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Lewisville, TX

Answering Machine does Not work with Fios

After our Verizon Fios install, our stand-alone PhoneMate 9300 digital answering machine quit answering the phone. I can answer the phone manually with the speaker-phone on the unit, but in auto-answer it never seizes the line. We also tried an identical backup (another PhoneMate 9300 brand new in the box) with identical results.

So, apparently, the machine does not like the ring voltage and/or frequency that the AFC AccessMAX SFH ONT 610X ONT is generating. (Wish I had looked at the ringing signal on a scope before we installed Fios.)

I read before the install that devices not adhering to telco specs may not work. I thought PhoneMate, being one of the oldest manufacturers of answering machines, would not be one of the affected units

I have also heard that some Radio Shack and Casio devices are on a list Verizon gives their install techs. Does anyone have a copy of the list? If not, perhaps we can make our own list here.

So, has anyone else found equipment that does not work on Fios?


Syosset, NY
Does the answering machine ring? Did you try isolating the PhoneMate as the only device on the line? Maybe it's expecting a higher ringer voltage then the ONT generates and doesn't "ring" with the other phones on the line.
I notice some devices get picky about which of the 2 phone leads has power and the other ground. Try reversing the copper pair @ the ONT.

Richmond, VA

2 edits
Many answering machines, for example, determine whether or not the telephone has been answered by monitoring the voltage across the line. If the telephone loop voltage is too low-typically under 25 V-the answering machine may believe the telephone has been answered even though it has not.

That would be one valuable piece of information, the list of answering machines that Verizon knows don't work.
Funny on VZNs site it says:

2. Can I use my fax machine and the Internet at the same time?
Yes. Verizon FiOS Internet Service does not affect your other telephone services and features. Certain telephones, answering machines and other telephone equipment not meeting industry standards may not work with service provided on the Verizon FiOS network.

» ··· /faq.asp


Stow, MA
I guess. On the other hand, it would be unusual. Most providers (of any service or hardware) tell you what they know IS compatible, not incompatible.

Richmond, VA
reply to imsai8080
I have an idea to see if it is the voltage keeping the answering machine from picking up. Do you have a decent power surge device that has a phone jack pass-through on it? Perhaps that would help??

Another question. Can you try disconnecting all other devices on the phone lines? Since this is relatively new Im not sure how much off hook devices would draw, shouldnt be anything, but perhaps alot would somehow be enough to keep the machine from picking up.


Lewisville, TX
reply to imsai8080
Good suggestions all. Since the PhoneMate 9300 has an REN of 0.0, I thought this wouldn't be an issue.

Yes, I thought I had unplugged all of the telephone devices, but I realized after reading your posts, that I had left the DSS dish connected to the telco line.

Now with all devices removed, the original answering machine works correctly. It picks up on the correct ring count, etc.

The backup PhoneMate 9300 answering machine still does not work correctly. Sometimes it answers, sometimes not, and when it does answer, it picks up on 6-8 rings even when it is set to answer on 2 rings. The backup machine has a slightly newer serial number.

Still not useable in the real world, since I need the rest of the stuff plugged in. But, at least more info for troubleshooting.

Anyone know the total allowable Ringer Equivalence Number load rating for the AccessMate ONT?


Bethel, CT
Surge protector - actually a surge protector might be clipping the high ring voltage, thereby preventing the answering machine from "seeing/hearing" the ring - it might be a separate protector you or the phone company installed somewhere or it might be built in to your satellite receiver.

However, I think your complaint should be with PhoneMate -- if all your phone are ringing, that's plenty proof that there is a decent ring voltage - and Phonemate, if not out of spec is certainly near the hairy edge.


Fairfax, VA
The Phonemate is most certainly out of spec. In fact, the 9300 Answering Machine is not the only PhoneMate that does not work correctly. Many of the PhoneMate answering machines, and some number of the PhoneMate phones have this issue. This isn't a REN issue, it is an issue with the ONT ringing the line at 48V while some older/poorly engineered equipment requires higher levels (a few up to 110Vdc). However, I wouldn't attach more than 8 REN to any FiOS ONT.