Alarm Question


I was helping someone the other day install their new DSL. They have lived in the new house for over 5 years. The house came pre-wired with an alarm, but they didn't want it so they just let it sit, never turned it on or activated it. They got the DSL and I couldn't get it to operate correctly, the DSL light kept blinking, when it should be solid. We called the utilities company, ruled out that the water meter was NOT hooked to the phone line. They don't have a 900mhz phone. They have one line into the house. We have DSL filters on all the phones, we triple checked to make sure that this wasn't the problem. We moved the modem to a different plug to see if the plug was bad, nothing. DSL still won't work.

So I presumed that it was the alarm system. Going in under the knowledge that there were no warranties to violate as they had never activated it and did not plan on activating it or using it, and that I couldn't mess anything up since it was off, I went in and opened the "control box" in the bedroom closet. I saw a small strip circuit board against the right side of the box with about 30 screws to put wires into, most of which already had wires connected to them. The only other thing that appeared to be in the box was a battery. I read the schematic and found that the first four wires at the top, something like black, green, yellow, white (don't hold me to it though, could be wrong on the colors, this was several weeks back), so the top four wires were "telcom", which I presumed to mean the telephone, although this was the first time I had ever even been in an alarm box, so who knows. I also saw printed on the circuit board telcom so I felt fairly confident in undoing these wires. So I unscrewed them from the screws connecting them to the circuit board, so all four were removed. I made sure not to short them, just put wire nuts on the end of each. SO, at this point I would presume it would work as the telcom wires were off the alarm system. I went back and checked, unplugged the power to the modem several times, nothing, the light still kept on blinking.

Is there some trick like connecting the telcom wires to each other or something? Does telcom refer to something altogether different, and there are different wires I have to disconnect? Are there any modifications I can make to the alarm box to get the DSL to work?

Thanks a TON, Jkeagle13 (AT) aol (DOT) com

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The first thing to do is to take the modem outside to the "NID" and connect it there. Unless it is a very old house it should have a gray box where the phone line comes in. At that point you can open the box and you will find a familiar latching module connector, just like the wall plugs and jacks inside the house. If you unplug the jack, the whole house will be disconnected. Use a short telephone cable with modular plugs to connect the modem to the socket in the box and power up the modem. The DSL side of the modem should be able to make connection and sync, which means the light should stop blinking in a minute or two. If that does not happen then there is nothing you can do inside the house. You will need to get help from the telephone company to diagnose and fix the problem.

Well, with a very small number of high end modems you might find an 8 conductor jack on the back of the modem, similar to an ethernet connection, but for the phone line. Some of those modems use a special cable that swaps pins, perhaps it swaps pairs 1 and 2. Efficient business-class modem/routers can be like this. If so, you might need to do something different. 99% of the modems out there would not do this, I only mention it for completeness.

If the modem syncs when you connect it directly to the NID, then I suggest using a DSL splitter. You can get an outdoor model that looks a lot like the typical NID. It separates the DSL signal from the voice signal. The house wiring connects to the voice side and you get to run a dedicated wire from the splitter to the DSL modem. You also get to throw out all the splitters. Seicor and Corning and Allen Tel are brand names that you will find on splitters. CAT5 is an excellent cable to use for a new run to the DSL modem. Overkill in terms of performance, but inexpensive.

Good luck.

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