answering machine connected but disabled

Gateway Atxstf
October 26, 2011 at 10:55:17
Specs: WinXP Pro SP3, 2.5Gb
I have arranged my landline phones in parallel with the answering machine so that the answering machine is ALWAYS on and so able to access phone calls. I have put a switch before the phones so I can prevent them from ringing when I do not want to be disturbed. Before I had broadband, this system worked well : I would either answer incoming calls myself, or if the phones were switched off, the answering machine would do it. Since subscribing to broadband, a filter has been added before the answering machines and phones. Now I find that the answering machine no longer takes calls if I have switched off the connection to (just) the phones. It makes no sense to me as the answering machine is NOT switched off, so should take the calls, but it doesn't (when the phones are switched off). I'd like enlightenment about this.


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October 27, 2011 at 02:01:56
Hi Sebastian, am based in London, UK.

Have just this week cracked a obscure similar problem, where some (for testing) phones on an extension would ring, but the original phone would not.

Eventually traced cause to:-

i) some phones/devices use only pins 2 and 5 for ringing *AND* speech.

ii) other phones/devices *ADDITIONALLY* require/use pin 3 for the ringing.

iii) pin 4 is not used, but generally connected

The phone socket on the broadband filter only had:-
pins 2 and 5 present
pins 3 and 4 were missing - crazy!

Changed to a filter with pins 2 - 5 (metered to confirm all connected) and everything worked.

Please advise back on progress.

Good Luck - Keep us posted.

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October 27, 2011 at 03:39:55
I have many filters I can try. Theoretically, because they are in PARALLEL, it should have no effect, but I'll be grateful for even an illogical solution.


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October 27, 2011 at 06:34:40
Hi Sebastian,

to be honest I do not follow your parallel connection part.

Also remember the importance of the added up REN's.

However if your answering machine is one of those devices that requires its ringing signal on pin 3 and this is not *NOW* there, surely it will never answer?

Googling :- telephone wiring uk

came up with:-

Which provided the clues asto what was causing my problem.

Good luck - Keep us posted.

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Related Solutions

October 27, 2011 at 06:50:50
I've done some preliminary testing - not yet exhaustively - It seems that the answering machine only works properly if TWO particular phones are also connected (NOT just one of them) - in this instance in series with answering machine. So it is VERY complex and your suggestion about PINS has much merit.
PARALLEL connection means that the phone and the answering machine are connected to the same point, as distinct from SERIES where (say) the answering machine is connected 'to the wall' and the phone to the answering machine.


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October 27, 2011 at 07:32:58
Hi Sebastian,

a) in case you are unaware:-

When I first installed broadband, was advised it best all telephone outlets (EVEN UNUSED ONES) have a filter installed.

b) p.s. I now follow the parallel connection part.

Under my desk is the master BT socket fitted with a broadband filter.
In the filter's telephone socket is a 4 way splitter feeding (in parallel):-

bell amplifier

c) referring above when the a/m works.
If the phone only requires pins 2 and 5 to operate
its onward series connection may provide the UK standard of pins 2, 3 and 5.

The BT master socket does same, as it has only 2 wires input.

Good Luck - Keep us posted.

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November 9, 2011 at 18:00:42
Turns out that one of the phones was faulty - worked in other ways, but prevented the answering machine from picking up when it should.


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