Help! My Phone System is not Working! What do I do?

14 May
business phone

Help! My Phone System is not Working! What do I do?

When a phone system is dead, what do you do? Buy a new phone system today? Well, we cannot say we wouldn’t want you to do that (as long as the money is spent with CSM!) but in reality, there are several steps that can be taken by the user to determine the type of failure and if it is a simple fix, or something more chronic.

  1. Diagnose the problem. What are the symptoms? Below are a few items to consider:
    1. Is the whole system dead? Meaning, the phone displays are blank, calls in and out are non- functioning, and calls from phone to phone are not possible. If this is all the case, then the system has a major failure. What to do?
      1. First, reset the phone system by toggling the power switch to off, waiting 5 minutes, and then turning it back on. If you cannot find the switch,  unplug the unit, wait, and plug back in. Often, this simple step can save you hundreds of dollars in labor costs.
      2. If the above step does not work, make sure your battery backup is operational. If a BBU goes bad, then the phone system any simply not be getting power- plug the phone system directly into the power outlet.
      3. If step one and step two both fail, then the system may be dead. Look for burn marks on the unit, power outlet, and circuit boards. If a power surge such as lightening hit the unit, it is likely lost for good- however your business insurance most likely will cover the loss. Call CSM and we can write you a letter stating the issue.
    2. If you have internal working phones, but no line service, IE: you can call phone to phone but not out or in on the phone lines, then follow these steps:
      1. Open the phone system, if possible, and look for a labelled card with information such as “PRI” or “T-1” or “Digital Trunk” or “CO”, these indicate your line service card. If you see red lights, then there is a problem.
      2. Reset the phone system. Steps are listed above.
      3. If resetting does not restore service, then it is a 90% chance your phone service is out and there is not a problem with the phone system. Call your phone carrier and tell them the issue and they should be able to resolve it quickly.
    3. If most of the phones work and have incoming and outgoing calls, but a group of them is dead, then it is likely that s few ports or a board in the system is damaged. If you have a VoIP phone system, it could be your POE switch or the phone system itself. Try resetting, as described in the first section of this post. If these steps fail to solve the issue, tell your phone vendor (hopefully CSM!) and they will make a site visit, bringing replacement parts.

After a storm or other inclement weather, the above issues are the main calls that CSM gets. Hopefully this post will be of help to you. If after going through the steps and diagnosing the problem you still need assistance, please give CSM a call, we are happy to work with you. We work on ShoreTel, Nortel, Avaya, Comdial, Vodavi, Siemens, Unify, and other product across Florida and Texas.

tampa nortel austin avaya new phone system
CSM has offices in Tampa and Austin


  1. Thanks for this helpful information! We were able to do some legwork before you guys arrived, saving us some $ on the service call. Thanks again.

    1. Very happy to help, Frank! It is always nice to hear compliments about what we do here at CSM. Email us when you get a chance (, and mention my name and this post, I’ll have them send you a coupon for your next service call.

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