What's the Secret to a Telephone Junction Box?


Old 03-31-03, 10:58 AM
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What's the Secret to a Telephone Junction Box?

My phone service died about a week ago. (It died gradually over a couple of days.)

After testing, I discovered the problem was inside the house, and not the phone company's responsibility. (FYI. The house was built in 1937. It has 5 jacks to 5 different rooms the house. There's just telephone service -- no cable TV, no modems, no DSL, no dialup internet.)

I've gotten this far in troubleshooting: I've now got one line from the NID running into the house (in the basement, where it enters the house). I hooked up one jack to test this line and it works.

However, I'm having trouble with the next step.

What I have done so far: I tried hooking up the outside line into a new junction box -- and then hooked up my test line (not a prexisting jack) to the junction box. This did not work, even though it should have worked.

I suspect my trouble lies in using the junction boxes I purchased at Home Depot. They're $8, made by RCA, are 3 inches by 2 inches, and have 2 terminal screws for each R-Y-G-B, enabling 4 connections per color. They are pretty standard, I believe. (I removed the original junction box, thinking this would be a good time to update to a new one.)

What could I have done wrong in hooking up the junction box? (I did match the colors correctly.)

This is what I did: I slipped the wires (the directions said not to remove the casing) into the slots in the box and tightened the screws. What I'm guessing is not working is the connection between the wire and the box. The screw in the junction box is supposed to crimp down the wire on the metal plate underneath the screw, enabling it to conduct to another wire crimped to the same plate -- correct?

Could it be that the junction box is defective? Is there a better junction box to use? Or have I done something wrong?

Thank for your help!
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Old 03-31-03, 12:19 PM
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First of all, the type of junction box you are using is <i>not</i> for external use. And, more importantly, is not for use as an NID. This has be done by your Phone Company.

So, you need to hook everything back up to your old NID.

Now, this doesn't mean you can't have a junction, you just don't want to use that type outside (I'm pretty sure I know which one you are using, I may be wrong though, if you are using an external type, then you are ok.) But even if you are using an external type, you still cannot connect the incoming line directly to it, the phone company must make this connection for you, on an approved device (which it probably is not approved for Demarcation.)

Sorry for the bad news, but that's just the way it works with Ma Bell.
Old 03-31-03, 12:37 PM
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Thanks Brandon for your thoughts.

Two clarifications:
1) The new junction box I'm trying to use is being used inside.
2) The new junction box is after the NID. I'm not trying to use it as an NID. The NID, which is outside, connects to a wire which runs through the wall into the basement. It is that wire I want to connect to a junction box, so I can branch out to several different phone jacks throught the house.

Since I posted the original problem, I've been troubleshooting again. This time, in place of the new junction box, I hooked up the old junction box (it's very old, from the looks of it), and, believe it or not, everything works -- all phones, all jacks.

What I still don't understand is why the new junction box didn't work. Maybe I was hooking it up wrong, or maybe it is defective.
Old 03-31-03, 02:29 PM
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Ok, now when I re-read your post I understand. I just misread the first time.

If I am thinking of the right box, then you probably need to strip the wires before inserting them into the slots. This particular box doesn't actually have anything that crimps the wire, it similar to a punch block, it has sharp metal edges that are "supposed" to slice open the insulation and contact the wires inside. Well, needless to say, sometimes it doesn't make good contact. So just strip your wires first, then try inserting them.

Of course, the easiest way to test is to use a cordless phone that connected to a phone jack and see if you get dial-tone when you make your connections.

If all else fails, just connect all your wires together and use the junction box to hold them in place.

Good luck!
Old 03-31-03, 06:45 PM
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I wonder if you cleared your trouble?My preference has been to have customers pull in-lines to nid-connect there to screw tmns.-if further trouble it can be easier to lift [email protected] while @ nid to test/isolate which one.I also think I know which junction block you were attempting to use-possibly w/older home and older wire the screw-tmns. arent biting thru insulation(thicker on older wiring).If wires arent long enough to reach nid I understand the need for junction-so I want to say there has hardly ever been anything wrong w/old-faishon strip it and connect under screw/nut terminals.I either wire(cut) to punch-block or will splice w/gel-filled connectors if new install or necessary replacement.Keep posted if your trouble returns-I believe I could assist and think ohmmeter!
Old 12-31-07, 09:18 AM
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ok, unless you have multiple phone lines to your house, you only need to focus on (1) pair of wires, red & green. Now, if the phone company has done any re-wiring, you might see striped wires (cat 5 cable, with (4) pairs = 8 wires) which the common pair for the primary line is the blue pair (blue with white stripe & white with blue stripe), secondary pair is the orange. I would simply take a plain, simple 'wall biscuit' phone jack, tie into the line that's bringing service from your outside telelphone company box to your basement, red to red, green to green, or blue w/white stripe to red, white w/blue stripe to green (verifing the colors used outside first), and simply plug a phone into that jack. If you still don't have dial tone, then there's your problem; the line from the outside is bad, possibly chewed thru by a rodent of some sort or dog. At that point, if you have a stupid long phone cord, cut the ends off, strip the jacketing, red to red, green to green at the box, and use the phone cord to tie into your block from home depot. make certain you've stripped only the tips of the wire (the service doesn't conduct thru the insulation jacket) but make certain the lines are touching other color lines, just all the greens are touching, and all the reds are touching, but the reds & greens are not touching eachother. if your phones work throughout the house, then run back to the hardware store to either buy enough phone wire, or call the phone company. Just be careful if you do it yourself, the wires inside aren't very thich and they don't take a lot of punishment from kinks or knots, you can break the wires relatively easily which you'll figure this out when you try to strip the jacketing off the individual lines (if you want a easy cheat, use a zippo lighter and burn the jacketing off) good luck

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