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Old 10-04-2014, 08:57 PM   #21
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Thanks for the clarification omni. Now I see the point of confusion.

What you have there is a pre-1984 demarcation point. These were originally designed to be touched by phone technicians only, not the homeowner.

After the legally imposed breakup of the Bell System in 1984, the newer style of demarcation point, ie the Network Interface Device (NID) was put into use. The NID's allow the homeowner to easily isolate the house from the incoming phone line with just a simple phone plug/jack disconnect.

You can probably get a NID installed for free by calling ATT and requesting one. Explain that your current one is from 1977, never had a NID, and has no way for the homeowner to disconnect the house from the external phone line.

If you don't get the desired action from them (for free), we could look to the regulations that govern this to see if they are required to do this.

Cool photos by the way. I use to fool around with this stuff back in high school....

-gauss
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Old 10-04-2014, 10:38 PM   #22
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Thanks for the clarification omni. Now I see the point of confusion.

What you have there is a pre-1984 demarcation point. These were originally designed to be touched by phone technicians only, not the homeowner.

After the legally imposed breakup of the Bell System in 1984, the newer style of demarcation point, ie the Network Interface Device (NID) was put into use. The NID's allow the homeowner to easily isolate the house from the incoming phone line with just a simple phone plug/jack disconnect.

You can probably get a NID installed for free by calling ATT and requesting one. Explain that your current one is from 1977, never had a NID, and has no way for the homeowner to disconnect the house from the external phone line.

If you don't get the desired action from them (for free), we could look to the regulations that govern this to see if they are required to do this.

Cool photos by the way. I use to fool around with this stuff back in high school....

-gauss
If they can be forced to put in a modern box, that probably is the cleanest approach - but it might take some time, especially if they say they are not required to.

An alternative I was going to suggest would be a brute force approach - label, disconnect, and tape off every single wire in the box. That should be safe.

That might leave you with some sockets in the home disconnected from other sockets though (if they were tied together at the box). Otherwise, you'd really need a voltmeter to track down the source of 48V tip & ring. Then the source could be tied off, leaving the other connections. This might be pretty obvious by looking physically at which cable comes from the telco and which are coming from inside the home, but sometimes this old wiring can have surprises - someone may have jumped something from an unexpected place.

-ERD50
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Old 10-04-2014, 11:24 PM   #23
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If they can be forced to put in a modern box, that probably is the cleanest approach - but it might take some time, especially if they say they are not required to.

An alternative I was going to suggest would be a brute force approach - label, disconnect, and tape off every single wire in the box. That should be safe.

That might leave you with some sockets in the home disconnected from other sockets though (if they were tied together at the box). Otherwise, you'd really need a voltmeter to track down the source of 48V tip & ring. Then the source could be tied off, leaving the other connections. This might be pretty obvious by looking physically at which cable comes from the telco and which are coming from inside the home, but sometimes this old wiring can have surprises - someone may have jumped something from an unexpected place.

-ERD50
Actually if you look at the picture you will note that only the two terminals on the left have 2 wires, while the ones on the right have only one. The wires going there are red and green which are the colors used for single line phones. Once you have canceled the phone line and it no longer works, you could cut both the red and green wires. (Assuming you don't have DSL and your internet comes in some other way.)
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Old 10-05-2014, 05:04 AM   #24
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Wow just up with morning coffee, and you folks are blowing me away! Moving in to new (but old) house tomorrow, so lots of great ideas for me. Thanks!!

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Old 10-05-2014, 11:02 AM   #25
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Actually if you look at the picture you will note that only the two terminals on the left have 2 wires, while the ones on the right have only one. The wires going there are red and green which are the colors used for single line phones. Once you have canceled the phone line and it no longer works, you could cut both the red and green wires. (Assuming you don't have DSL and your internet comes in some other way.)
Yes, on closer inspection I think you are correct about that.

However, you just never know what someone might have done along the way, and I'm just a little squeamish suggesting that unless the OP (woops, not OP, but omni550 in post # 19) is going to verify it with a voltmeter. But I still give you 99.99% certainty you are correct.

For example, I had some problems with the phone wiring to an extension in our house. L1 had opened somewhere, but I found that L2 was still good, so at a junction closer to the box, I swapped L1 and L2. Works for me, but might confuse someone down the road.

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Old 10-05-2014, 11:31 AM   #26
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Yes, on closer inspection I think you are correct about that.

However, you just never know what someone might have done along the way, and I'm just a little squeamish suggesting that unless the OP (woops, not OP, but omni550 in post # 19) is going to verify it with a voltmeter. But I still give you 99.99% certainty you are correct.

For example, I had some problems with the phone wiring to an extension in our house. L1 had opened somewhere, but I found that L2 was still good, so at a junction closer to the box, I swapped L1 and L2. Works for me, but might confuse someone down the road.

-ERD50
If you have a spare phone cable with a jack on both ends, cut one jack off, strip the red and green wires off, and put alligator clips on them. Then you can make a regular phone a butt set. Clip red to red green to green and you do better than a voltmeter. A butt set is what the lineperson uses to test the lines to the house. If the line is still active see if you get a dial tone. Then you could disconnect wires at the terminals and see which set gets you a dial tone.
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Old 10-05-2014, 12:21 PM   #27
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If you have a spare phone cable with a jack on both ends, cut one jack off, strip the red and green wires off, and put alligator clips on them. Then you can make a regular phone a butt set. Clip red to red green to green and you do better than a voltmeter. A butt set is what the lineperson uses to test the lines to the house. If the line is still active see if you get a dial tone. Then you could disconnect wires at the terminals and see which set gets you a dial tone.
And then you also have the tools and expertise to snoop on your neighbors!

Seriously, that's a great way to do it. I've got one in my tool kit, I should have thought of that.

Related to all this, I recall years ago, my uncle said he bought a new (at the time) fancy phone, and it would not work on a certain jack in his house, but the old phone worked on that jack.

I checked with a voltmeter - tip & ring (red & green) were reversed. The old phones didn't care about polarity, but this newer one did. I swapped the wires and labelled it (easier than finding the source in an old building) - fixed.

-ERD50
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Old 10-06-2014, 07:56 AM   #28
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Thanks, everyone for the helpful information. You guys are amazingly knowledgeable.

As per gauss's suggestion (and in keeping with my limited knowledge of electrical 'stuff'), I will begin by calling AT&T and requesting a free installation of a NID.

I'll keep y'all posted.

omni
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Old 10-07-2014, 10:11 AM   #29
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Update: AT&T is coming out next week to install a new Network Interface Box, at no charge.

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Old 10-15-2014, 12:50 PM   #30
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The AT&T tech just left. I've now got the latest generation NID box installed on my house.

omni
Attached Images
File Type: jpg phone 1.jpg (53.0 KB, 2 views)
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Old 10-15-2014, 12:55 PM   #31
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After I get the Ooma stuff set up and am ready to disconnect from incoming AT&T service, I assume all I will need to do is to move the orange toggle (the one with the blue and white wires) from the lower position (connect) to the upper position (disconnect).

Here are interior views of the NID:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg phone 2.JPG (91.6 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg phone 3.jpg (32.7 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg phone 4.jpg (49.6 KB, 7 views)
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Old 10-17-2014, 06:48 AM   #32
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Nothing is ever easy!

Can the 4th orange plug with the wires in it be removed and inserted upside down? It looks like when upside down it might be disconnected.

You might have to be creative in routing the attached wire if you are not detaching it. If you can accomplish this then this might be a decent configuration that would allow you to reverse (ie restore to original configuration) it.

FWIW, Here is what appears to be a rather comprehensive document on converting over to VOIP. They address your new style "plugless" NID in general terms under the New advice for a new kind of Network Interface Unit heading.

They also have good advice about labeling the wires in the NID to warn any future telco employee against reconnecting the system (and thus possibly damaging your Ooma adapter).

-gauss
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