm that my approach to solving the problem was sound and that I was not missing something obvious. I also hoped to get the dos and donts of outside wiring as well as a recommendation for the cable to use considering that this line will serve a DSL modem and will be approx. 75 feet.


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