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Russell H.
Russell H., Printer and Office
Category: Printers
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Experience:  11+ yrs experience, inkjets & lasers, from huge to portable
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Have a office with 2 fax machines on same line. The Brother

Customer Question

Have a office with 2 fax machines on same line. The Brother Intellifax 2820 is set to auto receive and the HP OfficeJetPro 8500a is a send only. If we try to send from OfficeJetPro and connection is not completed the Brother senses the cng tones and answers HP with out ringing. The 2 have worked until just recently with this setup. Any ideas?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Printers
Expert:  Printer Doctor replied 3 years ago.

Printer Doctor :

Hi there. The Printer Doctor is in and ready to help you!

Printer Doctor :

While you say this setup has worked for a while prior to now, I don't think it a good thing to have 2 fax machines on one line because:

Printer Doctor :

1) If they're on the same line with the same number, only one can occupy/access/use the line at any given time. If one is sending, the other cannot receive unless the other drops use of the line.

Printer Doctor :

2) If after no connection on the send fax, it will time-out and then (usually) try to connect again in a few seconds. So that the SEND data for the fax is still in the queue to try again. That can cause conflict on the line, and the Receive fax thinks it's getting a call, but cannot ring because the line is not actually released by the Sending fax. This is kind of like dialing your own home phone number from your home phone handset--you get a busy signal, but the phone cant ring because you're already on the line.

Printer Doctor :

So what you end up with is two trains running on the same track in opposite directions. Here is what I suggest:

Printer Doctor :

Change your setup by using one fax machine to both send and receive, OR

Printer Doctor :

Get a second dedicated fax line fro the other fax machine, OR

Printer Doctor :

If you want to keep the setup you have, turn the auto-receive OFF only when you are sending a fax from the other machine. Once it is completed, you can switch the other back to auto-receive.

Printer Doctor :

Finally, if you don't want to add a second line, it may be cheaper to subscribe to one of the many online faxing services, e.g.MyFax.com.

Printer Doctor :

Which choice you make will depend on how many faxes you send/receive daily, the size of the fax files, etc. The online fax service is great because you won't have to worry about large documents tying up the memory on the fax, and you cn send everything to a folder and print it out immediately or later, plus always have an electronic record as well as a paper copy.

Printer Doctor :

Of course, for sending efficiency, everything you send via the online fax service will need to be in electronic file form--just like an email attachment. So, you could use the online service for receive-only, and send your hard-copy documents from the Officejet Pro 8500a.

Printer Doctor :

If my instructions lead you to the solution of your problem, please remember to click the green ACCEPT button (even if you have a subscription) so I will get credit for helping you today. If you feel I've serviced you very well, positive feedback and a bonus is also greatly appreciated.

Printer Doctor :

If your problem is not solved, instead of giving negative feedback please give me a chance to further assist you.

Printer Doctor :

For future problems, you can ask me a question directly by going to my page at http://www.justanswer.com/electronics/expert-printerdr/

Printer Doctor :

Thank you, and HAPPY PRINTING and FAXING from the Printer Doctor!

Customer :

Not satisfied with answer. Have this setup working in many offices for many years. Why was my account billed?

Customer :

Have been a phone tech for 20 plus years and am not an idiot. If these offices could afford multiple fax lines, they would have a dedicated line for every device. Not sure if you understand the real world of small business.

Printer Doctor :

Sorry you feel offended. My intent was to offer alternatives. I will opt-out and release this question so that another expert may be able to help you with what you want.

Expert:  Russell H. replied 3 years ago.
Expert 'Printer Doctor' sent me this case to look over. I would like to say first of all, that his Answer was thoroughly good and deserved approval.

The only thing I can add - and it does not in any way constitute disagreement - is that when two devices share the same line, usually Distinctive Ring service is activated, which means the phone co. or phone line service provider gives you an extra number, which when called rings in to the same line - but makes a different ring tone or ring sequence, a 'Distinctive Ring', if the call coming in on the line is for the fax's number.

Thus, when you have a fax set to recognize Distinctive Ring service - not all brands and not all models can do this, and I have not looked up the specifications in this regard of your Brother fax nor your HP Officejet machine, so I cannot say yet whether or not either one or both can be configured this way - it does not respond to anything coming in on the line except that distinctive ring, and so you can have one line, but two numbers, one of which your fax can receive faxes automatically on, the other of which can be used for other purposes. (But of course, not simultaneously... if a fax is being received on the distinctive ring number, the other number can neither answer incoming calls nor 'send' nor call anybody, until that incoming fax call has finished and hung up.)

Would this be an option you would be interested in pursuing or in my making inquiries about? I cannot guarantee that it would prevent the peculiar case of your Brother machine answering when the HP Officejet is faxing/calling out... but there is the possibility that it would resolve that difficulty also. Possibly this is how all those other businesses have two faxes on one line.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Guess I should become an expert on telcom.
Expert:  Russell H. replied 3 years ago.
Do you want further details about configuring Distinctive Ring service?

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Russell H.
Russell H.
computer technology consultant
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11+ yrs experience, inkjets & lasers, from huge to portable