Telephone Wiring - Phone Jacks Not Working

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SFLman

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I have Comcast fast internet and telephone. All phone jacks worked up until about a month ago. I do have phone service on one base (which has a number of handsets) but that is because that base is plugged into the modem.

The problem is that the phone jacks are working, but only if I run a phone line from the modem all the way into the living room.

I cannot think of any changes I made to make it so that the phone jacks don't work. I like to have a working land line in the master bedroom, that's why this is a concern. I don't want to sleep with my cell because I get spam calls at odd hours.

I use my own Modem for my cable service. The way the Comcast tech's set it up, there is a regular phone connector with the little clip inserted into my modem, and it has just two wires blue and blue/white lead to and are attached to a splitter. The splitter has two receptacles for two regular phone connectors. One side of the splitter is hooked up to the phone base in the breakfast room, and there are handsets in the other rooms nearby. There's no problem with this base.

The phone line plugged into other side of the splitter plugs into JACK 1, this jack is the one closest to the modem, it is in the breakfast room, and this line is supposed to provide phone current to all jacks in the house. But something has changed, and plugging into JACK 1 no longer distributes the current to the other jacks in the house. If I run a long phone line from the splitter to the next closest jack which is in the living room, this does activate all jacks in the home, except JACK 1.

I have been up in the attic and found a bunch of B connectors. The white wire going to the left of the photo is the one that runs to JACK 1. I used some redhead connectors (Jelly beans) and replaced the two connectors for the two wires which this phone line is using - solid blue and blue/white.

Before replacing the B connectors with the redheads, I did test the line which feeds to Jack 1 at the point where it connects with the two other lines, and it did have current there. I then put the redheads on, for the appropriate wires for that line, plus the other two lines.

I then went and tested the system, and it was the same as before.

1) Plugging the modem into Jack 1 would not distribute current to all jacks, and
2) plugging a long line into both the modem and the jack in the living room did cause 6 other jacks in the home to function.

Does anyone have an suggestions on how to diagnose this problem?

IMG_20201217_203245965.jpg
 

afjes_2016

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I don't know much about phone lines but is your internet DSL based? If so usually (well in the past) filters were used so the phone lines could still be used for phone calls while providing DSL Internet. This comes from years back and it may not even be that way today. Just wondering if maybe a filter went bad.

Again I could be way off. I'm a retired electrician not a phone guy :cool:
 

havasu

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Regarding your cell phone, check the privacy settings and click the "do not disturb" tab, except for any favorites in your address book (kids, neighbors, parents, etc). My phone shuts down at 10PM until 7AM, unless it is from someone listed on my favorites within my contacts.
 

SFLman

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Havasu, Thanks for the idea I will look into that. It's a very low percentage situation, but having the cell phone in the bedroom is safer.


afjes_2016,

My internet is broadband. These pictures show that only two wires, the solid blue and blue-white are connected to the router phone port. I think this is an RJ45 cable with the 6 other wires just wrapped around the cable. It doesn't look very professional, but this is what Comcast did and up until one month ago it was working fine. I had phone signal flowing from Jack 1 to all the others throughout the house.


Router Phone Connector.JPG

In the photo above it looks like a white wire, but that's the blue-white, and the solid blue is running right underneath it.
PICT0004.JPG


A short gray RJ45 cable terminates into a splitter. the line on the left runs directly in to the base of my Panasonic 5.8 GHZ which has handsets all around the house, but not in the master bedroom. The base and the handsets are working fine, not a problem.

The line on the right side of the splitter goes to Jack 1, which should make it so that all jacks in the house should work, and it doesn't. But if I run a long telephone wire from this splitter to any other jack in the house, then every jack in the house works except for Jack 1.


PICT0005.JPG

I'm going to buy a multimeter now to get an exact measurement of the volts in the wire leading to Jack 1 (in the attic). Last night to verify that this line had current, I used my battery tester.

Looking at the first picture in my opening post, I don't know why someone took the time to join up all of the wires with all of those B connectors. The only ones that seem to matter to me are just the blue and blue-white. In each of the jacks around the house, the Blue is attached to the Green terminal, and the Blue-White is attached to the Red. Below is the jack in the dining room.


PICT0003.JPG

Below is a picture of the infamous Jack 1 which refuses to distribute the broadband to the other jacks. This house had a dedicated fax line a long time ago, so you can just barely see two other RJ45 wires Orange and Orange-white are attached to the red and green of the lower phone connection port. In the upper phone port, again you see the blue to green, and blue white to red.

Again I'm wondering, if it's OK to just wrap the four wires not being used around the RJ45 cord itself (Brown and brown-white, Green and green-white) why spend the time connecting everything together in the attic? Maybe in anticipation of some new technology? Maybe that's it.

PICT0005.JPG

This project has captured my imagination because it is seemly very simple. It comes down to two wires - where do they physically run, and are they conducting. My attic is very difficult for me to move around in , but if I can physically get where I need to go, I should be able to do this fix.
 

Blue Jay

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On your jack 1 there is nothing leaving to go to the rest of the house.
 

SFLman

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Hi Blue Jay,

I know nothing about what I'm doing so all I can do is post more pictures. Here is one picture from a different angle. Does this change your opinion? There are two wires attached to the phone connector, blue and blue white.

On the lower connector, where there used to be a fax machine, orange and orange white are connected.

Are there other wires that should be connected?

PICT0003.JPG

I believe this type of cable is called RJ45.

PICT0007.JPG

I had intended to buy a multimeter tonight and a new wall jack plate, but the time got away from me and the store closed before I could get there. The good news is, this problem will still be there waiting for me tomorrow.
 

afjes_2016

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I believe and I could be wrong but may not be that the plug/clip (larger one) is called the RJ45 for the cable/internet line which is called CAT6 (or 5). The smaller clip for the phone is called an RJ11 which is connected to a phone line.
 

Blue Jay

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Hi Blue Jay,

I know nothing about what I'm doing so all I can do is post more pictures. Here is one picture from a different angle. Does this change your opinion? There are two wires attached to the phone connector, blue and blue white.

On the lower connector, where there used to be a fax machine, orange and orange white are connected.

Are there other wires that should be connected?

View attachment 24858

I believe this type of cable is called RJ45.

View attachment 24859

I had intended to buy a multimeter tonight and a new wall jack plate, but the time got away from me and the store closed before I could get there. The good news is, this problem will still be there waiting for me tomorrow.
No it does not. That is a double jack plate, W/B & B to the one on the right, W/O & O to the one on the left. Just a single 8 conductor cable coming to it. Nothing to go to the rest of the house.
 

SFLman

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afjes_2016 - I'm not sure which photo you are looking at. I have examined the thick white wire going up into the attic, and it is a CAT 3 - which has been out of date for computers since 2000, but which apparently works fine for a phone call. I have researched the term "RJ45" and see that I have been using the term wrong. RJ45 is the connector or 8 pin tip. If you have cut the connector off, you are no longer working with an RJ45 cable.

The cable going up into my attic is a twisted-pair cable like Cat 5e or Cat 6, and should just be called a Cat 3 cable.


Blue Jay,

I'm looking forward to learning more about this. What is your explanation as to how all jacks in the home were working up until the last day of October?

Another issue - - I opened up the switch box, and I see that the wires are different than I would have expected them to be. Here the solid Blue connects to the red, and the Blue/White is connecting to the green. This is opposite of the way the wires are paired at all the jacks.

PICT0010.JPG
 

Blue Jay

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30 years at the phone company, NO idea how it would have worked unless there is a splice in the line, on the wire colors white with any tracer (strip) would be tip (green on the jack) solid color would be ring (red on the jack) so in that cable blue, orange green, brown would all be ring side (battery) of the line the whites would be tip (ground).
 

SFLman

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Blue Jay, I don't mean to frustrate, but I could not follow your most recent response. But I will propose an experiment, so please read this post.

I have my multimeter operational, and took some measurements. Shown below is 48 volts dc at Jack 1. Also 48 volts DC in the switchbox attached to the modem.

IMG_20201219_220431617.jpg

Up in the attic, I got 48 volts DC when testing the Blue and Blue/white at the end of the Cat 3 cable which leads from Jack 1 to the other two cables in the attic. So, I can rule out some sort of break or short in the first "leg" of the cable. I took the reading with the multimeter while re-doing the connections a second time. This is what the big three-way connection looks like now.

IMG_20201219_220829798.jpg IMG_20201219_221013257.jpg

Here is my question to you Blue Jay, is it your view that if I was to

1) connect the Blue and Blue/White from the Cat 3 cable in the attic to the green and red of a wall jack plate, and then
2) connect a phone to that same wall jack plate, after getting electricity to the phone, that
3) the phone would not work?

I'm not trying to be obnoxious, I'm just trying to figure this problem out. Clearly, my view is not verified, because re-doing the connections did not get all the jacks in the house to work, and I expected it would work.
 

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Jim_in_JAX_FLA

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a phone line only requires 2 wires, there is no reason to connect all those wires, only 2 of them. The additional wires were only used in cases where there were mulitple lines in a home.

phone techs all carry one of these, a tester, to find a phone circuit, and notice, they only have TWO wires coming out, to find the active phone line. When the 2 test clips are connected the the correct 2 wires, a dial tone can be heard, through the "butt set", as they are commonly called.


1608471354400.png
 

Blue Jay

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All looks good in the last picture, if it is still not working past the 1st jack look for another location that has splices or a damaged spot in the wire that could have a conductor cut. BTW those white connectors are junk, we quit using them 40 years ago, any of them you find on the blue wires get rid of them and yes only 2 wires are needed for a telephone to work.
 

lou-in-usa

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SFLman So obviously from your first post, your problem lies with either or both of the wires to Jack1. One thing you don't mention is when you got Comcast...I hope that didn't coincide with the problem (I know of plenty of people who would fail to make the correlation or mention that...and they vote!) because Comcast tech would more than likely have disconnected that jack from the rest of the phone "network", unless you you specifically told him you needed all phone jacks in the house enabled.

Anyway, presuming you are not one of "those people", if running your line to an alternate jack, like the living-room, enables all the other extensions in the house, except Jack1, then it's obviously a problem somewhere between Jack1 and the next point the twisted pair is distributed to. Now some trouble-shooting points:
1. Check your splitter.
2. Make sure your Jack1 doesn't simply go back to the main interface block, and is simply disconnected from it. (If so, disconnect the telephone company's line on to that block, and then wire Jack1's wires to the same tip and ring points you just disconnected the phone company's line from.
3. If #2 isn't it, make sure Jack1 doesn't simply go directly to an alarm panel, where is has a direct connection that purposely is disconnected from the rest of the network.
4. If not #2 or #3, something, mouse, nail, corrosion, wire-pull, has caused a broken connection.
 

SFLman

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Thanks for all suggestions and replies.

It's 4 AM and I'll keep this short.


Dead rat on wire.

IMG_20201221_034308401.jpg



IMG_20201221_034346740.jpg
 

SFLman

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Thinking about it different ways, the rat may not even be the problem, although it is a likely suspect.

ctviggen, you suggested some very affordable equipment which can probably answer what I'm wondering about now.

I'm now wondering if the connections among the jacks are sequential, or if they are like the spokes on a wheel, or a series of forks in a road, or maybe sometimes done as a combination of splits and then sequential wiring. Also, is this done in a standard way from home to home?


sequential line?House Telephone Jacks Rainbow.jpg forks in the line?House Telephone Jacks Spokes.jpg




I'm going to keep chipping away at this puzzle even though, really, it's a grudge match and I'm working on this just because I'm curious.

In addition to keeping the cell in my bedroom overnight and screening out junk calls as suggested to me earlier, I've had the idea that I can just attach my second phone base to the other half of the splitter, and have a handset in the bedroom. That would be two phone bases just 15 feet apart, but one is 5.8 ghz and the other 2.4.


IMG_20201221_033052829.jpg


More about the work I did early this morning:

I cut away the big junction of the three lines and all those B connectors. Rigged up this dial tone tester like the one suggested on Amazon. This blue Cat 3 line does go to the jacks in the addition and it's not damaged. When I plugged the comcast phone signal from the modem into one of the jacks in the addition with my long phone line I got a dial tone in the attic.

I also got a dial tone from the line coming from Jack 1. I'm also checking with the multimeter. I got the precise voltage expected - 48 on the two good Cat 3 lines. I know this is redundant but I've needed a reason to buy a multimeter for years anyway.

I will write more later, GTG.

The rat was not resting on the wire where I think the problem may be. The line that the rat died on is running south and is between the jack in the TV room and the jacks in the living Dining and master bedroom. When I plug the signal into any of these jacks, I get signal in every jack of the house except Jack 1.

I will be re-reading previous comments to help me move forward.
 
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SFLman

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Thanks to all who weighed in. I have found and fixed this problem. The deceased rodent was not the problem, and neither were these very bad looking wires leading to the TV room phone jack. I did cut out this bad part shown below and replaced it with some better phone line with yellow jelly beans. I'm wondering if the damage below was done by a critter?


IMG_20201221_231723998.jpg


The issue was within the phone box on the side of the house. I have barely ever noticed this box and don't remember ever opening it before.

IMG_20201222_125801026.jpg

I cut away the two green jelly beans and detected 48 V DC and correctly guessed that there was a problem distributing the phone current somewhere in this junction.

IMG_20201222_132333015.jpg I ended up re-wiring the connections a little differently than I found them. The square gray connector in the photo is called a termination block. I unplugged all lines, cleaned it a little, snipped and stripped all wires. After re-inserting, the problem was fixed and the broadband going into Jack 1 went to all jacks in the house.


5 wires went out of the attic to the phone box.

1 connects to Jack 1 near the modem.
1 links 2 jacks in the living room
1 goes to the jacks in the TV room, Dining room, and Master Bedroom.
1 ???? never figured it out
1 for the old fax line - yellow and black connected to the Termination block - surprising because I know one standard RGBY phone cord can carry a Line 1 and a Line 2.


IMG_20201222_132338960.jpg IMG_20201222_132336119.jpg

A very interesting little project. Fixing a residential phone system is way less complicated than I would have imagined. Thanks again for all the help.
 

Jim_in_JAX_FLA

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just so you know, before long, DIAL-TONE over copper, will be *GONE*.........get ready.... eventually, all the telcos will stop providing voice dial tone over copper.......not too far ahead......for the "old folks" they will give them some kind of a little "BOX" that will let an old dial-tone phone, get a signal, via cellular / 5g or whatever........
 

BuzzLOL

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Since you have internet, Magic jack phone service is only $27/year by buying 4 years at a time. That includes local and long distance and more. And to anyone in the world who also has Magic Jack. Plus they provide a dial tone. But you don't have to dial '1' for long distance. And it wires to all the phones in the home/garage over existing wiring. And you keep the same phone number.
 
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