I don't think I read here where anyone answered your question about the
other two wires. They are for a second line so you won't need them.
Stick with the green/red all throughout your house but I would like to
add a few things to help you out.
First, they make a cheap led tester that you can plug in an outlet to
let you know if the polarity is reversed. What happens if you leave it
that way--well some phones just won't dial--no tone.
Second, it's best to run a line from the terminal block to each phone in
your house. Reason for this is if one gets shorted you can keep
disconnecting the lines until you find the bad one and over time you
will get a bad one or shorted line for various reasons.
On Thu, 06 Apr 2006 21:53:19 -0400, Joey inscribed to the world:
Yup, I bought one of those too yesterday, put it in the modular jack of
the NID box and no light at all.
That seems to be the setup, I think it is called star topology from what I
read. Whoever wired the phones before did it that way. Right now, I have
disconnected ALL the phone lines from the terminal on the basement rafter
(supplied by NID/Demarc box from outside phone line box), and just
connected a simple 5 foot long phone line I made yesterday with new phone
copper wire and a simple modular plug and a simple cheap corded phone,
used red and green copper wires attached each to one of the terminal poles
on the basement rafter (supplied by NID line from the box outside).
Polarity was important MANY years ago but no longer.
POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) uses a PAIR of copper wires to do their
thing. Extra pairs are just that: Extra. They are there in case trouble
develops with the original (red/green) pair. They are also available should a
SECOND phone line be needed.
Honestly, though: This, too, doesn't matter.
Many old-time phone techs may disagree but, many years ago, I located the
actual B.S.P. (Bell System Practice) that identified black as a TIP color and
yellow as a RING color.
I wouldn't be so sure. If it was working OK to start, then it failed, I would
NOT expect trouble outside. Rather, you were plugging and un-plugging phones
and otherwise messing with the system. Odds are the trouble IS inside your
Of course, if you have a properly installed, official N.I.D. (Network
Interface Device) serving your home, you used a KNOWN-GOOD phone, and there is
NO DIAL TONE when plugged-in at the NID, the trouble is NOT inside.
I seem to recall that as well.. the cool colors (green, black) were tip,
and the warm colors (red, yellow) were ring.. but that only applies to
quad.. (pardon me: D-station wire)
In the standard 5 X 5 color matrix, the tip colors are:
white, red, black, yellow, violet
the ring colors are:
blue, orange, green, brown, slate
starting with the first tip color, and the first ring color, and incrementing
ring color, then tip color, you get 25 pairs.
-- Welcome My Son, Welcome To The Machine --
Bob Vaughan | techie @ tantivy.net |
Ding! (Give that man a cigar)
Light Olive-Gray Quad. It was from the actual Western Electric printing on
the D-station wire carton that I learned the proper way to "tin" the end of a
conductor and connect it without pinching (in the threads) to the binding
post. It is a technique that I have used for years and still use today.
Why Run Backward You Varmint
There was a catchy phrase for these but it was never important to remember
because the actual colors, used so regularly, quickly became as basic as
red/green, yellow/black had been (and still is).
You should see what it takes to repair 1800-pairs when a directional boring
bit "spears" the cable dead center - and clear through. Call before you dig.
On Thu, 06 Apr 2006 21:12:52 -0500, Jim Redelfs inscribed to the world:
No dial tone at NID jack, used a brand new AT&T corded phone I bought at
hardware store (just so I would know a test phone was good), and the wire
form the NID serving my home is just a black insulated wire with two plain
copper wires that attach to two poles/bolts on a thing my basement rafter.
So with no dial tone at the NID box outside, seems it must be something at
the NID box. Telepone co. is supposed to come today again to fix this, I
will be curious to find out.
If you feel the side of the black drop wire that runs between the NID
and the protector on your basement rafter you will find that one side of
it is ridged.
The old time lineman's limerick was:
The ring is ridged or red, readable to ground, and it terminates on the
So the red wires from your inside wiring terminate on the right hand
side of your old protector if the ridged side of that drop wire is
terminated on that side. If the protector is not mounted vertically
with the drop wires terminated on the left and right then you should ask
more questions. Keeping the polarity of those wires consistent will
help you with trouble shooting later. If you ever add a second
telephone line or install an intercom you will need the black and yellow
wires so instead of cutting them off the best practice is to wrap them
back around the cable jacket so they remain available if needed.
"people willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve
From what I've read, the NID was a retrofit using a section of the old, aerial
drop wire to make the jump from the NID outside to the old protector location
in the joist downstairs. This is very typical.
It is certainly possible and very LIKELY that the old protector downstairs is
still providing the circuit protection that, had the retrofit been done
properly, would be done by new protectors inside the NID box outside. This
can be determined by the presence (or lack thereof) of a 10-gauge copper
ground wire running to the telco-side of the NID outside.
If there ISN'T a ground wire to the NID (there should be), and especially if
the service is still fed with an aerial drop, the old protector in the
basement is still necessary for its circuit protection.
Knowing what I know (and do for a living), and YOU now know, I would request
that my service be upgraded with a properly grounded and protected NID. The
connection point (former protector) in the basement would remain ONLY as a
simple connection point.
Not necessary. At this point, that old wire should be replaced.
With a NID outside (grounded or not), the "jump" between the NID and the old
protector downstairs, currently an *OLD* hunk of brittle drop wire, needs to
be changed-out with modern, twisted pair station wire.
Only if your 20-year-old Western Electric desk set's Touchtone<tm> keypad quit
Touchtone-ing. The first, few generations of Touchtone<tm> telephones were
engineer so that, with the polarity of the pair being "proper", the phone
would full work. With the polarity of the pair REVERSED, the keypad on the
phone quit working. You could ANSWER the phone but could not make calls. I
suspect this may have been a "feature" rather than a bug in the interest of
keeping things as complicated as possible to discourage the public from
messing with their phones and phone service - an illegal practice for almost
Polarity (red or green? It doesn't matter) hasn't been important for years.
I wasn't sad to see the issue go away. Our Central Office MDF (Main
Distributing Frame) still has quite a number of "reversing" heatcoils - made
specifically to reverse a line for the use of Touchtone<tm>!
Good advise. Always cut it LONG. If it's too long, you can always cut off
some more. If you start out cutting it too short, you can't make it longer
and it's REALLY hard to work on.
The "fix" is actually inside the phones that you buy. The DC
voltage is passed through a full wave rectifier so that no matter
which polarity is connected, it passes thru the bridge to the
internal cktry in the correct polarity. It's a very old phone
these days that cares about the polarity, but even some of the
old but more recent phones still have problems with ringing
detection if the polarity is reversed and won't ring properly.
Ring voltage detection, although basic, is probably the most
complex part of a simple telephone.
Ring voltage, BTW, is enough to give you a fairly good jolt, so
beware when you're handling telephone wiring.
That depends on what constitutes a "real" Touchtone phone. The oldest ones
have to be wired right. The newer (all now at least 10-15-years old)
Touchtone phones didn't care.
To me, a "real" Touchtone phone is at least 15-years old, was made by Western
Electric, and was of the old Desk or Wall or Princess configuration. Those
phones are "polarity" sensitive as are the first generation, round-button
Trimline phones that use a dial light transformer to illuminate the buttons.
With the pair connected one way, the Touchtone<tm> keypad will work -
depressing a button/key will "break the dialtone".
With the pair reversed, the phone will ring, you can talk on it, but you can
NOT dial a call. The keypad doesn't work. It stays SILENT when any key is
pressed. It doesn't "break the dialtone".
Even the later model Trimline<tm> phones had a "polarity guard" making
red/green orientation unimportant.
Said another way: If you have a Touchtone<tm> phone that has a non-working
keypad (NONE of the keys make a noise at all), check and note the keypad
function when the offending phone is plugged-into other jacks.
Yes, as long as it is an ANCIENT, Western Electric phone.
Confusion in the last line!!!
On Sat, 08 Apr 2006 22:19:46 -0500, Jim Redelfs
That's what I thought, but something in the previous post made me
think there had been an improvement at the Central Station.
I have a touch tone phone going back to 1962 or earlier. I think that
was the one that was originally 10-button.
I was also at a farm show in 1957 where the phone company, I guess it
was, had a booth, and they demonstrated a touch tone phone. This one
also had plastic cards, maybe 2x4 inch, that were pre-semi-perforated.
You wrote the name of the person at the top of the card, and then
completed punching out 3mm holes to make his phone number. Each line
was one number, but there weren't ten holes per line, only about 5 so
maybe it was binary or something.
Then one held the card vertically and pushed the card, twice as thick
as a credit card, into the slot in the top of the phone where it
stayed. Then one pushed a button and the card came out, touch-toning
the number as it came. It was cool.
OK. I agree with your definitions.
Wait a second. Those are what you said above wouldn't work.
...and you attempted to verify my claim that something can be done to correct
the problem from the Central Office and I said "yes".
If a customer called in and said that, suddenly, they could no longer dial-out
on a Touchtone<tm> phone, the Central Office Technician would swap-out the
regular heatcoil (protection device) with a "reversing heatcoil". If the
customer's Touchtone<tm> began to work again, all was fixed. If that didn't
do it, a dispatch to the premises was made.
Cable maintenance and repair were common causes of a here-to-fore good,
working line suddenly "breaking" a customer's Touchtone<tm>. During the
course of an 1800-pair "section throw", one or more working pairs could be
These days, the polarity sensitive keypad issue is all but gone. Thank heaven.
On Thu, 06 Apr 2006 16:53:21 -0500, Beowulf inscribed to the world:
I have phone tone! Phones working now, hell of a mystery. Turns out the
phone line from the street to the NIC/Demarc box was bad, corroded, the
phone company had to string in a whole new phone line from the pole to the
outside NIC box! The temporary (30-60 second) usage I had, i.e. dial tone,
yesterday, was just from static electricity left in the line that allowed
a temporary dial tone. They put in a new line from the street and all is
working now. Thank you for your help everybody! I have learned a great
deal about phone wiring, etc.!
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