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Identifying House Phone Wires NTL Underground Cable

Discussion in 'Electrics UK' started by GettingOnWithItAll, 3 Apr 2020.

  1. GettingOnWithItAll

    GettingOnWithItAll

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    In the morning I'll be helping an elderly neighbour trying to identify which of 4 wires from the telephone half of the broadband/telephone cable fitted years ago by NTL should connect to the 3 wires to the phone socket. The phone crackles and dialling out doesn't work. Calling the number gives no ringing tone, just taking me to straight to voicemail, which she doesn't have on her phone and I presume is her phone provider's.

    AFAIK the terminals on the phone socket should be:
    2: Blue with White bands, for speech (and ringing?) at ~38-48V DC.
    3: Orange with White bands, for ringing at ~75V AC.
    4: White With Orange bands, not used here but often connected for neatness.
    5: White with Blue bands, for speech (and ringing?) at ~38-48V DC.

    I had a quick look at the supply cable and the colours seem to be:
    Orange: connected to Blue with White bands (ie to terminal 2)
    Orange with White Stripe: connected to White with Blue bands (ie to terminal 5)
    Blue: unconnected
    White: unconnected

    It looks as if the ringing wires have become detached and I can't see which of those 2 supply wires should connect to the terminal 3 O/W wire.

    I won't have much time in the morning to pfaff around and my research has drawn a blank on which of those 2 supply wires I should use. Does anyone know which wire I should use and/or how I can test with a multimeter?
     
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  3. winston1

    winston1

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    Only two supply (incoming) wires should be connected to terminals 2 and 5 which is what you have. Three wires are used to connect extension sockets to the master using terminals 2, 3, and 5 if required. A four wire incoming cable is used so that 2 lines can be provided if required. It is possible someone has used the wrong wires I suppose.

    Going to voicemail would suggest a looped or shorted line somewhere. Assuming the phone isn't faulty (try a different one) I imagine the fault is outside so contact Virgin Media who took over NTL.

    You should not be touching the incoming cable up to and including the master socket anyway as that is the property of Virgin Media.
     
  4. GettingOnWithItAll

    GettingOnWithItAll

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    Thanks. The neighbour asked me to look at it as she's having trouble getting through to Virgin and has heard that there are long waits due to the lockdown. She's also worried that her kids may have damaged it and she may get billed. I'm primarily looking to soothe a neighbour at a difficult time and educate myself rather than fix anything. I'm wary of doing any repairs should they be needed, more because I don't want to make the situation worse than any concerns over the lines' being Virgin's property, and your warning will help me talk to the neighbour.
     
  5. GettingOnWithItAll

    GettingOnWithItAll

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    A quick update. I couldn't see anything obviously wrong with the cables. Measuring at the box and phone socket between those 2 terminals gives me ~37v DC, suggesting that her concern over her kids damaging the box a few weeks earlier were unfounded. A different phone gives the same symptoms, suggesting the problem is on the line.

    I used the line test on Virgin's website, which came out OK for faults in my area. I phoned Virgin Media, but they've closed all their call centres and all I could do was arrange an appointment for a technician to visit.

    The neighbour is happy. I get free coffees for life. Good deed for the day done. For the benefit of anyone who comes searching later, I'll update this when we know what the problem was.
     
  6. securespark

    securespark

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    I assume you tested the line where it came into the house with any extension wiring disconnected?

    If not, the extension wiring could be causing the fault.
     
  7. GettingOnWithItAll

    GettingOnWithItAll

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    Thanks. There was an ancient extension that I did disconnect at the main socket first.
     
  8. GettingOnWithItAll

    GettingOnWithItAll

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    Fixed. The supply cable had been damaged where it crossed a neighbour's garden and had been lazily dug just an inch or 2 down in a flower bed. The phone does indeed need just the 2 connections (thanks again, winston1).
     
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  9. securespark

    securespark

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    I had a customer who actually worked for Virgin Media. He had a driveway resurfaced and they severed the cable as it was only 2 inches under. Virgin Media charged him to replace the cable!
    Despite the fact it wasn't correctly laid to start with. Unbelievable...
     
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  11. AndyPRK

    AndyPRK

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    It's the normal depth this company fit them across your land.

    Given the tools they are provided to do it, it's understandable
     
  12. SUNRAY

    SUNRAY

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    In my experience you were lucky it was buried at all.
     
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  13. securespark

    securespark

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    At least then you could see it to avoid it, hopefully!!
     
  14. JBR

    JBR

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    A few years ago we had our mains electricity cable replaced as it entered the house, primarily because the old (? 1920s) cast-iron fuse box (the main fuses, not our domestic fuses) was in the under-floor space in a front room, and attached connectors were unsafe. I think I remember posting details on here at the time, but that's another matter.

    To connect a new internal cable to the existing cable under our tarmac drive, obviously, they had to dig down. I'm surprised they managed to avoid damaging our NYNEX cable which was exactly where they were digging.

    If they had, and Virgin had demanded payment for its repair, I wouldn't have bothered and, instead, would have gone for a BT line as Virgin are now becoming a bit too greedy for my liking.
     
  15. securespark

    securespark

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    Indeed they are, JB.
    I remember your story about the supply cable.
    Good to hear from you, hope you are well.
     
  16. SUNRAY

    SUNRAY

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    Just like sky then?
     
  17. JBR

    JBR

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    Very well, thank you. And good to hear from you again too.
    Incidentally, I was intrigued to watch the fitters attaching the new internal cable to the supply under my drive using one of those plastic covers they then fill with some sort of resin. Something I'd never seen before.
    I was also impressed how they did this while everything was still 'live' and with no protection like we have in a domestic situation - MCBs and RCDs.
     
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