Is anyone here knowledgable of phone wiring?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by c073186, Jul 4, 2010.

  1. c073186 macrumors 6502a

    Nov 2, 2007
    I'm having a very frustrating problem with my land-based phone line at my home. And the thing is, I'm not sure who to call to get it fixed, so maybe someone here would have an idea.

    The phone does not work; when I pick up the handset, I just here nothing (or static/crackling). First off, I thought it would be AT&T and so I went to their website to look for a customer service number. Well, on my way of doing that, they had a troubleshooting page that instructed me to locate a box outside my house and to try plugging my phone directly into that to see if it would work. If it worked, then it was a problem in my house, not AT&T. Well, the phone did work when connected. So then I thought maybe it's the security system, because I've heard those can cause phone issues. But I unplugged that from its phone jack, and it did not resolve the problem. I have tried different phone jacks, different phones, different phone cords - everything.

    The strange thing is that the phone works on/off, it isn't always not working. It seems completely random, sometimes it works, most of the time it doesn't.

    So I'm really not sure what to do... because it does not seem to be a problem with AT&T but rather with my house. Who would I even call for that? An electrician? Is there anything else I can possibly try myself before resorting to that to try to isolate/locate the problem?

    Thanks in advance
  2. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
    If it's working on and off then there is a break in the cable somewhere. It could also be a dodgy hanset somewhere in the house crossing the cable which would also give you the same result.
  3. Melrose Suspended


    Dec 12, 2007
    When you open up the wiring on the back of the phone (usually concealed in a grey or metallic conduit), you'll see four wires: Red, Green (known also as Ring and Tip) and Black and Yellow. Ring and Tip control the actual phone calling and connecting, while black and yellow controls the coin solenoid. If you snip the black wire, then the solenoid stops working, and therefore, the coins never drop into the deposit box inside the payphone - which you can quite literally try a stick of dynamite on and it won't open. Now, when the solenoid doesn't work the coins never enter the deposit box so they're held in a first-level box above it, just before the solenoid. As more and more people try to place calls at $0.25 a pop, their coins are held in this box because the solenoid isn't working; The coin deposit button is also powered through the black & yellow wires, meaning they can't get their coins back out - ergo, they give up and walk away. You come back in a week or month (give it enough time to build up some money) and reconnect the black wire, press the coin deposit, and enjoy your instant piggy bank. :)

    ...or did you mean household phones? :eek:

    note: the procedure has been strategically altered so as to not actually work
  4. pilotError macrumors 68020


    Apr 12, 2006
    Long Island
    I thought AT&T only did long distance. My local provider is Verizon. Who do you get a bill from? Unless you pay for the insurance (expensive last I remember), they are only responsible for the wiring up to the house.

    You could probably call an electrician, since they pretty much wire everything these days. They might be able to track down the issue. Have you done any work in the house? Nail up a picture hook, etc., you may have clipped a wire. The older wires are solid copper wire and if you flex them enough, they will break.

    Also, you could possibly look under services on Craigslist. By me, some of the retired phone installers still do repairs and troubleshooting for extra cash.
  5. Ttownbeast macrumors 65816

    May 10, 2009
    Wow somebody actually still uses this, I used to wire phone lines from the service box when I was a teenager--go to radio shack they sell the bulk phone cable just wire it up color to color from the screw terminals on your outside phone box. Buy a wall plate there too they come with instructions on wiring the other end of that bulk cable to the female jack in that wall plate it's really a no brainier you might have to drill a hole or two in your wall routing the cable from the box to the place in your house where you want the cable to run but otherwise its very basic.

    No worries I am not saying you are stupid or anything lots of kids these days don't understand how to wire a home for basic phone service--most apartment workers and homeowners only a decade ago knew how to do some basic wiring as simple as this and were capable of hooking up the internals for cable TV, phone, and electrical on the residential side of the service boxes provided by the respective utility companies.
  6. DewGuy1999 macrumors 68040


    Jan 25, 2009
    If AT&T is your phone service provider you can call them to fix the problem, here's the catch though, if it's in something between the outside NID (Network Interface Device) box and AT&T's equipment I believe that AT&T won't charge to fix it. On the other hand if it's somewhere between the outside NID box and your inside phone(s) AT&T will charge you to fix it.

    I believe you can also call an electrician or other person/company that deals with phone wiring or you can do it yourself. Here are a few sites that I used for reference a couple of years ago to replace the phone wiring inside my house. It's not really hard to do.


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