The buttset (or butt set) is one of the most versatile and important pieces of
telephone test equipment ó a handset with touch-tone pad, alligator clips, and
various features that allow you to know if a circuit is dead or live, good or
bad. It can also make and receive phone calls. No one seems to be sure why it's
called a buttset, but there are several possibilities:
a buttset can be used to "butt-in" to a conversation.
a buttset is usually hung from a tool belt on a phone technician's butt.
phone technicians use them while sitting on their butts.
Another possible origin relates to connecting two things together with a "butt
splice" or "butt joint" in electricity, printing, recording or carpentry.
And then there's the temporary and powerful contact when people "butt heads."
When you touch
the alligator clips of a buttset to a pair of telephone terminal screws or
clips, you are butting them together.
generator and probe
This is a very important two-piece test set.
A tone generator
("toner") is like a radio transmitter. You attach its alligator clips to a pair
of wires, or plug its plug into a phone or data jack, and it sends a sound
through the wire. The probe works
like a radio receiver. It picks up the tone when it is near a wire, even if it
is one wire in the middle of a bundle of wires, or is inside a wall. An internal
speaker lets you hear the sound that the probe picks up, and you can also attach
a buttset to hear better in noisy environments, or when the signal is weak. A tone generator
and probe are extremely useful in identifying wires, finding open circuits and
short circuits, diagnosing crosstalk, and other telecom tasks. They're also good
for tracing speaker wires and alarm and remote control circuits. Most tone
generators also allow you to test polarity of a phone line, indicate the
presence of voltage, test continuity, and provide "talk battery" to test phone
equipment when no dial tone is available.
Tool This is a
vital telecom tool used to attach wires to the ubiquitous punchdown blocks that
keep the planetís telecommunications infrastructure functioning. Punchdown tools
generally accept interchangeable bits for working on different types of blocks,
patch panels and jacks. The two main types are 66 and 110, and any techy needs
both. Other types you may encounter include BIX, Krone and 630.
This can be a one-piece or two-piece tool that connects to both ends of a cable
and lets you know the condition of all of the wires within the cable, revealing
short circuits, open circuits, reversals, foreign voltages, etc. Lots of
different models are available, and each one usually works with more than one
type of cable and connector, including phone, data and video. Some have
additional features such as tone generation.
This is an small inexpensive tool that plugs into a phone jack and uses an LED
to indicate whether the jack is dead, live or has reversed polarity.
Used to remove insulation from wire without damaging the inner wire. Some phone
geeks use their teeth.
Basically this is a special purpose heavy-duty pliers that is used to attach a
modular plug to a wire.