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    Tip and Ring are telephony slang for the two wires which make up the electrical circuit used for telephone wiring. Tip is the nickname for the electrically positive wire and Ring is the nickname for the electrically negative wire. Tip is the ground side, which is positively charged, and Ring is the battery side, which is negatively charged, of a telephone circuit. The tip is synchronized with the office of the telephone company. Ring carries -48 volts of DC voltage when in an idle or on-hook condition. The grouping of tip and ring creates a regular telephone line circuit. To make a telephone ring on an inbound call, around 90 volts of 20 Hz AC current is overlaid above the DC voltage formerly available on the idle telephone line.


    The words Tip and Ring derived from the telephone operators’ phone plug, when operators used to manage and control user phone calls.

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    1. Dan Whitehead

      20 April, 2019 at 6:17 pm

      SAT20APR2019, 1:10PCST

      What ignorant millennial wrote this piece? Tip and Ring are NOT “slang”; they are correct and proper telephony NOMENCLATUR. Please look up the word NOMENCLATURE and thereby correct a teeny, tiny portion of your apparently vast ignorance.

      I am constantly amazed and saddened by the arrogance and ignorance within which Western Civilization/Western Culture is locked. The coming collapse will be a punishment richly deserved by one and all.

      Dan Whitehead
      Irving, Texas

    2. Dan Whitehead

      20 April, 2019 at 6:10 pm

      SAT20APR2019, 1:05PCST

      What ignorant millennial wrote this piece? Tip and Ring are NOT slang; they are correct and proper telephony NOMENCLATURE. Look up the word NOMENCLATURE and thereby cure a teeny, tiny portion of your vast ignorance.

      Dan Whitehead
      Irving, Texas

    3. Electrical Designer G.Y. Xu

      27 September, 2017 at 4:01 pm

      Why AT&T phone lines to my home have reversed polarity :Tip=GREEN=Negatine(-)?
      Why that still work? Does that means my home phone has a polarity match mechanism?

    4. shaik abdullah

      15 September, 2012 at 10:37 pm

      hi im using nokia e71 my problem is im not getting ivr voice so pls tell me wat i want to do?

      • Jack

        9 June, 2021 at 6:04 am

        The Nokia E71is a CELL PHONE! Tip and Rind do NOT apply to cell phones!
        If you are having an issue with your cell phone, contact your cellular provider.

        • Jack

          9 June, 2021 at 6:09 am

          Sorry, I meant to say, “tip and ring”. Sorry for the typo.

    5. joe

      12 March, 2011 at 12:05 am

      Old touch tone phone may not work right if the red and green wire get switched. If you can obtain line test equipment like a tone generator you will be almost ready to check out your phone lines.  To avoid getting zapped if the phone rings make a jumper wire that hooks on both wires this will keep you from getting zapped and any one who calls will get the busy signal. WARNING: there is still 48 volts DC passing through the wires. If you are in a basement be sure you are on dry ground and if possible use just one hand to undo the wires Bell System connection box has 2 screw in fuses the 2 connection post and a grounding screw. The nuts on the connection post are two different sizes don’t undo the big one just the smaller one to make or disconnect wires the wires behind the back set of screws are not color coded use a tone generator with the switch set to cont. (continuity) this turns on the lights that tell yous if of if not hook it up right. Pull the jumper off or your phone wont work

    6. Curtis P

      1 August, 2010 at 3:40 am

      Use a volt-meter to check polarity. Tip is ground (positive) and Ring is battery (negative). Phone lines are positive ground to prevent corrosion to the phone wires.

      • funke

        11 March, 2011 at 2:29 am

        i want to connect these terminals to pcb.
        how can i make a contact bt them? should i directly connect it to connector or solder it ?

      • joe

        11 March, 2011 at 11:33 pm

        I you have luck also try getting a hold of telephone line test equipment like a tone generator this device also lets you know if you hooked your phone up backwards some old bell system phones will not ring if you have the red green and yellow wires reversed
        need to keep that bed room phone from ringing and waking up the baby if it’s an old Bell System phone open it up and unhook the yellow wire the wrap it around the green wire so if you decide to reconnect it you will see where it reconnect it.

    7. Chuck B

      19 July, 2010 at 3:58 pm

      How can I tell tip from ring on on old installation in my basement. The conductors in the wire in from the NID have no colors. They are attached to two screw post terminals with knurled brass threaded caps to which 50 years worth of working and abandoned conductors are attached.

      I can probably trace back working lines and deduce which terminal is tip and which is ring, but I would prefer a surer way.

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