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Unexplainable "No dial tone" errors

Posted on 2001-06-10
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
I've read answers about "no dial tone" errors when phone line is okay (phone works fine) and cables are okay.

But in my case it's an intermittent problem.   Works fine for days then suddenly says "no dial tone" (and, as with other questioners, phone line + cable are in fact fine). Usually shutting down & retrying later reveals problem has righted itself.

This time, though, it's not coming good in a hurry!  

HAHR modem, 56k, Windows ME.
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Question by:lindsay50
30 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:jhance
ID: 6174829
Do you have voice mail with NOTIFICATION turned on?  This causes a series of short beeps when the line is picked up that fools the modem into thinking there is no dial tone.
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Author Comment

by:lindsay50
ID: 6174837
No.

(Thanks.)
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Expert Comment

by:squarm
ID: 6175075
It's often caused by a bug / incompatibiity in the driver.  Try getting an updated driver -- if that doesn't work, change it to a generic driver to see what happens.
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Expert Comment

by:tmj883
ID: 6175672
Sounds like line quality is the issue, not the modem. I have done my share of calls to the phone company, one of my phone lines only failed when it rained! Sometimes a different modem will help as I've found hardware modems do better than soft modems, sometimes ISA modems are better than PCI. In all cases, phone line quality was an issue but in the hands of the phone co. Good luck...T
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Expert Comment

by:genguy
ID: 6175834
All good suggestions (of course).
This may not be applicable, but I will add it anyway so you are aware of the possibility.
Phone company features such as call display, call waiting, visual call waiting, can cause the modem to not hang up (the relay seems to stick closed).
Our phone company denied that this could occur, even after I demonstrated that it was the ONLY possibility.
When I canceled these features on the phone line, the problem disappeared.
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Expert Comment

by:joe_h
ID: 6176445
Try to add X3 (or ATX3) into the init string of your modem. AFAIK it should disable dialtone checking.
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Expert Comment

by:hatim
ID: 6177279
dear lindsay50

if all the above solve your problem than good. if not then check if your computer is properly grounded. because i had once installed in isdn card in a machine. when the system was kept on the desk it the isdn card was working fine. as soon as i kept it on the tiled floor it stoped working. changing the power cable from 2 pin to 3 pin helped solve the problem.

i dont think this is the solution but what the heck ... the weirdest of problems r solved with the weirdest of solutions :):)

bye hatim
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Expert Comment

by:fluke32
ID: 6177922
do all these in one shot should fix the problem :
-pnp modem drivers in safe mode
-uninstall all network components
-install client for microsoft networks
-untick wait for dial tone before dialing (in your modem properties in control panel)
-then click on advanced on that screen and add atx3 to the extra settings

this is quite a common problem on most rockwell based 56.6k modems.... do you know if yours is rockwell chipset based ?

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Expert Comment

by:chasb154
ID: 6178131
Have you unchecked "Wait for Dial Tone before dialing?"

If the modem works except for this, then unchecking the above will allow you to still use your modem until you fix the problem.

Is the modem ISA, PCI, or AMR?
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Expert Comment

by:dkaygee
ID: 6178324
I have had similar problems with a USR 56K Winmodem. My problem was that there was an Input-Output range conflict in my hardware settings. The Device Manager did not show the conflict, but what was happening, was that when I started another device such as my sound card, that Input - Output range came into conflict. Then I would get the message  "no dial tone". Re-booting fixes this because the devices are re-started. I fixed it by manually setting the Input - Output range of the modem to a different setting. I just picked one. This advice came from the USR support line when I called the problem into the 1-800 #.
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Author Comment

by:lindsay50
ID: 6179780
Looking into downloading driver as suggested.
Modem Properties names modem as HAMR 5600 Voice Modem.
Is HAMR a manufacturer or some generic type of modem?
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Author Comment

by:lindsay50
ID: 6179784
...also I don't understand what this suggestion means:

-pnp modem drivers in safe mode
-uninstall all network components
-install client for microsoft networks

(I easily get out of my depth here, as you can see!)
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Author Comment

by:lindsay50
ID: 6179787
dkaygee wrote:

>I fixed it by manually setting the Input - Output range of the modem to a different setting.


Is that at Advanced Port Settings where it shows Receive Buffer and Transmit Buffer - Low/Medium/High/Maximum?
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Expert Comment

by:dkaygee
ID: 6179799
its under the Device Manager under the modem properties in the conrol panel.
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Expert Comment

by:dkaygee
ID: 6179807
The I/O settings are located on the same tab under the modem properties that your IRQ settings are listed. "Resources" - I believe. So, that would be Control Panel -> Device Mangager -> Modem -> Properties -> Resources.
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Expert Comment

by:fluke32
ID: 6179811
sorry, i assumed you knew how to do those things, my bad.
to pnp(plug and play) the modem drivers, restart to safe mode, go into device manager by right clicking my computer, and clicking properties, then click the device manager tab, expand you modem details by clicking on the + sign next to your modem, you may find many modem drivers(they are just ghost drivers) remove them all (make sure you have your modem driver disk in case it doesnt auto reinstall the drivers). do this for all your com ports by clicking the + next to ports-com and lpt.

to refresh your network components, go to control panel, double click networks, remove all devices from there, then choose add, click client, then highlight microsoft and choose "a client for microsoft networks".

do all the steps i advised, i am almost sure it will work
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Expert Comment

by:davids8
ID: 6180757
If you connect a PDA for synchronisation via ACTIVESYNC or something similar = either via the IR port or USB, I have sometimes found that they take over the port that is used for the modem - and the modem cannot get a dial tone.  The solution is to go into the connection properties of he SYNC sofware and uncheck any boxes that indicate connection via USB or IR port
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Expert Comment

by:chasb154
ID: 6181298
HAMR Modem drivers.  You have an AMR modem.  A portion of the technology for the modem is built into the motherboard.  You will need drivers from the motherboard and the manufacturer of the modem.

Interesting technology that's about 2 years old that hasn't taken off to quickly.

If you get a chance, go out and purchase a PCI modem.  The reliability of the AMR modems can be questionable at times.  The throughput for the AMR modem isn't as good as the PCI -- on an average.

What motherboard do you have?
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Expert Comment

by:wojman
ID: 6183335
ive seen this problem before, the modem works one day and then stops working the next. the strange thing is that when u go into device manager the modem is still there , when u remove it and reboot the machine, the modem is automatically installed and working again. update ur modem driver to the most recent one
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Expert Comment

by:genguy
ID: 6184526
Your modem MAY be a FM-56AMR-SL, if so go here for drivers/manuals/updates&faqs:
http://www.wellmodem.com.tw/product/fm-56amr-sl.htm

I would like you to confirm that this is the modem you have before you do any update though. Incorrect updates could pretty much destroy it.
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Expert Comment

by:genguy
ID: 6184603
Oh by the way, Windows reports the name of the modem that it THINKS it found, this may or may not be what you actually have.
Try the drivers and other stuff from this site in conjunction with the excellent suggestions from the others, but don't try anything that says "bios" or  "firmware" or "flash".
You need to be absolutely sure of the exact make & model before trying these. I prefer to get the names and numbers off of the components themselves.
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Expert Comment

by:rogerhammond
ID: 6184716
In your modem init string make sure that you have "X1" or "X0" (that's a zero, not "oh"), that disables dial tone detection altogether.

We in Australia cannot detect a dialtone with American modems.  Trust me...this works!
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Author Comment

by:lindsay50
ID: 6184936
I'm blown away by all the responses to my question.  Because it's an intermittent problem, it's hard to test the suggestions till it happens again.  
I unplugged my second computer which I'd hooked up in frustration after days of "no dial tone", hooked up my main (problem) machine again, and - lo & behold! - the fault had disappeared again.  
But it will happen again, I know, and then I will just have to follow your suggestions one at a time and when I get a solution... I'll have to wait to see if it really HAS worked...  This could be a slow process.
(Hmmmm... the suggestion to get a new, different modem is looking attractive!)
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Expert Comment

by:rogerhammond
ID: 6189423
I'm guaranteeing that the X1 (or X0) solution will work.  It is a Hayes standard instruction to order the modem to ignore the detection of the dial-tone (which I think may be X2)

Pretty much most modems use the Hayes command set standards for setting options.
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Accepted Solution

by:
rogerhammond earned 300 total points
ID: 6204492
And if there was any doubt...I found these for you...

X0 or X  Smartmodem  Hayes Smartmodem 300 compatible result codes
 
X1  Usually adds connection speed to basic result codes (e.g. CONNECT 1200)
 
X2  Usually adds dial tone detection (preventing blind dial and sometimes ATO)
 
X3  Usually adds busy signal detection
 
X4  Usually adds both busy signal and dial tone detection

you can find all this and more on the web site...
http://www.citilink.com/~kae/faq/connecting/general/hayes.html

You can set the modems dialing properties in the Modem properties in your Control Panel.  Just add "X1" (don't put the quotes in of course) into the initialisation string section.  A reboot may be a good move (ya never know).  And it should work a treat.
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Author Comment

by:lindsay50
ID: 6234074
First time the fault returned, I tried your fix and...  YES!  It worked!

Thanks a million, mate.
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Expert Comment

by:fluke32
ID: 6234110
probably not worth commenting on but atx3 disables the dial tone detection, which is what Joe H and myself stated long ago...
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Expert Comment

by:rogerhammond
ID: 6234148
not if the modem adheres to the Hayes standard...
Dial Tone detection is added once you go ATX2 or better.
(ie atx3 or atx4)
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Expert Comment

by:fluke32
ID: 6234199
hmmmmm ok i thought the atx commands were generic...
but honestly i am not sure so you are probably right
my apologies
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Expert Comment

by:rogerhammond
ID: 6236263
no probs...have a look at the link on the accepted answer.  It's got all the commands you'd ever need to know.  Have a read and you can answer the next modem question that comes along.
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