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No Dial Tone......what is cause?
Old 07-24-2009, 07:20 PM   #1
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No Dial Tone......what is cause?

Obviously, I don't know how this stuff works.....what is the logical flaw here?

1) No dial tone this PM tho phone worked fine in AM
2) Installed equipment: rotary phone, corded touchtone phone, cordless phone, answer machine, dialup modem for computer
......basically all connected in "parallel"
3) Took corded TT phone outside to junction box, unplugged jack in box and plugged in corded TT phone.....no dialtone, concluded
problem w/ incoming line.....wrong conclusion?
4) Call tel. co. from cell phone. They tested line from office and said their line was ok
5) Told me to unplug all the equipment hooked up to phone line for 5 min, then plug back in 1 at a time....I may have misunderstood them .....I just unplugged the phone line part but not power to answer machine and cordless phone.
6) Waited, then plugged corded TT phone back.....dialtone is
back and remained there when all other equipment was hooked up.


Why was the wrong conclusion reached in 3) above??

Why do you have to wait after everything is unplugged?
.........is there a memory (delayed) effect......why isn't the
result instantaneous?

What does unplugging stuff do? I know that in the old days,
rebooting computers fixed all kinds of problems but here
I didn't disconnect any AC power......I guess phone lines
carry low voltage power tho.

One thing that happens sometimes is that the corded TT phone sometimes is not put back properly on its' base . I was under the impression that if it is like that long enough the phone line is disconnected from your home automatically. The rep says no, that the dialtone should come back soon after I hang up
which didn't seem to happen? Who is right? Or maybe I didn't wait long enough?

Just trying to make sense of what happened and understand the root cause.
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Old 07-24-2009, 07:53 PM   #2
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Thinking you are right and one of your phones didn't get hung up (are you still there?) - after a while the phone Co. hangs you up. I think the rep mislead you.

Plugging in out at the outside junction box IS the check for the incoming line.
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Old 07-24-2009, 07:58 PM   #3
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A couple of possibilities, but I don't know enough about phone wiring to know if it matches your symptoms.

One is that you have a short somewhere. I just had a tech out to my house to find an intermittent DSL problem and he found that that one of the DSL filters I had was bad and was causing a short.

Second, maybe you had your modem plugged into the wrong jack in your PC. I had a phone problem once back when I was on dialup, and I think I remember that the problem was that I had the phone line plugged into the larger ethernet jack on my laptop rather than the smaller phone jack. This messed my whole house line.
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Old 07-24-2009, 08:11 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by calmloki View Post
Thinking you are right and one of your phones didn't get hung up (are you still there?) - after a while the phone Co. hangs you up. I think the rep mislead you.

Plugging in out at the outside junction box IS the check for the incoming line.
Yeah, that probably makes the most sense. And maybe while unplugging stuff you got that phone hung up right.
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Old 07-24-2009, 08:42 PM   #5
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Thinking you are right and one of your phones didn't get hung up (are you still there?) - after a while the phone Co. hangs you up. I think the rep mislead you.

Plugging in out at the outside junction box IS the check for the incoming line.
Here's why I am confused......I am sure one of the first things I did (tho I didn't say so , I guess) was to make sure the cordless TT phone was hung up properly. Then I took that same phone outside and plugged into the junction box. No dial tone. I did push the "hangup" switch on the phone down and hold it down for a second or two a few times (or maybe I just clicked it a few times ) but I didn't hang up for minutes while testing. Is there a memory effect at this point in the test.......that you have to hung up for x minutes before the system restores you .
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Old 07-24-2009, 08:51 PM   #6
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Second, maybe you had your modem plugged into the wrong jack in your PC. I had a phone problem once back when I was on dialup, and I think I remember that the problem was that I had the phone line plugged into the larger ethernet jack on my laptop rather than the smaller phone jack. This messed my whole house line.
I did you one better....I couldn't get a printer to work. Somehow I looked at where the cable should be connected......in the back, black cover, semi-lighted room with eyes that don't see that well in dim light and plugged the connector into some geometric space perfectly sized to fit and hold it but w/ no electrical connections.....definitely not an idiot-proof design.
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Old 07-24-2009, 09:11 PM   #7
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1) No dial tone this PM tho phone worked fine in AM
We're having this problem at home. Of course I only notice it when we try to call out, so perhaps it's not really a problem after all.

Our jack receptacle (the one in the kitchen wall) is starting to corrode after 20 years. As the rust forms on the prongs of the receptacle and the phone jack, a high-resistance connection develops which eventually kills the dial tone. Unplugging and re-plugging the phone (within the space of a couple seconds) scrapes off the newly-formed coat of rust and the phone is just fine again. Then a few weeks go by and the rust re-forms.

This time I sprayed contact cleaner on the receptacle but if it goes bad again I'll replace it.

Had the same problem with a tenant's phone in the master bedroom of our rental home. That one's 30 years old. Luckily they moved out before I actually had to do anything about it, and the new tenants don't have anything plugged in there...
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Old 07-24-2009, 09:30 PM   #8
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We're having this problem at home. Of course I only notice it when we try to call out, so perhaps it's not really a problem after all.

Our jack receptacle (the one in the kitchen wall) is starting to corrode after 20 years. As the rust forms on the prongs of the receptacle and the phone jack, a high-resistance connection develops which eventually kills the dial tone. Unplugging and re-plugging the phone (within the space of a couple seconds) scrapes off the newly-formed coat of rust and the phone is just fine again. Then a few weeks go by and the rust re-forms.

This time I sprayed contact cleaner on the receptacle but if it goes bad again I'll replace it.

Had the same problem with a tenant's phone in the master bedroom of our rental home. That one's 30 years old. Luckily they moved out before I actually had to do anything about it, and the new tenants don't have anything plugged in there...
eraser on the end of a pencil is just about perfect for cleaning those contacts, size and grit wise. good to blow out the small amount of debris afterwards...
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Old 07-25-2009, 12:36 AM   #9
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2) Installed equipment: rotary phone, corded touchtone phone, cordless phone, answer machine, dialup modem for computer
......basically all connected in "parallel"
Do you really still have a rotary phone?

We are having a similar but opposite problem.......

Intermittently, we are having a situation where an incoming call makes a half of a ring, then nothing else happens. Caller is lost and no one is there when we answer. We have Vonage so if my cell phone is on the call is forwarded to my cell. I think something is shorting. We're going to narrow this down over the weekend but my suspicion is that it's a short in one of the lines or jacks. Our house is from 1955 and when we moved in in 1983 there were just 2 working phone jacks, one upstairs and one downstairs. We have replaced the block in the basement and added extensions over the years. DH sometimes did this by adding to an already existing extension. Some of these jacks are 15-20 years old and I bet stuff is just corroded or worn out.

Years ago we had an occurence just like this. At the time we were a Nielsen Ratings Family. All our TVs were monitored and had lines running down to a small computer unit and modem in the basement. The modem would call out and report our numbers every night. As soon as the phones went wacky with the half ring and then disconnecting I unplugged the Nielsen modem and called our Nielsen technician and he came and fixed whatever was wrong. He said it was a short in something. We don't have the Nielsen modem anymore.

We don't use the home phone very often, I think this has been bad for a few days this time but no one called so we didn't notice. We get a dial tone and can call out just fine.

We also had the discussion about if we really want to keep the "landline" and so far we do want to keep it.
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Old 07-25-2009, 03:03 AM   #10
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Do you really still have a rotary phone?
Yup.....original wall mounted version, will probably live longer than me.Got banished from kitchen after remodel......used only for its' ringtone which can be heard from afar above conversations, TV, dishwasher, traffic and jet planes.
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Old 07-25-2009, 08:19 AM   #11
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We are having a similar but opposite problem.......

Intermittently, we are having a situation where an incoming call makes a half of a ring, then nothing else happens. Caller is lost and no one is there when we answer. We have Vonage
Sue J, here is a simple way to trouble-shoot this:

1) You probably have a cord going from the Vonage box to a phone jack - this is what "lights up" all the rest of the jacks in the house. Unplug it from the box - this will isolate all your house wiring from the box.

2) Plug a single phone directly into the Vonage box. Test this.

3) If THAT doesn't work, try another phone.

4) If THAT doesn't work, it is probably the vonage box.

5) If the phone does work, rotate each phone, one at a time to verify each. Leave them plugged in for a while to look for intermittent problems.

6) If they all work, try plugging into the wall, and add one phone at a time.

It is unlikely to be a "short", you would probably lose dial tone if that happened.

I had a weird intermittent problem once. One of the phones apparently had a capacitor that was leaking or breaking down. If I unplugged the phone for 5 minutes or so to troubleshoot, it would work fine after I plugged it in. But 5~10 minutes later, the bad component slowly kept dragging down the voltage on the line until none of the phones would work. Because of the time delay, and the fact that being unplugged "fixed" it for a while, it took me a long time to figure that out.

So go down to basics, add one item at a time. Sounds like a lot but it is simple and will save gray hairs.

-ERD50
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Old 07-25-2009, 08:59 AM   #12
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..... is starting to corrode . As the rust forms .
Nords.........is this corrosion/rust visible as a noticeable change? Good ole
Hawn (salty) air? Or do they still look like new? Mine are still goldish.
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Old 07-25-2009, 01:57 PM   #13
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Nords.........is this corrosion/rust visible as a noticeable change? Good ole Hawn (salty) air? Or do they still look like new? Mine are still goldish.
So are ours, but under a flashlight and a magnifying glass they're pitted, tarnished (off-gold color), and crusty-looking. (Until I cleaned them.) You may be able to see a big difference between the wires embedded in the phone's jack (probably shiny & clean) and the wires that they contact inside the receptacle.

It's far easier to buy a new jack receptacle plate, but the problem happened last weekend and I don't do Lowes/Home Depot trips on weekends.
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