Is this old telephony equipment?


Old 01-05-15, 02:40 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: United States
Posts: 40
Is this old telephony equipment?

I found an ugly mess of wiring in my basement, in the utility closet which houses the water and gas meters. It looks like some sort of large metal lug with 3 conductors, sitting under a beige plastic box. All around it are what look like both low voltage telephone wires as well as high voltage electrical.

The house was built in 1969 and contains some remnants of aluminum wiring (I understand that that is another issue entirely). The house currently has 1 working telephone line; I can't say whether there may be a second unused line wired up.

Does anyone recognize what this may be? My non-contact voltage tester tells me there is some electrical activity in these wires. But there are so many wires jumbled together that it's hard to determine the source.

Here is a link to the photos (too large to upload here):

Sponsored Links
Old 01-05-15, 02:57 PM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,506
It's definitely all phone wiring. The beige box looks to me to be a transformer for ringer/light power on the old Bell phones.
Old 01-05-15, 03:23 PM
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: usa
Posts: 1
yes, that is telephone wiring. the block is commonly referred to as a protector, it provides overcurrent protection. it generally is installed at the junction of the outside and inside wiring. the white "transformer" does NOT apprear to be telephone related to me. if you read approximately 48 volts dc accross the two outside connectors on the protector (the center lug is ground) it is live.
Old 01-05-15, 06:14 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 46,114
The transformer is power for an alarm system. The brown conductor cable goes to the alarm system dialer jack. The phone line is sent to the alarm first on the red and green wires. It then returns from the alarm system jack on yellow and black. This is setup like this so that the alarm system seizes the phone line in case of an emergency communication or alarm transmission.

Name:  nid.jpg
Views: 104
Size:  45.3 KB
Old 01-06-15, 10:59 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: United States
Posts: 40
Thank you all for the comments. And thanks especially to PJMax for the thorough explanation and graphic. That makes a lot of sense, considering the house had an old/unused alarm system that was still installed (but no longer working). This will be good to know when we get to remodeling the basement.

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes