Intercom at home over two pairs - Trillium Talkto 109


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Old 05-03-21, 06:22 AM
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Intercom at home over two pairs - Trillium Talkto 109

Hi there. Working from home makes a basic paging/intercom system between rooms look really appealing. I currently have landline service and found a Trillium TalkTo 109 Home Communications System to do the job. The TalkTo 109 connects to my external phone line (delivered over green, red) and establishes an internal paging system on the other pair (black, yellow)--or at least that's the idea. Sadly I can't seem to get my telephone wiring configured for the internal paging to work.

I've stripped the black and yellow wires (on the phone line, jack itself, or both) to connect the second pair to every jack (mostly baseboard surface mount jacks) except for two locations. For the two I haven't done yet one is a wall jack and is missing a complete second pair from the phone line (I'm guessing that, unless I get a new phone cable installed with a complete second pair, I won't be able to use this jack with the intercom system, which is okay). The other remaining jack where the yellow and black pair is not connected I haven't gotten to yet.

Status:

The intercom unit connected to the base station seems to work with the attached phone (picking up the receiver registers the indicator light on the intercom unit and I can dial out using the intercom).
None of the "satellite" intercom units ever register to allow for internal paging. The indicator light never blinks on these units, though it does pass the external line onto the phone per the diagram below.

Questions:

Does anyone have any experience with this kind of system?
I used to have a second phone line that's now disconnected; is there something I should ask the telephone company to do on their end?
I am having a Verizon technician come out to install a new jack in the basement tomorrow (I know I can do this myself, but want to see if he'll help me troubleshoot the intercom system). What should I ask the tech?

Final Notes:

I want to use my telephone wiring; I do not want a wireless paging system;
Cellular service is not reliable at my home;
My Trillium system components are "new old stock";
I have ruled out two units having the same extension number, since I can't get any combination of intercom units working together;
Trillium TalkTo 109 System Guide (Manual Cover)

Pg. 8 Installing Your TalkTo 109 System

Pg. 9 Typical TalkTo System Layout

Pg. 10

Pg. 11

Pg. 12

Pg. 36 Troubleshooting Guide

Pg. 37 Troubleshooting Guide
 

Last edited by WiredJack; 05-03-21 at 06:27 AM. Reason: add information
  #2  
Old 05-03-21, 09:24 AM
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Welcome to the forums.

Unfortunately there is no "right" way to wire phones. At one time the phone company would come in when the house was new and run a three pair cable from the hookup (demarc) location to the last jack. It would loop thru each jack location so that you would see two cables..... in and out.

If you have two cables at a location you need to combine the yellow and black wires so that they carry thru. If you only have a single cable then that cable may go directly to the demarc location.

Basically what you are trying to do is to connect every yellow wire in the house together and the same for the black wires.
 
  #3  
Old 05-04-21, 08:15 AM
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You connected the Black and Yellow at the jacks. Ask yourself where the other end of those wires are. The Black and Yellow weren't connected to anything at the jacks, so why would the other ends be connected to anything at the other end?

I would look for the other end of those cables at a common point and the first that comes to mind is the demarcation point (demarc), where telephone company (telco) responsibility usually ends and yours begins. They have been required for 30-40 years.

(What follows is for a one, two or three family residence.) The demarc is usually the Network Interface Device, a gray box on the outside of the building. It's often marked Telephone Network Interface and has two sections; one for telco connections and the other for premise connections.

The two sections are easily identifiable, often being marked. If not marked the telco side requires some type of unusual tool to open, while the premise side usually requires nothing more than a screwdriver (see linked picture).

Open the premise side, twist all the Black wires together and all the yellow wires together. Don't shorten the wires, that extra length might come in handy years from now. Check the phones to see if they work.

The twisted wires need to be held together and insulated. While far from a favorite for phone work, you could use small wire nuts; Gray for up to 6 wires, Blue for more than 6. Check the package instructions for the maximum number of 22 gauge wires; phone wire is often smaller than 22 gauge but I don't remember seeing anything smaller than 22 on packaging or instructions.

Not knowing anyone's familiarity, this is very basic. If you have any questions, post them. Whatever the final resolution, let us know.
 
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Old 05-04-21, 03:54 PM
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Premise Box located and is not promising

PJmax and ThisOldMan, thank you! I checked out the premise box and the situation is sub-optimal, you might say. Of the three phone cables entering the box, #1 appears to have only one complete pair (red, green) and a single yellow. Not sure if wiring a phone jack with 1.5 pairs was common back in the day, but I know exactly which room this cable goes to (as mentioned in my original post) and absent the black on either end there's little to be done with cable #1.

As for the others, the situation hardly improves. Much to the surprise of my VZW tech the black and yellow pair of cable #2 are being held together at the premise box with the red and green of #2 and #3. My guess is that an enterprising (or lazy, perhaps) installer jury-rigged the yellow/black pair of cable #2 to service a home alarm system, which we removed upon buying the house. This is reckless speculation on my part, but fun nonetheless.

The third and final phone cable entering the premise box--#3--originates from the telco box, suggesting to me this is how the external line (and the second line I used to have) joins the system. Unless I hear otherwise from someone here, I don't see the value in twisting the telco black/yellow (#3) to the one complete pair of black/yellow coming from the house (#2). Is this how the yellow/black line would get powered?

There are, to put it another way, no black and yellow pairs to join up outside of the one line from the house and the one line from the telco box.Your recommendation makes a lot of sense but my phone wiring appears to falls short.

My VZW tech did look at both boxes outside and offered some insights, but sadly due to the "divestiture settlement of 1984" he could not work on an "internal PBX system, however rudimentary." I did have him confirm the second line was indeed disconnected from Verizon copper, which I had hoped might be the problem. Sadly, there seems little left to do absent scraping my knees in the crawlspace tracking down where these cables may go.

So--all that said--if you think I should try twisting the telco box black/yellow with the one complete pair originating from the house that's currently twisted with red/green, I will do so (pictures below). If you think this is a shock risk, I won't! Otherwise the Verizon tech told me to look up professional PBX wiring companies and mentioned a business that doesn't exist any more.


Phone Cable #1: gray wire in the middle (note severed yellow wire and no black wire). Phone Cable #2: far left gray wire containing two pairs. Note yellow and black from this phone cable getting twisted together with red and green. Phone Cable #3: gray cable to far right with thinnest, brightest wires; comes out of telco box. Yellow and black are not twisted together with anything else.

#1: middle gray phone cable #2: gray phone cable to far left #3: far right phone cable
 
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Old 05-04-21, 04:04 PM
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#1 appears to have only one complete pair (red, green) and a single yellow.
Very doubtful. I've never seen three wire cable. Strip the jacket back..... black is probably cut off.
(actually I have seen three wire phone cable but it was very old.)

Assuming there is only one supply cable from the poco.......
The cable on the far right is the supply cable. It's red and green wires should be connected to all red and green wires in that splice box. Yellow and black should not be connected with red and green.

The two cables yellow and black should be connected together.
Yellow and black from supply cable is not used.
 
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Old 05-07-21, 12:13 PM
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My apologies. For some reason I'm no longer being notified of new posts.

In the US (you said Verizon), the picture in your post is not a Network Interface Device, just a junction box. Below is a picture of a typical NID (demarc). An NID for up to 6 residential lines always has at least one modular jack/plug (red circle) where the user can disconnect premise wiring (the demarcation point) without tools. If you don't have one of these, the Verizon tech should have installed one during his visit at no charge (required by the FCC). This is a better picture and can be enlarged for detail


As PJMAX posted, the missing wire may have been cut. Carefully remove more of the cable jacket to see if a fourth wire is present. A third wire was connected to ground (yellow circle) on some party-line ringers, but party lines went away some 40 years ago; about the same time NIDs were required. (It has nothing to do with the OP's problem, but for those interested, more on party line ringing appears below.)

The demarc shown is set up for two phone lines, so you can ignore half of what's shown. The left side of this NID is the telco's and is probably secured. The right side has at least one cable and probably more.

At the NID and junction box, twist all the Black wires together and all the Yellow wires together. Any set that doesn't have intercom is probably on the cable missing a wire at the junction box or there is another point where Black and Yellow are not connected.


More on Party Line Ringing
Early party lines used distinctive rings for each party on the line; 2 longs & 2 shorts, etc. If pairs were available, the CO had the right equipment and you were willing to pay more, you might have been able get ringers that only rang when your number was called (selective ringing). (I remember having to be quiet whenever the phone rang at my grandmother's so she could count the long and short rings.)

Some party lines with selective ringers required a ground for the ringer at each set; the third wire. On private lines the ringers are connected across tip (Green) and ring (Red) at each set and the telco applies ringing voltage on tip and ring. On a typical 2-party line, one side of the ringer is connected to ground.

One 2-party premise had its ringers connected to tip & Ground; the other had its ringers connected to ring & Ground. At the CO, ringing voltage was applied to tip & ground or ring & ground depending on which premise was being called.

By adding s ringing bridge (a diode) in the proper polarity and using a polarity sensitive ringer, you could have a 4-party line with full selective ringing. You could double the number of parties on a line with each party hearing their ring cadence plus one other ring cadence. Not ideal, but better than trying to distinguish one cadence out of up to eight! I heard

Some equipment manufacturers used other methods and/or wiring to achieve selective ringing. One scheme used ringers responsive only to specific ringing voltage frequencies. But this meant frequency specific ring voltage generators in the CO, more ringers in the warehouse and more ringers on service trucks. Between inventory management headaches and the money tied up in ringing generators and stocking ringers, I think I can see why it wasn't too popular.
 
 

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