How to troubleshoot phone with no dial tone

I had an ADT installer come to my house and switch my house over to cellular notifications (their Cell Guard product) instead of my AT&T landline. Five days later and now I notice my landline has no dial tone (it’s becoming obvious I don’t need this phone). I’m almost positive he was responsible for this because the last message on our answering machine was on Tuesday, he came by on Wednesday, and he worked on the same panel where the landline comes into the house.

Here’s what I know - I’ve tried three different phones in two different wall jacks and neither get a dial tone. I try to call my home number and there is no answer. I went outside to the Telephone Network Interface box where the phone line comes into the house and I hear a dial tone so I know phone service is getting into the house and to the panel.

On the patchboard (OnQ device) in the panel there’s a jack called Security RJ31X where a wire from the ADT box is plugged in (I’m assuming this is obsolete now since I have the cellular notifications). If I plug in a phone to the RJ31X I hear a dial tone.

So I know this patchboard is receiving a dial tone but it’s not being sent to the wall jacks throughout the house. I see individual wires going out from the patchboard to each wall jack and there’s nothing obviously wrong from what I can see.

I’m going to call AT&T and ADT tomorrow but is there anything else I should be looking for here in the meantime?

Wait so you call the phone and it rings on the device you’re calling from? Does it go to voicemail? Does the phone work in a known working port?

What was the purpose of the engineers visit

(Network Engineer)

If I call my home phone there’s no answer, it just rings. I don’t have AT&T Call Notes so there’s no answer.

I’m able to make and receive calls on my home phone number from the RJ31X jack in the panel. None of the landline wall jacks have dial tone now.

The ADT installer switched my service from landline to cellular notifications. He installed a new box next to the panel for this so I assume having the ADT equipment still plugged in to the RJ31X is a mistake unless that’s something for redundancy (try landline first then use cellular).

I’d love to me of more help but this is literally a provider issue, I’d get in contact with them.

Sounds llike he or she has done a bodge job.

Yes I think ADT broke something but there’s not much to troubleshoot. Maybe the phone patchboard in the panel just happened to go bad the day ADT was here.

call ADT and tell them that your home phone jacks are no longer active after their visit.

they broke it, they should fix it.

It’s not really ringing. The phone company puts that on the line back to you to let you know that, in theory, the connection’s been made. It doesn’t mean much.

And call notes is at the central office, not at your house.

The problem is almost definitely in the RJ31X. This junction box is designed to let an alarm system take control of a phone line by disconnecting the house telephone wiring from the service drop.

It has an internal shorting bar that is supposed to reconnect things if the modular cable is unplugged. But it may have become stuck over the years. This page has a diagram of how the jack is wired.

In a perfect world, you could call the alarm company and say “you broke it, you fix it” and that would be done promptly, courteously, and for free. You may not be able to get all (or any) of those three in reality. Hence the link showing you how to fix it yourself if needed.

So it could be the ADT box is taking control of the phone line via the RJ31X and disconnecting the ADT wire from the RJ31X should release the control but the RJ31X could be stuck and not releasing control. Thanks for the diagram and explanation. I’m calling ADT first thing in the morning.

Apparently after any service call I need to regression test everything before I let them leave.

I took one last look for the night and there’s nothing more for me to do - we don’t have dial tone with or without the ADT wire plugged into the RJ31X.

The ADT dude also broke the latch on the ADT control panel so it doesn’t always stay closed. I called him out on that one but he pretended like it was always like that. They are going to replace it. He’s a clumsy installer for sure.

The ADT repair guy came today and fixed the problem in five minutes. There’s a wire that runs from the security panel up to the telephone patchboard found in the main panel and is used to enable/disable the dial tone in the phone system. The first ADT guy either forgot to reconnect this wire or thought the wire was no longer needed.