HP setup fail fail

I recently bought and installed a new HP OfficeJet 6500 All-in-One device.  Works great!  …as I eventually found out.  Lesson learned:  don’t always believe the installation test results.

Here’s how I learned my lesson:

I connect the new printer device to our network, and to the phone line. The phone line passes through the device (for fax) and on to an answering machine (a “TAM” (telephone answering machine) in some of the HP docs).  This is so the device can eavesdrop on the line and intercept fax transmissions before they get to the answering machine.

During the installation, the Fax Test keeps failing with the message “You are not using the correct type of phone cord.” Most phone cords have 4 conductors. The printer comes with a special 2-conductor cord, which is not very long. However, as instructed, I connect from the wall jack to the OfficeJet’s 1-Line connection with the supplied cord, and from the OfficeJet’s 2-Ext connection to the TAM with the TAM’s cord.

“Fax test failed: You are not using the correct type of phone cord.”

I try disconnecting the TAM.

“Fax test passed.”

Could the OfficeJet somehow be getting a signal from the TAM on the unused part of the 4-conductor cord? So I cut off one of the connectors, crimp on a new one to pass just the 2 (red and green) conductors, and connect it back up.

“Fax test failed: You are not using the correct type of phone cord.”

How can it know?!  I do some online searches.  Many of the posts just say “the special cord is too short; where do I get a new one?”  Of the posts that are actually trying to troubleshoot the problem, most solutions say “use the supplied special phone cord.”  I’m already using it.  One suggests to power cycle everything, so I try that.

“Fax test failed: You are not using the correct type of phone cord.”

Now I am starting to think the Fax Test is bad, so I run my own test.  The TAM and its attached phone are getting a dialtone, so there is continuity.  I try the HP FaxBack service, which comes conveniently preprogrammed on Fax Speed Dial #1.  It sends.  A few minutes later it receives.  The incoming call rings 4 times, then the TAM picks it up.  The OfficeJet hears the incoming fax tone and intercepts.  All works!  I’m happy.  My conclusion is that the Fax Test is flawed, and that I probably did not have to modify my phone cord.

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