About one week ago, I started hearding static in the background of my
telephone conversations. That next day, all of my phones died. I have
no dial tone.
The phone company came out and checked my NID on the outside of the
house. They said everything was fine leading up to the house. The
problem is inside somewhere. I verified the phone company's work by
plugging in a telephone outside the house...sure enough, there's a dial
I took advice from a sales clerk at home depot, and I cleaned the
connections on the outside of the house with steel wool and a contact
cleaner. I also cleaned the connections on the phone board inside the
house. I also purchsed a phone line circuitry tester. I get a good
reading on all the phone jacks that I use. So I know that the wiring
isn't shot...but I still don't have a dial tone.
The strangest thing is that my DSL is still working fine. I've had no
problems with my internet connection. I just don't have a dial done.
What is wrong, and how can I fix it???? Please help!!!
You probably have a bad device or a bad connection somewhere along the line.
Get someone to help by listening on a single phone, then one-by-one
disconnect each device that's plugged in, and disconnect it at the device,
not the outlet. If your service starts to work doing that, then you've
found your culprit. Don't forget to check that last device if all else
If it's not a device, it's probably a connection, and you can save time by
visually inspecting while you do the prior test. For every cord you
disconnect, look at the tiny brass connectors to see if there is visible
corrosion, and also look inside the outlet with a flashlight. You may see
whitish crud if it's mildew, or green on the metal connectiors if it's
If you see something obvious you can try cleaning it out, but the parts are
cheap enough to simply replace either an outlet or a wire.
You mentioned that dsl is on this same line, so I suppose it's possible that
one of the dsl filters is the culprit. Your provider should be able to
provide trouble-shooting for those, or maybe you have some spares.
If you've been having the same wet, ultra-humid weather I have, and for as
long, then I'd think it's most likely a connection, but I don't know what
can go wrong with the dsl filters.
You have to use the biblical method, seek and ye shall find. I had a
static problem when I mooved into this house that had a jack in almost
every room with them all daisy-chained together. Ended up being the
short run from the NID (I always thought it was TNI) to the block in
the basement. Insulation cracked where it went through the wall and
corroded the wires.
That's the first time I have seen "TNI", but it works. We call the device a
SNI (Standard Network Interface). Industry wonks later decided it's a "NID"
(Network Interface Device). You'll notice the common letters are "NI" -
Network Interface. It is a handy device if installed properly.
Call your own phone from a cellphone. Do you get a ring, or a busy signal? I
suspect you get a busy signal.
If you hear a ring in the cellphone, but your house phones are not ringing,
that means there is an open circuit (a cut wire) in your wiring. But since
your phone line tester gives you good reading, this is not a likely
If you get a busy signal, that means some devices in your home is off hook,
or there is a short circuit (which is same as off hook as far as the phone
company is concern). But if you have a short circuit, your phone line tester
would also indicate bad wiring.
So this leaves the most likely scenerio: there is a defective phone device.
If this is the case, then unplugging all your phone devices (phones, fax,
modem, surge protectors, set-top boxes, satellite TV box, burglar alarm)
should fix the problem. Plug them in one at a time until the problem comes
first try unplugging everything! all phones DSL modem, cordless phones
satellite tv boxes anything thats connected to phone line like water
or other meters.
now try a single corded phone, does it work?
of course the quick temporary fix...
plug a cheap phone extension cord into the NID and run wire in window
to a single phone
its a quick temporary fix:)
MAY interrubt your DSL, kinda depends.. on how the DSL was wired.
Definitely. I've been running that way for 4 of the last 5 years.
From my computer room, I plugged back into the house through a jack
and connected half of the house. It would have been the whole house,
but I had to disconnect the wire that goes to the attic and then down
to two outlets in my bedroom and one in my bathroom.
What I don't understand is: Since the phone line is de facto running
through the main connector in the basement and up the short wire to
where it would connect to the NID, why can't I just go back to using
that short wire to the NID? When I try, the problem** reappears.
**Strange noises on the line (loud humming iirc), or silence.
Sounds like a problem in the NID or after it on
that line. See below.
Was it a high-frequency squealing or warbling noise?
That might be DSL signal on the phone line; that line
may be attached to the wrong output on the filter.
A rookie installer facing a tangle of wires might
crimp a phone line onto the unfiltered output.
Since he'll still get voice/dialtone, he might think
If it's a 60 cycle hum, something may not be grounded
properly, and is picking up induction from nearby
electrical cables. You don't have a short to house
power on that line, do you?
It's too bad they didn't tell you what the TEST results were - "looking" into
the house. My guess is a wet short.
Unplug *EVERYTHING* that is connected to the line. ...and I mean EVERYTHING:
Set-top satellite box, security system, modem, water meter remote reader,
yadda, yadda. (Got that? *EVERYTHING*)
Take a corded telephone - that you have tested and KNOW to be in good, working
order - and plug it in.
- If you get a dial tone, that implicates something that is still unplugged.
Reconnect one phone at-a-time and check for dial tone after each reconnection.
If you get NO dial tone after plugging-in a set, THAT set is the trouble maker.
- If you still get NO dial tone, the trouble is with the jacks or wiring.
Since there was static prior to the outage, I suspect moisture in a
If the trouble is moisture-caused, it will likely be in a jack/outlet on an
exterior, below grade wall. Using a flashlight, look DIRECTLY into each
outlet. The connectors should be clean, shiny brass. Look at the modular
connector/plug of each device as you UNPLUG it. Its connector should also be
clean, shiny brass. Moisture damage will cause the connectors to look
black/green/cruddy. If you find such a compromised jack, replacing it should
restore the dial tone. It would then behoove you to find and correct the
cause of the moisture. Good luck!
On 3 Sep 2006 16:44:12 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
No, you don't know that.
Unless maybe you did the testing when the house was unplugged at the
NID and all the phones and phone-like devices were disconnected.
Normally I find that a good test procedure is more impportant than
actually thinking (I'm serious) but one can't ignore thinking
entirely. The fact that your phones don't work means either one
phone (or more, but not likely unless there was a lightening storm or
some other surge) doesn't work or the wiring has a problem** I don't
know what kind of tester they sold you but I don't think it could be
good enough to absolutely exclude wiring problems, especially if
phones or the NID are connected.
**"shot" makes it sound like it is all bad and has to be replaced. In
fact 99%+ is good and there is one problem somewhere, if the problem
is the wirss.
The fact that you expect a dial-tone implies to me that all your phone
and phone-like devices are not disconnected, and that your NID is not
Haven't read it all, but I'm sure the other posters gave good advice.
When I read this just now, my first thought was
'check the DSL filter'. It splits the DSL off
from the telephone signals.
telco to NID ------| |------ signal to DSL modem
(outside line) ------| DSL |------
| filter |
| |------ signal to phones
My guess is a screw-down or crimp connection has
come loose at the filter. The filter itself might
be blown, but that's rare.
There are a number of different kinds used by
telcos, so I can't tell you exactly what to
look for. :(
On 3 Sep 2006 16:44:12 -0700, email@example.com wrote:
One more thing: You really should have done this test that you did
before calling the phone company. Then, either you could have saved
the phone company a trip, or you would have been prepared with more,
better questions when he came. Since you weren't convinced that he
tested correctly, I'm thinking your questions were more about that
than what's going on in the house.
Of course that's what this group is here for, so you really didn't
Although I did learn from my phone repairmen a couple things I didn't
learn here. 1) If I want a filter to keep the AM radio station off my
line, it might be free from the phone company, but they charge a half
hour labor to come out and install it. I forget what that is but at
least 50 dollars. The phone man said to buy one at Radio Shack.
2) After rhe guy replacing a fence post near the adjoining townhouse
cut my phone line, I wondered if I need call the phone company to
repair it, or if the job I did was good enough. Following the advice
here and my girlfriend's, I called them and the guy who came out said
that he couldn't do it, the undergound guy would do it (even though
the wire was sticking 4 inches out of the ground>) and it would be
free, but that the other guy would do like him adn use crimp
connectors (with jelly inside) and standard electric tape. I had
soldered the connections and used shrink tape.
While I guess the phone company's methods must be "good enough", my
methods are certainly better. The thick shrink tape is 7 dollars a
roll, mail order only afaict, but it gradually becomes one lump of
rubber and doesn't unwind with age for lack of stickiness. (I
recently bought a roll of shrink tape at a local hardware store or a
hamfest or someplace, but I haven't tried it yet. It wasn't expensive
and probably isn't thick or as good. But it's still probalby better
than standard electrical tape, for permanent installation, especially
You should have called the telco. It's their wire.
So he left you out of service? Sheesh! :(
Totally bogus - or a small, independent telco with lazy technicians free of
All buried splices must be ENCAPSULATED - the ENTIRE splice. Just taping-up
the splice and reburying it won't last. The moisture in the ground will
deteriorate the plastic insulation until the conductors connect with the
ground and produce noise.
There is a popular acronym in the phone industry: ETIR.
Every Time It Rains.
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