TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Wierd Telephone Problems

Wierd Telephone Problems

Gladiator (
9 Apr 2005 13:47:04 -0700

Hello: I have this problem with my telephone at home. For incoming
calls, sometimes, it would ring once then disconnect the caller. I
thought it was my phone, but I bought a new one, and it was the same

I called my telephone company, and the technician came and said that
this could be due to wiring inside the building. So, the telephone
company thinks it's not their responsibility.

The strangest thing is, outgoing calls seem to be fine. I can dial
outside w/o problems.

Anyone seen this before?


[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: I've seen it lots of times. And as
often as not, it is in the wiring somewhere (either 'your' wiring or
possibly telco's.) Chances are there is some _tiny_ bare spot where
the two wires touch, or nearly so. The amount of current in the line
when the phone rings is sufficient to 'bridge the gap' and complete
the connection for a half second or so. What does the calling party
receive under those circumstances? Usually they will hear one or two
ringing signals, then it will change to busy, or maybe it will sound
like the line went dead. When you place a call -- as opposed to
receive a call -- there is much less voltage on the line because the
phone is not ringing. Its the increase in voltage which causes this
to occur. That is why you experience no problems when _you_ place a
call; the 'current bridge' is not present.

How do you prove it is telco's problem and not yours, or vice-versa?
Take your telephone out to the demarc, or place where the telco says
your wiring begins. Disconnect where they say yours starts. Use a
cell phone (or some other third-party line) to dial into _your_
number. If you have your phone plugged directly into the demarc, and
the problem is present, you should hear your phone ring once (a half
ring, maybe) and then go dead. Note on the phone you are using to
call in what happens, i.e. busy signal, fast busy, the line goes dead,
or whatever. If this happens *and you have 'your' wires pulled or
disconnected at the demarc, then the problem is telco's. If it rings
through normally, and you can talk to yourself (or any confederate who
is assisting you), then it is NOT telco's problem.

Then, reattach the wires you took down at the demarc and try the test
again. Does it occur this time? If the problem occurs when your wires
are connected, but _not_ when you are connected direct to the demarc,
then it is indeed your problem. Try this much first, then get back to
us with the results. If it is indeed in your length of wire and not
telco's, then we will discuss how you go about correcting it. You'll
basically have two choices in that case: fix it yourself or with your
own electrician hired, _or_ pay telco (or bribe the technician) and
they will fix it for you. Typically it costs less to fix it yourself,
but depending on the complexity of the wiring (and distance involved
and the size of your complex) it may be faster and less grief to let
telco handle it. We will discuss both approaches when you get back to
us with your findings. Hoping to hear again from you soon. PAT]

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