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Thread: Inside Wiring Dilemma

  1. #1
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    Default Inside Wiring Dilemma

    I cancelled my Verizon inside wiring coverage and Voila, I suddenly have an inside wiring problem.

    Nearly 2 years ago, Verizon was out to my place to bring a couple of lines to a small corner of my home office. The installer ran a separate cable from the outside connection (I don't know the actual term) thru the garage, across some walls and, finally, into the area that needed the connection.

    Last week, I went to log on my computer and had no dial tone. I had it in the morning but now, nothing. I bought a 6 terminal jack and replaced the old one with good success - for 1 hour, then no dial tone.

    I called Verizon's automated repair service and scheduled a house call. Within 1 hour, the line was working again. I waited 3 days and cancelled my service call.

    This morning, again no dial tone. I called Verizon and scheduled the next available appointment (8 days away!). Within 1 hour, not only did I have dial tone, but Verizon called me on my voice line asking what the problem was. I called them back and explained that all of the other jacks work fine because they are the original ones from the time the house was built. The problem is the hand run cable that was installed last year.

    I didn't cancel the appointment and the problem is kind of a nuisance but I hate to spend $90 an hour for a service call if the line is working. Verizon must do some sort of line conditioning when I complain but that wears off in a couple of days.

    Is there anything that I can do to find the cause of this intermittant problem?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Inside Wiring Dilemma

    I had a phone problem once that only occurred after it rained a lot.
    I would lose my internet on the second line I had and by the time the repairman came out it was working. Finally after 3 calls I got them to reroute my phone through another wire in the cable and it worked fine from then on.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Inside Wiring Dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Arc
    I had a phone problem once that only occurred after it rained a lot.
    I would lose my internet on the second line I had and by the time the repairman came out it was working. Finally after 3 calls I got them to reroute my phone through another wire in the cable and it worked fine from then on.
    I thought about water but it hasn't rained in 3 months and the "box" on the side of my house is at least 5 feet off of the ground; well away from sprinklers. The larger, tall green tower that contains the whole neighborhood's phone wiring sits on the grass.

  4. #4
    *Flashaholic* gadget_lover's Avatar
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    Default Re: Inside Wiring Dilemma

    If it works again every time you disconnect the phone to do something, check that phone on another jack for a few days. It's possible the phone has a high impedance short in it that makes it look like it's in use under certain conditions. It's not clear whether the office line shares the same dialtone with the rest of your house.

    Don't discount wetness as a cause. 20 years ago I had an intermittant problem with my phone. The repair men worked on it for weeks and weeks. In the morning it would have a lot of noise. By noon it was fine. In the morning it would sometimes disconnect incoming calls after the first ring.

    The problem? 6 blocks from my house a slug had climbed into an open equipment box and been electrocuted while crawling across the screws that connected my line. The morning dew would re-hydrate it enough to become a conductor and that made the line noisey. An incoming call uses a higher voltage to trip the ringer, so the slug would conduct just enough to look just like a phone answering. The resistance was too high to sustain the call, so it would then "hang up" immediately. The morning sun would eventually dry out the slug and he became an insulator again.

    A good repairman will be able to positivvely pinpoint your problem in minutes.

    Daniel
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Inside Wiring Dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by gadget_lover
    If it works again every time you disconnect the phone to do something, check that phone on another jack for a few days. It's possible the phone has a high impedance short in it that makes it look like it's in use under certain conditions. It's not clear whether the office line shares the same dialtone with the rest of your house.

    Don't discount wetness as a cause. 20 years ago I had an intermittant problem with my phone. The repair men worked on it for weeks and weeks. In the morning it would have a lot of noise. By noon it was fine. In the morning it would sometimes disconnect incoming calls after the first ring.

    The problem? 6 blocks from my house a slug had climbed into an open equipment box and been electrocuted while crawling across the screws that connected my line. The morning dew would re-hydrate it enough to become a conductor and that made the line noisey. An incoming call uses a higher voltage to trip the ringer, so the slug would conduct just enough to look just like a phone answering. The resistance was too high to sustain the call, so it would then "hang up" immediately. The morning sun would eventually dry out the slug and he became an insulator again.

    A good repairman will be able to positivvely pinpoint your problem in minutes.

    Daniel
    Hopefully the repairman is not a "slug".

    I did notice that it works after an incoming call so your theory of higher voltage is right on. Sometimes though, I hear static on that line when it initially comes alive again.

    I firmly believe that it's a water/corrosion issue. The question is, is this an inside wiring issue if the fault is the connection on the outside of the house? I don't think so.

  6. #6
    *Flashaholic* gadget_lover's Avatar
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    Default Re: Inside Wiring Dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Weiner
    Hopefully the repairman is not a "slug".

    I did notice that it works after an incoming call so your theory of higher voltage is right on. Sometimes though, I hear static on that line when it initially comes alive again.

    I firmly believe that it's a water/corrosion issue. The question is, is this an inside wiring issue if the fault is the connection on the outside of the house? I don't think so.


    There are different tarrifs controlling these things for different areas of the country.

    If the junction box provides an RJ11 jack that you connect a line to, then you are generally responsible from that point in. If it's the type that has the lines connect behind the box secured with a tamper proof screw, then it's the phone company responsibility.

    The type with the Rj11 hack is easy to troubleshoot if you simply take a phone to the box and plug it in there.

    Daniel
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  7. #7
    Flashaholic* MoonRise's Avatar
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    Default Re: Inside Wiring Dilemma

    The junction box or demarc (demarcation) box (usually grey, usually has two access doors, one for Customer and one for Telco ,might be marked as such) is the 'demarcation' line between "Inside wiring" and "Outside wiring", even if the box is inside the house. Usually, the Telco (TELephone COmpany) is responsible for the outside wiring and the customer is responsible for the inside wiring.

    To quickly determine if the problem is inside or outside, open the "Customer" access door and look at the RJ11 connection(s) and plug in a known WORKING phone. If the phone works there but doesn't work inside the house, then the problem is on the inside wiring. Problems could be corroded wires, loose connections, frayed wires, rodent-knawed wires (that's a good one Daniel, about the rehydrating fried slug slime shorting the connection), etc.

    If the problem is on the outside, it's easier for you. You just tell Verizon that there is a problem with the outside wiring and let them fix it. Same type of problems could be there, just more MILES of cable for there to be problems. Or the CentralOffice/switches.
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  8. #8

    Default Re: Inside Wiring Dilemma

    What MoonRise is describing is a "binary search". Back in the stone age when office LAN's were made from coaxial cable, all the computers were connected in series with BNC "T" connectors off the main cable. You could pull a "T" (think the long or vertical leg) off the computer and the LAN would be fine, but if you pulled apart one of the short legs that connected the entire run together, the whole group would go down.

    When you had hundreds of PC's to search for the one where the clerk busted the cable, you'd do a binary search. We'd reconnect the cable at the midpoint, and then figure if the break was on the left half or the right half of the LAN. Then we'd cut that half in half, then that half in half, etc. and you'd find the break very quickly.

    You can troubleshoot your wiring the same way. Except yours is much simpler, you have only two "nodes" the office and the user access panel. If there's nothing between your office and the user-accessable side of your service drop that's broken, it's the phone company's problem...
    Life is an amazing thing... Without it, we'd all be dead.

  9. #9
    *Flashaholic* gadget_lover's Avatar
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    Default Re: Inside Wiring Dilemma

    Yes, binary searches are very powerful. There's an old bar bet where you claim that a person can pick any word in the dictionary and you'll tell him the word by asking less than 20 questions.

    Grab the dictionary and open it 1/2 way (more or less). The question? Is the word listed n the left half of this dictionary?

    Try it. The same technique is used in troubel shooting (as described above), database searches, etc.


    On Topic:

    The vet called with results of the cat's lab tests. He's lost weight and is urinating at random spots in teh house. He's 18 years old and drain bamaged, so we cut him some slack. The doctor has to call on my cell phone because the line is "busy".

    I check line 1. Dead. Line 2. Dead. The DSL (superimposed on line 1) is still OK. Hmmmmmm.

    I go to my patch panel (yes, I have a central patch panel with wiring going to each room) and try to reacall what is connected where. I finally find that there's a high resistance short on one leg that goes to the wall behind the couch in the living room. I go to said jack and remember I have a 10 foot extention cord ending in an RJ11 jack so I don't have to move the couch to plug in a laptop.

    The jack on the extension is just slightly damp. The wires inside are corroded together. I guess the cat really hated going to the vet yesterday.


    Daniel
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Inside Wiring Dilemma

    Verizon showed up at my doorstep today to "fix" my dial-tone problem (5 days earlier than scheduled).

    Of course the line has been working perfectly since earlier in the week when Repair called the number and, somehow, cleared it.

    He and I went to the demarc and got a dial tone with no static. Of course he found nothing else wrong and started to drive away. I tried to logon to my computer and no dial tone!

    I ran out and got him before he drove away and he realized that he never plugged the phone cord back into the jack. I did it while he was there and NO TONE! He went to the demark and got perfect tone.

    Doing what Repair would do, I called the dead line from a working one and it cleared it immediately. He shrugged his shoulders and we said goodbye.

    You just have to love Verizon.
    Last edited by Marty Weiner; 12-23-2005 at 06:29 PM.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Inside Wiring Dilemma

    2 wires (tip and ring) is all you need to make a single line telephone work.

    pretty easy to figure out.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Inside Wiring Dilemma

    Two possibilities come to mind based on your symptoms -

    1) You might have a shorted surge protector somewhere (either on their side or yours).

    2) They might have misconfigured the POTS circuit as ground-start instead of loop-start.

    To check for problem #2, wait until the failure mode shows up, then with a phone off-hook, briefly short one side of the phone line to ground with an alligator lead or paper clip. If that summons a dial tone, there's your answer.
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