Fax and voice lines
April 21, 2005 11:52 AM   Subscribe

Is there a way to share voice and fax on one line without continually hooking and unhooking wires?
posted by bjork24 to Technology (9 answers total)
Virtually all fax machines can be set to answer only after a certain amount of rings. Some are clever enough to pick up, distinguish a voice call from a fax call, and accordingly either begin receiving fax or redirect the call to a voice mailbox.
posted by ori at 12:00 PM on April 21, 2005

do you need a phone line splitter?
posted by pmbuko at 12:10 PM on April 21, 2005

Many fax machines also have a "pass through" phone port. If yours has it, you can plug your phone into the back of the fax machine and the fax machine into the wall. If not, you can get a jack splitter for a song from Rat Shack.

On preview, what pmbuko said.
posted by Plutor at 12:12 PM on April 21, 2005

Response by poster: But the phone line splitter won't help me if I pick up the phone when a fax machine is trying to send. That's my biggest concern, b/c I won't always know when someone is trying to send me a fax.
posted by bjork24 at 12:25 PM on April 21, 2005

When you're receiving a fax and you pick up the phone, you'll hear beeping on the other end. You then go over to the fax machine, press a button to recieve, then hang up. Works every time.
posted by zsazsa at 12:30 PM on April 21, 2005

Do you expect to receive a _huge_ number of faxes or spend a lot of time on the phone? The only case that this would be a problem is if a fax is currently being sent or received when you pick up the handset. The faxing protocol is smart enough to detect short data integrity problems and re-send, so unless you start dialing and yelling into the phone for 30 seconds, that shouldn't interrupt the fax.

If you're on the phone when someone tries to send a fax, they'll just get a busy signal.
posted by Plutor at 12:31 PM on April 21, 2005

If your fax machine has a pass through port, check your manual to see if it has the feature where if you pickup an extension that's plugged into the back, and you here the fax polling tone, you can dial a special code to make the fax machine answer the call. You then hang up the extension and go back to bed, and the fax machine does its thing.

(I only have real experience with one particular fax machine, so I've no idea if this is a common feature).
posted by cillit bang at 12:49 PM on April 21, 2005

You could probably use one of these to stop your phone from working when the fax is in use. Just hook it up backwards (ANS to your phone, TEL to the fax). That will give line priority to the fax line. This will only work for one phone handset, though.
posted by bh at 1:29 PM on April 21, 2005

These will do what you want. I think they're basically the same thing that bh shows, but it is explicitly stated that you can use it on more than one wall port. Also, I've ordered from sandman.com before and had no problems.
posted by joelr at 3:21 PM on April 21, 2005

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