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BCM50 Fried External Paging Audio Port?

BCM50 Fried External Paging Audio Port?

BCM50 Fried External Paging Audio Port?

I'm working with a BCM50 system in a school that was upgraded to R6 release (system version and all patches applied (as far as I am aware) in spring/summer 2018 (with wonderful assistance from Brian Cox @exsmogger).

Last month (October) we had a nearby lightning strike that fried one or both of either the G4X16 digital line card (both plugs) or the expansion cabinet that it was in. We found a somewhat local phone tech who had a old expansion cabinet with included G4X16 card in it. One of the two plugs on it worked, so moved all digital sets on the blown plug to the working one. (The plan is to get a new/refurb/etc G4X16 card to replace the bad one, but haven't yet.)

A couple weeks later after this event, I was informed that the overhead speaker paging was not working. I determined it wasn't the paging system as I could directly plug my audio out from laptop into the same telecom analog audio inputs on that system (Clarity SWM-100A) and got audio out the wall paging speakers. I plugged an RCA cord that was also punched down on the block to pair 12 (black/orange) to a small powered speaker, did a F62, and had no audio. I can page through the phones themselves just fine, just not through the external paging port. When punching F62 on a set, I do hear a "click" from the main cabinet. I don't know if that is normal but I am guessing that the system is trying to "engage"/activate the external paging port, but no audio is getting sent.

It seems strange that it would be only pair 12 on the main cabinet that would get fried when the expansion cabinet got fried, but lighting does strange things.

  1. Does it seem reasonable that the only port/function on the main cabinet that got damaged is pair 12/the external paging audio?
  2. Is there any other testing I should do/any configuration that could have been corrupted that would have "disabled" the External Paging Audio/anything else I should/could do?
  3. I assume the only thing I can do to fix a blown External Paging Audio port is to replace the BCM50 primary cabinet? And if so, I'll need the licensing transferred/set back up again on the new replacement cabinet? (I can contract with Brian for that as long as he's still available)
  4. Anything else I might have missed?
If I need to replace the cabinet, I'm thinking about just looking to also purchase another to have as a spare, as well as the expansion with an extra G4X10 card and an extra BCM450 and cards that it has to be able to keep this system going for a few more years. If I can get the extra parts reasonably enough priced, I don't see the need to buy and migrate to a new system or make the leap to an entirely VOIP system. (Can still get digital and IP sets pretty reasonably priced as well)


Jared Pickerell
County Network Admin/Tech Coordinator
Doniphan County Education Coop

RE: BCM50 Fried External Paging Audio Port?

Is it reasonable? Seemingly no, but as you wrote lightning can do some odd things to electronics. The clicking you hear is the paging relay, which I would assume took a hit and isn't passing through the voice path. Replacing the main unit might be the only way to resurrect external paging, but you might see if the paging system is able to use a spare CO port instead. No other testing available that you haven't already tried. Paging either works or it doesn't

Brian Cox
Georgia Telephone

RE: BCM50 Fried External Paging Audio Port?

Thanks for info, kind of what I was thinking. I'm not familiar enough with these to know what using a spare CO port would involve? Would doing so mean dialing a specific extension or adding and then picking up a specific "line" in order to page? If so, that would probably exclude the ability to use the standard paging feature codes on phones to be able to page BOTH phones and external speakers at the same time?

Another crazy idea I had was to possibly take an old digital set and place right at the phone system and wire the hands-free speaker output of the phone as an input to the intercom system? Messy, but thought may work in interim if needing to replace main cabinet.



RE: BCM50 Fried External Paging Audio Port?

Yes, using a CO port would kill the simultaneous page feature.

Your idea of using a spare phone would probably work. I did some similar hacks back in the day to get paging to inaccessible areas. I'd turn the volume on the set down low before testing the external paging.

Brian Cox
Georgia Telephone

RE: BCM50 Fried External Paging Audio Port?

Hi there.
Your external paging port could have stopped working because if you connected the 2 paging output wires from the BCM50 system to the school's paging amplifier and they came close together-you could have short circuited the port (this has happened to me before). Don't let the 2 paging output cables touch together while the system is powered on.

The lightning scenario is more probable, though (electronics don't like lightning).

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