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Connecting a telephone/fax to pc modem

by minskin / April 23, 2004 10:36 AM PDT

Hello all,

I'm Running: Win2k with a Data/Voice/Fax modem and IVM call management software.

I'm trying to set up a phone answering sytem on by pc for my business. After successfully setting up the call management software I came to attach my standard telephone directly to the modem phone socket but I get no dial tone or function at all. The telephone is new but inexpensive and very standard. I then tried an older fax machine I have and that works fine and I can receive and place telephone calls through the fax via the modem. The fax is old and although I have fax software that I use mostly, I use the old machine occasionally for copying and sending manual faxes. I want to replace the old fax machine with a new one and also use it as my main telephone so doing away with the standard telephone.
So, a very long description to a short question: Why does the telephone not work but the older fax does and if I am to buy a new fax machine what should I look out for to make sure it works through my modem?

Hope you can shed some light.....


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Re:Connecting a telephone/fax to pc modem
by frankzxcv / April 23, 2004 2:48 PM PDT

does this phone work when plugged into any other phone socket? --fj

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Re:Re:Connecting a telephone/fax to pc modem
by minskin / April 23, 2004 8:11 PM PDT

Hi frankzxcv,

yes, it's my main phone I use all the time and works perfectly well in the wall socket. I've also tried a different phone that otherwise works fine and the same thing happens. I originally tried all this with an older internal modem and because the phones wouldn't work I assumed it was time to get a new modem but it hasn't changed this problem.
Perhaps wrongly I assumed that most phones would work through a modem while the pc is on or off.
If it makes any difference, I'm in th UK.....


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Re:Re:Re:Connecting a telephone/fax to pc modem
by minskin / April 24, 2004 1:05 AM PDT

Could it be a power issue? The old fax machine has it's own independant power supply but the phones I've tried don't.


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Re:Connecting a telephone/fax to pc modem
by Cursorcowboy / April 24, 2004 1:17 AM PDT
I came to attach my standard telephone directly to the modem phone socket but I get no dial tone or function at all.

I've never seen this type problem in computer/modem operation in my 20-year computer operations and I would have to assume the modem jack/line jack itself is at fault. Any phone plugged into the phone line jack of a modem should operate simply because both connections are basically one unless something is broken. Otherwise your mentioning this phone answering system for a business, perhaps there is software options involved -- that has a bearing on the normal phone jack -- somewhere that must be in operation for standard operation -- just a guess.
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I think I need an adapter...........
by minskin / April 24, 2004 8:51 AM PDT

Hi Cursorcowboy,

thanks for the suggestion but I'm more than positive it's not the software. I tried connecting two different phones through my old modem and before the software was installed and got no dial tone then either. I also tried swapping the plugs in the modem as I have read that they are sometimes not labelled correctly. As the modem was a bit old and not very good, I assumed it was faulty and I was replacing it anyway but the problem persists with the new one.
I messed around with the cables today and something clicked. The standard cable from the phone to the wall is a 4 wire cable with an RJ-11 plug on one end that plugs into the phone and a BT (UK telphone supply) plug on the other to fit the BT wall socket. Of course I can't plug the BT plug into the modem so I had replaced it with a male to male RJ-11 cable. I tried using that cable from the phone directly to the wall socket via an adapter I use with the old fax machine and it doesn't work. I even went to the trouble of replacing the BT plug on the phone cable with an RJ-11 plug exactly replicating the wiring arrangement so there was an RJ-11 plug on each end and tried that in the BT wall socket (using the adapter) and it still doesn't work on the phone but works on the old fax machine. I put the original BT plug back on the cable and plugged it back into the BT wall socket and the phone worked again.
I've come to the conclusion that UK phones designed for the UK BT phone supply are wired differently.
I've found several BT to RJ-11 adapters (now I know I need one) for connecting BT telephone plugs to modems and routers. Looks like I'll have to try one.

Thanks, Minskin

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