Saturday, May 17, 2014

Basic Telephone Training

Training this week was basic telephone. The antique phone below wasn't a part of our training but it was in the classroom. It was just a fun visual to show how many aspects of current telephone services and wiring come from the "good old days" of simple rotary analog phones.

One old term we used was tip and ring to describe the twisted pair wire connections. The term comes from those human telephone operators and the line connectors they used to patch calls. The plug connected on a metal tip and ring so the wiring had to match it. I only knew about seeing that plug from reruns of Laugh In or Green Acres. I watched this stuff when I was a little kid before cable TV.

Laugh In

Green Acres

Aspects of past telephone technologies in current use made me think of my late grandfather. He started out climbing poles with Indiana Bell and ended up working with all aspects of phone systems and wiring. My mom told me that even after he moved into management he was sought after for troubleshooting because he was one of the best at figuring it out when things went wrong. It was really cool for me to learn some of the skills of my grandfather this week.

One skill I learned was punching down cables... which was even more fun since I'm color deficient. I figured out the best way for me to do that was to put different colors next to each other. I can figure out what must be green, orange, red, or whatever by using the contrast between colors that look similar to me. I just can't look at a wire by itself and tell you what color it is. The picture below is what I had to sort. Each wire has a primary color and secondary stripe color to identify it.

That's my 25 pair cable in a bix block. I had a little help sorting out a few of the wires into 5 pair sets but I put everything in the right order on my own after the sorting. Yes, that sentence makes me sound like a child (I did it myself!) but this comes from the person that failed Kindergarten color recognition by insisting purple was dark blue and not a real color.

We used a punch down tool to connect them to the block and cut excess line in one step. This 25 pair bulk cable can be cross connected to the phone system or phone sets depending on the purpose of the cable. Here's mine all punched down before flipping it over so cross connect wires can be punched on the other side.

Finally, here's Kraftwerk singing about a telephone call just because I like Kraftwerk. :-)

Kraftwerk - The Telephone Call (1987)

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