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I have a non-working phone jack that I'm trying to troubleshoot. My house has a lot of strange wiring, and many of the phone lines come together in a messy junction box with random color coding. I suspect one of the wires isn't hooked up correctly, but I'm having trouble tracing the wires. I've tried using the LAN Tracker GET-4220T, but I find the results to be very erratic (sometimes all the wires seem to be energized, moving the probe slightly can lose all signal). Even when I am able to get tone from the tracker at the jack, I still can't get dial tone. I've tried swapping out the phone jack itself, as well as the phone.

Is there a good process for tracing phone lines and verifying that they are wired correctly? Is there a better tool than the LAN Tracker that wouldn't break the bank?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Those tone generators are fantastic tools for tracing data cabling and phone cabling - but they also have several modes on them.

One of the modes is for tracing the cable through the wall, so the device will beep if it's in the general vicinity, so that you can know where abouts it is without having to have contact with it. However, this is not so great for verifying which cable is the one you've got it hooked onto when you've got a bundle of cables.

For that, there's usually a 2nd mode which will only beep if you come into direct contact with the wire.

The first point of call would be making sure that you've got the tracer set to the correct mode so that it will only beep if you're in direct contact with the wire.

If it's still beeping and in that mode, then you've got a short somewhere, which will be why the cabling isn't working. It might be worth pulling it out and replacing it if you're in a situation where that is possible (your ADSL Sync Speeds might go up drastically if you do that too).

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I don't believe my LAN Tracker has a "direct contact" mode. Is there a tone generator you recommend? Unfortunately there's no good way to replace all the phone cabling, as it's all secured to the studs as best I can tell. –  Rob Napier Jul 23 '10 at 0:18

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