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telephone line problems

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by Billccm, Sep 16, 2004.

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  1. Billccm

    Billccm Guest

    Hello All:

    Our telephone line is giving us some trouble. It has a loud buzz, or hum, and
    our internet dial up connection performance has degraded.

    I took a phone out to our 'network box', and plugged it in. No hum, or buzz. I
    reconnected the network box, and took a cordless phone back out with me. It
    seems that I can reduce the hum by touching wires that are connected to other
    phone numbers (at one time this house had FOUR phone numbers). I am not sure of
    this is a clue, or not.

    The phone company wants $85 to come out and troubleshoot, that's TROUBLESHOOT,
    not repair. They have this long speal that they may not be able to make the
    repair, and it will still be $85 hour. I'd gladly pay the $85 an hour IF they
    would repair the problem.

    So, any suggestions on what to look for, how to troubleshoot, or even a third
    party repair person would be helpful.

    Thanks for any advice. Have a nice day,

  2. Disconnect devices from your phone line one by one (fax machines, cordless
    telephones, etc.) until the hum goes away. You'll probably find that one of
    them is injecting the hum into your phone line. Look for anything that also
    has a connection to AC power.

    When you've found the culprit, you can look into repairing or replacing it.
  3. Disconnect everything from the phone line. Connect one good known
    phone to check if it is working properly. If it does not, disconnect
    the house line, and then then try the phone at the telephone block
    where the line comes in. If it is good there, then you know it is the
    wiring in your home that has to be serviced. If it is bad at the block
    where the line comes in, then the fault is the telephone company's

    If your tele line in the house is bad, they you will have to have the
    knowledge and means about how to troubleshoot the tele line. The
    telephone tech will use a test signal injected in to the line, and
    then follow it down with his analyser to see where the fault is
    occuring. The tele company techs use instruments to quickly find
    breaks and defects in their lines. They don't have a lot of time to
    spend a lot of time to find these types of faults. For a residental
    installation, they target to have the problem analysed within the
    first 20 minutes.

    It would be cheaper for you to simply run in a new line, and put in a
    new set of jacks, than to spend a lot of time to find where the
    problem is. This is if you can do the installation yourself. If you do
    not have the base knowledge to do this, call the tele company to
    re-run in a new set of lines for your home. This will work out to be
    more reliable, and cheaper in the end.

    Infact, in my own home I have 2 private residential lines. I had a
    problem where when it rained outside, the phones would crackle and
    buzz. After verifying that there is a fault with one of my internal
    lines, I went out and bought all new wall jacks, and telephene wire. I
    re-installed the complete wiring and jacks with all new parts. It
    works just like new!

    I have a feeling that some humidity was coming through one of the
    outside wall vents, and getting in to some of the wire insulation. The
    origional wiring is over 25 years old, and the insulation in some
    places was starting to crack.

    Before going through all of this, make sure you have nothing defective
    connected to your tele line. This is most important.

    Jerry G.
  4. Richard

    Richard Guest

    Where are you located?

    Michael gives good advice. When you're troubleshooting it would also
    help to know if anything was changed, added to, touched, opened up,
    got wet anywhere on or near the telephone system prior to the problem
    starting. Even if it's not directly hooked to the phone system. Like
    an arc welder, well that's a little extreme, or dimmer .One going bad
    can cause this problem as can anyelectrical device. So sometimes the
    problem can be tracked down by turning off breakers one by one and
    testing for the hum)

    I've had this problem before and solved it for one client who had
    this cheap 26ga stranded telephone wire running everywhere in her
    house. This stuff can be very susceptible to hum.Replacing with
    standard telco solid solved the problem. Probably because the original
    was non twisted wire. I used to blame the gage but see the use of
    22-26 ga wire with no problem but I'm still suspicious.

    Also take apart all connections and clean up any corrosion you find.
    Resistive connections could also be the cause of your problem.

    Finally if you can find or borrow one of those "fox and hounds" which
    you can use to trace the telephone wire starting from the head end
    simplifying as you go. (you can also just trace it the old fashioned
    way. ) Disconnect any unnecessary lines. I've found some weird things
    hooked into the phone lines. In one building the landlord had lines
    running everywhere and different apts were hooked into each other. The
    clue came when the client picked up on of her non ringing "extensions"
    and heard her neighbor talking on "her phone".

    Let us know.

  5. jakdedert

    jakdedert Guest

    Good advice below and in the rest of the threade so far--BUT!--if this is
    U.S. residential service, the simplest way to begin troubleshooting is to
    follow the Telco's advice: Simply go outside with a known-good telephone
    (self powered is best, but you can run an extension cord). Locate your
    service interface, the gray box with the phone lines connected. Open it up
    and you will find a modular plug just like the one on your phone cord. All
    of your inside service goes through that one connection.

    Unplug that cord from it's jack and plug in your test phone instead. Try to
    make a call. If you've got a clean signal there, then you can proceed as
    below. *If not*, the problem is on the Telco's end and they should not
    charge you a dime for fixing it! In fact, you may be able to get them to
    give you a credit for poor service.

    First things first....

    That said, for some reason (actually, ease of plugging/unplugging), I
    installed a few jacks in my house with the hole for the plug pointed 'up.'
    Bad Idea! Eventually all of those received some water from washing walls,
    watering plants, mopping floors etc. Of course by the time that happened, I
    had forgotten they even existed...having been subsequently obscured by said
    plants, furniture etc. It doens't take much corrosion to completely short
    out the little wires in a modular jack. It doesn't take even that much to
    cause noise on the line.

    Now, I only install jacks with the hole facing sideways (or even straight
    down)...never up.

  6. harrogate2

    harrogate2 Guest

    One of the commonest causes of hum is an earth, or partial earth, on
    one leg of the line. Otherwise, as others have said, unplug everything
    except one basic phone, then plug each item back in until you find
    which causes the hum.
  7. Billccm

    Billccm Guest

    Well, to make a long story short, the telephone company (QWEST) repairman found
    a bad ground on a transfromer three miles away. It took him four hours to find
    the problem. No charge for the repair!

    Thanks for the replies.

  8. While you are disconnecting phones check for telephone attached water / gas
    / electricial meters.

    Had a bad problem at our house some years ago, lost our ability to do dial
    up internet. Finally found a new line spliced in running to a new water

    Found out that the water dept had appeared and told a daughter they were
    replacing water meters in the subdivision. Nothing said about adding a
    telephone connection. Workmanship was bad plumber quality.

    Also found a cross connection to the phone line of a neighboring business in
    a small strip mall. Was done by the alarm company, no asking for permission
    they just found the main punchdown blocks, picked a line pair and wired it

  9. jakdedert

    jakdedert Guest

    Exactly why I stated that the absolute *first* thing to do is to go outside
    and check the incoming line. I've had so many go bad...about twice as many
    instances as 'in-house' issues--that it's saved me a lot of time. Even when
    the line turns out to be okay, it's a useful first step in troubleshooting.
    You're welcome...did you check it as outlined?

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