Install the telephone jack is one of the basic wiring jobs homeowners can do. Home automation applications may include installing phone extensions in additional rooms or installing a second phone line in the house. Automation enthusiasts continually look for ways to make their homes more convenient and installing additional phones is one of the ways they do it.
A telephone plug is a type of connector used to connect a telephone set to the telephone wiring inside a building, establishing a connection to a telephone network. It is inserted into its counterpart, a telephone jack, commonly affixed to a wall or baseboard. The standard for telephone modular plug varies from country to country, though the RJ11 modular connector has become by far the most common.
Telephone cable typically comes in 4-strand wire, although 6-strand wire, and 8-strand wire are not uncommon. The various strand types are referred to as 2-pair, 3-pair, and 4-pair. A conventional 4-strand telephone cable normally has 4 colored wires that include red, green, black, and yellow.
Although most telephones use 4 contact connectors (or 6 contact), standard telephones only use two of the wires. Single-line telephones are designed to use the 2 center contacts in the phone connector. On a 4-contact connector the outside 2 contacts are not used and on a 6-contact connector, the outside 4 contacts are not used. This is important to know when wiring the telephone jack.
Whether you are installing a modular surface mount or flush mount jack, the wiring is the same. Remove the front cover and you will find the inside of the connector wired to 4 terminal screws. The wires should be red, green, black, and yellow. Connect your hot phone wires (hopefully red and green) to the terminals with the red and green wires.
Note that although red and green are commonly used for hot phone lines, older or improperly wired homes could have other colors in use. To ensure you’ve got the right wires, use a phone line tester to check that the wires are hot. Another easy way to check the wires is to hook them up to the terminals, plug a phone into the check, and listen for a dial tone.
Most homes are wired for two phone lines even if only one line is in use. It’s very common when ordering a second phone line for the phone company to activate the second line remotely without ever coming to your home. When they do this, they are turning on your second pair (the black and yellow wires).
Remember that the outside contacts in a single-line phone connector aren’t used. Two-line phones often make use of this outside contact pair so that no extra wiring is required (providing you have the black and yellow wires connected inside the jack).
If you plan on using a single-line telephone for your second line then a modified phone jack will need to be installed. Remove the front cover of the phone jack and connect your yellow and black wires to the red and green terminals. This will cross your second phone line to the center connector contacts so you can use a standard single-line phone. If you experience problems, use a phone line tester to ensure the new second-line is active.
Tips & Warnings
Tips: If you recently had a DSL line or Home Security System installed, check with your service provider to make sure you have the necessary filters on your phone lines to prevent phone line problems.
Warnings: Don’t work on your phone line during a storm because lightning can enter the phone line and cause physical harm. Do not work on your phone line around water or with wet hands. Turn off devices such as modems before unplugging them from your phone line to prevent damage.
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