Orange Livebox 4 and phone line

Hi All

Our old Panasonic cordless phone from the UK has been working fine with numerous Orange live boxes since we moved to France over six years ago. The other day we had an internet glitch, there were some storms about but not locally. The internet came back within minutes but our phones now displayed “Check phone line”

I thought that the phones had died so I went into town and bought a new Giga set system. I plugged this in and it did not work either.

We took both phone sets to a friends house who is also on Orange and both phone sets worked fine.

Next step, phone Orange again, we were told to reset the base phone and
Press the WPS button. This seemed to get back a phone signal but the phone now lacks all options such as time and date and storing numbers. I called Panasonic and was told that the phone out should have about 5 Volts on it. I got out the multimeter and it seem to only have about 0.1 volts. Does anyone know what voltage should be on the green phone connection on a Livebox 4.

To top it all the Orange automated help system has joined in the general lack of customer service and tells us we have called too many times and it will now have to call us back but not until two days time.



Have you tried an old school corded telephone on your house line?

We keep one tucked away near our phone socket in case of power cuts as cordless phones are useless without any power to the base station.


and in the light of the storms, have you tried replacing the ADSL filter? they are the first things to go (it’s what they are designed to do).

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Thanks I spent an hour searching the grange for a corded phone, like you I used to have one for such tests but can’t find it.

We have not tried the adsl filter yet but will do that next.

Thanks for the ideas


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Might be worth getting the house earth connection checked as well?

Hi All thanks for the advice, I found several ASDL filters in the barn and have changed them out and the system continues to work as before.

Checked the house earth, I put in three new earth rods when I put three phase to the house a few years ago (one for each phase) and they are all in good condition.

I took all the phones to a friends house, plugged them into her livebox 3 and they worked absolutely fine. Here in our house on our livebox 4 they partially work but we cannot program new numbers or time date etc.

I am convinced that it is a livebox problem and see that Orange offer a free livebox test station so I will be taking it in for a test in the next couple of days.

One other thing the other day I moved some furniture and caught the phone line and pulled off one connection from the base where the French phone plug comes in. Does anyone know which connections should go to the plug I seem to have two cables coming in with the blue wires from each twisted together and the white wires from each twisted together. The Blue wires are connected to the first connection of the I shaped plug and the white wires to the second connection.

Speaking to Panasonic they tell me that the phone connection should have about 5 volts but I am seeing about 0.1 and I tested my friends livebox and it also had about 0.1 volts.



Google is your friend, did similar a few years back

Hi Tried Google without much success but looking just now found this great article about the French phone system

Hi All

Thanks for the help, finally found the problem. We took the Livebox to the Orange shop and used the test bourne, guess what the Livebox was faulty.

We asked the shop why the telephone test service said it was OK and their response was that the telephone fault finding was poor and did not pick up all the faults.

So new livebox installed and all telephones back to working.



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That’s very good news, Nick! So glad it’s finally resolved…

This only works if you still have a traditional 'phone service (POTS) on the line, separate to your internet access. If you only have a “landline” via an internet box a standard 'phone will not work if plugged into the line - it has to use the connection on the box.
POTS is being phased out in France & you cannot ask for a new real landline anymore.

Please, as a matter of urgency, bond all your earths together (or use just one if it has a low enough reading on it). It is potentially dangerous to have separate earths on a triphasé supply; theoretically you could end up with a harmful potential difference between appliances that are on separate phases.
Whoever advised you to install an earth per phase does not have sufficent electrical knowledge.

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Hi Thank you for that info.

I don’t know if it makes a difference but one phase is the house, one is the pool and hot tub, and the third is the barn with a heating system and freezer. All the phases are separated by at least ten metres with no appliances that could be touched at the same time



That was my thought as well, I forgot to post having gotten distracted by … something anyway.

That seems to be a poor distribution of phases.

Generally you want equal load per phase, though I suppose the saving grace is that you are unlikely to have your own transformer and other houses will tend to balance it out.

Significant phase load imbalance can pull the neutral well above earth and pull other phases well above their nominal voltages with it.

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Given that the three installations aren’t that far apart I can’t understand why you would not have the various “tableaux divisionnaire” bonded together at the main board. Was it just to save on using 3 core cable? The work involved in creating three separate compliant earths would outweigh the extra core in the cables.
If I’m wrong & the earths do all arrive back at the main tableau then strapping them together is easy.
P.S. I have to agree with Paul; splitting the loads up as you have done isn’t the best way to balance a triphasé installation. The grid isn’t going to care, but you may have to subscribe to a higher abonnement in order to prevent losing the whole supply due to one of the installations being more needy than the others.


Hi Thanks for this, it is not something, I have thought about since it was done over five years ago.

We had a single phase when we bought the house and added a hot tub in the pool area. A friend suggested that we did not have enough power and we went to the local electricity company to discuss it. The technician agreed that with all the loads we needed three phase.

The electricity company added the three phase and we ran cables to the pool area and barn. It was suggested that we needed earths rods at the pool and the barn distribution boards. We ran an earth wire from the main box to each subsidiary distribution box and the house phase was already connected to an earth that goes into the interior house wall.

It would not be difficult to run an earth wire through the wall to link them all together, do you think it would be best to add another earth rod at this point as well?

With regards to the uneven loading on the three phases, I have put a power monitor on the lines and you are correct. The pool and house phases are almost the same but the barn phase uses quite a bit less unless the pellet burner is igniting or the immersion heater in the water tank is working. I was not given the choice of two phase is that a possibility?

Best Regards


Electricty is generated & distributed as triphasé. A single/monophasé supply uses just one of those phases. In France you are only offered single or three phase - there is no option for just two of the three phases, which would make grid distribution complicated.
You may find this article that I wrote to be useful…

If your outgoing earths already arrive at your main tableau then they need to be connected to the main earth bar, which should involve very little work. I can’t imagine that they would have been put in & not connected, in which case this exchange has been a waste of time… Adding another earth stake isn’t necessary unless your main earth reading is above 100Ω (Ohms); it has to be below that figure to comply with NF C 15-100.

Having additional earthing at the remote installations is OK, but where possible (as in your case) they should be bonded to the main installation earth. Remote earths must not be used to achieve a compliant reading; that must exist at the main distrubtion point i.e. a test is carried out on the main earth point only, with other earthing disconnected.

No, as Jonathan says


I’m not quite sure of the easiest way to explain three phase supplies (a sign I don’t understand it thoroughly myself) - and apologies if this is not needed, but I suspect 3-phase is poorly understood.

In a single phase AC supply the live voltage swings above and below the neutral line like so:

The RMS voltage - what we think of as “mains voltage” is lower than the peak of the voltage swing, it’s actually the voltage that would dissipate the same power into a resistive load were the voltage DC.

The time between each peak in the voltage waveform is 20ms which means 50 complete cycles fit in 1 second so the frequency is 50 cycles per second or 50Hz - this is actually tied to the speed at which the generators spin.

When you have a 3-phase supply, you do not just get three copies of the above. The peak voltage in each phase happens at a slightly different time, this is because each phase is generated from a separate winding on the generator rotor, offset by 120 degrees from each other - we say the phases are 120° apart.

Why do this - well, one reason is that it makes distribution networks more efficient. If you just had single phase all the way from the generator to the load it would work but you’d need to run live and neutral cables all the way - the live is OK, it’s delivering power to the load, but the neutral - that’s not doing much that is useful except completing the circuit. But it takes just as much copper as the live.

So, notice that in a three phase system we can draw power between phases. The voltage between phases is actually higher than that between phase and neutral which is handy - it’s about 400V for a 230V nominal supply and 415V for a 240V nominal supply. That’s why all the three phase cabinets in the UK say “Danger 415V” even though the supply is only 240V.

If we draw roughly equal power from each phase all the current flows between the phases and none flows in the neutral - so we don’t actually need a neutral. In practice a smaller neutral is provided - if you look at a pylon you will notice the three phases fairly easily but if you look carefully there is normally a much lighter cable running at the top of the pylon - that’s the neutral.

So, 3-phase is more dangerous than single phase because the phase to phase voltage is much higher (it’s actually 1.73 times higher) than the phase-neutral voltage and generally you want the load to be balanced between phases to prevent too much current flowing in the neutral - if you get it badly wrong you can get a voltage drop in the neutral which raises it above earth, however this voltage will not be in phase with all of the live conductors and in the same way that phase-phase voltages are higher than phase-neutral (or earth) voltages you can wind up with phase to neutral voltages which are much higher than they should be, which can damage equipment.

Anyway the TL;DR point is that three phases is baked into the system right from the generator and you can’t have two out of the three as you need to balance the load out between phases. Single phase distribution typically has the houses going L1, L2, L3, L1,… down the street to produce a balanced load.

In some countries - e.g the US where they chose too low a voltage for high power appliances (but good for safety) the option exists to have a “split phase” supply - in this case the two phases are generated at the transformer and are 180° apart - i.e the peak of the waveform in one phase corresponds to the trough in the other and the phase to phase voltage is twice the monophase voltage. This then gives a 240V supply for higher power appliances (like tumble dryers or air conditioning).