Electricity: Older Phone Systems

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Replacing a Phone Jack

When your phone quits working or static develops on the line, your phone jack may need to be checked and replaced. Be careful and don’t let the bare low-voltage phone wires touch each other.

Checking. Remove screws and jack faceplate. Check wires for corrosion or nicks. Note color coding of wires, loosen screw terminals and disconnect old jack. Don’t let the existing cable slip back into the wall.

Replacing. Match the color of the old cable wires to the wires on back of the new jack. Pinch each wire against back of new jack with your thumb. With needle-nose pliers, wrap each wire clockwise around the terminal screw.


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Connecting New Phone to Old Jack

Modular connections make phone installations a snap. If your phone wiring is pre-1974, you can convert it to a modular system. Adapters are available to convert old jacks to modular ones, switch old phones to fit modular jacks, turn one line into two to five lines and extend the length of a line without splicing it. To connect a new phone to an old jack, convert the jack. At the terminals, cut the wires to the old phone. Leave house cable wires alone. Attach the modular jack's spade clips or caps to the terminals.

Adding Extensions

Determine the best route for running cable to the new phone location. Fish wiring behind walls and along floor joists, hide it in surface wiring channels or behind baseboards, staple it to the baseboard with insulated staples or rout a groove on the inside of the baseboard. To add two or three extensions, install a wire junction box at the connecting block where telephone wiring comes into the house or at a jack for an existing line. To connect wires, follow manufacturer’s instructions. To add as many as five extensions, install another wire junction box.


Last modified: Saturday, 2007-11-03 1:23 PST