Cordless Telephone Repair

This Fix-It Guide on cordless telephone repair tells how a cordless telephone works, what often goes wrong, how to identify a cordless telephone problem, and what parts and tools you will need to fix it. It then gives simple step-by-step instructions for how to maintain proper charging of a cordless phone and how to replace an antenna. This guide also refers you to other Fix-It Guides for specific problems.

How Does a Cordless Telephone Work?

Cordless Telephone Repair

You can check the battery with a Multimeter.

A cordless telephone is a phone that has a base connected to a standard phone jack and an electrical wall outlet. The base receives the signal from the telephone line and translates it into radio waves that are transmitted to the cordless handset. The base also includes a recharger for the handset’s batteries. Recharging takes place when the handset rests on the base.

What Can Go Wrong with a Cordless Telephone?

Cordless telephones are nearly bulletproof, especially those with integrated circuitry. In fact, some cordless phones are sealed and don’t offer a way of getting into them without breaking them. Even so, there are things that can go wrong that you can fix. For example, a low battery can make communication difficult–and it’s easily remedied. In addition, cordless phones can pick up noisy interference from outside sources such as power lines, motors, televisions, and other telephones. You can shield the phone or select an alternate channel to improve reception. You also can minimize future problems by keeping the phone clean, especially the recharging contacts on the base.

Fix-It Tip

Use a pencil eraser to clean the contacts on a cordless telephone’s base, then use compressed air or contact cleaner to remove any residue and debris left by the eraser.

How Can I Identify a Cordless Telephone Problem?

Cordless Telephone Repair

Remove screws and pry apart the two halves of the case.

Most problems with cordless phones are easy to identify and resolve.

  • If the cordless telephone doesn’t work at all, make sure that the power is on at the electrical outlet. Then test the phone line by plugging another telephone into it. Check the low battery indicator and recharge the battery if needed. If the battery won’t hold a charge, replace it with an exact replacement (size and voltage). Cordless phone batteries typically last a year with regular charging, but they can last for a longer or shorter time depending on use and maintenance.
  • If the phone is noisy, and the unit has a manual channel selector, switch to another channel. Even some automatic channel selectors have an override selector. If that doesn’t work, plug the base into a different electrical outlet in a distant part of the house to see if the interference is through a specific electrical circuit or appliance in your home.
  • If the antenna is obviously damaged or broken, replace it (see below).

What Do I Need for Cordless Telephone Repair?

Cordless Telephone Repair

Disconnect the antenna from the circuit board, typically attached with a single screw.

You’ll need only a few tools to perform most fixes on your cordless phone. These are the ones most frequently used:

  • Screwdrivers
  • Multimeter (for testing the battery)

What Are the Steps to Cordless Telephone Repair?

Maintain proper charging of a cordless telephone:

  1. Once a month, clean the charge contacts on both the base and the handset with a pencil eraser.
  2. Once a month, leave the phone off the base until the battery completely discharges, then put it back on the base to recharge it (unless your owner’s manual gives other instructions). If the battery does not recharge, replace it.
Cordless Telephone Repair

Remove and replace the antenna with an exact replacement part.

Replace a cordless telephone antenna:

  1. Inspect the antenna to determine how it is installed. If you are still not sure, take it to a retailer that sells replacement parts and ask a clerk. Antennas on newer cordless phones screw in. Older models may require the unit be disassembled, the antenna desoldered, and the new one soldered into place (see solder in the Fix-Anything Fix-It Guide.
  2. If disassembly is required, remove the cover to the battery compartment and look for screws or clips that allow access to the antenna and other components.

If the base unit requires service, first unplug the unit from the electrical outlet. Some cordless telephones have a battery in the base for backing up incoming and outgoing messages. Look for a battery cover, remove it, and test the battery before disassembly. If necessary, disassemble the base unit by removing screws and/or clips from the underside to gain access. Test and replace components using a multimeter and following the phone owner’s manual.

Fix-It Tip

If purchasing a new cordless telephone look for one that is relatively easy to disassemble and replace an antenna or other major component. Also ask what parts are readily available for that model.