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weird old phone wiring to modern
Posted by: Fritz
Date: January 02, 2013 08:09PM
I'm replacing an old phone wall plate that disintegrated.
The new one is a Leviton with modern color code, bk, red, grn, org.
The old wire in the wall is a gray jacketed flat 4 wire.
Any one have an idea how to wire the source (left to right) to the modern code?



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[garyrichard.net]
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Re: weird old phone wiring to modern
Posted by: rgG
Date: January 02, 2013 08:29PM
This should help. The link has pics, too.

[www.wire-your-phones.com]



In most residential phone wiring, the cable contains four individual wires. Most phone wire installed in the U.S. during the second half of the 20th century is of the following kind:

Four-strand wire:


The kind of wire shown above has recently become obsolete. For all new telephone wiring projects, you should use Cat 5 cable. All of the Cat 5 wire I've seen uses the following color coding:



In either case, the important point is this: one phone line only requires two of these strands. In the vast majority of cases, the other two wires go unused-- but if you choose, you can certainly use them for a second line (i.e., a totally separate line with its own phone number, which the local phone company will connect to a second terminal in your network interface device). This means that if you are installing a second line for a fax, modem, etc., you usually don't have to actually physically run new wires; you can connect the extra two wires to the second phone line at the network interface device. Assuming that everything is wired properly thruout your house (i.e., nobody has cut corners by not bothering to connect the extra two wires somewhere along the way), this will give you "Line 2" service thruout the house.

If you're going to buy a two-line phone, there's nothing more you need to do, since a two-line phone expects "Line 2" to run on the yellow/black wires. For ordinary phone equipment such a modem, however, you have to convert a "Line 1" jack to a "Line 2" jack. One way you can do this is with a plug-in adapter, but the method described here involves swapping around a few wires in the jack.






Alpharetta, GA (Atlanta suburb)
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Re: weird old phone wiring to modern
Posted by: ArtP
Date: January 02, 2013 09:28PM
Didn't one of those wires carry enough electricity to make that old Bell Phone ring loudly and to light up the dial on the old slimline Phone...



which wire carries the power/juice?
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Re: weird old phone wiring to modern
Posted by: Fritz
Date: January 02, 2013 09:50PM
unfortunately without a color code, I'm just guessing.
Guess I'll try a short and continuity meter



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[garyrichard.net]
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Re: weird old phone wiring to modern
Posted by: deckeda
Date: January 02, 2013 09:55PM
n/a



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/02/2013 09:56PM by deckeda.
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Re: weird old phone wiring to modern
Posted by: Fritz
Date: January 02, 2013 10:09PM
nope.
it seems like the wires are now bad.
I tied all four together and checked for continuity where it previously existed and there isn't any to the pair on the other end
Dunno how wire goes bad on low voltage stuff.



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Re: weird old phone wiring to modern
Posted by: mikebw
Date: January 02, 2013 10:10PM
You say it's flat- then use the center pair for line 1 and the outer pair for line 2.
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Re: weird old phone wiring to modern
Posted by: Fritz
Date: January 02, 2013 10:11PM
Quote
mikebw
You say it's flat- then use the center pair for line 1 and the outer pair for line 2.

think I tried that, but I'll go again.



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Re: weird old phone wiring to modern
Posted by: tenders
Date: January 02, 2013 10:18PM
Remember: the Halloween pair of wires (black/yellow) is one set, the Christmas pair (green/red) is the other set. Usually, Christmas is the primary pair.

The rest is really trial and error. Probably the easiest thing in a house to wire. I don't think polarity even matters.
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Re: weird old phone wiring to modern
Posted by: GGD
Date: January 02, 2013 10:18PM
Assuming that you have just a single phone line, then only two of the wires will matter, and they would go to the Red and Green terminals on the new phone jack.

Can you tell how the wires were connected to the old jack? Or can you find the other end of the wire where it hooks up to the demarcation box to see which two are being used?

With modern phones, even if the red/green wires are reversed you should still get a dial-tone and usually can dial, so you could try all permutations, there aren't that many.

1-2
1-3
1-4
2-3
2-4
3-4
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Re: weird old phone wiring to modern
Posted by: Fritz
Date: January 02, 2013 10:22PM
polarity doesn't matter.
easy to wire. I've done many.
But no color code and no idea if whoever wired it originally (though I'd think a Bell lineman from the age of the old pre-wired plate) did it right.
In any case inside pair, outside pair, first pair, 2nd pair, no joy.
Perhaps it's just too old.



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Re: weird old phone wiring to modern
Posted by: Fritz
Date: January 02, 2013 10:24PM
the old jack was a pre-wired Bell Systems. So I'd guess 1, 2, 3, 4 should have been blk, red, grn ,yel.
But as I said above....
no joy.
Gonna have to pull up or down with new wire attached and hope it ain't anchored to the studs.



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[garyrichard.net]
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Re: weird old phone wiring to modern
Posted by: GGD
Date: January 02, 2013 10:51PM
Quote
Fritz
the old jack was a pre-wired Bell Systems. So I'd guess 1, 2, 3, 4 should have been blk, red, grn ,yel.
But as I said above....
no joy.
Gonna have to pull up or down with new wire attached and hope it ain't anchored to the studs.

Are the other phones still working? After you shorted all four wires together, if it was "live", the phone company equipment may have temporarily disconnected your line due to detecting a short. I've seen that happen, usually correcting the problem and waiting a while restores phone service.

How does the phone connect to this wall jack? I recall three types of Bell System wall connectors over the years, the newest was the modern RJ-11 that's standard today, before that was a large 4-Prong plug, and before that was a square 4-wire junction box with the phone hardwired to it.

Most of the old gray jacketed Bell System wire that I've seen, had four relatively thick copper wires inside each individually insulated with R/G/Y/B colors. The newer cables were more like modern networking cables, with three thin twisted pairs, Blue, Orange and Green.

Just trying to guess the age of what you have.
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Re: weird old phone wiring to modern
Posted by: JoeH
Date: January 03, 2013 12:10AM
Just how long ago do you think the house had the phone line installed? I know I have run into phone lines in older houses that had no color code, forget what the individual wires were marked with now.

I do know that about 30+ years ago I had to put in for a service call when I moved into room in an older house. That was during the transition period of getting your phone at a phone store and being given a kit to convert an older direct wired box to RJ-11 instead of an installer coming out, but the phone still belonged to the phone company. No color coding at all to be seen on the wires or the box. Directions mentioned the connections being numbered, as I recall the variation of the connection block I ran into didn't have that either. Last time a phone had been installed there had been in the '60's.
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Re: weird old phone wiring to modern
Posted by: deckeda
Date: January 03, 2013 02:07AM
*cough*voip*cough*
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Re: weird old phone wiring to modern
Posted by: mrlynn
Date: January 03, 2013 06:37AM
I don't think Fritz was clear whether the wires in the flat cable were color-coded.

I vaguely remember that in the real old days you needed all four wires for one phone. I think the yellow was to power the ringer bell, and the black was. . . a ground?

That's when the cables were nice, stiff copper, not the thin twisted stuff you get now. I don't know why the link that rgG posted says to use Cat5. Plain old 4-wire is plenty for two phone lines, if you have standard phones. For system phones, that's a different story.

Best bet is to track down where the cable goes after the interface outside. I had a phone line go dead. Turned out that a junction upstairs was bad, so I bypassed it.

/Mr Lynn



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Re: weird old phone wiring to modern
Posted by: billb
Date: January 03, 2013 06:51AM
[en.wikipedia.org]


The phone line coming into the house used to be a 2 conductor zip cord.







Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/03/2013 06:53AM by billb.
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Re: weird old phone wiring to modern
Posted by: Fritz
Date: January 03, 2013 07:11AM
the flat wire that was pre-wired to the plate is the problem as there is no color code on it.
the Bell Systems plate I took out is from the birth of RJ. It is very thin, perhaps #26, stranded wire. Not like anything I ever saw from the era.

No other phone on the circuit.

The wires for this line actually connected to the Ooma (cough, cough) service for the 2nd line of the house.
It was working and it died after a storm, though I don't think the storm was the actual trigger, but who knows.

Tracing the wire has been doggish so far. When FiOS re-wired the house a few years ago, they re-crimped the existing and added one long home run to where Ooma now plugs in. Could be varmints.

When I looked at the crimp last night, I thought I saw 3 wires, but there should be 4. Incoming from the NIB outside and 3 extensions.

This will end up being a vote for a new cordless rig for the SO with 2 "extensions" as she won't go for opening a wall.



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