I like to have one telephone in my house that will work when the power
I had an old push button phone that got a good dial tone, but wouldn't
dial out. I was told that in very old phones, polarity is an issue.
I bought a new phone today at Radio Shack, and it won't dial either!
The dial tone is fine.
I reversed the wires at the jack, but no help.
I tried the new phone at another jack, no help.
An AC powered phone works fine at the original jack.
I disconnected all my other phones and computers, no help.
Every other phone in my house has an AC power supply and works fine.
My computer modem works fine.
This is California, about 50 miles north of San Francisco, if that
provides any clues.
Can anyone help with this? Aside from not wanting to spend any money,
this is bugging me and i want to fix it myself!!!!
Are you SURE you reversed the correct two wires at the jack?
Old, standard phone not able to do touchtone screams "reversed
While at radio shack, they do or at least did sell a little phone line
tester that verifies jack wiring and polarity.
On 22 Jan 2007 22:09:11 -0800, email@example.com wrote:
Can you try other jacks?
I would take the phone to a neighbor and see if it works there. Then
I would take it back to the store and see if it works there. If not,
I'd get my money back.
If it does work at the neighorbs, I'd read Todd's post.
Not really relevant to you, but just this week I had a reallly old
phone that only made one tone for each row, no matter what column was
pressed. A different tone for each row. This was a Western Electric
multi-line phone, and I identified the problem, which was dirt. TWo
of the 5 cam axles were so dirty in their notches they didn't spring
back. Maybe I just should have sprayed something, but I took it
apart, and it was murder getting it back together. When new, it was
assembled in a different order. And even if fixed it was so heavy,
and I'll never have 5 lines, or whatever is needed to use the Hold
button. I ended up stripping it for parts and throwing much of it
this poor fellow isnt aware the wired system is much more reliable in a
emergency. every line has a dedicated path, power backup is by big
batteries and generators designed to run for weeks. specs designed
during the cold war, it is very reliable. with the exception of peoples
cheap phones that need power to operate
now cell phones dont meet the military reundant specs, have limited
capacity, during a real emergency only emergncy workers phones will
function, all others will go all circuits are busy try your call later.
when you need it the most know it wouldnt work.
this so the limited capacity bandwidth can be used by emergency
plus cell phone handsets need recharged frequently, in a power outage
that may be a issue too.
Wires don't break just because the utility power goes out but cell site
batteries don't last for ever without it. Point is that you don't
depend on just one means of communication. An exchange powered copper
pair line is an excellent means to keep a pathway open when the a power
outage is the problem.
from the central office. About a month ago, after less about a
day of power failure, the phone went out (but DSL kept working
for a while!!). It turns out that there is fiber optic from the
central office to an equipment shack in the field. Power comes
from the utility, then back up batteries, then a back up generator,
but someone has to go out into the field to start the generator.
What really matters for reliability is not the technology
(land line vs. cell), but the reliability expectations, and what
the service providers will do to meet those expectations.
Currently, we expect land lines to be there all the time and
get very upset if there is one outage a year. We expect cell
sites and entire network regions to go down frequently.
Consequently, land lines have back up batteries and generators
(usually automatic!), and cell sites might have a battery.
I was in Springfield last week where the power is STILL out. I had a cell
phone and my daughter had a cell phone, 2 different carriers. There were
plenty of times when only 1 had service and a few times when neither had
service. Cell phones are not that reliable. How about CB and a couple
extra batteries or a decent sized generator?
as we are now once again referring to it, are not designed to be cost
competitive AND as reliable as 'land lines'. Cell phone systems make a
lot of sense; fewer cables, portability of the handsets, can be
activated by building some towers and connecting them to the national
telephone network which was and still is, including the numbering
system, designed an built mainly by the traditional telephone
Also, these days, there is a lot more 'stuff' (junk if you like) being
transmitted via cell phones. When situation is normal that has good
aspects and bad. But one has visions of someone in an emergency
situation like the above (Springfield), calling up a relative in
another part of the world and saying "Hey, I'm in Springfield, look at
this picture of a tree which fell on a house in .....................
", blissfully unaware that the picture they are sending is using up
cell phone bandwidth and circuit time that could carry 100 'real
Thirdly the old monopoly telephone networks which reported to various
regulatory commissions and had their rates approved, before the days of
'Competition', were, as somebody mentioned built to withstand various
emergencies. Standard were, huge banks of batteries good for at least
24 hours, diesel generators, extra circuits, 'thread of life' circuits
and procedures built into day to day operations that ensured what to do
if/when emergencies occurred.
Much of that 'extra' or overbuilding, which involved large capital
investments, has gone in the name of cost reductions in the face of
competition. Nowadays almost anybody can start a telephone company by
using a computer plugged into a bedroom electrical outlet. Not very
reliable, but cheap.
The telephone business is a different world today; the technology has
changed so rapidly, wider range of services available, lower price
competition for customers. So; in times of stress particularly, poorer
service and less reserve within the system/s to carry the
telecommunications through an emergency!
Cell phone will not work, reliably, for voice. But text messaging
works even under worst conditions. Too many Americans, because they
don't use text messaging, do not understand why you set and
periodically text message - because it is the only reliable mobile
communication method during outages and crisis.
Our crews in New Orleans found that after the cell site batteries ran
down the only phones left working were the ones that were connected to
unflooded local exchanges. Not all cell sites have generators and their
battery reserves are only good for a day or two. All of the legacy bell
exchanges have engine alternator or generator sets.
I think these are the most reliable too, but feel compelled to give
one opposite example. AFter the World Trade Center was destroyed in
2001, much/most landline phone usage was impossible in NYC, but cell
phones continued to work, well in most cases.
I wasn't in NYC that day. G-d forbid more of us should learn such
things first hand. But like others have said, back-ups are good.
Back-ups of a different sort are even better. And everyone with a
landline should have at least one corded phone in the house, because
almost all will work without house power.
That's exactly backwards. The WTC was home to a number of cellular antennas,
and the cellular service obviously went down when the towers did. Landlines
that were not routed through the towers continued to work.
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
On Wed, 24 Jan 2007 13:06:32 GMT, firstname.lastname@example.org (Doug Miller)
I apologize. You're absolutelly right. I called a friend in NYC to
make sure. It kept flipping back and forth in my head which way it
went. Another good reason to have a "real" phone, wired to the phone
I think you are making an assumtion and it is mostly incorrect. I had
worked in the towers off and on since they were under construction and
I am in the communication business.
First, Cell antennas are not mounted on 110 story buildings, that
would be way too high for effective coverage.
2nd, What was on top of the Trade center was a number of Microwave and
VHF/UHF systems (receivers and repeaters) in addition to the main TV
transmitter for the NY Metro area. These systems included NYC
emergency frequencies for the PD, FD, etc.
3rd, Next to he Trade Center was a NY Tel (Verizon) main central
office on West Street which suffered incredabile damage and was out of
4th, Around the Trade Center were many building that did have Cell
Antenna and continued to work only if they were not supplied dial tone
from the damage Central Office and for as long as their batteries
lasted (don't forget that the power grid also suffered major damage).
5th and last, In one of the cellar levels of the Trade Center, there
was a major alternate telephone service provider switching center and
fiber operations center whcih was destryoyed.
So between the Central office damage, the alternate provider damage,
the physical destrution to the trunking cables and the pure volume of
calls that happens during this kind of emergency, land line service is
the surrounding area was severly curtailed
Cellular service in the area only lasted untill the central office
went out of service or until battery operation was exhausted.
It was quite a few weeks until the power grid was restored as the
manholes were not usable and the cable in them had melted. Con Ed and
the great boys of IBEW Local 3 worked around the clock to restore temp
power to the area.
I lost a number of friends on that day and WE WILL NEVER FORGET - God
On Jan 24, 8:06 am, email@example.com (Doug Miller) wrote:
On Jan 23, 1:09 am, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I agree with to one responder.
Rule out bad phone.
Often times other devices (aka cheap junk) can affect the working of
Go through your house and disconnect all the other things plugged into
all of your other phone jacks checking your new phone as you go.
The same thing happened to me.
Once I unplugged the bad device everything was fine.
Totally agree we once had a fireman complaining his phone would not
ring when he was called for emergencies.
The cause was two cheap phones that had been supplied as 'free gifts'
with magazine subscriptions by his two sons! Junk phones that damped
down the ringing on his line so badly that not only they but his
regular 'Telephone company' phone would not ring at all! Took them off
and everything went back to normal!
This not a criticism of the OPs 'good' phone but; 'Not all phones are
created equal' that's in quality or meeting reasonable standards of
ringing, dialling and transmission.
Also other gadgets such as FAX machines, voice announcers, certain
cheaply made (not always cheap to buy!) cordless phones, bedside radios
that incorporate a phone etc. There is a lot of junk out there that was
not manufactured to any particular standard. In most case the high
quality of the existing phone system manages to cope with them; but not
Been there! Hard to tell some telephone customer that their fancy 'art
deco' whats-it phone bought on a back street in Istanbul or Paris is
terrible junk and not designed to suit North American standards
telephone network. The North American telephone system being for at
least the last 60 to 80 years the best in the world, so that we take it
for granted. But just try to make a phone call in some other countries;
or even get a phone installed etc. in less than months/years and
without paying a bribe!
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