Phone works fine off the jack, TiVo doesn't?

Discussion in 'TiVo Help Center' started by gastrof, Mar 13, 2011.

  1. gastrof

    gastrof Hubcaps r in fashion

    Oct 31, 2003
    Potato and pen.


    This goes back a good ways. When I got my second Series 1, I intended it for the TV room, but it wouldn't work with the phone line in there, which was odd since the phone worked fine. (Think the TiVo said "no dial tone".)

    Repeated attempts and jiggling of wires did no good.

    The TiVo was moved to the living room "temporarily", where it did work with the phone line.

    It's been there ever since, with it and the original set for different IR codes.

    Any idea WHY there was a problem in the TV room?

    I ask now because....get ready for it...

    I may be getting a used Series 2 with LIFETIME. Thing is, unless I junk one of the Series 1s (which are both working fine, unsubbed), there's really no place for the S2 but in the TV room.

    You know...where TiVos apparently don't like the phone line?

    Could it be reversed polarity on the phone wires, or something else I can't think of?
  2. MrSkippy53

    MrSkippy53 New Member

    Jan 27, 2011
    Phone jack are wired for two lines. 4 contacts for two pairs of wire, each pair is one pair for each line. Most phones will work on a jack wired for line1 or line2. Maybe the TiVo only connects to line1.

    I would take the wall cover off the jack TiVo is working on and note how it is wired. The phone line wiring will have more than 2 pair. Find what pair connects to what. Ie blue white pair may connect to red/yellow on the wall jack... Make the non working jack match...

    The colors above are just a guess. Its been years since I wired a phone jack.

    Also if you have DSL Internet. Chaging wiring may mess with your DSL. all jacks used as phone when DSL is connected must have filters...
  3. scandia101

    scandia101 Just the facts ma'am

    Oct 20, 2007
    MN, greater...
    I'd change the dialing options to not check for a dial tone before dialing. Sometimes skipping this step allows for the Tivo to dial out and connect.

    Are you on dial-up internet? If you have broadband, why not use that option instead?
  4. telcoman

    telcoman Telcoman

    Dec 27, 2007
    Central NJ
    It could be reversed polarity but what type of cord are you using going from the jack to your telephone?
    Is it a single pair cord or a two pair cord?
    It is possible that the jack is wired to the yellow and black pins and so is the phone. The TIVO is looking for dial tone on the red and green pins. Take the jack apart and check which pair of the RJ11 jack has the dial tone.
  5. replaytv

    replaytv gun talk ignore list

    Feb 20, 2011
    Denver ish...


    It might be that there is just enough corrosion on the contacts or somewhere else that U aren't getting a good enough connection for Tivo.
    Torque down the screws on that jack that is not working, and if that doesn't work look in the jack and see if it looks corroded.
    There are phone jack testers that are available at Home Depot or other type of stores. They are pretty cheap and U just plug them in and they tell you if they are wired correctly.
    U could go out to the box outside and torque down the connections too, or take them off and use a little emery cloth to clean them up. Be aware that there is 48 volts on the line when idle and 90 volts when a call is coming in.
  6. steve614

    steve614 what ru lookin at?

    May 1, 2006
    Dallas, TX
    What's puzzling me is that a phone works when plugged into that jack.
    If the wires were reversed or miswired, I don't think the phone would work either.
    The last time I messed with a phone jack, there were four wires. IIRC, one pair carried the base power and communications and the other pair was the ringer circuit (If you didn't want your phone to ring, you could disconnect those two wires from the jack and still be able to use the phone).

    My guess would have to be a faulty cable or dirty contacts.
  7. shwru980r

    shwru980r Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2008
    Swap telephone jacks between the room that works and the room that doesn't work to see if the phone jack is the cause of the issue.
  8. SNJpage1

    SNJpage1 Well-Known Member TCF Club

    May 25, 2006
    What happens when you take the phone from the jack you are having problems with and plug that into a jack in a different room, does it still work? If so then the jack is wired OK. A reverse in the wiring might be a problem but I would think that Tivo could over come that type of a problem. One other thing are you using the same phone cord to connect the Tivo as when you connect the phone or do they have their own cords? If so you might try swaping cords.
  9. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    Almost everywhere the first phone line is on the red and green wire and the yellow and black are there in case you have a second telephone or telephone line with its own number.

    Everything the telephone does, it does on those two wires.

    The nominal -48V DC is on those two wires, although which color is which polarity is one of those standards that's not always observed. The company that used to be Carolina Telephone and Telegraph seems to do it backward from the AT&T standard.

    The higher voltage AC or varying DC ringing voltage is also superimposed on that 2 wire line, as is the audio frequency AC which is the actual phone call (people talking to each other).
  10. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    Series 1 internal modems are famous for being not very good and needing a lot of work to get working in some situations.

    As has been mentioned elsewhere, you can try setting it to not check for Phone Availability and/or Dial Tone before dialing out.

    Or you could go the serial cable and external modem route. The crappiest external modem you could get is likely to be better than the S1 internal modem (unless there's such a thing as an external WinModem, which wouldn't work with anything except a computer running Windows).

    S1 internal modems are also quite prone to being killed by voltage spikes on the phone line. Any phone cord attached to a TiVo should have a knot tied at each end to introduce inductance to the circuit whose inductive reactance (sort of like resistance) will be negligible at audio frequencies, but high at the extremely high frequency equivalent of the steep rise and fall times of a spike.

    What you should do with that S2 is get a wireless adapter and let it use your house network to access the Internet for its calls to the mothership.

    This will also let you use TiVo Desktop to backup shows to a computer's hard drive, where they'll be easier to recover than on a TiVo hard drive.

    If the S2 has an ethernet jack, consider running some Cat5 to it instead of going wireless.

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