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Our telephone jack in the kitchen is positioned for a wall mounted phone, and I want to move it to near the countertop where the home phone sits.

This is the wiring when I remove the cover. To me it's a lot of disconnected wires and the 5 connected that don't match any diagram I can find. (blue, red, green, blue/white and yellow)

Assuming the wire comes up to this jack and I can move the wire lower do I just copy the wiring here? Can I find a jack with 5 connections? I'm only familiar with 4 connections.

Thanks![enter image description here]1

EDIT: I can trace the wire in the basement back to this junction of all the telephone wires that just dangles above the breaker box. The wire in question is the gray on on the top of the bundle. Maybe it's time I clean this up and install some kind of central hub where they all meet? (our house is being rewired which is what brought moving the jack on, before I repaint the wall after patching it. It's also why there's no cover on the breaker box right now.)

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Key question is: How many phone lines do you have?

If you have one phone line then you only need 2 wires - one pair. This will normally be red & green on the jack and a colored pair of wires from the wall.

If you have two phone lines then you need 4 wires - two pairs. This will normally be red & green on the jack for one line, black & yellow on the jack for the second line and two colored pairs from the wall.

With normal phone service (POTS), you can have the wires in a pair reversed without a problem. However, you need to make sure the pairs themselves are not mixed up.

You can reuse the existing wall jack. But I highly recommend getting a new jack like Leviton 40249-W Standard Telephone Wall Jack, 6P4C, Screw Terminals, White. With a new jack that uses screw terminals you will not need any special tools to connect the wires - just strip the ends and screw in place. A wall jack will require either an electrical box or a box eliminator (a metal or plastic "frame" that is the same size height/width as a box but no depth - just cut a rectangle and stick it in) or use a Surface Mount Jack instead.

So all you really need to figure out is 1 line or 2 and which pairs of wires from the wall go to line 1 and (if you have 2 lines) line 2.

I am assuming your VOIP is some sort of magic box (e.g., Magicjack, Vonage, etc.) that lets you connect regular phones to a VOIP line. If that is not the case then none of this wiring makes sense. With one line (no matter how many phones) you only use 2 wires (red & green) of the standard 4-wire configuration. You just need to figure out (hard for me to tell from the picture) which pair of wires connects to the red & green on the inner part of the existing jack. That pair should be connected to red & green of a new jack, screw terminals recommended. (FYI, the existing jack needs a punch tool to do it right, which phone & network installers have but the average DIY does not).

Don't worry about the mess in the basement. If/when you fix it up, if you use the same cable to this location then you won't have to change anything on this end, just in the basement.

  • We have one phone line with several jacks, if that makes sense. (several bedrooms have jacks, I believe all are standard 4 wire configuration.) Right now we're using VOIP that I hooked up myself. With only one do I still need to figure out what each wire is fore? If so, how? – user20127 May 25 '18 at 20:25
  • Four-pair cables use different color pairs than the old two-pair cables. Where the two-pair cables had red-green as the first pair and yellow-black as the second, newer cables have blue, orange, green, brown as first, second, third, and fourth pairs (the tip sides have white tracers, or if both wires have tracers, the tip sides are more white). – BillDOe May 25 '18 at 21:42
  • @BillDOe You are 100% correct. From the picture of the jack, I can see that the incoming cable is a typical 568 style 4-pair cable. But given the mess I wouldn't guarantee which pair was connected to red/green of the jack. Which is why I say just trace it out before disconnect and then connect just that one pair to a new jack. – manassehkatz May 25 '18 at 21:49
  • OP here: I'm not sure how to trace it but will google that. I could probably run a new telephone wire from the jack to the mess of wires, but I'm not sure what to do with it there. Is there any more modern wiring I should consider replacing it with instead? – user20127 May 25 '18 at 22:05
  • You don't need to trace through the house. Just look carefully at the existing jack to figure out whether it is blue orange green or brown pair that connects to red and green of the jack. – manassehkatz May 25 '18 at 22:16
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OP here, I figured it out. I assumed the red and green were matched with the wires attached on the same row. I rewired the new one using those two wires to the same colored and it worked. Thanks for the advice, it certainly helped!

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    The normal way to say "Thanks for the advice" is to add a comment to the accepted answer and accept/+1 the answer, not add a new answer. – manassehkatz May 27 '18 at 2:14

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