I suddenly have heavy noise/static on every phone in the house. Any
calls to the house result in busy signals. We can't make outside
calls. I also have DSL which is still working.
When I plugged a phone into the jack on the network box on the outside,
it worked so it's not the phone company. There is a black cable that
runs from the network box into my basement. There is also a phone line
that runs from the box into my basement.
The phone line cable was used years ago for a 2nd line. That service
was turned off years ago. The black cable runs to a black plate of
sorts that has 4 screws. The red/green wires are attached to it and a
line runs from it to something that looks like a mini network box.
All the phonelines in my house attach to this 'mini network box'. It
has a phone plug plus 4 screws. I attached a phone to this plug and
it also works from there.
My 1st idea is to detatch the phone cable used for the 2nd line from
the outside network box since we don't use a 2nd line anymore. One of
our phones has also been acting up so I plan on unplugging that phone
from the wall jack and see if the problem clears up.
If none of that works then I think I should remove the 5 phone cables
that attach to the 'mini network box' in the basement and reattach &
test them one by one.
I think that sound slike a reasonable plan? Anything else that I
should look for?
QUES: The 5 phone cables attached to the basement box are all over
each other (i.e all the red wires are crammed into one screw, all the
green wires are crammed into another screw, none of any yellow/black
wires are attached to screws) If the wires (of any one color) are
touching each other can that cause problems?
Is there anything to replace the 'mini network box' in the
basement that would let me attach each phone wires to a seperate pair
of screws for each cable? If so can that be used elsewhere in the
house so if I want to go into the attic and add phone jacksto two rooms
then I'd only have to run 1 wire down to the basement (i.e kinda like
electrical wires tied into a box)?
Sounds like you have corrosion, moisture or loose connection problems.
Sure, get rid of the make-shift network box and get a terminal block or
"structured media" box that is set up for multiple lines. Radio Shack has
the terminal blocks for a few dollars. Cut and re-strip the wires if you
use screw connectors so you'll have clean metal. I still solder the wires
on telephone lines if I have to make a splice.
Your plan to test by disconnecting each and adding one back at a time is
Typically Line 1 is the Red/Green Pair and Line 2 is the Yellow/Black Pair
Or the new colors of White/Blue and White/Orange
Our Local Home Depot (Lowes, etc) Sells a Patch Kit that allows you to
Terminate the Incoming Line, and then up to like 9 or so feeds from it. They
are all attached internally to once you punch them down, they are all
connected to each other.
In many apartments and older homes they just ran one 2/4 pair cable around
the house and then just left a bit excess in each jack location. As long as
you connect up both ends to the jack screws, you can just continue with the
wire going out of the jack to the next location.
The descripition of that says it allows up to 9 'seperate' telephone
Forgive my ignornace, but I only have 1 telephone line (i.e 1 telephone
with phone jacks run throughout the house. 5 seperate phone cables
are in my
basement to 'split' the phone service throughtout the house.
Would that device accept the incoming phone cable from the outside and
5 phone cables attach to it? Where does the phone cable coming in from
attach to (is there a reserved slot for it? - the picture was a little
Scott Townsend wrote:
All of the connections are tied together, typically you use the first for
the Feed from MaBell.
Each little connector has the ability to connect up to 4 Pairs. (blue,
orange, green, brown) Each Pair would be a separate line.
Though I've seen them connect the Blue to the Green and the Orange to the
Brown to get 9 more connection points for the blue and orange.
So if you only need the 9, then you connect up your incoming Red/Green pair
to the Blue Pair Part of the Connector, then you connect up all of your
other lines to the other Blue pairs.
also note that this Terminal Block is for 22gauge wire. (Cat 5 Type) Most of
the red/green/yellow/black cables are 22 gauge, Some of the Older White/Red
pair wires are bigger and wont work with the block.
Heavy rains, lightening strikes recently? Any computers have modems
with phone lines connected? Dust gets into the modem plug and can
cause static. I might even check any phone jacks, DSL box, etc., for
Only two cents...
iNTERESTING. On the same phone line, right?
Have you called the phone company and/or the DSL company about this?
I would start with them, whoever is in charge of voice, and ask them
to test the line. Even though you've found that the problem is at
your end, I think they might be able to tell you more details.
But normally if you let them come out, they'll charge you a lot of
You mean a phone jack, right? A hole.
Do this last sentence first. As far as the rest of the paragraph, I
don't think it likely the problem is only in this short entry wire,
and you yourself plugged a phone in inside the house at the 'mini
network box' and it worked.
No. Before you work in the basement, you shoud go to where the phones
and phone devices are and disconnect each one of them, checking for a
dial tone at a still connected phone after each disconnection** You
may have more devices than you realize such as phone machines, speaker
phones, cordless phone bases, a dialer connected to the burglar alarm.
I even have one device plugged in to a jack that has NO phone that
lets me put the phone line on hold from any touch-tone phone in the
house, and a light that flashes when my phone rings (because I turned
off all but one bell so they wouldn't wake me up, and then I couldn't
hear the phone even when I was awake in bed.) This won't find a wire
if a wire is the problem, but it's still the first step.
If this doesn't work, in order to find a problem in the wires, you
should remove them one at a time and test your phone system each time
until you find the problem in your current phone lines. Remember that
these have been working for years, so if there is a problem, you'll
likely be able to find it. (On the other hand, if you don't find it
and you connect all 5 to the now unused phone line, you'll almost
certainly have the same problem again.)
**For the record, there are more efficient methods, depending on the
details of your house, such as testing after each two connections, but
efficiency is beyond the scope of this post.)
When you remove one and the static goes away, then start replacing the
ohters one at at time where they were originally, still testing after
each one is replaced.
Obviously the problem might be in the last one you disconnect, so
after you disconnect the last one, connect one of the earlier ones to
test. If that doesn't work either, and if all you have to do outside
is unplug one wire and plug in the other, I guess I wouldn't object to
your changing wires at this point, but like I say, I doubt if the
problem is in that lead-in wire which probably hasn't changed since
the house was built.
If wires of different colors that go to different screws are touching
each other, sure that's likely to be bad. Except for the yellow and
black which it is clear aren't being used.
There should be little washers on the screws for the red and green so
that one can put a wire between washers 1 and 2 and the other wire
between washers 2 and 3 so that it's easier to put on new wires
without disturbing the hold wires. But 5 lines is more than was
What the builders used, with the approval of the phone company, in my
house in 1979, doesn't use screws but press-in forks, with 6 rows and
8 columns of "forks" with two little prongs such that when the wire is
pressed in, the insulation is cut and a connection is made. This is
designed for the, what is it, 24** conductor cable, 6** four-conductor
phone lines, which use a wire size and insulation material that works
with these press-in connectors.
I find them difficult to use for testing, especially since they cut
off all but a millimeter of excess wire, so when I disconnect one of
these, I use a jumper wire with alligator clips on each end to do my
testing. Radio Shack sells a bag of 10 of these and they are useful
for many many things.
**I think these are the numbers but I could be wrong.
Sure if you can get what you want. But if not, you can use anything.
There is nothing special about any connector
Yes, there is only 1 phone line. I haven't called the phone company
The 'plug' in the 'mini network box' is a phone jack.
As far as wires touching - it is only the red wires that may be
red wires - and green wires than may be touching other green wires.
I didn't see any crossing of colors.
I did think about adding more washers to the red's (and greens) to
keep them from touching each other; but wasn't sure if the screw was
long enough to still be inserted properly which is why I was wondering
if there was an alternative that made adding & attaching wires easier.
I'd don't have any other connections other than phones & the line
running to the DSL modem.
I was just at Home Depot and saw a '1X9 Bridged Telephone Board' from
Leviton, but they wanted $25. This must do more than what I think as I
was imagining that an entrance bridge would only be a few dollars.
Thanks for the suggestions.
$25 seems about right. Its not cheap, but its clean.
Oh on the DSL. Where is (are) your Filter(s)?
Do you have one at each Phone jack, or do you have one at the main box?
If its at the main box, there is usually a pair of wires that goes directly
to the DSL Modem and then all thje other wires of a separate set of
terminals on the protector/filter.
If they are at each Phone Location, then with the Terminal Block you can
create a make shift whole house filter. You would need a few Extra Jacks
and one of the filters. I've done this for a few people that didn;t want
the filters all over the place.
You need a dedicated line to the DSL modem, If you have that, then you can
bring your incoming line to a Jack, then Connect the Filter to it, then out
of the filter to another Jack, then Connect that Jack to the terminal
Block's feed. Then all of the other lines on terminal block will be
If you don't have a Dedicated line, you can use the Yellow/Black pair that
is going to the same location as your DSL modem and then connect that pair
to the Red/Green on the Jack before the Filter, then at the DSL Modem
Location get one of the Line1/2 splitters to peel off line 2 to line 1, or
get a Dual jack and just mount the Red/Green to the Top Jack's Red/Green,
that would be your Filtered, and then the Yellow/Black to the bottom
Red/Green and that would be your Unfiltered DSL.
DSL filters are attached to each phone in the house.
I have a seperate phone cable running from the modem into my
'mini network box'
So, the phone cable from outside the house comes into the basement &
into a wall jack. Then a DSL filter is plugged into that jack & the
other end is plugged into another wall jack. Then a small piece of
phone cable connects that wall jack to the black 4 screw plate which
was orginally directly connected to the phone cable that came from
outside. With my current setup a cable runs from that plate into my
'mini network box' which holds the wires that run throughtout my house.
So where would I tie a dedicated line for the DSL into? Into the 'mini
network box'? Or would this only work with something like that Leviton
Scott Townsend wrote:
You should unplug the dsl too, as close to the wire coming into the
house as possible, and see if that helps the telephones.
I didnt' think of this specifically, but I did say disconnect phones
and phone-like devices. DSL is one of those.
It doesn't matter how unlikely it seems, or if perhaps no one has ever
reported** this as a problem. The only reliable way to debug is to
follow procedures completely.
**Much more likely that it has been reported.
A dedicated line? Are you talking about getting a separate phone line
for your dsl and another for your phones? That will cost extra money
each month. I don't think that is what Scott meant.
No, I meant just a 'dedicated' phone cable run directly from the wall
jack the PC uses into the phone box in the basement.
There currently is no DSL filter attached to the main wire as it comes
into the house. I was just trying to reword his 'whole house' filter
idea into my own words to see if I understood it.
thanks for the help.
Yes there is. You have a couple of choices there but the one I'd
suggest is a mini 66 block such as the ones shown on the bottom of this
You will have to buy a punch down tool for connecting the wires to the
66 block but it needn't be an expensive or fancy one because you won't
use it that often. There are also a variety of screw terminal phone
junction boxes such as the one shown on this page.
You can use junction boxes elsewhere in the house but it is not the best
practice. The simplest arrangement to troubleshoot when something goes
wrong is called a star topography. That means that each jack has it's
own cable back to one point so that any troubleshooting can be done at
that one place in your home. If you do "chain" the jacks so that one
cable is run to the first jack and then to a second and so forth have
pity on those who will come behind you and leave a complete diagram of
your work at the place were the telephone lines enter your home.
"This alternating current stuff is just a fad. It is much too dangerous
I'm having a room worked on and I have a cable TV line and a phone line
in the room. The phone wire is bare. It's been that way for a few
weeks w/o any problems. The workers pushed the wires into the new
receptacle box. Everything still worked. At some point the red wire
touched the green wire.
My wife was talking to the workers and mentioned the phone problem and
they told her to look at the bare wires. I didn't mention it before
because it's been like that for weeks w/o any problems. Duh on me.
Thanks for all the info.
Member, Takoma Park Volunteer Fire Department wrote:
There is probably a short across the pair somewhere. Given there is static,
it is probably a "wet" short. This causes the same effect as a phone
off-the-hook: Busy signal on incoming and NDT (no dial tone) at the sets.
With a flashlight, look DIRECTLY into each phone outlet (jack). The brass
pins should be clean, shiny and bright. There should be NO crud or, worse,
green corrosion. Examine the modular plug that was connect to the jack. The
"pins" should be similarly clean. If they are cruddy or corroded, it's a sure
bet that the jack is too.
DSL doesn't care about shorts or, as I recently discovered, grounds.
You have a composite/clusterfu*k with SNID (Standard Network Interface Device)
outside AND inside. Typical. <sigh>
That would be an old(er) two-pair protector.
The VERY FIRST generation of SNID was in INDOOR device, usually mounted within
a few inches of the protector (outside or inside).
That is a "bridge". It has a short (~6-inches) "base cord" that plugs into
the indoor SNID. The function of the bridge is to "common" all appropriate
wires. Read on...
Unnecessary. It's dead, Jim. :) (NCC1701)
Always start with the easiest and work from there.
Remove JUST ONE. Then test. If the trouble is gone, you're lucky. If it
persists, remove ANOTHER ONE. Repeat until you have eliminated the
(presumably) offending cable.
If you know the basic operation of a simple VOM (Volt/Ohm meter), check for
continuity between the red and green conductor of each cable. There should be
NO continuity. If there is, you have found your problem. Beware, however:
When first attaching the ohm meter to a good pair with a RINGER on it, you'll
see the needle JUMP then settle back to zero. This is normal and the old
fashioned way the old Bell System monopoly used to determine the number of
phones you had on your line. Yes, physically/electrically disconnecting the
RINGER would foil this test.
This is nominal (normal). I can't count the number of those I've installed.
All like-colored conductors should be "commoned" with each other. In modern,
new construction, they simply strip the ends of all like conductors, twist the
wires and apply an electrical wire nut. It's not very elegant and a pain when
troubleshooting, but it works - and even with DSL.
The device you are looking for is called a "commoning block". A punchdown
block, or "66" block, is used by professionals but requires a special
insertion tool and appropriate expertise. Just strip the wire ends, twist
'em, and wirenut 'em. ...or reuse the old bridge. It's OK.
Yes, but this is a sign of an amateur and isn't recommended. The BEST way is
to run a dedicated "home run" for EACH jack back to the commoning block or
"hub", if you will.
To eliminate all the DSL "dongle" filters, simply (yeah, right) install one at
the HEAD of everything. IOW, connect all pairs BEHIND a single filter. Then
deliver the dialtone/DSL on a separate, dedicated and UNFILTERED pair to the
DSL modem. Good luck!
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