Any help greatly appreciated! I had phone service reactivated to my home
(giving up cell phone)-- the phone line (black) comes into my wall to my
basement rafter, consists of two plain wires that each connect to a pole
(bolt with nut) on a thing that is connected to a basement rafter.
Ok, so I know I connect the wires from the phone lines to those two poles
where the main line comes in, but is the order important? What I mean is,
I know phones generally only need only two lines, such as green and red,
for usage, so I attach the gree and red wires to each of the two poles of
the thing on the rafter, but does it matter which pole gets red and which
gets the green?
Also, the modular phone jacks have terminals for green, red, black, and
yellow, which I connect, but are the black and yellow really needed if
only green and red are attached to the main pole terminal on the basement
rafter? And if the black and yellow are needed, is their order of
attachment on the main pole terminal important, and should the black go
with the green, and the yellow with the red?
I appreciate any help, I am having one hell of a time getting this sorted
out, in part because of the phone company-- they hooked my up to my house,
I had a dial tone, then 5 minutes later the line went dead; there was no
dial tone at the "Demarc(ation) box" phone jack so I know the problem for
now is on their end. Their repair is coming back to check for a short etc
at the main box. But once they confirm a dial tone at the box I am on my
own, frustrating and I want to understand this to get my phones working
once I have a signal from the phone company.
Thank you in advance,
====> It depends on a lot of things, but mixing them up
would -probably- never be noticed. Keep red to red and green to
green and you should never have a problem.
FWIW, with the phone hung up, the red lead should be negative
w/r to the green wire. There's a bout a 99% chance the wires
coming in from the telco will have that DC polarity correct, but
when things seem 'funny' it's worth checking out.
If the wires were reversed, it will NOT cause any damage to
anything. The worst would likely happen is some really cheap
phone equipment might not count the incoming ringing voltage
properly since it's 90Vac riding on top of 48V DC. I'd be
surprised if you ever noticed it, though since equipment hasn't
been that cheaply made in some time. It takes all of 4 cheap
diodes to make the equipment immune to polarity of the wires <g>.
====> No, not for standard, plain old telephone service. You
can cut them off even with the jacket if you wish to get them out
of the way. Only the two wires are necessary.
Actually, some people use the other two wires for intercoms,
things like that. But you don't need them.
And if the black and yellow are needed, is their order of
====> IFF you had a key system or something that used them,
rather than just plain old service like you probably have, it
would matter. For some systems, there ARE uses for those wires
but you're not likely to have that type if you're just wiring up
plain old telephones.
====> Just for grins, when you checked it at the "demarc", did
you make sure you had YOUR house wiring disconnected? To be
certain, always disconnect the house wiring from the demarc
Also, don't let them come into your house without telling them
you are NOT authorizing any charges of any kind for them. I let
one clown in thru my garage doors once, and he looked up at the
box on the way by, and commented on the neat wiring job. I
received a BILL for "inside services" from the telco! They
didn't get away with it!
Their repair is coming back to check for a short etc
====> Repair -should- do exactly what you did: disconnect the
house wiring, and then put their butt-set on it to see if there's
dialtone there and that the voltage is in spec. If it's not, the
problem will be on their lines somewhere between where they
connected the butt-set and the telco. They do NOT have to go
into your house for any of that. If they go inside, then you're
likely going to get charged for it, even if all they do is tell
you that there's a short "somewhere" in your wiring.
But once they confirm a dial tone at the box I am on my
====> Well, you don't -have- to be on your own. They'll
probably be glad to fix it, but it's going to cost you. So,
you're doing the right thing.
frustrating and I want to understand this to get my phones
Hope I'm not horning in on POP, but on the theory that beow will try
to finish this tonight: Yes, and at the other end of the wire, say
it's a wall plate, connect the red wire from the 4-conductor wire to
the screw that is connected to the short red wire that goes to one of
the spring wires in the socket that the modular cord plugs into.
And if you ever make your own modular cords, make sure that the red is
the second from the left (or third, I don't remember) when the modular
plug is held with its tang on the top side (or the bottom, I don't
remmember, but compare with the end another modular cord and do it the
I would put it: If the phone worked fully before the phone company
broke it, you had it right, so it is still right.
OK that's not the same thing, and I can't say exactly what was meant .
Right. That thing has room for plenty of wires.
In my case, that is automatic, because I have to unplug the house
before I can plug in a phone. Don't iknow about other cases.
In Verizon in Baltimore, I just wanted to get a radio station filter,
which iiuc, are free if you are having problems, but there was NO way
to talk to someone at the repair number. It asked some automated
questions, and said "they might call before they came". Now my
description made it pretty clear the problem was in the house, but
they didn't say they would call first, and I was afraid to complete
A while later I got closer to the problem -- too complicated to
describe -- and I think when I clean things up, it will probably go
OTOH, Verizon here actually spent 90 minutes fixing a problem for a
nearby friend, including what I didn't see but was a burned out wire
under the large size wall-phone plate in the kitchen, and they didn't
charge him anything. Apparently he thought a phone line surge broke
the wire, even though they have a surge suppressor in the basement,
and according to my friend's wife, they didn't touch that.
BTW, I think they meant that they *might* come, and if they did, they
*would* call before they came -- for one thing, they would want me to
be home if they were coming -- but they didn't say that, so I was
afraid to continue. Maybe there was even a place to leave a message,
but I'm not at all sure there was.
Something doesn't work with my in-house wires. So I'm using the NIC
and I've got a wire from it running up the front of the house and in
the bedroom window to my phone and computer. Then I'm using the house
wiring to go down to the kitchen and basement**.
Anyhow, when I have the wire from the phone machine on the second
floor connected to the preinstalled house wire that goes to the
kitchen, I pick up WBAL AM radio and it's really annoying. For some
reason, I think if I ever get the original entry point to the house
working again, this problem will go away.
**but I had to disconnect my own bedroom because there is probably a
short in the wiring. I ran the wiring myself, because the previous
owner put a layer of sheetrock over the jack and I don't know where it
is. Except my bed is on a different wall anyhow.
That's a very important part of the picture. If you've
accidentally caused a short somewhere, and you do not disconnect
the house, then that short will still be there when you test at
the demarc. By disconnecting the house, you remove the short and
your dialtone may well return after a short pause.
Note that a short sets off an "alarm" in the central office,
which in turn disables dialtone to your phone line, followed a
few minutes later by removal of the battery voltage. That way a
storm problem or car accident doesn't knock out the whole central
office due to many shorts.
If you did have a short: when you disconnect the house to
test at the demarc, it may be several seconds before the telco
automatically restores battery voltage and dialtone to your phone
line. It -will- come back though; it will not stay gone. So,
give it a minute or so to return if it's not there at the demarc.
If however, you have an open circuit (something not connected
that needs to be), you would never know the difference at the
demarc, but ... you -would- have dialtone, meaning the telco is
delivering dialtone to you and the problem is someplace in the
I've seen several good links to phone wiring here; assume you've
at least looked at some of them.
Usually, in my case at least, the tech will grab the house wiring
and do a quick test on it, without asking, at which time you are
free to say something like "Thank you for the free test; that was
nice of you". <G>. Most techs are good working guys just like
us, so ... .
Have your taken a look at one of the many web sites about telephone wiring?
On Thu, 06 Apr 2006 23:05:27 +0000, Rich256 inscribed to the world:
Yes, actually I had looked at and printed out all three of those websites
before posting here. The info at those sites was mostly over my head,
beyond my wiring needs, did not answer some real basics that I asked here,
but I did glean some useful info, mostly about the need for just red and
green, that is a 2-wire system is all I need for my simply home phones.
In answer to a question I had here I learned that thing is the surge
bypasser or surpressor (probably not its real name. I forget that.)
Yes. I've heard it is different on (some?) later phones, but on real
phones, Western Electric phones**, and those that are good imitations,
if you don't have red and green right, you can talk and listen but on
touch-tone, you can't dial.
**Western Electric are the phones that God intended, and are the
actual phones used in Heaven.
All the others are Satanic.
If I anticpated failure, or if I were using the wire for something
that required more amperage, that's what I would do. That's what I do
do. I might leave the black and yellow unconnected now. If I were
running new wire, I might run more than 4-conductor. Part of my house,
from 1979 already, is run with 20 conductor wire, anticpating whatever
they invent next.
If you had a dial tone before, you'll have one when they fix their
end. If you can't dial, because it's backwards, and you did the red
to red thing (btw, you can see red and green inthe modular wires
themselves. Just look close.) I'd reverse things in the basement if
aiui, there are no colors indicated on that thing you mentioned.
Certainly you should call yourself, or have someone else do it, after
you are connected. You should test everything after a big change like
It is a "protector".
That is an old-fashioned term surely coming from the very earliest days of
telephony in the late 1800s.
It's a vague term by today's standards, however. The protector used still
today will NOT provide any protection from the "transients" (voltage surges)
that traverse utility lines CONSTANTLY. But when all this was invented and
deployed, the old, black rotary telephones didn't CARE about transients. They
were built like Mac trucks and lasted forever.
The new stuff today that is plugged-into the phone line is different. They
are equipped with a simple "chip" that took the place of the old, copper-wound
network that was surge resistant. The newer "chips" aren't so forgiving.
Even so, one should avoid using common, "surge bar" plug strips with
input/output jacks for your phone line ahead of a DSL modem. They have been
known to interrupt the DSL signal.
The protector, ostensibly present at the customer end of EVERY cable pair
will, however, keep your house from burning down in the event of a SERIOUS
surge (lightning striking nearby, power line falling across phone line, etc).
However, in the event of a DIRECT lightning strike, ALL bets are OFF.
This is SOOO funny. Of course, you are correct!
After the breakup of The Bell System in 1984 and the resulting proliferation
of Cheapie Chirper<tm> phones hanging from a peg at the local Target, folks
have forgotten what a <ahem> *REAL* telephone is like.
Give me a 2500 (Touchtone<tm> desk telephone) or give me a drink!
Western Electric Telephones, such as the famous model 500 were built
to last 40 years (and indeed some have gone more than that).
The reason was that prior to the Bell breakup... Most homes and
businesses rented their phones and could not own them. To reduce
service calls, they were built like tanks, with heavy metal stampings,
true metal bells, a potted network, heavy-duty dialers, and no wimpy
modular connectors on the cables. The wires had solid crimp
connectors attached to screws and a solid metal strain-relief. To
move a phone to a different room was a major project. You probably
should call the phone man.
I remember back in the early sixties, establishing new phone service
was a relatively pleasant, if time consuming experience.
One went to the local AT&T branch office (in my case, it was Illinois
Bell). Often these were office areas attached to the local town
telephone exchange. A nice lady (they were always women back then)
would invite you to her desk, serve you coffee, and then ask you
questions about establishing your service.
Then you got to pick your phone from the Western Electric models on
display. Most often this would be the model 500 available mostly in
black, but sometimes other colors were available. Later, you could
get a princess or a trimline wall phone if you wanted. If you wanted
a lighted dial, then the installer would use the yellow and black
wires for a lighting circuit and wire these to a plug in transformer
somewhere in your house (The birth of the very first wall warts!) I
heard that sometimes, these would catch on fire.
At some point touch-tone became available, but Illinois Bell stuck you
with an extra 70 cents per month to be this modern. My father always
argued that dial telephones were good enough for him.
Most numbers had alpha prefixes like PA9-2222 (Park 9) or AL1-1234
(Alpine 1). You might know your area code, but you never needed to
Directory Assistance was live and free, available 24 hours a day, and
you could use it as much as you wanted. (I think we should have a
law today that says that this is as it should be...)
Phone trouble? Dial #0 for operator or 611 for repairs and within
seconds you were speaking to a live person who could solve your
problem, again, 24 hours a day. No voice mail hell back then.
On Sat, 08 Apr 2006 12:01:01 GMT, email@example.com (Beachcomber)
That's another problem about these days: You have all these phones
wandering around like vagrants, tramps, and hussies.
Some don't even have an address. They'll go home with anyone.
I'm not going to set up any illicit rendezvous.
Women have an affinity for establishing phone service. The desk job
part, that is.
I knew they were there for sumpin'.
When my mother first married my father and moved to western Pa. she
would pick up the phone and say, Oliver 4-2343, please; or Oliver
4-3873, please, and after a few days the operator said, "You don't
have to say Oliver 4, Ma'am. They're all Oliver 4."
In my first year of college, I had a BUtterfield-8 phone number.
Remember that one?
No, no. It was Information, and people would call for all sorts of
information, although all I ever did was once call some city to find
out what time it was there.
To this day, I encounter these from time to time. Many are still plugged-in
but haven't been needed for YEARS.
HA! I never thought of that but you're right: When those "dial light"
transformers began service, they were the ONLY "wall wart" in a house - for
many, many years.
I got in on the tail end of this debacle.
The new "lighted dial" Princess then Trimline phones required a separate A.C.
transformer for their dial light power. I'm not sure how many years after the
wall warts first appeared, but some years later, The Bell System contracted
with a company named "Ault" to manufacture these little "warts". I don't know
how much time elapsed but, due to more than a few meltdowns and fires, The
Bell System launched a *HUGE*, massive, nationwide "Ault Transformer
Did you know that, for the first couple of years, there was no * or # on
the Touchtone keypad? They were 10-button phones. The * and # were added
early on but did *NOTHING* for YEARS - until Call Forwarding and Speed Dialing
became available as Central Offices were upgraded to electronic switches.
By the time I was using it much, I missed those two buttons, so I
found key pads at hamfests or rummage sales before then and put in the
12 button pad. The first one didn't work at all, but the second
different one worked well. I used a hot knife from a soldering iron
to cut 2 more squares in the face plate. Hardly noticeable that the
holes were new.
Actually, the specifications for TT are a 4x5 grid, and the military was
somewhat involved in the R&D process. Back then, the dividing line between
Ma Bell and the Feds was rather fuzzy in spots. ATT long lines, and the
military phone system, were rather intertwined. Satellites and VOIP, along
with other companies actually owning outside plant and long lines/fiber,
have made things more distinct. I've seen the 2500 phones with the extra
buttons- they supposedly did magical things on the old AUTOVON network,
including seizing trunks when needed. In my collection, I used to have a
2500 w/o the * and # buttons- not sure what happened to it. All the copper
parts were there for the two missing buttons- they just didn't put buttons
above them. Different top cover with the square holes, and 2 less buttons.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.