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Russell H.
Russell H., Service Tech.
Category: Office Equipment
Satisfied Customers: 9547
Experience:  10 yrs fixing office equipment. Decades of typewriter fixes.
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Having problems receiving fax, and it is set to Fax only

Customer Question

having problems receiving fax, and it is set to Fax only setting
JA: What's the make/model of your device? How old is it?
Customer: Canon Pixma MX870
JA: How long has this been going on? What troubleshooting have you tried?
Customer: few weeks, but it worked before. reset it to factory checked the line with Cox and it was fine, but would not answer
JA: Anything else you want the office expert to know before I connect you?
Customer: no
Submitted: 24 days ago.
Category: Office Equipment
Expert:  Russell H. replied 24 days ago.

Hi, thank you for contacting My name is Russell. I will do my best to provide the right answer to your question.

Receiving a fax is more complicated than sending. For instance, if there are other devices on the same line, one of them may be interfering with reception but not with sending.

On the other hand, the digital lines can have problems with one direction, but not the other (i.e. sending working only, or receiving working only.)

That problem, with digital lines, is best treated by lowering the TX/RX (or Transmit) Speed on the fax's settings (if the model you have has such settings... or being that it is a Canon machine, probably only this is available:) ...or disabling the ECM Mode setting. That may allow full faxing operation.

If the line is COX, then it is presumably a digital/VoIP/similar phone line service.

Is your internet service working otherwise? No problems with throughput, nor with the internet 'pausing' for a bit? if there are such problems, they will definitely interfere a lot with faxing over a digital phone line that works via internet service.

How old is the printer? if the problem should turn out to be with the printer, then if it is younger than a year old (measured from date of purchase), its repair will be covered by warranty, if you contact 1-800-OK-CANON.

Let me know the details I have asked about, and I will advise you further.

Customer: replied 24 days ago.
I don't know what to tell you. It worked great till we tried another fax modem. When that one did not work, we just assumed just plug back the canon and move forward. Both did not pick up the call. Now we did update the drivers, we did make it wifi active. I can print, send a fax out, but will not receive a fax. Notice today, cant scan through computer, but can from the unit. Using Win 7 64 bit. Cox is our phone service, and we use it as a fax only line. Called Cox, said lines are fine, asked them to call, but the unit did not pick up.
Expert:  Russell H. replied 24 days ago.

(I regret that I am not able to offer Live Phone Call service at this time; However, your request is still open to other Experts in this category, and one of them may pick up on it at any time.)

I will continue to help you through this interface, if you can tell me the

- whether COX also provides internet, or if there is a 'box' that COX provided


- age of the Canon machine.

Customer: replied 24 days ago.
Cox does internet and the it is running fine. Been that way for years this way. Age: About 5 years I am guessing.
Expert:  Russell H. replied 24 days ago.

OK. If the receiving of faxes worked OK before, using COX's line, then the printer is more likely to have a problem, at the level of electronics failure, if it is 5 years old.

I advise you to call the COX line with your cell phone (if you have one) in order to see whether, by listening, there is any response, and whether the line works basically, etc.

Let me know - if you can make that test - what you hear on the line, please.

Customer: replied 24 days ago.
did that, in short, it never picked up. I did get another call and answered it, and it worked fine as a regular phone line. I just tested it calling from cell phone, rings does not answer, but I did answer it from the fax machine ( just can't talk - it is a feature to hear what is going on). I could hear myself.
Expert:  Russell H. replied 24 days ago.

OK, good so far.

Have you checked the Receive Fax settings ?

Are you sure there is no other phone device on the line (though you did say you picked up on the call with the Canon machine) ?

Customer: replied 24 days ago.
I did set receiving to fax only. Heck I only get either a fax or someone selling something on that line.. kinda a plus either There is a base phone in another room, but its been like this for years, and do not answer it . No machines on the line either. The strange thing is now scan, from computer does not work, had to use it from the machine. (only tried it once)
Expert:  Russell H. replied 24 days ago.

Then given that it worked for years, a base phone was the only other device on the line, and then given that Scan is not working to the computer... there may well be something wrong with the Canon machine, I'm sorry to say.

It may need to be repair-serviced, or replaced, if you want to use the fax function. The signs all seem to point that way.

Customer: replied 24 days ago.
One more part of the puzzle. It started when we switched out to a usb fax and that as well could not answer the line, yet did only once. Then switching back to Canon, it did not work since. Thought it would be a corrupted DLL file, but I reinstalled the drivers.
Expert:  Russell H. replied 24 days ago.

The fax line does not go through the computer, does it?

Because if so, then the computer's software would not be involved - ? or maybe I missed something about your setup. Do you use PC-Faxing software, perhaps?

Customer: replied 24 days ago.
Do not use Efax or anything like that. Fax comes in/ out through the canon now and worked fine till now. It is now wifi so now have to check every fax to see if needed. Before upgraded to win 7 (lol, yes was using xp) use Microsoft to view incoming fax, switched phone cable to send a fax out.
Expert:  Russell H. replied 24 days ago.

I'm still not understanding your fax hookup.

You now have WiFi so you now have to check every fax to see if needed - ? that's the part I don't get.

Customer: replied 23 days ago.
In short, when it worked. I would have to check the memory to find out if new fax. Then print at least one page to find out if junk fax or not. The phone line is connected to the machine. The wifi was to connect for print / scan. I brought that into the picture because now I can't scan through wifi. Was not sure if connected to puzzle.
Customer: replied 23 days ago.
You wont believe it.. think I fixed it. In short, Unplug.. wait... plug back in. .. So far can send fax. called from cell number, can hear fax go off. Even the Scan works again. so I am good to go. Note.. tell them to unplug it from the outlet first.
Expert:  Russell H. replied 23 days ago.

I was thinking of asking (since you said, upon some review and reflection, that you had unplugged the fax, then plugged it back in later) whether you had plugged the line to the phone service, back into the right jack of two.

If you plugged the phone line into the 'PHONE' or 'P' jack, having the receiving of faxes blocked might well be the result.

Make sure the line or cable that goes to the phone service, is plugged into the 'L' or 'LINE' jack. The 'PHONE' jack is the extension phone handsets, not the phone line.

I'm glad it's working.

If this answers your question, please rate my answer. A five-star rating would be appreciated!


Customer: replied 23 days ago.
Everything was plugged in. I had to unplug the power, wait, and then plug it back in.
Expert:  Russell H. replied 23 days ago.

Then the Canon machine needed a reset, evidently.

Good to know its working again.

Thank you for asking your question here at

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