Moved into a house, and just found out that about half of the
phone jacks in the various rooms don't seem to work.
Realize that a probable answer is that the former owner
may have had two lines for the house.
We only have a single one.
I imagine that it shouldn't be too hard to have all the phone
jacks be in parallel, and operable for the one line we do have.
But not sure of the best way to implement this.
Do I do it at the Verizon phone box on the outside wall of the house ?
How exactly ?
Is this "legal" (the opening of this box, and modifying connections inside)
Or, do I have to do it inside the hose, trying to find the wires, and
splicing them (all) together, somehow ?
Any thoughts and details on this would be appreciated.
BTW: is it the red and green wires that are used these days for the basic
phone connection ?
what's the yellow wire for ?
Yes - that is the demarcation point where the phone company's
responsibility ends and yours begins.
The exact wiring change is hard to describe without knowing the various
wire colors, etc. that appear at the demarc. Even then it may be tough
to describe. If you are lucky you'll find that the incoming line 2
wires are all on a pair of terminals adjacent to the line 1 wires, and
you can simply move them.
They may not all be "home run". That is, you may have one jack wired
from a previous jack, etc. all the way through the house. So if you
open the network interface device (NID) on the outside of the house, you
may likely only see one set of wires coming in (one sheath with
red/green/black/yellow) which still feeds all jacks in the house.
Many boxes have a "customer side" and a "phone company" side. You can
open and work in the "customer side". Chances are, you may not have to
change the wiring in there at all, though (well, except to disconnect it
before you work with the wires in the house -- for your own safety). It
depends on how the wiring runs. If you open the non-working jack(s) and
find they have yellow/black wires connected to the red/green terminals
on the jack, then the jack was probably being used for a second line.
Switch it so the red/green wires connect to the red/green terminals of
the jack and it should work in that case -- assuming the red/green wires
from this jack are either home run to the NID, or connected to the
red/green wires (passed through) from another working jack elsewhere in
If the house were wired properly and not messed with improperly by
another owner, you should have at minimum a red/green/yellow/black set
of wires coming into each jack. Another set may leave the jack and go
back into the wall. If you see two sets of wires (2 sheaths, each
containing r/g/b/y, that is), then chances are the jacks are "daisy
chained" from one to the next. In any event, if the wiring is proper,
all four of those wires should be continuous from the NID to each jack,
or from the NID to the first jack and then from jack to jack, with no
loss of continuity in any wire. If that's the case, you can switch a
jack from line two to line one by simply connecting the red/green wires
to the jack's red/green terminals instead of the black/yellow wires to
the terminals. If you remove the black/yellow wires from the jack, it's
a good idea to splice them to the outgoing set of yellow/black wires (if
any) leaving the box so you still have continuity to the next jack in
the series. Even though that pair isn't carrying any signal right now,
it will keep everything working properly if you decide later to activate
a second line and hook up the new line at the last jack in the chain.
Newer construction uses CAT5 (or CAT5e or CAT6) wire which is normally 4
pairs (8 conductors). The first line is often blue and blue-white
wires. CAT5 doesn't have red/green/yellow/black wires. It usually has
4 color sets -- each pair has a solid conductor and a white-striped
conductor of the same color. Each color-pair can be used for a single
phone line. Older construction may have a 4-conductor cable that has
red, green, black, and yellow. Red/green are for the first phone line;
black/yellow are for the second phone line.
The yellow wire in older phone wiring is part of the yellow/black pair.
They work just like the red/green paid (two conductors required for one
phone line), but the yellow/black pair are normally reserved for the
second line in the house. Red/green are normally used for the first
line. For a second line, the yellow wire goes to the red terminal on
the jack, and the black wire goes to the green terminal on the jack.
Here's a link that may help:
It discusses the old and new wiring pinouts, home-runs vs.
daisy-chaning, and other interesting information on the topic of phone
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