Home PBX System Installation

A home PBX system, or nearly any kind of business phone system, can be a perfect way to handle phone calls, make intercom calls, monitor nursery room, and even provide for personal Voice Mail.

Using a system such as this is easy to learn, but not so easy to install. Some system installations require rather complex programming. But with a few instructions, a few installation tools, and with good telecom resources you should be able to install and program your new system. For most home telephone systems it is only a matter of knowing how to install the system, where to buy, and where you can get help for programming.

Things you'll need:

  • Electric drill
  • Screwdriver
  • Punchdown tool
  • RJ21 Jack
  • 2" Wood screws

Step 1 - Choose Self-Installation vs. Professional Installation

Paying a telephone installer to install your phone system doesn't come cheap. You can estimate the rate you'll pay an experienced installer--assuming your stations cable is already installed—by multiplying the number of system phones you'll be using by about $80 per phone. Add another $100 for installing the KSU and connecting telephones and telephone lines to it.

Step 2 - Install the Central Control Cabinet

In a PBX system the system phones get many of their instruction from the Central Control Unit, sometimes referred to as the Key Service Unit (KSU) Most call handling functions are handled by the KSU. All system telephones and all telephone lines are connected, directly or indirectly, to this KSU. So, you will need to mount this cabinet on a wall located in a central location where you can terminate all telephone cables and telephone lines on it.

Step 3 - Check/Install Telephone Station Cabling

You'll need a station cable for each system phone connected at one end to the KSU, a wall jack at the other end. However, typical residential cabling is installed in a series similar to the wiring on a Christmas tree. This series wiring system will not work with a phone system. So, if your house telephone wiring is series, you will need to install a separate cable system.

Step 4 - Connect Your Local Telephone Service

In addition to the individual telephone cables connected to your phone system, you'll also need each telephone line (dial tone service) to be connected to it. If the jack on which your telephone line is connected is near your KSU, you'll need to connect this telephone line (or lines) to the KSU. If it is not nearby, you'll need to run a cable to the KSU from the jack used by from your local telephone service company to terminate their service on. 

Step 5 - Install Your Voice Mail

Voice Mail in your system will very likely be the easiest of any component to install, probably just a circuit card you'll need to slide into a slot in the KSU. Be sure to power down your KSU when you remove the KSU cover and insert this—or any—circuit card.

Step 6 - Program Your System  

Unless you're an experienced phone system technician, you'll need guidance in programming your system. If you've purchased your system hardware from the right supplier, he will be able and willing to instruct you by phone programming your system.