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Dorado 03-22-2013 09:39 AM

Extending and covering phone cable in closet
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In the bedroom closet of an apartment I own, there's a telephone cable with two transparent plastic sleeves covering parts of it. The sleeves look like cable insulation that's been cut lengthwise and taped around the wires. Between the sleeves I could see second, narrower cable that's spiral wrapped in something that makes a crinkle sound when I bend it (asbestos?). Everything was painted over but the paint pealed off parts of the sleeves so I see that they're transparent. The narrow cable seems to be a branch that goes into my floor about 3" away from the large cable. There's a tag on the upper sleeve that says "1st 3 pairs tested - OK - hooped" from the 1960s.

When I was a kid I lifted up one of the sleeves and discovered telephone wires, so I did the natural thing and cut some of them. One day I heard the girl upstairs yell to her mother "the phone's not working again." I twisted them back together and at some point I put electrical tape around some of them. Now I see that I didn't tape two of my old splices so I better do that.

I could identify my own telephone phone wires. I'd like to run my wires from this cable to another location (otherwise I'd have to run a patch cable from one wall jack to a new one). I'd like to make the splice at the top of the closet, not the bottom where the current sleeves are. Any suggestions on making this new branch? Wire nuts, heat shrink tubing, cable wrap? Should I make a new sleeve out of something for the new branch? When I'm done should I cover the cable with drywall?

SquishyBall 03-22-2013 02:29 PM

Splice away. You don't use wire nuts or heat shrink tubing - you'd use telecom splice connectors. Strip the two wires, stick them in, crimp. That's all the telco does when they extend your lines. They usually just leave the splices dangling, tho there's no harm in heat shrinking them or using electrical tape if you want to make it look tidy. Personally I would work toward replacing it all with Cat-5.

Should you cover it w drywall? Well, I wouldn't do drywall work just for that. Can be as simple as zip tied and stapled to the back corner. It's really simple stuff.

Dorado 03-22-2013 02:46 PM

Everyone's talking about CAT5 but I'm in a tall building and I only own my own apartment. CAT5 for 8 feet when 10x that length is whatever they used in the 1960s may not make a difference.

I'll look for those splice connectors. Maybe I'll also use them to make some slack at a jack with absolutely no slack, where I was barely able to mount a phone by making about 1/4" of "slack" by pulling the wires.

Dorado 03-27-2013 08:57 PM

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I did it the cheap and space-saving way and used a butt splice (two wires in one end, one in the other) that I crimped with a coax crimper. That was just to repair an old mess, but I think I'll do the same for the new branch.

wkearney99 03-28-2013 08:41 AM

Or just ask the telephone company to come out and fix their cabling. Rather than ruining someone else's service.

Dorado 03-28-2013 10:09 AM

It was working fine for over 20 years just twisted together with no solder or mechanical splices or insulation other than that tube slipped over it. I think the butt splices are an improvement. I originally crimped the butt splice once with Channellock 10-Inch Tongue and Groove Pliers but the wire pulled out a little too easily. Then I put the wire back in and crimped once with the coax crimper and it was strong. The surface being crimped was the same but the coax crimper has wider handles so I guess it was easier to crimp tightly. Then I crimped the same end a second time. The end with the two wires has the two wires twisted together and I crimped that end twice too. For future splices I was thinking of slipping the butt splice over the wire then twisting all three wires together before sliding over the splice and crimping. I did this on my own line, but I think one of the other connections that I want to fix is someone else's. I'll do it in the middle of the night.

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