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  • how many phones

    Originally posted 6-15-2012 8:19 AM

    How many phones can I connect to my phone line? I want to put phones a several bedrooms, the garage, the basement, etc. It would be about seven phones total. Some of the phones are the old type with an actual bell.
    Last edited by Mr T; 04-08-2019, 06:07 PM.

  • #2
    Originally posted 6-15-2012 8:48 PM

    This is US knowlege. I think Canada's phones are the same as US's so this should work for you.

    Phones are listed with a Ringer Equivalent Number (REN). It is how much load that phone puts on the phone line. If it is over loaded there is not enough current available to power the old mechanical ringers. In a worst case senerio, all your phones may not operate due to over current. The phone company will tell you max total REN's you can have. I think it used to be about 5. Old rotary and mechanical ringer phones had a REN of 1. Most modern phones have a REN of .1 or .2. This goes for anything plugged in to your phone line including answering machines and modems. More or less with modern phone systems and modern phones, you wont have a problem. Since mechanical ringers arent made and mostly not used anymore, I do not know if they reduced the current (and maybe the ring voltage) on the phone lines.

    If you do have several ringer/bell phones, first make sure they will work with just 2 wire hookup. (old old phones needed 3 or 4 wires to operate). You may be able to get a conversion kit for this. Search for "connecting a 4 wire phone" I think without the extra 2 wires the phone will work but not ring (I miss that old ringer sound) If the sum of all your REN's goes over 3, I would check with the phone company. If you call and get someone who hasnt worked there long they may not even know what you are talking about.

    Please update this thread after you finish this project. There are alot of 'old phone' threads on the other board.


    • #3
      Originally posted 6-15-2012 8:48 PM

      There is only two wires coming into my house. Why would my phone need four wires? I have always only used two wires.

      So far all the phones are ringing. Here is a picture of the oldest one.

      Click image for larger version

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      • #4
        Originally posted 6-18-2012 6:54 PM

        Glad it works.

        I am not sure what yellow and black did and your phone may be new enough that you dont need them. At one time phones needed them, probably long before we were all born. (not counting Suemarkp)

        The last house I had was built in the 50's and it had the 4 pin round plugs and each jack had a small 9v plug in transformer hanging off them. I forget what wires they went to.


        • #5
          Originally posted 11-15-2012 10:47 PM

          The four wire telephone system was for the old "duplex" system where they had a pair of wire for "transmission" and a pair for "reception".
          Four wire systems are still used today, but not in the same sense. Now they are used for splitting dedicated lines or they parallel them up to get more distance out of the line.


          John Kuehnl-Cadwell
          John Kuehnl-Cadwell
          Master Electrician
          Datawise Solutions Inc