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Physical bell ringer no longer working following fibre installation

Veri
Dabbler
Posts: 12
Registered: ‎09-03-2015

Physical bell ringer no longer working following fibre installation

Hello,
We've just had fibre Internet installed with Plusnet home phone and our old physical bell doesn't work since engineer visit. I'm no telecoms expert so I'll give my summary in hope someone can please advise :).
BACKGROUND
We didn't have an NTE5 box - house was wired up in early '80s or thereabouts, but some work was done just outside the building a couple of years ago after some damage to the street pole (could this have been fitting an external NTE?). There is a little hardwired box just inside the bedroom and extensions coming off it: one in bedroom, two downstairs, and a hardwired physical bell ringer in the kitchen. I am not sure where the requisite bell wire capacitor/resistor/surge arrestor were before today - there are no components in that little box afaict - so my guess is outside?
WHAT THE ENGINEER DID
Anyway, the engineer changed the bedroom extension (near enough to where we wanted the VDSL modem) into a master socket, fiddling with that hardwired box to give signal route for downstairs extensions: pair from outside --> hardwired box -- [via first of the bedroom extension's twisted pairs] --> new master socket --> -- [hardwiring via second of the bedroom extension's twisted pairs] --> back to hardwired box --> other extensions. The master socket comprises an Openreach NTE5 Linebox (according to a little instruction booklet he left), in between the two bits of which an "MK3" faceplate has been installed to act as VDSL filter.
THE PROBLEM
The physical bell ringer downstairs doesn't work anymore on incoming calls. The problem I think here unless I'm mistaken (I'm no telecoms engineer - could they have worked some other way?) is that it relied upon the bell wire. As you can see from the route above, only two wires from the master socket back to the hardwired box => no chance a bell wire was wired up. What is more, afaict the MK3 plug only has two pins, so maybe even if it was wired up in the customer bit of the NTE5, it wouldn't make any difference.
QUESTIONS
1) Firstly, is it just recommended practice to disconnect the bell wire with fibre installations (as the MK3 plate might intentionally be doing, unless I'm misinterpreting the lack of third pin), i.e. time for us to bite the bullet and get an electronic ringer?
2) I don't think the guy reached outside - so, assuming there was an "external NTE", could it be that there are now two sets of ring capacitor/etc. (i.e. one originally installed outside and one at the new NTE5)? IOW, is it possible that one of the wires coming from outside is already a bell wire, and the engineer could have reconnected this directly to the extensions' bell wire? or am I talking nonsense to suggest there may effectively be two master sockets / would this utterly kill VDSL if implemented?
3) Could this have been done by installing /new/ wiring from entrance point all the way to /next to/ the existing bedroom extension socket, fitting the NTE5 /next to/ that existing extension socket, then connecting the 3 internal wires from the customer bit of the NTE5 to that extension socket (its existing wiring carrying voice/bell to remaining extensions via the hardwired box)? Or would this have failed anyway if the MK3 deliberately disconnects the bell wire?
N.B. Engineer reassured me the bell would still work when I left, and I couldn't test as incoming telephony wasn't apparently working until later in the day. I wasn't quite sure how bell could still work, but I assumed he'd done some magic to recover the bell signal in the hardwired box - I am no expert and have just been doing a lot of investigating! indeed, I might be missing the point completely here, and am certainly not planning to DIY beyond my skills, but I want to understand what's gone wrong / could be done.
Incoming/outgoing calls working fine, line clear, and fibre Internet speeds seem to be excellent. So everything works except that bell :D.
Thank you :).
14 REPLIES 14
jelv
Seasoned Hero
Posts: 26,786
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Registered: ‎10-04-2007

Re: Physical bell ringer no longer working following fibre installation

It might work if you connected the bell via a filter.
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
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twocvbloke
Seasoned Hero
Posts: 6,399
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Registered: ‎06-11-2014

Re: Physical bell ringer no longer working following fibre installation

I second the use of an ADSL filter, I use them with my telephone collection as mini master sockets and they happily ring my mechanical bell ringers (both inside phones and as standalone ringer boxes) that use the bell wire, the rest are American & Canadian phones that work on a 2-wire setup... Smiley
External NTE boxes are a very recent thing, if your phone wiring dates back to the 80s, then you most likely had an LJUx/1A (x being 1 thru. 10, depending on the size and type), anything external is usually just a junction box with nothing more than jelly crimps and loose wires...
It sounds to me like they didn't bother connecting up the bell wire to terminal 3 on the faceplate and/or in the extensions (and presumably the external junction box), the modern NTE5s do have connections for the bell wire, they have filters in them too to make sure the bell wire doesn't cause interference on the xDSL signals, so, it's either lack of connection, or he fudged the wiring up... Huh
But, like I say, an ADSL filter will restore the function of your ringer, saves the hassle of having the wiring ripped out and re-done and keeps the ringy dingy pingy thingy in operation... Smiley
HPsauce
Rising Star
Posts: 6,769
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Registered: ‎02-02-2008

Re: Physical bell ringer no longer working following fibre installation

If it's a hard-wired bell it might be easier to replace it with a modern electronic one.  Wink
Otherwise you need to disconnect the bell, put a junction box on the end of its wire, add a fly lead with BT plug, plug that into a filter and plug the filter into a phone socket.
If there's no socket nearby (just a junction box say) you'll need to add one.
joclark
Grafter
Posts: 140
Registered: ‎09-03-2015

Re: Physical bell ringer no longer working following fibre installation

Good morning. If you try what has been suggested above by twocvbloke, HPsauce and Jelv. If this works fantastic, if not then depending how you would like proceed, like you said bite the bullet and have a mechanical ring tone. Or let us know on here we can look further into it, alternatively contact the technical team see if they can help.
I would try the say ADSL filter first, hopefully this will work and you get your bell back Smiley
Veri
Dabbler
Posts: 12
Registered: ‎09-03-2015

Re: Physical bell ringer no longer working following fibre installation

Thanks very much for the info and advice, guys. The bell was hardwired (it looks similar to but not quite like http://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/post-office-telephone-bell-rla16-162803134) but I managed to add a BT plug and microfilter, and it's working a treat again :3.
joclark
Grafter
Posts: 140
Registered: ‎09-03-2015

Re: Physical bell ringer no longer working following fibre installation

That is great news that your ringer is working like a bell again.  Smiley
Enjoy the rest of you day Smiley
Jo
twocvbloke
Seasoned Hero
Posts: 6,399
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Registered: ‎06-11-2014

Re: Physical bell ringer no longer working following fibre installation

Ah, a Bellset no. 50 (presumably 50A or 50C), I have a few of those, if it had the capacitor fitted still you could have gone with a 2-wire setup with a little rewiring, but as you've got it working now, that's superfluous... Smiley
PeterLoftus
Pro
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Registered: ‎27-05-2011

Re: Physical bell ringer no longer working following fibre installation

It's a strange old world. The op is using this 1930's technology quiet happily while other posters don't even have a wired phone and don't see the need  Huh
To do is to be - Neitzsche
To be is to do - Kant
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sjptd
Grafter
Posts: 492
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Registered: ‎01-09-2014

Re: Physical bell ringer no longer working following fibre installation

The bell is one area where 1930's technology is superior to today's.  (Superior that is in sound.)
twocvbloke
Seasoned Hero
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Registered: ‎06-11-2014

Re: Physical bell ringer no longer working following fibre installation

Bellset no.50 first came about in the 1960s,  but the basic idea of a magneto bell ringer came about in the 1800s, so preceeding the 1930s by about 50 to 70 years... Grin
But that said, a lot of people still prefer to have a mechanical ringer, simply because it's a heck of a lot louder than most tone-ringer telephones, that and they sound more pleasant, especially the American C4 type ringers as found in their 500 series telephones, the most common ringer you'll hear on american TV shows (and irritatingly frequently on british shows set in the past, that gets my goat up!!!), my red Western Electric 500 has the most pleasant ring of all my phones, despite having two other WE500 phones which sound a bit rattly... Smiley
PeterLoftus
Pro
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Registered: ‎27-05-2011

Re: Physical bell ringer no longer working following fibre installation

@twocvbloke but you miss my main point that a lot of our younger brethren don't even have a landline phone never mind a bell  Cheesy
To do is to be - Neitzsche
To be is to do - Kant
do be do be do - Sinatra
twocvbloke
Seasoned Hero
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Registered: ‎06-11-2014

Re: Physical bell ringer no longer working following fibre installation

That's 'cos they're silly people... Grin
It's always a smart idea to have at least one wired phone on the line, doesn't matter what it is, just so long as it's not a cordless, as the latter will not work in a powercut, yet a wired phone will... Smiley
We have a cordless trio set and one BT Relate 200 (I like it cos it's tone ringer sounds like the old BT Viscount tone ringers) on the phoneline, has proven useful in the past when the power went off (be it due to weather or for maintenance of the local grid), and always useful if there's an emergency that requires a 999 call and there's no power for the cordless units... Smiley
Veri
Dabbler
Posts: 12
Registered: ‎09-03-2015

Re: Physical bell ringer no longer working following fibre installation

twocvbloke, yup, looking at http://www.britishtelephones.com/bellst50.htm it's a Bellset No. 50C. FWIW C1 seems to be there although the straps shown in that pic (B1-B7-B8, B2-B3, B5-B4) aren't. Wires are connected to B8 and B2.
And yeah this bell is far more noticeable and more pleasant to hear than an electronic thing. Our corded phone is a Viscount too (this is a newer tone one with the * and #, but I'm sure we have a pulse-dialing one in a cupboard somewhere with the S and MR).
twocvbloke
Seasoned Hero
Posts: 6,399
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Registered: ‎06-11-2014

Re: Physical bell ringer no longer working following fibre installation

Sounds like it's wired up like the later Bellset 50E (sold by BT up until relatively recently), just wired across "B" and "Bell", works fine just like that and is the "official" British Telecom approved wiring for a converted GPO-type instrument... Smiley
I have three Viscounts myself, a red pulse dial (with the S and MR buttons), a beige speakerphone pulse dial, and a grey switchable Pulse/Tone dial, I think they're the nicest of the post BT liberalisation designs, and of course, they still work, unlike stuff sold today from argos and the likes... Grin