How Do I Hook Up a Fax Machine to a Phone Line?

Written by nicole harms
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How Do I Hook Up a Fax Machine to a Phone Line?
(Philip Mason)

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Getting Started

Hooking up a fax machine to a phone line is fairly simple, since this is the purpose of fax machines. To begin, find the telephone jacks and power cord on the fax machine, which are usually on the rear of the device. Some fax machines have break-off tabs covering the phone jack. If yours does, break this off carefully to access the jack. Then, run the incoming phone line to the fax machine from the phone wall jack. This needs to plug into the jack on the device that is marked "L" or "LINE." If you do not want to install an answering machine or extension phone line, simply connect the power cord to the machine and the plug it into the wall. Turn the machine on. If you have a dial tone, you have installed everything correctly, and you are ready to begin using the device.

Adding the Extras

You can hook other devices to your fax machine if necessary. If you want to be able to answer a phone on the same line or set up an answering machine, connect the cord from the extension phone line or answering machine into the second jack on the fax machine. This is labelled "TEL" If you wish to use both, start by connecting the answering machine directly to the fax. Then connect the phone to the answering machine. You can also connect your computer to the fax machine. Today's fax machines have USB ports on the back or side. Connect the fax to the computer using a USB cord connected to this port. If the fax is a multi-function fax, you may need to connect it to your printer. Use a serial cable to do this.

Tips and Tricks

Some fax machines are not able to differentiate between voice calls and faxes. If yours does not have this capability and you are installing it on the same line that you use for your personal phone, invest in a fax switch. This will route the calls to the phone if they are voice calls or to the fax if they are faxes. You may be tempted to use a splitter or router to connect the fax to the phone line. This is not a good idea, because it can cause interference that will harm your ability to receive faxes clearly. Hooking up the fax directly to the phone line is always the best choice.

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