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Nathan, Technician
Category: Phone Systems
Satisfied Customers: 25418
Experience:  Residential and commercial systems.
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I have a two-line phone system with a base unit (wired) that

Customer Question

i have a two-line phone system with a base unit (wired) that serves a set of cordless handsets. the base unit itself seems to have a problem with one of the ports where I am getting dial tone with some noise but when I try to dial I get touch-tone echo but the dialtone is persistent. it's like the line doesn't hear that I'm trying to dial. the other port works ok and if I swap the wires, the problem stays with the port, so it's not apparently the phone number.
JA: How old is the phone?
Customer: 3 or 4 years old I think. I noticed that panasonic doesn't seem to have that model on their "questions" website page.
JA: How long has this been going on? What troubleshooting have you tried?
Customer: i had a guy from the phone company test their line to the pole. I have done that myself so I was sure it was something in the house, but only isolated it to the phone base yesterday by process of elimination.
JA: Anything else you want the phone expert to know before I connect you?
Customer: the problem has been OBVIOUS for about 2 months. one line was so noisy that we couldn't use it, and I've been trying to troubleshoot it one way or another for at least a month. One thing I do wanna know: how much will this cost me to "connect to the expert"?
JA: I'm not sure of the exact price, but there's only a $5 deposit. The rest of the price information will be on the page I send you to.
Customer: unless this person is familiar with the panasonic base unit, there isn't very much I could expect to get for my money.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Phone Systems
Expert:  Nathan replied 8 months ago.

Hi, I'm Nathan.
Sorry to hear that you're having trouble, but I'll do my best to help you. Please give me a few moments to review your details here.

Expert:  Nathan replied 8 months ago.

Can you tell me a bit more about the problem please:

1) If you have multiple handsets (within the same system), does this happen with all of them?
2) Are there other phones or even a fax, outside of this system but on the same line? If so are they working properly?
3) Is this a landline from the local phone/cable company, or a VOIP service (vonage/magicjack/etc)?
4) Do you have dsl service on the same line?
5) Full model of the phone(s) (printed on sticker on the base station)

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
1) yep I have at least four handsets and they are all affected the same say. the base unit is also fully capable and has a speakerphone plus a bluetooth link for a headset (the handsets have wired ports for headsets)
2) nothing else is connected to any of the lines that I know of. I have swapped the lines on the ports and the problem follows the port, not the line.
3) this is hard wired, not voip. the service is ATT over verizon/frontier lines
4) no DSL service, no filters that I know of. I have cable modem for 'net access, completely independent of voice phone
5) base unit is panasonic kx-tg9381 and the handsets are kx-tga939t
Expert:  Nathan replied 8 months ago.

Thank you for the detailed information.

So line 2 works just fine at all times, correct?

Expert:  Nathan replied 8 months ago.

I'm not quite clear if you meant you swapped ports on the wall jack (you have 2) or you swapped l1/l2 on the back of the base

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
line 2 works fine.
I have done both swaps.
Expert:  Nathan replied 8 months ago.

So the line 2 mode on the panasonic works regardless of which actual line 1/2 it is physically plugged into,

and Line 1 mode has the problem either way as well.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
it only occurred to me to test this yesterday. until now I thought it was a problem with wiring. apparently it isnt.
so I am facing trying to replace the base unit unless I can crack open the case and fix something inside. I assume the problem
would be with the electronics on a board someplace.
Expert:  Nathan replied 8 months ago.

Thank you for confirming.

This indicates a hardware failure in the base station, a bad relay/board for L1, (since the issue happens with all handsets). We most often see this type of damage to the base unit as the result of a power surge, either through the phone or power lines.

The one thing you may attempt yourself is to fully reset the system:
1) unplug both power and phone lines from the main base.
2) remove batteries from all handsets
3) wait at least 15 minutes, then restore all
4) place a handset on the main base for a minute, as if to charge
5) check for functionality.

Let me know the results


Customer: replied 8 months ago.
ok I will try that. I powered off the base unit last night, but not for that long and all the handsets still had battery power. wouldn't the handsets then forget what base they are registered to?
Expert:  Nathan replied 8 months ago.

No they will not forget, it is just a process of resetting the entire system, that part of the memory is retained.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
same behavior.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
i will disconnect the base and wait 30 mins.
Expert:  Nathan replied 8 months ago.

Thank you for trying. I don't expect any difference from unplugging longer.

That does unfortunately confirm a hardware fault, which is something that would require repairs. However as you have likely guessed, repairs simply are not feasible for these units. It would cost more to fix than to replace the entire system.

You can't buy a base alone, and this model is now discontinued. You may be able to find another base (used) or another minimal bundle with base+handset, but the cost of this is going to be about the same as starting over with a whole new system entirely:

My apologies fore the news,


Customer: replied 8 months ago.
u r right, the behavior is persistent. time to replace. ;0
Expert:  Nathan replied 8 months ago.

That is what I had expected, but worth a try. Though perhaps it is time to think about scaling back to a single line, depending on your needs. You could use the system as a single line with no ill effects too.