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  #1   IP: 174.29.247.41
Old June 6th, 2011, 01:17 PM
mentor mentor is offline
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Default No dial tone, but internet still works.

Hi, I'm a novice at phone wiring, but am okay with DIY projects (I did the wiring while finishing my basement).

Recently, I've not been able to get a dial tone from any of the 5 jacks in my house. My modem box plugs into one jack and is still functioning to provide internet access. A phone plugged into this same jack does not give a dial tone.

I have purchased a new phone that works to give a dial tone at a neighbor's house, but no dial tone at any jack in my house. If I plug a phone into the jack in the box outside of the house, I get a dial tone. There is a second jack in the outside box that does not give a dial tone when I plug the phone in.

The phone company says the problem is with the wiring in my house, not on their end. Can anyone diagnose the problem and provide a solution?

thanks,
Paul
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  #2   IP: 74.5.149.208
Old June 6th, 2011, 03:35 PM
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What kind of internet do you have? dsl(adsl), isdn, dial up, ect? It makes a difference.

It sounds like you have 2 phone lines coming into your house. One is dedicated to voice (the one you are having trouble with) and one dedicated to your internet.. sounds like dsl but we need to know for sure.

First you need to determine which of the 2 jacks in your demarc/network interface box is your voice and which is your internet. You may not get a dial tone with some internet types like dsl if there is no voice line with it. Other times you have a dial tone but its only good to call 911 and the phone company.

If you unplug the jack which has no dial tone does your internet stop working? If so then plugging your phone into the modem jack will not give you a dial tone. That would be normal. If you have a dedicated dialup line you should have a dial tone there and it should work like a voice line.

If the jack that goes to your internet is the one with the dial tone then you need to notify the phone company that you have no dial tone at your network interface with the voice line.

If the jack that has the dial tone is your voice line then your phone line coming in is good and you should be able to make a call to your cell phone from the test jack and your cell should ring (with the correct phone number).. You should also be able to call your test phone from your cell. If this is the case then you do have a inside problem. Start at the network iterface connection. Check the 2 wires there and make sure the connections are good. Then trace the wires coming off and check the jack where they go. Chances are the wires go into your attic basement or crawl and split off in multiple directions.. Check that (you can get a phone jack and wire it in to test there. just watch your polarity.. (red to red, green to green or whatever color scheme your wires use)).. Once you get a dial tone at 1 jack you can trace to the others.
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  #3   IP: 174.29.247.239
Old June 7th, 2011, 09:25 AM
mentor mentor is offline
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Thanks very much, I really appreciate you taking the time to help a novice such as myself.

> It sounds like you have 2 phone lines coming into your house. One is
> dedicated to voice (the one you are having trouble with) and one
> dedicated to your internet.. sounds like dsl but we need to know for sure.

The phone line running into my house consists of a blue casing with eight different wires inside, similar to this; http://www.homecontrols.com/homecont..._full_2337.jpg

One of the jacks in the outside box has blue wires (the phone company side) that connect to blue wires (my side) and the other jack has blue wires (the phone company side) that connect to orange wires (my side). Letís call the blue-to-blue jack A and blue-to-orange jack B. Jack A has a dial tone, jack B does not.

> If you unplug the jack which has no dial tone does your internet stop
> working? If so then plugging your phone into the modem jack will not give
> you a dial tone. That would be normal. If you have a dedicated dialup line
> you should have a dial tone there and it should work like a voice line.

If I unplug jack A (has dial tone), I lose internet service. If I unplug jack B (no dial tone), internet service remains. It turns out my DSL box has a jack for a phone. If a plug my phone into the DSL jack, I do not get a dial tone.

> If the jack that goes to your internet is the one with the dial tone then you
> need to notify the phone company that you have no dial tone at your
> network interface with the voice line.

Sounds like this is the case. Can you explain what this means in a bit more detail? What would be their solution? Press a reset button or flip a switch somewhere?

> If the jack that has the dial tone is your voice line then your phone line
> coming in is good and you should be able to make a call to your cell phone
> from the test jack and your cell should ring (with the correct phone
> number).. You should also be able to call your test phone from your cell. If
> this is the case then you do have a inside problem.

In jack A (the one with dial tone), I can call my cell phone with my test phone and my cell phone can call my test phone.

> Check the 2 wires there and make sure the connections are good.

They appear to be good.

> Then trace the wires coming off and check the jack where they go.

They travel a few feet along the outside of my house then enter the wall. This places the point of entry in the garage, which is finished with drywall.

Is there a device that I can use to test the wires in each jack? Would such information tell me any useful information?

The green and brown wires that travel in the blue casing are not connected to anything and, in the one jack I opened, are wound around the blue casing to keep them out of the way.

In the one jack that I opened, there was a blue and an orange wire loosely connected. The wires are not connected to the jack with screws; I need a 'punch tool' to click the wires into the connections. I don't have a punch tool and the local big box store has one for sale for $60 (rip off, IMO). I striped the two loose wires and clicked them into place as best I could using a couple of screwdrivers. I'm confident they are making contact. I would be okay replacing the jacks with jacks that have screws if you think that might be the problem.

Another possible solution I can think of might be to swap around my end of the outside box. That is, take the orange lines from jack B and moving them to jack A. Do you think this could work?
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  #4   IP: 74.5.149.208
Old June 7th, 2011, 03:18 PM
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Plug your phone into the jack with dial tone and make a call to a cell phone or someone who has caller ID and see what number comes up, if you can even make a call. If that is your number then you really only have 1 active line in your house and you have a internal problem.

Let us know what you get.
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  #5   IP: 174.29.247.239
Old June 7th, 2011, 06:18 PM
mentor mentor is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr T View Post
Plug your phone into the jack with dial tone and make a call to a cell phone or someone who has caller ID and see what number comes up, if you can even make a call. If that is your number then you really only have 1 active line in your house and you have a internal problem.

Let us know what you get.
When I plug a phone into the outside jack and call my cell phone, my cell phone says that "home" is calling. The number on my cell phone display is my home phone number.

If the problem is internal, how can I not have phone service, but still have internet service?

If the problem is internal, how to I fix it? Tearing out parts of walls to install a new line is less than desirable.

What do you think of swapping the lines in the outside box, like I suggested in my earlier post?
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  #6   IP: 74.5.149.208
Old June 7th, 2011, 07:07 PM
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Quote:
The phone line running into my house consists of a blue casing with eight different wires inside, similar to this; http://www.homecontrols.com/homecont..._full_2337.jpg
This is standard cat 5e cable. It's the norm these days. blue and blue/white is often the pair used for phone.

Quote:
If I unplug jack A (has dial tone), I lose internet service. If I unplug jack B (no dial tone), internet service remains. It turns out my DSL box has a jack for a phone. If a plug my phone into the DSL jack, I do not get a dial tone.
There may be a DSL splitter somewhere that removes DSL signal from your voice lines (necessary) and voice signal from your DSL jack (not necessary since your modem will ignore voice frequency ranges.) You may want to find this splitter. It usually is a box that looks a little larger then a typical phone jack splitter. It will have a jack labeled modem and a jack lableled phone or voice. There could be a device installed by the phone company for this too somewhere. You will have to trace wires and look for it. It would be a good starting place since you are getting some signal through it. Punch dsl splitter into google images for examples of what they look like. Wherever this splitter is you have good lines up to it.

Quote:
> If the jack that goes to your internet is the one with the dial tone then you
> need to notify the phone company that you have no dial tone at your
> network interface with the voice line.
Sounds like this is the case. Can you explain what this means in a bit more detail? What would be their solution? Press a reset button or flip a switch somewhere?
This is no longer applicable since you found your active phone line (and it works) and the 2nd line (what you call B) is not and was not active recently. The demarc box (or network interface) is the point where the phone company's responsibility ends and your's starts. Unless you pay for inside maintenance the phone company wont test past this point. If you describe a problem that may be on your side of this box they wont bother coming out until you test at the jack for them. If you couldnt find a dial tone at all in that box then the problem would have been their responsibility.


Quote:
In jack A (the one with dial tone), I can call my cell phone with my test phone and my cell phone can call my test phone.
sorry, missed this earlier. Your dsl and phone come in through jack A and jack B is not in use at all. At one point there was a 2nd phone line installed in this house or it was pre-wired for one.

Quote:
They travel a few feet along the outside of my house then enter the wall. This places the point of entry in the garage, which is finished with drywall.

Is there a device that I can use to test the wires in each jack? Would such information tell me any useful information?
There are ways to test with a multimeter but you will need to know where the wires go and where they split apart at. More advanced devices exist but for a single project they are probably not worth the expense. Look in the attic above where the line enters, it likely goes up into the attic. It is not normal to bury splices in the wall (but it's always possible that someone did). Also pull out each wall plate and look for ones you are not using. THere are several ways to wire phones. One way is to daisy chain from jack to jack to jack. THis way you will find 2 or more cables in each jack. The other way is star or home run wiring where all your wires return to a central location. It could be a spot in your attic, crawl, basement or behind the nearest wall plate to your demarc, or a central one in the house. Unfortunatly it's time to dig in the attic and check all your jacks.. When you pull your *ALL* your wall plates off look in the wall and see where the wires go.. If they go left or right then it's all burried, if they go up or down (use a small mirror and a flashlight to look deeper) to the top/bottom of the wall then you need to investigate at that point above or below the wall and see if you can find a wire then follow it to see where it goes. It's a pain but its the best way. 95% of the time the problem is not in the middle of the run, it's at a connection somewhere.

Quote:
The green and brown wires that travel in the blue casing are not connected to anything and, in the one jack I opened, are wound around the blue casing to keep them out of the way.
Normal. Usually the blue pair is all that is used. The organge pair was used as a 2nd line in your house..

Quote:
In the one jack that I opened, there was a blue and an orange wire loosely connected. The wires are not connected to the jack with screws; I need a 'punch tool' to click the wires into the connections. I don't have a punch tool and the local big box store has one for sale for $60 (rip off, IMO). I striped the two loose wires and clicked them into place as best I could using a couple of screwdrivers. I'm confident they are making contact. I would be okay replacing the jacks with jacks that have screws if you think that might be the problem.
. This is normal. Quality punch down tools are expensive. They have a spring punch inside, have adjustable pressure and handle multiple bits (66 and 110). You can find basic non spring loaded tools out there. If you need to repunch wires I would go to lowes/HD and in their structured wiring section you will find blank wall plates with 2-6 holes and the various modular jacks that are sold next to them. These use the 110 style punch down and come with a small plastic tool that will work fine for your style jacks (it just doesnt cut). It will cost you $3-6. You only need the tool thats in the package. If you run into a contractor in the store buying those, chances are they have a cup holder full of them in their truck. They may give you 1 (or 20). Do not use a screw driver, you will bend the terminals in the jack. They are spaced to grip the wire, if you damage them you ruined your jack. You may want to replace that jack if you did this. (or buy a blank wall plate and use that single jack you bought for the tool).

Quote:
Another possible solution I can think of might be to swap around my end of the outside box. That is, take the orange lines from jack B and moving them to jack A. Do you think this could work?
This might create more problems. That orange line may only run to 1 room.. It could have been a home office or fax line. If there is a common connection point somewhere you may find that it is not connected to all your runs.

You have some work infront of you. For now I would buy a phone splitter and a extention cord. Plug the splitter into your test jack and the phone jack into 1 side and the extention to the other side. Toss it in a window and plug a phone into it so you have at least 1 working phone and your interent while you troubleshoot. Unplug the test jack while you are messing around, phone lines can give you a slight jolt. Not dangerous but it's not enjoyable either. Especaily if the wires are in your hand when someone calls
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