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Wire Pairs | Second Line Qs | Other Qs

Wiring a Phone Jack

Even when the phone company smugly offers you the option of wiring your own phone jacks, I have yet to encounter reliable information on exactly how to do this correctly. You would think that when it's wired correctly that you could look at the jack, note the color combinations and then at your new home wire the jack the same and it would work. But, that was not the case after my 1st. move which I managed to rewire on a "hit & miss" basis or in my new home. Not only does what worked before not work here but, they have added 5 new colored wires over and above the standard blk, red, grn & yel. I now have a blue, blue with long white stripes, blue with short white stripes, orange with long white stripes and orange with short white stripes. I do know that the orange and white striped wires are my 2nd. line. I do have the correct R-14 jacks. Thank you in advance for your assistance.

The wires coming into your home from the phone company contain many "pairs" of wires...these pairs are colored like this Blue/Blue w/white strip, Orange/Orange w/white stripe, etc. When the phone company runs a line to your house, they test all the pairs of wires between your house and the local switching box (usually located on a street corner somewhere in your neighborhood). Once they establish which pair of wires has the best connection, they use that pair as your main line....this is why you have noticed different colored pairs attached to your phone lines at different homes. If you add a second line, they just locate the next best connection by colored pair, and that is your second line.

The wires inside your home should only be red, green, black, yellow....this allows most homes to have two lines without any major re-wiring. Your "line 1" pair is red/green...remember Christmas colors. Your "line2" pair is black/yellow. You will probably notice that most, if not all, your inside phone jacks have all four wires connected to the corresponding terminals in the jacks, but that is just for ease of adding the second line. If they are not all connected, then you may have difficulty getting line two at any given jack, since the phone line is basically run in series. If you have only one line, only the red/green pair actually transmits any information.

Most phone-based appliances will have connectors with 4 contacts, but unless it is a two-line system, only two of the connectors are live...the ones attached to red/green. The reason there are four wires and four contacts on all the hardware is for compatibility purposes.

Knowing what I have just told you, you should be able to wire any kind of jack in your home....I have some duplex jacks that I have wired for one line in one half of the jack and two lines in the other half, etc.

Telephone Wiring

I am installing cable for two telephone lines in new construction, however, I will be using only one at this time. The two-line cable is coded orange, green brown and blue with the second line striped. How do these colors correspond to the single line, yellow, green, black and red?

If you are using a 4pr. cable, the primary pair is wht/blue tracer and blue or blue /wht tracer. You should keep the wiring within the same pair. They are usually twisted internally in four separate pairs. It doesn't make a lot of difference except that using the twisted pairs keeps the noise on the lines at a minimum. This will be even more noticeable if you ever attach a modem to this line.

Answer: Analog (Home) telephones actually only use one pair of the wires. If you are running four pair (8 strands), you will have plenty of growth capacity. The primary line will use the red and green (both solid) lines. The second line typically will use the yellow and black lines. If you are using a different color pattern in your wire, it probably doesn't matter which color goes where, as long as you are consistent.

Antique Phone Wiring

I recently purchased a Western Electric #302 Desktop phone (cr. 6/13/38). Inside it is labeled like my other phones (LY2 and L1). I took a modular plug from inside one of my other old phones and attached it (Green to LY2 and Red to L1). I did not receive a dial tone. When I disconnected one of the two wires and touched some of the other screws, there was a continuous dial tone, even while dialing. I found another website that showed a diagram for this phone with the wiring identified and it appeared I was correct. Information I have read stated that only the red and green wires are used when you do not have a second line. Do you think I may need another plug to bring in the yellow and black wires? Can you make any suggestions?

You need to get a diagram of the network of the phone he is working on. More than likely the phone is set up with grounded ringing and he needs to rewire the network to a strait line ring.
You are shorting out through the wrong points of the network......

Splicing to Add a Line

I tried to add a telephone line (extension) to a room without any wiring. I went to my attic, cut a line (which is for two other rooms) and spliced the wire which I fed to the 'new room'. At first, none of the three worked. Then I checked the splice and tried to 'make it better'. The two existing telephones worked but the new one didn't. Now, all three don't worked. I unplugged all the telephones and tried plugging them back in with no success. By the way the kitchen telephone worked all through out. I even tried testing the bedrooms telephone in the kitchen and they are OK. Did I burn out something? Can I test the lines with a multimeter?

You usually don't splice to add a telephone line. Find a telephone that is at the end of the line - wires coming in to the jack and none going out. Run your new connection off that telephone jack. Your kitchen telephone is probably on another line coming from the service box and that is why it is ok.

Make sure all your wires in the splices are insulated from each other and that all the like colors are connects. Typically, yellow and black go together for one line, red, and green for the other. If you have only one phone number then only one pair is in use. The other pair of wires is installed spares.

You can check for a problem at your bad phone jacks by using your ohmmeter to make sure there is NO continuity between any of the wires.

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Two Lines, but Only One Works

I have two lines coming into a new house.... I can only get dial tone on one.... What is the proper way they should be hooked up if I open one of the jacks and look at it?

I am not sure, but I believe the wires inside are red, green, black and yellow. The red and green are usually the 'hot' ones; the other two are not really doing anything.

Inside your box outside there will be four wires and a ground. Green, Red, Black, Yellow. The green and red operate one line (green is ring red is tap) and the black and yellow operate the second, if installed. Look in the box and you will see five screws in a pattern like this @(B) @(G) @(GD) @(Y) @(R) Make sure the wires are securely attached to each screw. Use a line tester and test both lines. If you get a broken circuit, something is amiss in the house. If not, call the telephone company and tell them to activate your second line!

You might also want to check all of the outlets in your house; often you will find that the electrician that wired the house only wired the red and green pairs. You will want to make sure that all four wires are connected and are tight. If this does not work, take your two-line phone outdoors to the demarcation point on your house, where you phone lines come in. There will be a test jack that will be wired for both lines. If you don't get dial tone on the second line, there is no second line, and the phone company is responsible, if there is, you are.

First, look at the box where the service starts. Most new houses are wired using a Network Interface Connection (NIC box). Anything from that box and into the house is your responsibility. The box and line from the street is usually the phone companies. In my box, there are two regular RJ11 phone jacks that the house wiring plugs into. By unplugging the house wiring at this box, you can test the two lines at the box. By eliminating your house wiring, you are testing the phone company's service up to but not including your house. If you do not get two lines and your ordered two lines, call the phone company. If you do get two lines, then suspect your house wiring. Plug your house wiring back in and begin checking outlets in your house. Some builders try to save money and run the same wire to all phone outlets. One bad wire in an outlet can mess up the entire wiring. I suggest you buy a phone line tester and a 2-line splitter. The tester will show green if outlet is wired correctly. You will need a splitter to test line 2 of the same plug.

Installing 2nd Phone Line

I would like to have the two telephone lines for my house. Since our computer internet connection is getting more and more use, we are now to the point where two lines are a must. I have been advised that my house is pre-wired for two lines. Aside from contacting the phone company to activate the second line, can you provide me with any guidance on what I can do for myself to save $$$ with installation.

Here is the scoop. All telephone wire has 4 wires in it. red black yellow and green. But a phone only uses 2 wires.. so every house is wired for 2 lines. You will need to have the phone company supply your house with an additional line (You DON'T have two from the street to your house)
In your box outside will be the two new lines.. you will attach them to the black and yellow wires.. which up to this point were unused. then... where you want the new line, attach the phone jack to the black and yellow instead of the red and green. Know what I mean??

No Dial Tone

Why won't the phone get a dial tone.

Sounds like you've got a wire loose or not connected to the correct terminal. Phone connectors can be a bear if even one wire is out of place.

Check for loose wires and also check to be sure you have the proper COLORED wires connected...Most often, red-green serves one phone line black-yellow another...

If you used a modular system, check to make sure the connectors are ok. It is a common problem for plugs and jacks to not connect properly..

Check out the link below, this may answer a few questions for you!


Adding Extra Phone Jack for Main Line

Our house (which we bought 3 months ago) has a phone jack in the kitchen and in the second bedroom. (There is an additional jack in the master bedroom but we were told by the prior owners that this jack had a different number and it has it's own separate box just outside the house.)

We would like to add a jack for the main phone line in the first bedroom/office but don't know how. We're in California and the house is on a raised foundation with a crawl space. So, how do we go about adding an extra jack?

You can tap in and run the wire one of two ways.
At the point of entry will be a connection box that you can connect the new wire to, or you can open either of the other two jack outlets and connect them there.
Phone wiring is fairly simple. Buy phone wire, and it comes in 4 colors. Just connect the like colors together. In the entry box, you can connect them to spare terminals. In the phone jack, you would connect them to the same screws as the like color wire is on there already.
You can run that wire under the house, so just drill up (DON'T MISS) into the wall where you will mount your new box. Buy a the face plate with the one jack outlet... and the box to screw the plate to.

Static on Telephone Line

I have moderate to severe static on one of my two telephone lines. Seems worse when it's raining or very humid out. I know a little about telephone lines, I installed my second one from the outer wall of the house to the rooms, and it works perfectly. A while back, I got some intermittent static, but it seems to be getting worse. I called the telephone company, but was told that if the problem is inside my house, they charge by the MINUTE! They and I checked and sure enough, it seems that there is no static when connecting at the junction box at the outside wall of my house. I have replaced most of the wall jacks, and tried disconnecting each telephone, but the static persists, and it's driving me insane. I tried tapping on each wall jack to see if I could change the static, but no difference. I don't think I have an interior junction box as I have traced virtually all lines to each room with out finding it. I purchased a line checker at the local mea-hardware store. It indicated that all the jacks on the bad line had the polarity reversed, and after checking each jack with the same results I reversed the red/green wires from the street and got a good polarity, but still have static. Any suggestions? The other telephone for my computer and one telephone are clear.

Static means a poor connection, at either end of the wire, or possibly a worn spot anywhere along the run. It's a pain; but isolating as many sections as possible is the only way to pinpoint it. As a repairman, if isolating takes longer than running new, I run new. I have seen staples cause moisture to get into the sheath where corrosion gradually eats the copper, static is the last hurrah before the inevitable open circuit. If replacing the whole circuit is impossible, piece out all the sections you can get to with new, if still noisy replacement is necessary. You can run telephone signals through existing electric wires by using an adapter at most electronic stores (about $30-$50) per adapter.

Another idea:

Try wiring a jack with a short wire directly to the outside box and see if you have static at that point. If not, maybe you should try some better quality wire, run it through a window in a different area of your house, away from where the old wire is coming in, just to see if you still have static. Maybe you have the telephone wire to close to an electrical line or something like a fluorescent light or motor that runs constantly. I know a "going bad" fluorescent bulb or transformer/starter will raise havoc with radios and such. I take it you've tried switching telephones from jack to jack.

Common sources of static:
Cheapo phones are 50% of all trouble. Next are answering machines and modems, they are hooked in to the line, they can be a problem.
Next is any wiring outside the house, look for weather beaten cable, I have seen the outer coating dry rotted off of wire. Any jacks that have corrosion in them, you can tell because the pins are green. Bathroom jacks, basement jacks, kitchen jacks are biggies.
Next, wiring in the basement or crawlspace. Look for mouse chews, rubs, clothing hanging on the wire to dry, etc. etc.

Getting More Than One Phone Jack to Work

I have just moved into a new apartment. I have at least 5 different phone jacks but only one of them works. Is there a simple way that I can connect at least one of them myself?

Go to the working jack, unscrew it from the wall and see if there are any loose wires there that could go on to the other jacks. Usually, the first jack of a group like yours is connected to the phone company line and goes from that first jack to the second, then to the third and so on. Each jack then has a total of four wires behind itself for a single telephone line.

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