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I am removing wall paneling and this is in the corner of the room and wondering if it is safe to remove

  • 11
    Ahhh...the olden days before “wireless”. – Lee Sam Dec 8 '18 at 23:05
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    Can you measure 48V DC across any pair of those wires? – ThreePhaseEel Dec 8 '18 at 23:16
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    This question made me feel so old in such a short amount of time. – Todd Wilcox Dec 9 '18 at 4:20
  • New contributor, I know. It just seems to smell of trolling. Like asking what a newspaper is. POTS. It's still out there. – mckenzm Dec 9 '18 at 22:55

This is a telephone jack. If you measure 48v DC or so between wires then it is live, even if you don't currently have phone service. Ideally - live or not - you should try and find the other end of the wires and disconnect it if you aren't going to use it. That could be another jack elsewhere in the building or a patch panel or terminal block - typically on a wall in the basement or on an outside wall.

It is generally safe to remove this (i.e., cut off what you can see and cover it up) if it is not live, but that could confuse someone later on who finds the other end and is trying to install phones and can't figure out where a cable ends.

It is not safe to remove this if it is live (e.g., 48v DC) because (a) if the wires short it will affect any equipment that is connected to the same phone line and (b) even low voltage/low current could potentially be a fire hazard. That is extremely low risk if outside the wall, even if not quite connected correctly (as is the case currently) but hidden inside a wall that would not be a good thing. The risk is low - if you really want to disconnect it and you can't find the other end, taping (electrical tape) the end of the cable to protect it is advisable.

  • It looks like a junction block as it is not obviously a socket and there are "posts". – mckenzm Dec 9 '18 at 22:58
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    @mckenzm It is most definitely a jack. On the part that is NOT on the wall, to the left there are all 4 (red/green/yellow/black) wires going into the back of what is (except you can't see it from this angle) a standard phone jack. This was a very common configuration years ago. Most newer jacks (all the ones I could quickly find) have the 4 screw terminals and the actual jack as one piece with the cover (that in this one contains the actual jack) being just a piece of plastic. – manassehkatz-Moving 2 Codidact Dec 9 '18 at 23:09
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    I see it, RJ12-ish molding where the wires are going, apologies. – mckenzm Dec 9 '18 at 23:10
  • No problem. I've been dealing with these jacks for a long time. – manassehkatz-Moving 2 Codidact Dec 9 '18 at 23:16

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