Well, I talked about the MPI, so now that we’ve had an HPI too, I thought it was only faiir to mention that.

We’ve had a problem with our home phone for some time. It’s fine for making outgoing calls, but there’s been a teensy bit of a problem with incoming calls. At some point between the first and the sixth ring — and usually on the first ring — the phone would answer itself. Or rather, it would seem to.

Those attempting to phone us would find that the line had stopped ringing and they were listening to soft static. It sounded as though the phone had been picked up, and then just left.

This was — to use the technical term — a bit of a bugger, as one of the useful things about having a home telephone is so people can call you on it, and unless you’re sat right beside the phone, you’re never going to catch it on the first ring.

So I phoned BT, and explained the problem. They talked me through various things for me to try — plugging a different phone in, for example.

Hah! The only reason we’d decided it was a problem with the phone line was that we’d previously assumed it was the telephone we had, so we’d bought a new one and had exactly the same problem with that. It was at this point that we contemplated the possibility that we hadn’t actually needed to spend money on a new phone … bah!

So, phoning BT. I phoned them up, and explained the problem. The first person said they would need to test the line, so they would phone me back, and took my mobile number. The house phone didn’t ring. My mobile didn’t ring. Later that afternoon, I phoned again, explained that I had already phoned, that someone should have called me back, but hadn’t. She took my mobile number, said she’d need to test the line, and would phone me back. Meanwhile, could I test the socket point directly by unscrewing the cover plate and plugging a phone directly into the socket there?

This time, I only waited half an hour before calling again. I explained the situation to the man who had answered the phone, he apologised for the other two not calling me back, took my mobile number, said he needed to check the line, and he’d call me back. I wasn’t so confident.

Three seconds later, my mobile phone rang. I answered it, and he said “Oh, I’ve dialled the wrong number — this is your mobile, isn’t it?”. He hung up.

The house phone chirped once, and a few seconds later, my mobile rang again. “Sorry, Mr Pickard, I should have said — can you let your house phone ring, instead of answering it straight away..?”

“I didn’t answer it … that’s the problem!”

I explained to him that I’d already tried the sockety thing, and he talked me few a couple more questions before deciding that it warranted an engineer being sent out.

So today the engineer turned up. Using the computer helpdesk approach to the problem, he proceeded to test exactly the same things I had tested, checking the socket with his equipment (when checking for a fault, never assume that the user has given you the correct information!) before accepting that there did seem to be some sort of fault on the line.

He suggests that it may be what they call a ‘rectified circuit’, where the line for some reason isn’t strong enough to carry a ringing current, and the call is dropped, but as soon as the call is dropped, the line is fine again. However, this would have been expected to have been uncovered in there remote line testing.

So now the attention moves to the outside of the house: the point where the line arrives at the house. At this point, the circuit works: connecting the ‘testing phone’ to it, it rings properly. The problem is therefore somewhere between the external connection point, and the internal socket…

There’s two lines going into our house from the external point — they originally used to be two separate telephone lines, but when we had broadband installed, they removed one of these, but left both lots of cabling, so our line was split into two, and so effectively we have two ‘main sockets’.

The engineer said he thought he could hear ‘router noises’, so could I disconnect any routers/ hubs and we’d try again.

I did, still no effect (although obviously the ‘router noise’ stopped).

Now we look at the lines individually. Line A, the one we use for our main phone extension, seems fine when isolated from the other line. Line B — the one I use mostly just for powering our broadband, shows a short circuit when tested in isolation.

Engineer asks “I thought you said you disconnected everything from it?”

ASDL Splitter Box (flickr)

I nod, saying that there’s no devices on it at all — only the ASDL splitter. Engineer says that it’s hardly likely to be that, as he’s never known one of them to go wrong, but in the interests of testing properly, can I take that out to prove the problem is with the set of cabling B.

Remove ASDL splitter. Engineer announces short circuit has gone. Try plugging splitter into line A. Line A then develops a rectified circuit fault. Line B now fine. Hmm. It appears that the fault is indeed in this case with the bit that “doesn’t go wrong”. Fortunately, it’s only around £10 for a new one.

Nice, helpful engineer. Knew what he was doing; knew how to diagnose the fault; helpful, polite, articulate, friendly. Only slight drawback was he forgot to screw the cover plate back on to the external connector thing, but I managed to do that later, on the basis that it was starting to rain, and thought it advisable to get the cover plate back on before it started raining on the wires…

And now people can actually phone our home again. Hurrah!

Leave your comments

Enter Your Details:

You may use the following markup in your comments:

<a href=""></a> <strong></strong> <em></em> <blockquote></blockquote>

Enter Your Comments:

|Top | Content|

  • Worn With Pride

    • Titan Internet Hosting
    • SeaBeast Theme Demo
    • Technorati
    • Guild of Accessible Web Designers
    • my Facebook profile

Blog Meta

|Top | FarBar|

Attention: This is the end of the usable page!
The images below are preloaded standbys only.
This is helpful to those with slower Internet connections.