At one time, every home had at least one jack, often in each room. But in a cellphone era, landlines are becoming harder to find. Fortunately, you can turn an A/C outlet into a phone jack with minimal effort. You can easily convert an outlet into a telephone jack using a for-purchase phone jack, but you can also connect the wires inside the jack for a more permanent solution.
What Is a Phone Jack?
A phone jack is a wall outlet used for providing service to landline-based phones. The outlet is only the conduit. As with other services like Wi-Fi and electricity, you'll need a paid plan with a telephone service provider.
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Phone jacks were once standard in homes and offices but increasingly, buildings are being established without them ever being installed. In older homes, residents are paying electricians to convert old landline outlets to electrical outlets, or removing them altogether. Fortunately, you can run a phone line through an electrical outlet, as long as you have the right tools.
Turn Outlet Into Phone Jack
One of the easiest ways to establish phone connectivity is by converting an electrical outlet to a landline. There are wireless telephone jacks available that you simply plug into any electrical outlet and, voilá! You'll be able to connect up a corded or cordless phone.
Running a phone line through an electrical outlet isn't without its complications, however. If any of your neighbors use a wireless phone jack, you may encounter interference. You'll also need to set up a security code specific to your own home's phones. If there's ever a power outage, these codes should still be in place once the power is restored, as long as it wasn't out for an extended period of time.
Installing a Phone Jack
For DIY-ers, installing a telephone jack isn't too overly complicated. You'll first need to ensure you disconnect the line since incoming calls have enough power to produce a mild shock. You'll do this at the telephone interface box, typically mounted on the outside of your house.
Once you're safe to begin, remove the front cover of the jack and note the wires connecting the inside of the connector to four terminal screws. Those should be red, green, black and yellow. You'll simply need to connect the red and green wires to the terminals that have the red and green wires and you'll be ready to go.
Convert Phone Jack to USB
In some households, old phone jacks seem to be everywhere. You can cover them with a plate, but wouldn't it be better to make them useful? One of the biggest benefits is to be able to charge your phone when your power goes out.
Just as you can run a phone line through an electrical outlet, you can also turn your phone line into a USB charging station. You won't get a large amount of power from an A/C outlet, but it should be enough to charge a cellphone.
To convert your phone line to USB, use the following steps.
- With a voltage meter, check the voltage coming through your line. You'll need a voltage regulator to bring the voltage down to 5 volts.
- Cut open the phone cord and separate the wires inside. Connect the red wire to the first lead on the regulator. The green line from the phone line will connect to the middle lead on the regulator.
- You'll then cut open the USB cable and separate the wires. Connect the black wire from the USB line to the middle lead of the regulator, along with the green wire from the phone line. You'll connect the red wire to the third lead on the regulator. This is your output.
- Solder the wires together to connect them. This will safely convert the phone line into a USB line.
- You'll then simply connect the phone cord into the nearest phone jack, then plug your phone into the USB cable to begin charging.
- Techopedia: Telephone Jack
- North Dakota Assistive: Look Ma – I Made an AC Outlet a Phone Jack!
- Voxx International Corporation: Installing the RCA RC926 Wireless Phone Jack
- Today's Homeowner: How to Install a Phone Jack
- Lifewire: DIY Guide to Installing a Telephone Jack
- Amazon: Netgear PA-101 Home Phoneline USB Adapter
- Gadget Hacks: Hack Your Old Phone Line into an Emergency Power Supply for Your Cell Phone