How to Fix an ATT Cordless Phone

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Troubleshooting your cordless phone before tossing them to the trash bin can save you some cash.

Cordless phones provide you a lot of freedom and convenience when using land-line phones in the privacy of your home. It has a base unit that receives power and signals from the telephone company, converts the signal to FM radio signal, and then broadcasts that signal. A handset receives the radio signal, converts it to electrical signal and sends that signal to the speaker. Cordless phones, like AT&T phones, are reliable devices, but they do break down once in a while. Learn to troubleshoot a cordless phone before running to a local store to buy a replacement.


Step 1

Find the small gray plastic box called the network interface device (NID) mounted by the telephone company on a wall just outside your home. Open the NID and look for the short wire with a modular connector plugged into a jack beside it. Depress the clip on the connector and unplug the connector from its jack. Get a working land-line phone and insert the modular plug at the end of its cord into the jack inside the NID. The absence of a dial tone would indicate a problem in the telephone company's line. Call your phone company to report the problem.

Step 2

Lift your base of the cordless phone, and look for the jack that accommodates the telephone patch cable connecting the base unit to the wall jack. See if the connector is properly seated and plugged into the jack. Some connectors may look like they are plugged into the jack but may actually be just sitting there without touching the copper connectors inside. Push the connector into the jack to make sure this is not the case.


Step 3

Lift your land-line phone, unplug all connectors connected to it, and peek into each jack to see the copper pins inside. Look for any deformed, bent or twisted copper pins inside the jacks. Misuse or abuse of the phone can sometimes result in bent or twisted connector pins inside the jacks. Get a pair of needle-nose pliers, and carefully try to place the pin in its proper form.

Step 4

Unplug the patch cable that connects the telephone set to the wall jack and inspect the cable length for any sign of damage or puncture marks. Inspect the plugs on both ends and look for any sign of burned plastic or copper pins. Replace the patch cable if there is any damage. Bring the patch cable to a working phone and remove the working phone's patch cable. Test the patch cable that you brought by using it on the working phone and listening for a dial tone. A dial tone would mean that your patch cable is working. Replace the patch cable if there is no dial tone.


Step 5

Look at the AC adapter running from the electrical outlet on your wall to the base unit of your cordless phone. Check if it is properly plugged into the wall receptacle on one end and to the jack behind the base unit on the other end.

Step 6

Look at the length of the cord for any obvious signs of damage such as cuts or puncture marks and replace the cord if needed. Look at the black box in the middle of the cord to see if it has any sign of deformity or discoloration. Smell the box for a strong odor of burned wire indicating that the electrical winding inside has burned. Replace the AC adapter if needed.


Step 7

Check the battery indicator lamp. If you repeatedly get a low battery indicator, even after charging overnight, replace the battery. Slide open the battery compartment cover at the back of the handset, lift the old battery pack, and unplug the battery connector. Plug the connector of a replacement battery into the socket inside the battery compartment, place the new battery into the compartment, and replace its cover. Read the battery manufacturer's instructions on how to charge the battery for the first time and charge it properly.

Step 8

Unplug one or two phones from the jack to reduce power consumption if your cordless phone does not ring and you have several extensions plugged in. Telephone ringers are powered by electricity coming from the phone company and each network allots a certain a amount of electricity for each phone line. Plugging too many phones can cause you to exceed the limit and cause the phones not to ring.


Step 9

Press the program channel button on the phone interface to change the channels and fix annoying static noise. Plug the AC power cord to another power receptacle with a different circuit to fix noise generated by plugging the adapter in the same circuit with household appliances.

Step 10

Look at the base antenna and make sure that it is upright. Move the base unit and handset away from appliances such as a microwave oven, computers, television and stereo. Move closer to the base unit in case you are using your handset and experiencing poor reception as you might be out of range.


Step 11

Unplug the cordless phone base unit from its jack, get a working phone and plug the phone into the jack. Listen for a dial tone. The absence of a dial tone indicates that the problem lies in the phone circuit and not in the cordless phone. Inspect each phone line and jack to find where the wires are damaged or have come in contact with each other.

Things You'll Need

  • Land-line phone

  • Needle nosed pliers