Cordless home phone w MagicJack problem-SOLVED

Discussion in 'Technical Corner' started by JOhnH, Apr 7, 2021.

  1. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I have one of those AT&T cordless phone systems where the base unit plugs into a magic jack. There is a cordless handset on the base and two remote units. The base unit provides Voice Mail.

    Over the past few months, I have had a problem that is getting worse. MagicJack support is no help and AT&T support is non-existent. When someone calls and gets my voicemail, then they hang up, the speaker on the phone starts blasting a loud squawking sound that is sort of like a busy signal. This used to happen occasionally and would stop after a few seconds. Now it happens almost all the time and lasts a really long time. If I am not there to stop it, it fills up my voice mailbox.

    I am trying to decide whether to replace the phone or the magic jack first. Any suggestions?
     
  2. Brad Z

    Brad Z Final Approach

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    I’m curious, what does this do that a cell phone doesn’t do?
     
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  3. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    Way cheaper than a cell phone plan. And this is the number you always use to fill out forms.
     
  4. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser!

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    My wife hates, hates, hates hates cell phones. She is the only person I know that refuses to carry and be tied to one.
    And we have had the same land line number for about 30 years. She refuses to give it up.

    And, as @EdFred says, this is the number I always give out when I don't want to give out my cell number.
    Personally, I never use it because it doesn't play well with my hearing aids. I can stream my cell phone directly to my hearing aids.
     
  5. chartbundle

    chartbundle Pattern Altitude

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    That sounds like the normal off-hook tone when a phone is left off the hook. It's hard to say who is at fault here. The magicjack should drop the line momentarily and the phone should notice that and hang up the voicemail connection. I suspect this may be while your announcement plays and the phone doesn't realize there was a disconnect when it starts recording.

    I'm not sure if the magicjack has any tuning that can be done to make this work better. I suspect most people have switched to the Voice Mail they provide instead of using a local device.
     
  6. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

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    If that's the case then one thing to try would be to decrease the number of rings before the answering machine picks up and also shorten the announcement. That might give the phone a better chance at detecting the silence before the off-hook tone starts up.
     
  7. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That all sounds right, but I wonder why it worked fine for several years, then started acting up about a year ago and kept getting progressively worse.
     
  8. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

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    Analog detection circuit and degrading (leaking) electrolytic capacitors?
     
  9. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser!

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    that might suggest replacing the phone then?
     
  10. JGoodish

    JGoodish Cleared for Takeoff

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    If you call your MagicJack number from a cell phone and answer the call, then end the call from the cell phone, you will probably hear a busy tone on the handset connected to MagicJack. I have the exact same behavior on my in-house setup (3CX PBX + SIP trunk), and as far as I know, this is normal. It would then be up to the answering machine to detect the disconnect and end the recording.

    I am curious as to why you aren't using the voicemail service provided by MagicJack?
     
  11. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Except for this problem I am having, VM on the phone is easier.

    I walk in the house, see the red light flashing and push play. If I want to listen to messages while away I call my number and enter a code.

    I am used to using VM on the phone.
    My wife can listen to VM without using my email. (Couldn't have that ya know).
    Since I have hardly ever used MagicJack voice mail, the only thing I know about it is if my magic jack is off line for some reason and a call comes in, it goes to Magic Jack and I get an email.


    With Voicemail form Magic Jack,

    I have to open mail,
    read the message,
    open the attachment,
    play the attachment.

    Repeat.

    Perhaps there is an easier way doesn't require my wife to open my email. Not that I would have a problem with that, but she doesn't want to do that.
     
  12. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

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    The troubleshooting I suggested earlier is cheaper and easier.
    Newer answering machines can detect if there's voicemail from Magic Jack.
     
  13. Brad Z

    Brad Z Final Approach

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    It's not cheaper if you already have a cell phone. I have a google voice number that was free that I give out. It will message me a voicemail but I never have to pick it up.
     
  14. Brad Z

    Brad Z Final Approach

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    I get it. My parents are the same way. They thought I was crazy when I gave up my landline in 2004. Probably still do, lol.

    That's cool that your hearing aids pair to your cell phone. I need to figure out how to get my mom a set that pair to hers.
     
  15. JGoodish

    JGoodish Cleared for Takeoff

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    There is an easier way. To check voicemail from MagicJack, just dial your MagicJack phone number from your MagicJack phone, and you'll be dumped into the voicemail system. No PIN or password required. To check voicemail from another phone (outside line), dial your home phone number and interrupt the voicemail greeting with "*", then enter your PIN (default is 1234, but can be changed online), and you will be into the voicemail system.

    MagicJack can also generate a stutter dialtone, which will alert you of a new voicemail when you pick up your phone; most modern phones with a message waiting indicator will detect a stutter dial tone and light the message waiting light without you having to pick up the phone. Oddly, stutter dialtone is *not* turned on by default with MagicJack, but you can enable it with the click of a button from your online MagicJack account, under "Call Features -> Advanced -> Voice Message Indicator."

    If you don't use the voicemail to email feature, you can turn it off, also from your online MagicJack account, under "Call Features -> Voicemail via Email." You can edit your voicemail PIN code (used when accessing VM from an outside line) in this same screen, by clicking "Edit your PIN" which appears under your phone number.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2021
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  16. rpadula

    rpadula En-Route

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    The most common complaint I’ve seen about Magic Jacks is the power supply being junk. A new one might be the cheapest troubleshooting you can do.

    otherwise, do you have an oscilloscope? That would be the best way to verify you’re getting a proper open switch interval on your line when the calling party disconnects. I think they’re about 900msec at most, so not sure if a multimeter would catch it well enough.

    Is there a setting for max incoming message time allowed? You could maybe set it to 30 seconds so at least it doesn’t fill your machine.
     
  17. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser!

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    LoL!
    I haven't owned an oscilloscope since 1972.
     
  18. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    Sounds like magic hack has screwed up forward disconnect. It may be only when someone calls you from a particular carrier too, you can check that by having a few friends call from different providers.

    In other words, when your caller hangs up they’re supposed to interrupt the line voltage briefly. This tells your older AT&T device the caller hung up.

    They’re assuming you’re using their voice mail service and it’s likely none of their telecom engineers have even seen an answering machine, let alone used one.

    So what happens is, they disconnect the inbound call without the voltage interruption and your answering machine is still in a line off-hook or seized/loop closed state. Their dumb system then thinks you’re wanting to place an outgoing call.

    They wait a prescribed number of seconds (silence at the end of your caller’s call after they hang up) for you to dial a number and when you don’t they drop the call and send you a re-order tone (“fast busy”) for a while thinking you left your phone off-hook.

    Eventually your answering machine hits it’s time limit on the recording and hands up / opens the loop.

    Forward disconnect in POTS is supposed to be >500 ms but many voip providers set it lower or don’t do it correctly at all. Bunch of data weenies who have zero clue how analog POTS was designed to work.

    Good luck. If you want to have any shot at it, send their customer service an e-mail saying “you aren’t doing forward disconnect signaling properly, it started around X date, and you’ll need to forward this to the oldest telephony engineer you can find in your company”.

    I give it about a 5% chance you get past their front tiers to someone who knows what they’re doing and can actually set the setting properly on their gadget.
     
  19. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I just replaced my phone with a new Panasonic and the problem is resolved.

    Plus, the new phone has Link2Cell, which I think might be convenient once I get it figured out.
    And the new phone has a much better sound too. I can actually understand it without streaming it to my hearing aids.
    And the best part of all is the caller-ID announce.

    The old phone would announce a number as: 88855 51212
    Instead of the way normal people say it: 888 555 1212 That was very confusing and annoying.
     
  20. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

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    That new phone/answering machine should also be able to detect whether you have Magic Jack voicemail. This could be useful if there is a power outage and your Panasonic answering machine can't function. Or you could just turn off the Panasonic answering machine and exclusively use the Magic Jack voicemail.

    Either way, you might want to give it a test.
     
  21. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    Indeed. We have older Uniden cordless phones (or are they Panasonic? I really don’t remember, and who cares anyway?) with the base plugged into our Ooma. The phones have message indicator lights, which work fine with our Ooma voicemail. So, I get an email AND we see the flashing light and the phone will happily retrieve the message. Much easier to get messages when we’re away from home. If I use the app or web site to delete the message, the flashing light stops. In other words, everything works just like it should. And these phones are probably 10 years old.